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100 Free Things to Do: Around Town

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1) Amble up Massachusetts Avenue to get a firsthand look at the beautiful architecture of embassies from around the world.

2) Everyone knows Washington, DC is a seat of power, but did you know it’s also home to the world’s biggest chair? The Big Chair in Anacostia happens to be the world’s largest (at 19 feet, it stands as tall as Lady Freedom atop the Capitol). Check it out – it’s free to visit and serves as a gathering spot for the Anacostia neighborhood.

3) For a great and inspiring aerial view of the city, visit the Old Post Office Pavilion on Pennsylvania Avenue. Take the elevator to the top of the 315-foot-tall clock tower to enjoy 360-degree views of downtown DC.

4) Attend a book talk by a big-time author at Politics & Prose, a bookstore and coffeehouse in Van Ness. All in-store events are free and open to the public, and they happen multiple nights a week.

5) Take a breath of fresh air while learning about DC neighborhoods on a Washington Walks tour. All tours are just $15 per person, and themes range from Memorials by Moonlight, a nighttime encounter with the National Mall memorials, to The Most Haunted Houses, featuring a look at the Octagon, DC's most ghost-filled residences (according to guides in the know).

6) Have a power lunch for less at Old Ebbitt Grill, the oldest restaurant in DC. There, guests can enjoy raw-bar items for less than $10 each since they're 50 percent off during Oyster Happy Hour, 3-6 p.m. and 11 p.m.-1 a.m. Monday through Thursday.

7) Visit Eastern Market on weekend mornings to browse the work of local artisans and sample farm-fresh produce and concoctions.

8) Make a late-night stop at Kramerbooks & Afterwords Café in Dupont Circle to browse conversation-starting titles, order a massive piece of pie and enjoy live music Wednesday through Saturday nights.

9) Take in the splendor of the Robert and Arlene Kogod Courtyard at the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. When you're done, walk a few steps to see the latest exhibitions on display at each of the free museums, which stay open until 7 p.m. nightly. Need to check your email or confirm a hotel stay while you're out? You're in luck – the courtyard has free Wi-Fi.

10) Visit the more-than-100-year-old Union Station to find out why its beautiful architecture and special events make it more than just a train station.

DC's most recognizable monument, the Washington Monument, stands at the top of the National Mall. Visitors, school groups, runners and locals live in its shadow every day.
DC's most recognizable monument, the Washington Monument, stands at the top of the National Mall. Visitors, school groups, runners and locals live in its shadow every day.
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