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6 Things to Do on a Budget in Washington, D.C.

March 17, 2016

One of the most exciting things about studying abroad in the United States is the fact that you can easily travel to nearby (or not-so-nearby) states over weekends or short breaks. For my spring break, I spent a day in Washington, D.C. and got to experience fun activities and see some really wonderful landmarks, all on a student’s budget!

Here are some great spots that you can visit in D.C.:

1) The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.

Possibly the most important building in America, this is where the president resides and works! Though you’re not very likely to get an indoor tour (unless you’ve got some great connections) the building is still architecturally quite fantastic and definitely worth stopping by.

2) United States Capitol

East Capitol St. NE & First St. SE, Washington, D.C.

Another beautiful building just one mile away from the White House, this is where the Senate and Congress meet and it has one of the prettiest domes in the United States.

3) National Mall

1000 Jefferson Drive SW, Washington, D.C.

Though professional tours are available, you (or Google) can very well be your own tour guide, and walk through this national park to see several beautiful monuments and memorials. If you go early enough in the day you can even stop for a picnic in the sun! Bonus: A few cute squirrels might want to hang out with you, too.

Smithsonian Castle on National Mall
Smithsonian Castle on National Mall

Image from Catherine’s Instagram

A squirrel hanging out on a fence at the National Mall
A squirrel hanging out on a fence at the National Mall

A squirrel hanging out by a fence at the National Mall

4) National Museum of Natural History

10th St. & Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.

A dream come true for science and history lovers, this museum houses various fossils, animal exhibits, rocks — you name it! An especially fun section is one where you see human ancestry and evolutionary history. The museum is also home to the biggest diamond known on earth – the “Hope Diamond.” Bonus: If you don’t mind spending an extra buck, be sure to check out one of the museum’s many informative and highly interesting documentaries in IMAX.

Mammal exhibit at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.
Mammal exhibit at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

Image from Catherine’s Instagram

5) Lincoln Memorial

2 Lincoln Memorial Circle NW, Washington, D.C.

A beautiful memorial to the 16th president of the United States, beside which some of Lincoln’s most powerful words are displayed.

Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C.
Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C.

Image from Catherine’s Instagram

6) Washington Monument

2 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C.

A grand obelisk built to honor President George Washington. If you’re lucky enough to get tickets to the top, you can get a bird’s eye view of this country’s beautiful capital.

Washington Monument at dusk
Washington Monument at dusk

Image from Catherine’s Instagram

These are just some of many budget-friendly activities you can do in Washington, D.C. If you’re around for the month of April, be sure to check out one of the capital’s most celebrated events: the Cherry Blossom Festival! I sure plan to do so myself.

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