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Posted at 11:09 AM ET, 09/29/2006

Let Free-dom Ring

By Julia Beizer

"What's your favorite free or cheap thing to do in D.C.? I'm trying to save $$."

That's one of the questions we didn't get to in yesterday's Got Plans? As resident art junkie, I think it's probably pretty obvious that my favorite free things in the area involve brushstrokes and canvasses and reside in those big free museums downtown or the area's smaller galleries. But art aside, there are literally hundreds of other free and cheap things to do in the area: some that remind me that I live in Our Nation's Capital; others that remind that this city is more than the sum of its bureaucrats.

Our Nation's Capital: FDR Memorial at night. With its rushing waterfalls and stoic limestone, the FDR Memorial is my favorite one in town. It's less crowded and kind of eerie at night, but that's really the best time to soak in the Roosevelt quotes mounted on the walls.

Beyond the Bureaucracy: Eastern Market. I love that blocks away from the seat of government there's this crazy flea market/junk sale with ladies hawking Redskins lampshades, faux fir hats and used shoes. I probably do more browsing than buying everytime I go, but it's always worth it.

ONC: Author talks at Politics and Prose. The upper Northwest bookstore has always been a haven for hot debates on the issues of the day.

BtB: Drumming in Meridian Hill Park. I've spent several Sundays just enjoying rhythms at this weekly drum jam.

ONC: Paddleboating in the Tidal Basin. Sure, this is the ultimate tourist destination, but it's also a relaxing way to spend a warm afternoon -- even for adults.

BtB: Maine Avenue Wharf. Okay, so the smell of fish is kind of putrid, but the Wharf is one of my favorite spots in town to get deals on fresh seafood.

ONC The National Archives. I grew up here so I never did that seventh-grade trip to D.C. that all of my friends in college had done. I'm sure I had seen the Constitution on a Field Trip in Third Grade, but I really appreciated going back to see it when I was in college.

BtB: Just walking around. There's no better oasis in D.C. than Rock Creek Park, with its sprawling trails. I particularly like the stretch between Calvert Street and Park Road. The self-guided U Street Heritage Trail, with its many tidbits about Duke Ellington and Langston Hughes is another walk that's well worth it.

These top my list, but there are plenty of others. On our blog later today, you'll find some tips on how to check out free theater. If you have a favorite free activity, let us know in the comments below.


By Julia Beizer  | September 29, 2006; 11:09 AM ET
Categories:  Misc.  
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you should def include the Library of Congress. go get your free ID (the greatest library card ever) and get free access to any copyrighted work in the United States. Plus, it's not very crowded and very beautiful.

Posted by: rick | September 29, 2006 3:40 PM | Report abuse

the national archives also has a free shuttle that leaves from the facility on the mall and goes up to the college park destination, which is much bigger and holds more recent government records. anyone who is interested in the library of congress could really get into the college park national archives, too.

Posted by: chris | October 1, 2006 2:48 PM | Report abuse

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