It was in the summer of 2017 that I visited this capital city of the United States of America. Washington, D.C. serves as the centre of the America’s politics and is home to a large number of significant cultural institutions, memorials and historic monuments. Most of the tourists visits the National Mall – the national park at the centre of the city, which holds many of the city’s monuments like the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and National Gallery of Art and Smithsonian Museums.
This city completely mesmerises you and people from all around the world come to visit every year. It has some great diversity, amazing restaurants, natural attractions, bars and nightlife. However, these city doesn’t come cheap to most of us. The costs of meals, hotels, transportation and parking sums up to a lot of money. Yet a budget traveller can find a lot of free things to do around in the city.
Here is a list of things to do in Washington, D.C.
Visit the White House
The White House is the official residence of the President of the United States of America and is one of the most iconic buildings in the world. It is the symbol of power and money. It was completed building in 1800 and was burned down in 1814 during the War of 1812. One can arrange a tour to this building by booking it weeks in advance. Americans need to contact their member of Congress to request a tour while the foreign nationals need to contact their embassy in Washington. A request for the tour can be submitted three months in advance up to 21 days before travel.
It is a beautiful sculpture and has an amazing view of the reflection pool and the Capitol building. It was built to honour the 16th president and is a must see for every visitor. It is open 24 hours a day and Rangers are on duty from 9am-10pm daily and if you are lucky you may get a free tour during your visit.
This is the tallest monument in the city. It rises up to 555ft tall and comprises of 36,000 blocks of stone. It is said that the quarry ran out of stone when building this monument. Unfortunately this monument is closed until spring of 2019 for repairs. So you need to wait for the stellar views from the observation deck. It is a good idea to book your ticket in advance by phone or online at (www.recreation.gov) especially during the peak season.
World War II Memorial
The National World War II Memorial honours the 16 million people who served as the part of U.S. Armed Forces during the war including those who gave their life for their country. This site is free and open to tourists 24 hours a day. Park Rangers are available from 9am-10pm daily to answer you queries.
Tour of the Capitol Building
The United States Capitol is a monument, a working office building, and one of the most recognizable symbols of representative democracy in the world. The Capitol Visitor Centre is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Saturday, and tours of the Capitol are offered from 8:40 a.m. to 3:20 p.m. If you want to explore more of the Capitol, get a pass at the North Information Desk. The tour begins at the entrance to the Exhibition hall. For detailed information visit (www.visitthecaptiol.gov).
Visit the Smithsonian Museums
The Smithsonian Institution is a group of 19 museums, galleries and research centres that are administered by the US government. These museums were founded in 1846 and to this day are free to enter. And of those 11 museums are located in the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The two of the museums in Washington have massive IMAX movie theatres which plays regular movies. Some of the museums and centres include:
- Air and Space Museum
- African American Museum
- Anacostia Community Museum
- Archives of American Art
- National Zoological Park
- Natural History Museum
- Portrait Gallery
- Postal Museum
- Renwick Gallery
- Dillon Ripley Centre
- Smithsonian Castle
- Smithsonian Gardens
Take a Free Walking Tour
The city also provides a lovely space for a free walking tour. It will get to see you the city’s main sights, the people other than tourists minding their own business as they commute to and fro their work. You can either choose a guided tour or just move around yourself using Google.