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Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Shing Mon Chung
Whether you want to explore the culture or the countryside there is loads to do in Washington for free. Stay in a Washington hostel and you’ll also save money on food and entertaining as you can hang out in their fully-equipped kitchens and common rooms.
With 1,200 acres of aquatic gardens, river boating, swimming pools, golf courses, marshes and pavilions, Washington’s Anacostia Park is a sprawling hive of outdoor fun. The National Park, once home to the Nacotchtank Indians, is open from 9:30am to 5:30pm every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.
President’s Park and White House Visitor Centre
Fancy a tour around President Obama’s home? Pre-book a free tour to check out the celebrated house and join in with the historical and information programmes. The President’s Park is actually in a National Park along with the surrounding Lafayette Park, Sherman Park and the 1st Division Monument.
Here you’ll find gray squirrels, birds and an occasional sighting of a red-tailed hawk, or bald eagle. In the visitor centre there are 6 permanent exhibits on the history of the White House and you can get yourself a souvenir from the shop.
The Lincoln Memorial
There are free tickets available but you have to get to the Washington Monument early for the distribution. The kiosk is open from 8am to 4.30pm and tickets are first come, first served. The HI Hostel Washington DC is in a great central location to explore all the sites. It also offers a free breakfast, free wifi and spacious, clean rooms.
The National Zoo
Giant pandas, bears, lions, giraffes, tigers, monkeys and sea lions all call the National Zoo home. With over 400 species of animals filling 163 acres of park it’s hard to believe it’s free! The zoo opens at 10 and closes at 6 in the summer and 4.30 in the winter. Wear comfy shoes and pick up a map to make the most of the day.
The 19 Smithsonian Museums and Galleries in Washington are world class and completely free. Featuring over 137 million objects from insects to spacecraft, everyone is sure to find something to interest them. Start at the Institution Building to pick up a map then go to infinity and beyond at the National Air & Space Museum, which holds the largest set of air and spacecraft in the world. Or stamp collectors will love the biggest stamp collection in the world at the National Postal Museum. Animal lovers should make their way to the National History Museum to feel crocodile skin, play in the insect zoo and stand next to an 80-foot dinosaur skeleton.
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