Taking Advantage of Free Things To Do in DC

Written by Grace Lederer – Program Advisor, ICPES

Part of the professional experience in is achieving a good work-life balance.  Sometimes, having fun can feel too pricey in the city—especially as an unpaid intern. Thankfully, there is a plethora of fun and free events available in DC outside of the obvious monument/museum tour. My two favorite websites to browse for free events are Things To Do DC and Eventbrite. These sites have lead me to unforgettable events from artist exhibitions to embassy visits and networking events. These events often provide food so you’re not only having a great time but getting a nice meal out of it too.

An often overlooked Smithsonian is the Zoo. Located at 3001 Connecticut Ave NW, the Smithsonian Zoo is home to an extensive collection of mammals, reptiles, birds, and marine animals. The daily schedule at the zoo is packed with programs such as meeting small mammals, feeding the fish, watching elephant training sessions or demonstrations with the seals. Be sure to check the schedule before you go!


A fan-favorite activity is going to free outdoor movie screenings. Grab some friends, snacks, and a beach blanket to catch a classic under the stars. For a definitive list of locations and films, click here.


If you’re interested in baroque architecture, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and the Franciscan Monastery and Garden are all musts. The basilica is the largest Catholic Church in the United States.

As part of their “Performing Arts for Everyone” Initiative, the Kennedy Center offers free shows every night at 6:00pm. Visitors can enjoy artists as they showcase their talents in music, dance, theater, and more. Shows can be inside or outside depending on the type of performance so make sure to check the schedule and dress appropriately before you go!




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