image of a james bond car at the international spy museum one of the Cheap, Fun Things to See & Do in Washington DC

Cheap, Fun Things to See & Do in Washington DC

Visiting Washington DC and want to stretch your travel budget with some cheap, fun things to see and do?

Here are some capital ideas!

Affordable Places to Stay in Washington DC

Washington DC Hotel Reviews on TripAdvisor

Washington DC Vacation Rental Reviews on TripAdvisor

Take a Tour

image of the monuments by moonlight tour one of the Cheap, Fun Things to See & Do in Washington DC
Monuments by Moonlight Tour

A cheap, fun way to see and get the inside scoop on the landmarks and sights of Washington DC is by taking one of the many tours.

The city’s monuments are even more stirring at night when they are enhanced with dramatic lighting. The Monuments by Moonlight Tour is an excellent way to check them out in the PM as is the DC After Dark Tour.  Both tours are around $35 a person.

With so much history having taken place in Washington DC there are naturally a lot of ghost stories and legends to be heard. The best way to do that is by taking a ghost tour. The Most Haunted Houses is the original Washington DC ghost tour (a budget-friendly $15 per person), and another popular one is Scary DC ($25 per person).

If you prefer to do your touring in the daylight, climb aboard a DC Ducks tour which will allow you to see the city from both land and water without ever having to leave your seat. This guided excursion costs adults $40 and kids $30. Buy online and save over 10%.

Check out this link for even more Washington DC tour ideas.

The World of Spies & Criminals

image of a shoe phone from the international spy museum one of the Cheap, Fun Things to See & Do in Washington DC
International Spy Museum

Enter the world of espionage at the International Spy Museum.

This intriguing, cheap, fun thing to see and do in Washington DC features real-life spy gadgetry.

Check out things like the lipstick pistol, the hairbrush camera, pencil clip compass, a shoe with a heel transmitter and spy memorabilia from the movies including James Bonds’ Aston Martin. Adults $21, seniors $16 and youths $15.

If you enjoy a good crime novel or show, the Crime Museum is a must see. Explore the history of crime and punishment in America.

See Bonnie & Clyde’s car. Learn about gangsters, mobsters and serial killers. See the set of the TV show America’s Most Wanted. Adults $22, seniors $20 and youths $15–but before you go, check on Groupon for discounted tickets.

And Now the News

image of the newseum one of the Cheap, Fun Things to See & Do in Washington DC

Always been fascinated by the news? Then the Newseum is just the article for you.

This museum is dedicated to everything to do with the news.

See historic front pages, artifacts from historic events including the fall of the Berlin Wall, the lunch counter that spearheaded the civil rights movement and the antenna from the top of the World Trade centre.

You can even watch a network news show being taped.

This fun, cheap thing to do is adults $21.95, seniors $17.95 and youth $12.95. Plus, CAA and AAA members can save $2 off admission.

Meet a Celebrity, Sort Of

image from madame Tussauds wax museum one of the cheap, fun things to see & do in washington dc
Madame Tussauds Wax Museum

You might not be able to get within ten feet of a real US President or celebrity but you can get up close with a life-like facsimile at Madame Tussauds wax museum.

In fact you can see all 44 US presidents, plus some of history’s most notable figures, famous athletes, popular actors, entertainers and media personalities.

Adults $21.50, kids $17 or a family 4-pack is $64. Purchase your tickets online and you’ll save over 20%.

Entertaining Options

image of a live band one of the cheap, fun things to do in washington, dc
Live Music & Comedy

After a day exploring Washington DC relax by taking in a theatre production.

The Washington D.C. theatre scene is the second most vibrant in the country. There is always lots of to choose from and when you take advantage of Ticketplace, you can snag yourself last-minute half-price tickets to concerts, plays, and operas by more than 100 metro productions.

Feel like taking in some live music?

The place to be in Washington D.C. is the 9:30 Club. Depending on the performer, tickets can be had for as little as $15 each.

Want to kick back and see a flick? The nation’s capitol boasts a bevy of movie theatres, many have admission discount days.

Looking for some cheap laughs? The fun thing to do is to pony up $20 and head over to the DC Improv Comedy Club, the place where people like Ellen DeGeneres, Jerry Seinfeld and others have taken the stage.

Take in an Event

As the capitol city of the United States of America, Washington DC is always playing host to a variety of fun-filled, stellar events. To see what’s currently happening, visit the Washington Post Events Guide or the Free and Low-Cost Things to Do in DC guide.

Check Groupon for Deals on Washington DC Things to Do

image of Groupon one of the ways to save when you are planning a cheap vacation

One great way to save on local fun things to do in Washington DC is to check Groupon, the money-saving website that features local discounts in 150 cities.

Visit the Washington DC Groupon page and you’ll find savings of anywhere from 40-90% on attractions, activities, tours, boat cruises, show tickets, dinner spots and accommodations.

The Groupon Washington DC page is a smart place to check out when you’re first planning your trip and even when you’re in the middle of your Washington DC visit because new deals get added weekly and even daily many times.

Be thrifty and practical! This information was accurate when published, but can change without notice. We recommend you confirm all details with the provider in question before planning your excursion.

Photo Credits: Glyn Lowe Photoworks., Elvert Barnes, International Spy Museum, rachaelvoorhees, NASA Goddard Photo and Video, cliff1066™, International Spy Museum and gregor_y.