Things to Do

Free DC: Music, Movies, Art, Trivia, and More That Doesn’t Cost a Penny

Don’t worry if you’ve already tried everything listed in our first two installments of Free DC. There’s still more fun to be had in this city without breaking the bank—or spending a penny, for that matter.

The Washington area offers tons of opportunities to view masterpieces for free. Take the free Bethesda Circulator bus to the Bethesda Art Walk the second Friday of each month from 6 to 9 PM. Explore Bethesda’s streets while enjoying locally created sculptures, paintings, photography, and mixed-media art. Or take the Red Line to Dupont Circle for First Fridays, when selected art galleries hold a joint open house from 6 to 8 PM. Got a particular exhibit you’re interested in? Call the gallery to make sure it’s participating. For more information, visit here.

The drum circle at Meridian Hill Park has been a local tradition for more than 40 years. Each Sunday from 3 to 9 PM, drummers, dancers, and spectators gather in the park, weather permitting. The circle—primarily made up of the Malcolm X Drummers and Dancers—starts out small as the African beats begin, but newcomers are encouraged to participate and the crowd grows throughout the evening.

Dust off your favorite old Halloween costume and get ready for a sing-along unlike any other. Don your craziest clothes for Kostume Karaoke at Solly’s U Street Tavern every other Wednesday night. Nothing to wear? Just borrow one of the provided costumes. Call 202-232-6590 or go here for details. Get our full listing of karaoke nights here.

It’s still a bit off, but come September 22, you can head to the National Theatre a half hour prior to showtime and get free tickets to special musical and dramatic performances on Monday nights. Performances begin at 6 and 7:30. Call 202-783-3372 or click here to find out what’s playing.

Whether it’s a summer blockbuster, an old favorite, or a classic you may have missed, DC has a selection of free outdoor movie theaters. Check out Screen on the Green, showing films on the Mall Mondays through August 11. Or head to Woodmont Avenue for Bethesda Outdoor Movies: Stars on the Avenue, showing films each night July 29 through August 2. Check out the schedule here. Feeling nostalgic? The Manassas Museum begins its “Fabulous Films of ’58” series Friday, June 20. Movies will be shown on the museum’s lawn every Friday until August 22. Or get our full listing of free summer movies in Washington here.

Think you know it all? Put your smarts to the test at trivia night. Finish off the weekend at Bedrock Billiards on Columbia Road in DC for Sunday-night trivia beginning at 8. Each round includes ten questions revolving around a theme such as politics, DC facts, or pop culture. And not only is it free to enter, but first-place winners receive a $50 bar-tab credit. Still can’t get enough trivia? Check out Wonderland Ballroom’s game every Monday night at 7:30. The spot at 1101 Kenyon Street in Columbia Heights offers two floors with two bars. For details, click here. Get even more trivia nights here.

Rock out outdoors at one of Washington’s many summer concert series. Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy the sounds of Jazz in the Garden, Fridays from 5 to 8:30 PM at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden at Seventh Street and Constitution Avenue, NW. Click here for a calendar of artists. Got the blues? Check out the TGIF Summer Music Series on Fridays through August 22 at 6 PM in the Wheaton Triangle at the corner of Grandview Avenue and Reedie Drive in Wheaton. Or if pop music isn’t your thing, sample some of Washington’s underground sounds at the Fort Reno Summer Music Series on Mondays and Thursdays through August 14 starting at 7:15 in DC’s Fort Reno Park. Get our full listing of summer concerts here.

What are your best tips for doing free stuff in DC? Let us know in the comments!

Bargain Happy Hours
Free Summer Concerts in Washington
Free Film Screenings in Washington

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