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Free Things to Do: Events, Festivals & More in Washington, DC

Free Things to Do: Events, Festivals and More in Washington, DC

Whenever you’re in Washington, DC, you can plan on enjoying plenty of museum exhibits, events and festivals for free, guaranteed.

With access to free museums, the monuments and memorials, the Library of Congress and more, Washington, DC is unrivaled for its many free attractions. But at any given time, you can also take advantage of free one-of-a-kind events, groundbreaking exhibits and unique festivals, making DC the capital of free events.

Check out the list below for some of the latest free happenings creating buzz around the city.
 

@jasmine.huang_ - Courtyard in the National Gallery of Art on the National Mall - Free art museum in Washington, DC

‘The Eye of the Sun: Nineteenth-Century Photographs from the National Gallery of Art’ – Through Dec. 1
To honor 180 years of photography, the National Gallery of Art hosts this exhibit that will feature roughly 140 images, many of which have never been on view before. Visitors will be able to experience the development of an artistic medium across its first 50 years, from early photos by William Henry Fox Talbot to daguerreotypes to portraiture to landscape imagery and much more.
Hours
National Gallery of Art, 4th Street & Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20565

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@bambamfiasco - The atrium inside the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian - Free attractions in Washington, DC

‘Section 14: The Other Palm Springs, California’ – Through Jan. 2020
Palm Springs, California is known as a playground for the rich and wealthy. However, the area was once a desert outpost and home to Native Americans. This exhibit focuses on the conflict that arose over a one-square-mile-tract of the city’s downtown, which formed the heart of the reservation belonging to the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. Section 14 will show how the area became a hotbed for issues like tribal sovereignty, economics, race and land zoning from the 1940s through the 1960s.
10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
National Museum of the American Indian, 4th Street & Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20560

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Votes for Women: A Portrait of Persistence - Women's suffrage exhibit at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in DC

‘Votes for Women: A Portrait of Persistence’ – Through Jan. 5, 2020
The National Portrait Gallery honors the centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment with this highly anticipated exhibit. You’ll learn about the radical women that fought slavery, the women activists of the late 1800s, the “New Woman” of the 20th century and the relentless suffragists of the 1910s through a series of portraits, cultural artifacts and biographies. The exhibit will also examine the struggles that minority women still face today, 100 years after the 19th Amendment passed. Find even more ways to celebrate the achievements of women in DC.
11:30 a.m. – 7 p.m.
National Portrait Gallery, 8th and F Streets NW, Washington, DC 20001

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@emilygoesplaces - Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden plaza - Free modern art museum in Washington, DC

‘Manifesto: Art X Agency’ – Through Jan. 5, 2020
Manifestos summarize the principles of artistic movements and groups, and the Hirshhorn looks to guide you through a century’s worth of art using the statements as a guide. Works by seminal artists such as Salvador Dalí, Jackson Pollock and Alexander Calder will serve as an introduction, followed by manifestos that inspired their work. Julian Rosefeldt’s multichannel film, Manifesto, will be displayed in its own section, while a third portion of the exhibit will showcase contemporary pieces that shine a light on political movements and social change. In conjunction with this exhibit, the Hirshhorn will present In Search of the Truth (The Truth Booth) for the first time in DC, a participatory installation that will be on the outdoor plaza from June 8-23.
10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. 
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Independence Avenue and 7th Street SW, Washington, DC 20560

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@pradook8 - Visitors outside Smithsonian Renwick Gallery in Washington, DC - No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man Exhibit

‘Ginny Ruffner: Reforestation of the Imagination’ – Through Jan. 5, 2020
Ginny Ruffner has mastered sculpture and glass, and has now spread her artistic wings into Augmented Reality. Ruffner weaves the technology into her glass sculptures to create an interactive experience for observers. In this exhibit at the Renwick Gallery, visitors will download an app that superimposes digital images of growing appendages and mythical flowers onto Ruffner’s barren sculptures of tree stumps, creating two realities to explore in the process.
10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. 
Renwick Gallery, Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street NW, Washington, DC 20006

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Michael Sherrill Retrospective at the Renwick Gallery - Free things to do in Washington, DC

Michael Sherrill Retrospective – Through Jan. 5, 2020
The Renwick Gallery provides a retrospective on the fascinating career of artist Michael Sherrill in this exhibit that feature more than 75 objects from his oeuvre. Spanning nearly 40 years of work, the display will showcase Sherrill’s evolution from teapots and clay vessels to his stunning, nature-inspired sculptures that utilize clay, glass and metal.
10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. 
Renwick Gallery, Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street NW, Washington, DC 20006

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Verrocchio: Sculptor and Painter of Renaissance Florence - Free museum exhibit in Washington, DC

‘Verrocchio: Sculptor and Painter of Renaissance Florence’ – Through Jan. 12, 2020
Feast your eyes on the first monographic exhibition in the United States to focus on Andrea del Verrocchio, an artist, sculptor, painter and teacher who counted Leonardo da Vinci among his pupils. The exhibit will showcase Verrocchio’s materials and techniques while also displaying 50 masterworks, including paintings, sculptures and drawings.
Hours
National Gallery of Art, 4th Street & Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20565

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The Touch of Color: Pastels at the National Gallery of Art - Free museum exhibit on the National Mall in Washington, DC

‘The Touch of Color: Pastels at the National Gallery of Art’ – Through Jan. 26, 2020
Roughly 70 pieces that use pastels to striking effect make up this exciting exhibit at the National Gallery of Art. The history of pastel, stretching from the Renaissance to today, will accompany pieces that highlight the true potential and versatility of the medium. Artists featured include William Merritt Chase, Paul Huet, Edgar Degas and Claude Monet, among many others.
10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Saturday, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m on Sunday
National Gallery of Art, 4th Street & Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20565

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@washingtondcua - Tour guide with group in Smithsonian National Museum of American History - Free museum in Washington, DC

‘All Work and No Pay: A History of Women’s Invisible Labor’ – Through Feb. 2020
Ideally timed for Women’s History Month, this exhibit at the National Museum of American History will highlight women’s work in the home and the corresponding issue of unwaged labor. “Costumes” for domestic work ranging from colonial times to the 1990s will show how women are expected to manage the housework regardless of class, race, culture or community. Visitors will be able to learn the inequality and unfairness of this outdated societal assumption through artifacts and images.
10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
National Museum of American History, 1300 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20560

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Feel the Sun in Your Mouth: Recent Acquisitions at the Hirshhorn Museum - Free museum exhibit in Washington, DC

‘Feel the Sun in Your Mouth: Recent Acquisitions’ – Through Feb. 2020
More than 25 artworks acquired by the Hirshhorn over the last five years constitute this display that fills the museum’s lower-level galleries. Recent pieces sit alongside avant-garde works from the 1960s and 70s, illuminating similar themes of the poetic, the cosmic and the intuitive. Visitors will see many of these masterpieces for the first time, including notable works from Tatiana Trouvé, Alicja Kwade and John Giorno, as well as images from major Japanese photographers such as Minoru Hirata, Takashi Arai and Miyako Ishiuchi.
10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Independence Avenue and 7th Street NW, Washington, DC 20560

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@emilygoesplaces - Henry the Elephant at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History on the National Mall in Washington, DC

‘Game Change: Elephants from Prey to Preservation’ – Through Feb. 1, 2020
Elephants are one of the most fascinating species in the world, and their conservation is essential. This exhibit at the National Museum of Natural History shows how the public attitude towards elephants has drastically shifted since the late 19th century, when big game hunting was popular. Now, care and concern for these animals is a must in order to save them. Find out why in this exploratory and historic display.
10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, 10th Street & Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20560

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My Iran: Six Women Photographers exhibit at the Sackler Gallery - Free museum exhibit on the National Mall in DC

‘My Iran: Six Women Photographers’– Through Feb. 9, 2020
See life through the camera lens of six different Iranian woman photographers in this highly anticipated Sackler Gallery exhibition. Each artist captures distinct moments to examine and study, from protests in 1970s Tehran and post-revolutionary life to family photo albums and life abroad for displaced persons.
10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, 1050 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC

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Alonso Berruguete: First Sculptor of Renaissance Spain - Free museum exhibit on the National Mall in Washington, DC

‘Alonso Berruguete: First Sculptor of Renaissance Spain’ – Through Feb. 17, 2020
For the first time outside of Spain, the man considered to be the most important sculptor on the Iberian Peninsula during the Renaissance will receive an extensive exhibition. While Alonso Berruguete’s painted sculptures in wood will be the main focus, visitors will also be able to view his remarkable work in drawing and painting, with 40 works displayed in total.
10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Saturday, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m on Sunday
National Gallery of Art, 4th Street & Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20565

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@evansevilla - ‘Champions’ exhibit at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery - Free museum in Washington, DC

‘In Mid-Sentence’ – Through March 8, 2020
Photographs that depict moments of communication make up this new display from the National Portrait Gallery. Pivotal moments in history are showcased throughout, from JFK’s speech at the 1960 Democratic National Convention to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech to Walter Cronkite’s meeting with Daniel Ellsberg as the “Pentagon Papers” were published.
11:30 a.m. – 7 p.m.
National Portrait Gallery, 8th and F Streets NW, Washington, DC 20001

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Smithsonian National Museum of African Art on the National Mall - Free Museum in Washington, DC

‘I Am… Contemporary Women Artists of Africa’ – Through March 15, 2020
This new exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art draws on the museum’s permanent collection to feature 28 women artists that take on topics of faith, community, racism, identity, the environment and politics in their stunning work. Utilizing a range of media, the exhibit will show visitors how these artists have powerfully contributed to the dialogues on the most important issues of our time.
10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
National Museum of African Art, 950 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20560

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Sacred Dedication: A Korean Buddhist Masterpiece - Free Smithsonian exhibit in Washington, DC

‘Sacred Dedication: A Korean Buddhist Masterpiece’ – Through March 22, 2020
The Freer|Sackler worked with the National Museum of Korea to bring the oldest surviving gilded wood figure in an informal pose to the District. The sculpture of Gwaneum, recognized as the most popular deity in Korean Buddhism, was carved sometime between 918 and 1392. When the piece was first placed into worship, important texts and symbolic objects were sealed inside, a practice founded on the belief that adding dedication material to a Buddhist sculpture gave it life. The exhibit will showcase recent research and new info about the sculpture itself and what was placed inside, as well as the rituals that went into image consecration in 13th century Korea.
10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, 1050 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20560

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Student touring Anderson House in Dupont Circle - Museum off the National Mall in Washington, DC

‘America’s First Veterans’ – Through April 5, 2020
While generals and leading officers of the Revolutionary War have received statues and glowing historical reviews, junior officers and enlisted men returned home after fighting to a new republic deeply in debt and unconcerned with appreciating and supporting them after their important service. The Anderson House will display paintings, prints, artifacts and documents that memorialize the men who fought for U.S. freedom and faced countless struggles in re-adjusting to civilian life.
Hours: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Monday – Saturday, 12 - 4 p.m on Sunday
Anderson House, 2118 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008

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'Picturing the American Buffalo: George Catlin and Modern Native American Artists' exhibit at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in DC

‘Picturing the American Buffalo: George Catlin and Modern Native American Artists’ – Through April 12, 2020
European artist George Catlin ventured beyond the Mississippi River in the mid-19th century and documented Native American communities that were set to undergo mass migration and removal. Catlin painted scenes and portraits of the Great Plains, depicting the vital buffalo herds in the process. This exhibit will showcase his work, as well as pieces from modern Native artists, highlighting the significance of the buffalo to these communities in the process.
11:30 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, 8th Street NW & F Street NW, Washington, DC 20001

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@washingtondcua - Tour guide with group in Smithsonian National Museum of American History - Free museum in Washington, DC

‘Forgotten Workers: Chinese Migrants and the Building of the Transcontinental Railroad’ – Through Spring 2020
In honor of the 150th anniversary of the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad, the National Museum of American History displays this exhibit that addresses the forgotten Chinese workers who heroically built the western leg of the railroad through the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The result of their work is also showcased in detail, including a graphic that maps the railroad and descriptions of both the positive and negative impacts of the route.
10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
National Museum of American History, 1300 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20560

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'One Life: Marian Anderson' exhibit at National Portrait Gallery from June 28, 2019 to May 17, 2020

‘One Life: Marian Anderson’ – Through May 17, 2020
A singer, diplomat and muse, not to mention a strong fighter against segregationist policies, Marian Anderson was an iconic figure of mid-20th century American. Her historic performance at the Lincoln Memorial in 1939 was a monumental moment, but this National Portrait Gallery exhibit dives much deeper, displaying paintings, photos, personal effects and archival materials that highlight Anderson’s stirring and influential career.
11:30 a.m. – 7 p.m.
National Portrait Gallery, 8th and F Streets NW, Washington, DC 20001

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Mary Ann Meade / Meade Brothers Studio / c. 1850, Sixth-plate daguerreotype / National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Mr. and Mrs. Dudley Emerson Lyons

‘Women of Progress: Early Camera Portraits’ – Through May 31, 2020
See daguerreotypes and ambrotypes of icons such as Margaret Fuller, Lucy Stone, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Lucretia Mott in this new exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery. While these women were doing incredible work in advancing civil rights, portrait photography was on the rise. The historic portrayals are all the more poignant in 2019, as the work of these women still reverberates today.
11:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. 
National Portrait Gallery, 8th and F Streets NW, Washington, DC 20001

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Sculpture Down to Scale: Models for Public Art at Federal Buildings, 1974-1985 - Free exhibit at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC

‘Sculpture Down to Scale: Models for Public Art at Federal Buildings, 1974-1985’ – Through June 6, 2020
As can be observed in DC, monuments and public sculptures are essential to the American landscape, serving as public expressions of identity, morality and pride. This exhibit at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, which opens Friday and runs through June 6, 2020, features nine models (or “maquettes”) of incredible works that were meant to be public art. You will see the true and original vision of each artist in these models, which are works of art in their own right.
11:30 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, 8th and F Streets NW, Washington, DC 20004

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Magnificent Obsessions Why We Collect exhibit at the National Museum of American History - Free Smithsonian museum on the National Mall in DC

‘Magnificent Obsessions: Why We Collect’ – Through July 1, 2020
The phenomenon of collection is the focus of this new exhibit at the National Museum of American History. Learn about pioneering collectors who helped shape Smithsonian Libraries through their infinite curiosity and desire to preserve the past. You’ll encounter the sheer diversity of the Smithsonian’s collections and how the institution continues to preserve historic treasures and modern items.
10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Smithsonian National Museum of American History, 1300 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20560

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The Outwin 2019: American Portraiture Today at the National Portrait Gallery - Free Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC

The Outwin 2019: American Portraiture Today – Through Aug. 30, 2020
The National Portrait Gallery is reigniting the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition for 2019, which asks artists to submit innovative works in the art of portrayal, resulting in an awe-inspiring variety of pieces. See the work of 46 finalists in the resulting exhibition, which is opened by an announcement of prizewinners. The grand prize is $25,000 and the opportunity to create a piece for the Portrait Gallery’s permanent collection. Visitors will marvel at how artists of today use a wide range of tools, devices and media to re-imagine portraiture.
11:30 a.m. – 7 p.m.
National Portrait Gallery, 8th Street NW & F Street NW, Washington, DC 20001

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Shall Not Be Denied: Women Fight for the Vote - Free exhibit at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC

'Shall Not Be Denied: Women Fight for the Vote' – Through Sept. 2020
The seven-decade struggle for women’s suffrage will be illuminated in striking detail in this new exhibit at the Library of Congress. Visitors can retrace stories of diverse women who changed America. The exhibition draws from the collections of Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucy Stone, Mary Church Terrell and other suffragists – in their own words. Photographs, film footage and rare manuscripts will transport visitors back in time as women took their place in the public square. Use #ShallNotBeDenied to share your experiences at the museum.
8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday – Saturday
Library of Congress, 101 Independence Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20540

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Pat Steir: Color Wheel at the Hirshhorn Museum - Free Smithsonian exhibit in Washington, DC

‘Pat Steir: Color Wheel’ – Through Sept. 7, 2020
The Hirshhorn Museum will display the largest painting installation to date by the abstract artist Pat Steir. The new suite of paintings will be showcased in the Museum’s second-floor inner-circle galleries, spanning the entire perimeter, creating a jaw-dropping color wheel across thirty pieces. Steir has built a four-decade career out of her meticulously crafted but seemingly random paintings, done using her own distinct technique. Color Wheel looks to be one of the most intriguing exhibits of the season.
10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, 7th Street & Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20560

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Lee Ufan Open Dimension at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC

‘Lee Ufan: Open Dimension’ – Through Sept. 13, 2020
For the first time, the Hirshhorn’s 4.3-acre outdoor plaza will be devoted almost entirely to the work of one artist. Lee Ufan, one of Korea’s most celebrated creators who rose to prominence in the late 1960s, will present 10 new sculptures from his continuing Relatum series. It’s Ufan’s largest single outdoor sculpture project in the U.S. and the first time that his work has been exhibited in DC. Each sculpture relates to the Hirshhorn’s architecture in some way, creating what Ufan likes to call an “open dimension”.
10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Independence Avenue and 7th Street NW, Washington, DC 20560

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Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote - Free women's suffrage exhibit at the National Archives in Washington, DC

‘Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote’ – Through Jan. 3, 2021
This 3,000-square-foot exhibit at the National Archives will use more than 90 items, including records, artifacts and photographs, to tell the complex story of diverse suffragists in securing women’s voting rights. The exhibit will also go well beyond 1920 to show the relentless struggle that occurred throughout U.S. history to win voting rights for all women.
10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
National Archives, 701 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20408

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Museum at the Daughters of the American Revolution headquarters - Museums in Washington, DC

‘Ordinary Equality: DAR Members and the Road to Women’s Suffrage, 1890-1920’ – Through Jan. 2021
The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Museum & Archives showcases how its members helped secure voting rights for women through social reform. You’ll see photographs, biographies, letters and more that highlight the accomplishments of more than 40 women. Admission is free. Note that the museum is closed on Sundays.
9 a.m. – 5 p.m. 
DAR Museum & Archives, 1776 D Street NW, Washington, DC 20006

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Good as Gold, Fashioning Senegalese Women free exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC

‘Good as Gold: Fashioning Senegalese Women’ – Ongoing
The National Museum of African Art recently received a significant influx of gold jewelry into its collection, leading to this new exhibit that examines the cultural significance of gold in the West African nation of Senegal. The Wolof concept of sañse (which roughly translates to “looking and feeling good”) is at the center of stylish Senegalese women often wearing gold, a notion that will be covered in detail, along with the production, display and circulation of gold in the country.
10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
National Museum of African Art, 950 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20560

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NGA Nights at the National Gallery of Art - Free event at museum on the National Mall in DC

NGA Nights: Throwback – Nov. 14
The National Gallery of Art is throwing it back to the ‘90s with this November edition of NGA Nights at the museum’s East Building. Bring along your scrunchies, your Beanie Babies, your combat boots, your fanny packs. One of the city’s most beloved museums will feature live performances, music and art activities throughout the evening, as you relive the decade that brought the World Wide Web, the Spice Girls and Saved by the Bell. The event is free to attend, just make sure to register.
6-9 p.m. |  Register
National Gallery of Art, 4th Street NW, Washington, DC 20565

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Recent Acquisitions at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC

Recent Acquisitions – Nov. 15 – Aug. 30, 2020
In this new exhibit, the National Portrait Gallery will display both historical and contemporary pieces that have recently come into its possession (25 in total), including subjects such as Morgan Freeman, Audrey Hepburn, Philip Glass and Andy Garcia. Each figure displayed has had an impact on the history and culture of America through his or her work.
11:30 a.m. – 7 p.m.
National Portrait Gallery, 8th Street NW & F Street NW, Washington, DC 20001

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@bambamfiasco - The atrium inside the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian - Free attractions in Washington, DC

Blackfeet Nation Tribal Festival – Nov. 16-17
The Blackfeet Reservation is located in northwestern Montana along the slope of the Rocky Mountains, featuring more than 17,000 enrolled members. The National Museum of the American Indian celebrates this incredible, long-standing tribe with a free, two-day festival, where you can enjoy Blackfeet performers, artists, historians and culture bearers. Expect seasonal dances, demos on how the tribe makes traditional garb, beadwork, handcrafted jewelry, moccasins, carvings, baskets and more. The festival is part of the museum’s celebration of American Indian Heritage Month.
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
National Museum of the American Indian, Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20560

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Nighttime Shopping at the Downtown Holiday Market - Christmas and Holiday Market in Washington, DC

Downtown Holiday Market – Nov. 22 – Dec. 23
This free-to-frequent downtown bazaar is centrally located at 8th and F Streets NW, in front of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery. Scope out eclectic wares from dozens of pop-up tents with seasonally flavored music performed live in the background. Locally roasted coffee and crafted-before-your-eyes mini-doughnuts inspire a cold-weather appetite, creating a holiday atmosphere you won’t find anywhere else in DC.
12-8 p.m. daily
Centered at 8th and F Streets NW, Washington, DC 20001

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Hokusai: Mad about Painting exhibit at the Freer Sackler galleries in Washington, DC

‘Hokusai: Mad about Painting’ – Nov. 23 – Nov. 2020
While Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai is mainly known for his unforgettable and iconic Great Wave Off the Coast of Kanagawa, he composed thousands of pieces during his nearly 90 years on Earth. The Freer Gallery, in honor of the centennial of its namesake’s death, will present a wide range of Hokusai’s works that were acquired by Charles Lang Freer roughly a century ago. Visitors will be able to experience Hokusai’s mastery in woodblock printing, painting, drawing and view his renderings of everyday Japanese life, known as manga.
10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Freer|Sackler Gallery, 1050 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20560

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Dewing's Poetic World exhibit at the Freer Sackler Gallery - Free exhibits on the National Mall in Washington, DC

‘Dewing’s Poetic World’ – Nov. 27 – Nov. 2020
Thomas Wilmer Dewing’s paintings often featured a single female consumed by her thoughts, alone and passive. This exhibit will explore the contradiction between Dewing’s works and his social life, which was often filled with dancing, trips to the theater and dinner parties. Through archival photographs, visitors will learn of Dewing’s lifestyle, his creative partnership with his wife and his friendship with Charles Lang Freer.
10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Freer|Sackler Gallery, 1050 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20560

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'Chiura Obata: American Modern' exhibit at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in DC

‘Chiura Obata: American Modern’ – Nov. 27 – May 25, 2020
One of the most influential Japanese American artists of the 20th century receives an in-depth retrospective. Chiura Obata emigrated to the U.S. from Japan in 1903 and embarked on a seven-decade career that synthesized Japanese and American styles across an array of works, from intimate paintings to scrolls to still lives to woodblock prints. The exhibit will feature more than 150 works and personal effects of Obata’s, many on public display for the first time.
11:30 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, 8th Street NW & F Street NW, Washington, DC 20001

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@abroadwife - Holiday displays at the United States Botanic Garden's Seasons Greenings - Winter holiday events in Washington, DC

Season’s Greenings: America’s Gardens – Nov. 28 – Jan. 5, 2020
The U.S. Botanic Garden gets decked out for the holidays thanks to this annual exhibit. This year’s display focuses on gardens from Hawaii to Maine, including iconic spots like the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Franklin Park Conservatory and Huntsville Botanical Garden. Inside the Conservatory you'll also find the garden's collection of DC's iconic landmarks and a showcase of poinsettias. On select Tuesday and Thursday evenings, the Conservatory will stay open until 8 p.m. for live performances of seasonal music.
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
United States Botanic Garden, 100 Maryland Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20024

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@fiz1point5 - ZooLights winter holiday celebration at Smithsonian National Zoo - Free family friendly things to do in Washington, DC

ZooLights – Nov. 29 – Jan. 1, 2020
Head to ZooLights at the National Zoo for a wildly vibrant display of LED Christmas lights (a half-million of them!), along with activities like Snow-less Tubing and special themed nights like BrewLights (Dec. 12). The kids will love the National Zoo Choo-Choo (a train ride through the Great Cats exhibit), while the big kids enjoy spiked hot chocolate and live music. ZooLights is closed on Dec. 24-25 and 31.
5-9 p.m.
National Zoo, 3001 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008

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The Best Events and Festivals Happening in Washington, DC

No city provides as many world-class activities for free as Washington, DC. Discover 100+ free things to do in the ‘Capital of Free!’