MNN Galleries

Best U.S. cities for free attractions

2 of 10

Washington, D.C.

No city in the U.S. can match Washington, D.C. in terms of quality free attractions. An endless list of federally owned museums, national monuments, public squares and parks makes it possible for visitors to spend a whole week in the nation's capital without having to pay for anything but a room, food and transportation. 

The headliners here include the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, the National Air and Space Museum and the Library of Congress. Plan far enough in advance and you can even book a free tour of the White House. Lesser known, but equally interesting (and equally free), options include the Goethe Institute, the Mexican Cultural Institute and the National Museum of the American Indian. Winter brings holiday festivities, while the National Cherry Blossom Festival takes place in springtime. Free outdoor concerts are held throughout the summer, with many of the most spectacular events leading up to the Fourth of July.