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20 Free Things to do in Washington DC with Tweens

What are your tweens into–history? science? art? nature? There’s something for every kid here in Washington DC. Choose one of these free things to do in Washington DC with tweens.

Free things to do in Washington DC

When my kids were younger, I had no problem coming up with FREE activities to do to keep us busy on long summer days. It didn’t take much to entertain them!

Now that they’re tweens (10, 10 & 12), each has their own interests, and it can be a little trickier to find free things to do.  But as a frugal mom, it’s my mission!

Whether you’re a local or are planning a visit to the area, all of these sites are great for tweens and teens!

20 Free Things to Do in Washington DC with Tweens

Lincoln Memorial | 20 Free Things to Do in Washington DC with Tweens | family travel
Lincoln Memorial | Washington DC family travel
  • Tour the Folger Shakespeare Library and the Elizabethan Theatre. On Saturdays, enjoy free family programming for ages 8-14.
  • See a free performance at the Millenium Stage in the Kennedy Center, and take a guided tour of the Hall of States and Hall of Nations.
  • Tour the Bureau of Engraving and Printing to see millions of dollars being printed. Tickets are free and are handed out first thing in the morning. Keep in mind that the Bureau is closed on the weekends.
  • See the pandas and so much more at The National Zoo. When my family visits, we love watching the orangutans travel overhead on the O Line.
  • Take a free guided tour of the Pentagon and visit the Pentagon Memorial. Reservations are required to take a tour, and you must request them 14-90 days before your visit.
Library of Congress | Washington DC family travel
  • Start at the Welcome Center of Arlington National Cemetery, then observe the Changing of the Guard, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and John F. Kennedy’s gravesite.
  • Hike the 446-acre National Arboretum, home of the eagles watched by Eagle Cam, and the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum.
  • Explore science at the Air and Space Museum and the Natural History Museum (our favorite exhibit is the Hall of Geology, Gems and Minerals).
  • Enjoy the peace of Theodore Roosevelt Island. This is one of my family’s favorite parks and such a hidden gem in the city.
  • Visit the Mall and Memorial Park to see the Lincoln Memorial, WWII Memorial, FDR Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial and Korean War Memorial. If you can get your kids up early, use my tips for FREE parking and how to beat the crowds and beat the heat. Alternately, walk the Mall and the Monuments after dark. The lighting makes for a memorable experience!
Arlington Cemetery is one of my 20 FREE things to do in DC

I’m using this as our Summer Bucket List. It will help fill up our long days in between swim practice and swim meets, and since I do childcare in the summer, it won’t cost me more having extra kids on the trip! Let me know in the Comments about your favorite free things to do in Washington DC with tweens.

And if you can make the trip from DC, here are 21 FREE Things to Do in Philadelphia with your family, courtesy of my friend, Clarissa!

20 Free Things to Do in Washington DC with Tweens | family travel

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[…] in DC!! Are you headed to the capital for a vacation? Do you live there? Day trip??? Money Wise Mom has done all the work of finding the best freebies in that area! Better yet, she shared the list! […]

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I love this list! Pinning it to my Things to do in DC board.

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Wednesday 4th of May 2016

[…] All 19 of the Smithsonian Museums (and the Zoo) in the Washington DC area have free admission year-round!. They are worth the trip if you are coming from out of town. See those and more at 20 Free Things to do in Washington DC with Tweens. […]


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Sunset Parade at Iwo Jima. http://www.barracks.marines.mil/Parades/SunsetParade.aspx


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I've never heard of this. Thank you so much for sharing!