K.J. Around the World

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7 Ways to Enjoy Washington, D.C. on a Budget

January 4, 2017
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Exploring Washington, D.C. on a budget can be difficult if not planned correctly. Heading to D.C. with the kids might seem like an additional expense, but the experience I had back in December would be what I call having a blast on a budget. The kids had a great time and I didn’t break the bank or my husbands wallet making it happen. I’ve added some inspirational photos from my travels along with some links and prices to help you plan your next trip.

7 Ways to Enjoy Washington, D.C. on a Budget:

1. Heading to the National Museums, where most are FREE! Make sure you stop at the Smithsonian American Art Museum or the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture for some insight on American history over the past few hundred years. Note: Don’t waste your $ heading to the International Spy Museum, it’s not worth it.



2. Taking the Circulator bus around the National Mall for $1 each time you board. Note: You can purchase a Smartrip card which is rechargeable.


Image result for washington dc circulator
Picture courtesy of National Park Service website

3. Exploring the U.S. Capital and Library of Congress for FREE!

4. Visiting with animals at the National Zoo, which is also FREE!

5. Visiting the Memorials of inspirational Americans like Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and Martin Luther King Jr.


6. Staying at the centrally located, yet budget-friendly Courtyard Washington Convention Center. The hotel has a pool, so if you have kids this is the place to be. Note: Prices start at $129 per night, the rooms are large, clean and comfortable.

Image result for courtyard washington convention center
Picture courtesy of Trip Advisor website.

7. Feasting at the best food trucks D.C. has to offer, like Capital Chicken & Waffles and the Halal Grill. Prices range from $5 to $10 for a meal. Note: If you must splurge on food, head to Nando’s and try their Peri Peri Chicken with Portuguese Rice, its to die for.


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  1. I live here and you are right in can be expensive and there is also a lot to do that is free! I still have not been to all the museums. Someday I will get there

  2. I must admit that Washington never was on my travel list. I don’t know why, but it never got me. I have a friend who lives there and he told me about the beautiful nature surrounding Washington which might be a reason I will go to visit it. If I ever get there I have at least some cheap things to explore in mind 🙂

  3. Nice tips. Still haven’t been, so it’s useful to know that there are free things to do. Didn’t know that the Smithsonian museums are on that list! That’s nice, would like to visit. 🙂

  4. Glad to know that there are a lot of free things to do in DC especially with kids! I’m sure you’re kids had a blast learning about history! 😉

    1. It’s my sons favorite place to travel. He love Abraham Lincoln so you can imagine him at the Lincoln Memorial. When we went to one of the Smithsonian’s we saw the hat Lincoln was wearing when he was shot, my son was so devastated, but he was happy to see the actual hat his idol wore.

  5. This is very useful. i never thought that places like Washington DC could as well be enjoyed as much on a budget. When I go there, I would definitely not want to miss places like library of congress and national zoo. Thanks for the tips 🙂

  6. Great tips you have there. The museums are DC are so worth going and I was amazed many of them free. I lived there for a while and thought it’s a better place to travel than to live (a little too serious for my taste :p) Nonetheless, miss it a lot! Btw, I enjoyed the International Spy Museum! But I can see it’s not for everyone

  7. When I used to live in US I never made it to DC. I would love to go there one time. Hopefully I will have this opportunity again.

  8. Washington is on the list! Not sure when we will get there though, as the list is forever growing. We love free museums and looking for Memorials! Thanks for sharing. We will pin this for future use.

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