Nothing makes me happier than warm weather and sunshine (I still don’t know how the heck I ended up moving to DC with the snowy, dark, and freezing winters… but I digress).
In the summer, there’s an endless number of fun and free things to do in DC! Because after you go out on a Friday night to a new restaurant and spend $40 on dinner and $30 dollars on drinks… you’re looking to not spend a dime on Saturday :)
Here are eight ways to entertain yourself in DC without hurting your bank account (more than you already do on a regular basis).
1. Walk the Mall at night
The National Mall is beautiful (the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial are my favorite!), especially at night when the little children are asleep and the tour groups are long gone. Pour/conceal some wine in a to-go coffee cup, grab your boyfriend/girlfriend/friend of any sort, and stroll the Mall after sunset. A cool summer evening paired with the beautiful scenery and a nice glass of wine will have you wanting to sing the National Anthem at the top of your lungs.
2. Hike the Billy Goat Trail
I love hiking! One thing that’s very different in DC than Florida are all of the hills! It makes it tough to run, but makes hiking a blast! Although the Billy Goat Trail is technically in Maryland, I’ve added it to the list anyways. Also (as you see in the first picture) if you bring along a friend on the hike who is a 4th grade biology teacher, she can teach you all about the little creatures that live in the rocks.
3. Go to the National Zoo
Nothing is better than walking around outside, getting a tan, and looking at pandas! Be a kid again and tour the zoo. There’re so many amazing animals to see and it’s also a great workout! But, be prepared for dozens of actual kids crying because they can’t pet the tigers.
Your Sunday evenings just got a whole lot more relaxing with free yoga in the park! After a busy weekend of errands, ragers, or bing watching Netflix, head to the park for some stretching, deep breathing, and fresh air. Meridian Hill Park has been offering free yoga for 11 years now, every Sunday in June, July, and August from 5-6:30pm. Just bring a mat and enjoy :)
5. Farmers markets
So yes, technically if you want something from the farmers market then you will have to pay for it, but it’s free to walk around (and all items there are pretty inexpensive). Stroll a number of different markets around DC, and buy (if you want) some fresh produce… and maybe a breakfast sandwich if you’re nursing a hangover that morning.
6. Visit all the Smithsonian Museums (this should really count as 18 free things to do)
Of course I had to have some museums on this list. Although they’re inside, so you could visit them all year around, walking through sunshine to get to each museum is lightyears better than dragging yourself through snow! PLUS every Smithsonian museum is 100% free (all day, every day) so you have no excuse not to visit all of them (multiple times)! My favorites are the National Air and Space Museum or the National Museum of Natural History.
You don’t have to be a jazz lover to enjoy Jazz in the Garden. Every Friday evening from May 22 – August 28 from 5:30pm – 8:30pm, enjoy a free concert in the sculpture garden of the National Gallery of Art!
8. Head to Union Market
So I admit, I’ve never actually been to Union Market, but I’ve heard wonderful things about it! Mark my words, I will go this summer… and most likely spend some money on some delicious food!
This list doesn’t even begin to scrape the surface of all that DC has to offer. There are loads of free festivals, concerts, and activities that pop up all the time.
What are your favorite free (or not free) things to do in DC during the summer? I’m always looking for new things to try!