Free or Cheap Things to Do in Washington DC as a Student

Choosing to study English in Washington DC is one the best decisions you will ever make! DC is the perfect place to learn a new language because it is a global city filled with diversity. You will get to interact with others using the language you are studying in a natural environment.

The Washington language school, inlingua, makes it easy to master a new language while engaging in student activities around the city. Another bonus – there are so many free or cheap things to do in Washington DC as a student!

Monuments and Memorials

Washington DC is the nation’s capital, and as such, it is home to several of the country’s most famous monuments and memorials. And, the best part is that they are almost all free for public viewing! While every student will visit the Lincoln Memorial, the MLK Jr. Memorial, the National WWII Memorial, and the Washington Monument at least once, these sites take on special meaning for those living in the city. You can visit them first thing in the morning or at night to get a completely different feel.

In addition to these memorials on the National Mall, you can visit the Library of Congress or the US Capital for free. Plus, you will have numerous opportunities for photos in front of the White House. If you are interested in all the National Mall has to offer, there are free or cheap walking tours led by professionals you can join.


Most students who study English in DC, want to visit the museums frequently. Fortunately, most of the major museums in the city are free and open year-round! The Smithsonian Museum family is incredible, and the largest ones do not cost anything to enter. Check out this list of amazing museums you can visit for free in DC:

  • National Gallery of Art
  • National Archives
  • United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
  • Museum of African American History and Culture
  • National Museum of Natural History
  • National Air & Space Museum
  • National Museum of American History
  • Hirshhorn Museum
  • National Museum of the American Indian
  • Freer Gallery of Art

The museums are great options no matter the weather, so students find their favorites and spend endless amounts of time there.

Outdoor Activities

DC is not just full of museums and historical monuments – it also has tons of outdoor activities that are either free or cheap. For example, students love to spend time by the Tidal Basin, which is a small man-made lake encircled by a beautiful and relaxing walking trail! Plus, DC is a healthy, active city. For example, you can find free fitness classes at Capitol Riverfront. If you want to exercise and sight-see, the Capital Bikeshare program is a cheap way to borrow a bike for the day to sight-see or cycle along the Potomac.

For the nature lovers, you can visit the US Botanic Gardens at the National Mall for free all year long. You can also venture to Theodore Roosevelt Island for free. This national park has miles of trails for waking or running, as well as spots for canoeing and kayaking.

Students can also visit Rock Creek Park to get back to nature for free as an ideal place to relax after a morning of English classes. This park has walking trails, places for picnics, wildlife viewing spots, a planetarium, horseback riding, and is one of the most popular running trails in the city. It is also where the Smithsonian National Zoo is located – and a visit to the zoo is also free!


If you are taking English courses in Washington DC during the summer, you are there at a perfect time. During the summer, there are over fifteen places where you can see free outdoor movies. For example, the Library of Congress Movies on the Lawn series is very popular. And, with the wide range of film series, you are bound to find one you are interested in such as Bard in the Park or the Jane Austin Film Festival.

Not to worry – even if you are taking an English class in DC in fall or winter, you can find student discounts at several local movie theaters.

Music and Theater

Students also enjoy their fair share of live music and theater around the city. During the summer, students can enjoy free open-air jazz at the National Gallery of Art and free performances by the Shakespeare Theatre Company. Plus, year-round, students can attend shows for free nightly at Millennium Stage at Kennedy Center.

Another plus to being a student in DC is the opportunity to score discounted tickets to major shows at the Kennedy Center and the National Theatre. These specially priced tickets are first-come, first-serve tickets offered at 50% of box office prices for students. Students can also find cheap tickets to shows at the popular Black Cat and U Street Music Hall music venues.


Language schools in Washington DC also provide students with the chance to experience some of the nation’s most popular festivals. For instance, the Cherry Blossom Festival is celebrated yearly in the spring and includes several free events for attendees.

Students will also enjoy free entertainment and cheap food at the H Street Festival in September. And, students studying English in Washington DC cannot miss the EU Open House Event. On a Saturday in May, the European Union Embassies open their doors to the public with food and cultural events.

For the foodies, there is also Truckaroo, a food truck festival which runs from April through October. You can try delicious food at low prices and enjoy live music. Speaking of food, students will enjoy the many bakeries and sweet shops where they can get a cheap snack rather than splurging on a pricey dinner when they are out.

Before We Go…

Washington DC is a fantastic place to live and learn. If you are looking for a unique, language immersion program, look no further than the premier Washington language school, inlingua. Students at inlingua get the best language learning experience possible in a global city. Students learn in and out of the classroom – something you can’t put a price on.

Ready to learn a foreign language in Washington DC?

Related Posts

All programs and courses provided by inlingua Washington DC are avocational
in nature and not designed to prepare students for employment.