FREE & FUN DC Itinerary

I went to DC for the first time last year in 2022. I crashed Dans work trip and spent the day exploring solo. I had to figure out the city and the metro alone and was a little nervous but thanks to my iPhone maps, I just hit "metro" and it told me which line and which stop. It couldn't have been easier.

Locke loves history and wanted to go to DC for his senior trip this year so I was thrilled to go back. I knew where I wanted to spend more time and which things we could skip.

The nice thing about DC is that almost everything is FREE! I'll be sharing my favorite FREE things, as well as what things are worth in to splurge on. My friend lived here, so I got her list of must do's and worked my way through it.

We used The Parking Spot for our airport parking and it made our trip SO easy! You should definitely use them for your holiday travel coming up. We saved time and money. You can save even more by using code SALTPROJECT at check out.

Here are our top FREE and FUN things to do in DC!

Natural History Museum


This was my favorite for kids. I loved it too, but I kept thinking how much my kids would have loved it.


Go stuff Eatery and We The Pizza.


Can't go wrong with either. Great food at a great price. And they are on Capital Hill, so you can see the cute houses while you are there.





Lincoln Memorial


Beautiful views of the city from the top.

Pho 99


When we arrived, it was getting dark and it was a bit cool so we hunted down some pho. It was so good and hit the spot.


National Museum of Art


This was my favorite museum. We saw the only Da Vinci in the western hemisphere! Degas, Monet, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Vermeer, Picasso, Renoir and more! If you love art, this is a must stop.


Our Nations Capitol Building


Tours available


Washington Memorial


You can see it from all around the city, or walk right up to it.


Arlington Cemetery


Be ready for a long line. We went on a Monday and it took us an hour just to get in the door and through security. Once you are in, you can pay to take a tour or just walk the grounds for free.

Portrait Gallery


I really enjoyed this gallery. This was my favorite portrait. They had different medium of art. All so incredible.

Old Ebbit Grill

This is definitely a little more fancy, but we did see a few kids. Oysters on the half shell are half off before 5 and lucky for us, the only reservations available were before 5 or after 8. Definitely plan ahead if you can. But if not, you can always walk in and sit at the bar without a wait. 

Museum of Air and Space


You could spend an hour or an entire day! You do need tickets, so go early and scan the QR code to reserve your time slot for the day.

Capital Hill


Definitely take some time to walk around Capital Hill. It's charming and so fun to see the unique row homes.


White House


You can schedule a tour or just walk to the gate and get a photo. There were lots of Secret Service out while we were there because of all the protests going on.


Scootering to the monuments


A 1 miles ride was more expensive than our 20 minute uber to Mount Vernon, but it was fun a great way to see the monuments.


Founding Farmers


The chicken and waffles with an insanely delicious side of Mac is my go to here. The food is fresh and amazing!

Holocaust Museum


This museum was my favorite next to the National Museum of Art. Plan on 3-4 hrs. You need a ticket but they are available at the front desk.

Spite House

If you make your way to Old Town Alexandria which we highly recommend stopping on your way to George Washingtons Mount Vernon, be sure to stop to see the tiniest house in the city. The Spite House.

Mai Thai 


It was a little cool so we decided to get some curry. It was incredible! And we loved sitting on the street watching all the people.


George Washington's Mount Vernon


This is one of my favorite places EVER! I can see why he loved it so much. Definitely plan on a few hours. Last year we only had about an hour and were running through the grounds to see as much as we could. This time we spent about 5 hours. We took our time and just enjoyed seeing everything inch of the property. Definitely upgrade for the house tour. It's so incredible.

And take a minute to explore the gardens. I think are my favorite part. Absolutely beautiful and full functional.



Botanical Gardens


Indoor and outdoor gardens.

And that's a wrap of our top things to do in DC. We recommend finding a hotel close to the metro station to make it easy to get around the city and back.

Helpful Tips

Museums are closed on Sunday. Most of them close at 5 so plan on visiting monuments and Mount Vernon on Sunday. Or monuments after museums close so save time.

Metro pass was the best value, followed by uber, scooters were fun but not cheap.

You could pack everything in to 2 days if you walk fast. Otherwise we recommend 3-4.


Must See:

Lincoln Monument

Washinton Monument

Capitol Building

White House

Arlington Cemetery

Old Town Alexandria

Spite House

Mount Vernon*

Capital Hill

WWII Memorial

Botanical Gardens

National Portrait Gallery

National Museum of Natural History

National Gallery of Art

National Air and Space Museum

Holocaust Memorial Museum


Must Eat:

Pho 79

Good Stuff Eatery

Teds Bulletin

Mai Thai

Old Ebbitt Grill

Founding Farmers


Must do:

Metro Pass for inner city travel

Scooter to monuments

Walk the National Mall

Tour George Washingtons home






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