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100+ Free Things to Do in D.C.

From monuments and memorials to national parks and museums, Wahington D.C. is a memorable, world-class destination filled with breathtaking views, vibrant neighborhoods and hundreds of free things to do. When you arrive for Digestive Disease Week® (DDW) 2024, you’ll want to leave some time to explore the city after sessions, or even add extra days to your visit so you can take it all on. Below, we’ve put together some recommendations for free things to do; you can find more on Washington.org.

Do you need a visa to attend DDW? We recommend applying as early as possible due to visa processing times. Use our invitation letter generator to get started.

Visit the Smithsonian Museums

There’s no shortage of museums in D.C., and the 17 that are collectively known as the Smithsonian Institution are all free. No matter what you’re interested in, there’s something for everyone and plenty to explore — from the National Air & Space Museum to the National Portrait Gallery and even the National Zoo.

Explore the National Mall and Monuments

A trip to Washington, D.C. would be remiss without a visit to some of the iconic monuments and memorials. Walk along the National Mall and see the Capitol Reflecting Pool and Washington Monument and say hi to Abe at the Lincoln Memorial. The monuments are also beautiful at night, making this a good activity after DDW is done for the day.

Enjoy the Great Outdoors

Average temperatures in May can reach a high of 76°F. Take some time to get fresh air outside of the convention center and stretch your legs. Rock Creek Park and the Capital Crescent Trails are great options for a jog or a hike. Reachable by footbridge, Theodore Roosevelt Island has almost two miles of trails and a statue of its namesake. If nature is your thing, the gardens in the US. National Arboretum are not to be missed.

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