The Best Things in Life are Free, Free Holiday Fun in Washington, D.C.

If you’re planning a trip to D.C. in the next few months be sure to check out all that you can do for free in the city. From fall foliage to Christmas trees, we have all top spots for you to visit.

Fall Foliage

One of the best places to see the beautiful color changing leaves is from the George Washington Memorial Parkway. The parkway is in the heart of the metropolis of Washington D.C. and is meant for recreational driving. The scenic overlooks and places to stop and rest along the way make it a great trip to take in the Fall. The city is also lined with color changing leaves and fall scenery this time of the year. Head out for a walk around town to check out nearby neighborhoods adorned with trees to get you in the autumn mood.


The National Gallery of Art offers free concerts throughout the year. The concerts range from orchestras and bands to dancers. Some of the most notable and distinguished musicians have gotten their start right here. Be sure to check out the National Gallery of Art’s website to find specific dates and times of their upcoming concerts.


While ultimately shopping isn’t free, visiting the Downtown DC Holiday Market is. This market is located on 8th and F Street NW and is a favorite for seasonal shopping. With over 150 vendors and live entertainment, you will find this holiday market bustling between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The market is open from 12:00-8:00 p.m. daily.

Holiday Decorations

Washington, D.C. has no shortage of festive trees and lights to see during your stay. The United States Botanical Garden is open daily and is always beautifully decorated for the holiday season. Beautiful poinsettias and models of prominent D.C. landmarks draw crowds every year. Nearby you’ll find the United States Botanical Garden Holiday Train Display. Located in a separate entrance, this one of a kind train display is something to see.

The Capital Christmas Tree is a stop to add to your itinerary. It is located right across from the Botanical Gardens and in front of the U.S. Capitol Building. This large and beautifully decorated tree is adorned with ornaments from the local area. The tree is lit up at dusk and remains on until 11:00 pm. Another Christmas Tree to see is the one located at The Library of Congress. Here you’ll find a breathtaking tree right in one of the nation’s oldest libraries.

Family Fun

If this trip has the kids tagging along, don’t worry, there is a lot of free fun for them too. Each year the National Zoo transforms into a Winter Wonderland for their Zoo Lights event. The zoo is open nightly from 5:00-9:00 p.m. with over 500,000 LED lights, live music, holiday shopping and festive treats. Admission and shuttles are free but some parking and additional activities may have a fee. The zoo is only one metro stop from The American Guest House and some guests have even walked there on a beautiful day. 

 In addition to the National Zoo, all the Smithsonian Museums are free of charge. The museums all have interactive components and are sure to keep your interest.

Start planning your holiday visit now. You’ll find free activities in the city anytime throughout the year, but the holidays provide a different kind of magic. Book your overnight stay with American Guest House and start planning the rest of your fun!

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