Peruse the Constitution: Only in Washington and only at the National Archives will you be able to read the original documents that grounded this nation in liberty. Here you’ll find the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, and the Bill of Rights—all on display behind glass.
People-Watch at Dupont Circle: This traffic circle is also a park—an all-weather hangout for mondo-bizarre biker-couriers, chess players, street musicians, and lovers. Sit on a bench and watch scenes of Washington life unfold around you.
Attend a Millennium Stage Performance at the Kennedy Center: Every evening at 6pm, the Kennedy Center presents a free 1-hour concert performed by local, up-and-coming, national, or international musicians. After the performance, head through the glass doors to the terrace for a view of the Potomac River.
Groove to the Sounds of Live Jazz in the Sculpture Garden: On summery Friday evenings at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden, you can dip your toes in the fountain pool and chill out to live jazz from 5 to 8pm. The jazz is free; the tapas, wine, and beer served in the Pavilion Café are not.
Pick a Museum, (Just About) Any Museum: Because this is the U.S. capital, many of the museums are federal institutions, meaning admission is free. The National Gallery of Art, the U.S. Botanic Garden, and the Smithsonian’s 17 Washington museums, from the National Air and Space Museum to the Freer Gallery, are among many excellent choices.
Attend an Event on the Mall: Think of the National Mall as the nation’s public square, where something is always going on. There’s the Kite Festival during Cherry Blossom season in the spring; the splendid Independence Day celebration every Fourth of July; and walking tours, biking, Frisbee throwing, and assorted impromptu sports happening year-round.
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