Washington, DC, has numerous museums with free admission--and you can pick up our free NeMLA shuttle heading to the National Mall, leaving hourly Friday and Saturday until 5 PM from Ballroom Level at the Gaylord National.
We also have listed recommended live performances and library tours.
10 First Street SE
Aaron Diehl’s Blues and Spanish Tinge recital pieces highlight the essential elements in jazz music. His program will include Gershwin’s Three Preludes and Williams’ Roll ‘Em. There will also be a Pre-Concert Lecture, “Gottschalk’s Olde Souvenir Shoppe” by James Wintle at 6:30 PMin the Whittall Pavilion.
Washington National Opera
2700 F St. NW
Faust tells the famed story of an elderly man who sells his soul to the devil in exchange for success, wealth, power, and pleasure. The Washington National Opera offers free “Opera Insights” an hour before each performance that allow viewers to learn more about the composition and performance of Faust.
511 10th St NW
Peter Flynn (Ford’s Ragtime, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, 1776) returns to direct this musical fairy tale! Into the Woods is a musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondeheim that combines the plots of several fairy tales from Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault. The main characters are taken from “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Jack and the Beanstalk,” “Rapunzel,” and “Cinderella,” along with various others. This creatively dark and comical mix of fairy tales, shares the story of a baker and his wife as they set out to reverse a witch’s curse. The narrative focuses on the lengths to which one will go to make their wish come true.
John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
2700 F Street NW
The music director of the San Francisco Symphony, Michael Tilson Thomas, will be making his final appearance in D.C on March 23. The musical program will feature Beethoven’s "Eroica" Symphony.
Shakespeare Theatre Company
470 7th St. NW
Acclaimed playwright Kate Hamill has created a stage adaptation of William Thackeray’s novel of the same name. In a discussion with the Shakespeare Theatre Company, Hamill claims that her interpretation of Vanity Fair focuses on the friendship of the two protagonists, Becky and Amelia, and the ways that these two women face different forms of systemic oppression.
37th & O Streets NW
From February to May, Georgetown's Lauinger Library will feature the exhibit "The Creative Process," focusing on the collaborative nature of writing between authors and publishers.
101 Independence Ave SE (Stop 5 on the Old Town Trolley Tour)
Public tours are available on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays at 11 AM, and on Saturdays at 1 PM. This year features a tour examining the history of baseball, including how its players and teams created communities.
These archives, housed in the Gelman Library, include material on Washingtonia, American labor history, media and journalism, and education.
These museums have free admission and are on the route of the Old Town Trolley Tour (departing from the Gaylord National at 8:30 AM and returning at 5:30 PM 7 days per week).
Daily 10 AM-5:15 PM
Fourth Street & Independence Ave., S.W.
The National Museum of the American Indian is committed to advancing knowledge and understanding of the Native cultures of the Western Hemisphere—past, present, and future—through partnership with Native people and others. The museum works to support the continuance of culture, traditional values, and transitions in contemporary Native life.
For the first time in the United States, the museum is hosting The REDress Project by Canadian artist Jaime Black (Métis), bringing awareness, remembrance, and healing to the crisis of misssing or murdered indigenous women and girls.
Monday-Saturday 10 AM–5 PM
Sunday, 11 AM-6 PM
The National Gallery of Art, the nation's museum, and its attached Sculpture Garden, includes roughly 141,000 paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, sculpture, medals, and decorative arts that trace the development of Western Art from the Middle Ages to the present, including the only painting by Leonardo da Vinci in the Americas and the largest mobile created by Alexander Calder. Ongoing exhibitions during NeMLA’s 50th convention will include In the Library: The Evans-Tibbs Archive of African American Art, Drawing in Tintoretto’s Venice, and Tintoretto: Artist of Renaissance Venice.
Located on the national mall, this Smithsonian Art Gallery seeks to strengthen the general understanding and appreciation for art across cultures and therefore complement Asian art masterpieces with works from the American Aesthetic movement. Its March interactive exhibit, Encountering the Buddha: Art and Practice Across Asia, brings together more than 200 pieces of artwork spanning 2000 years. Visitors will learn about the principles and images of Buddhism as they encounter grand shrines, intimate alters, and royal palaces.
This Smithsonian museum explores the complexity of American history with more than 1.8 million holdings, including Lincoln’s top hat, the first artificial heart, and Dorothy’s ruby slippers. Its March exhibit,The American Revolution: A World War, highlights the Franco-American partnership and its contribution to the 1781 victory of Yorktown, with paintings like Louis-Nicolas van Blarenberghe’s The Siege of Yorktown and The Surrender of Yorktown, as well as Charles Wilson Peale's portrait of George Washington.
Opened in 1910, this Smithsonian Institute has as its mission to inspire discovery and learn about the natural world. Its March exhibit, Outbreak, questions the cause of widespread disease outbreaks and how we can possibly stop them. With the world becoming ever-more connected, diseases are transferring national borders like never before and responding to these breakouts require detective work from people with a variety of professions.
In collaboration with the United States Postal Service, this Smithsonian Institute opened in 1993 to preserve, study and present US postal history with exhibits, educational public programs, and research to scholars, collectors, and visitors. In March the exhibit Beautiful Blooms will focus on the diverse flowering plants commemorated on US postage stamps and how they represented artistic themes from their time period. The exhibit presents at least 30 pieces of developmental and final artwork and explains the process behind creating the artwork on stamps.
Housed in a beautiful historic federal building, this Smithsonian art museum features portraits of presidents, activists, and celebrated individuals throughout American history. The "Eye to I" special exhibit combines artists' self-portraits with current "selfies" as a means of exploring questions of identity, featuring works from Alice Neel, Diego Rivera, and Martin Wong.
This beautifully designed museum features a variety of exhibits that take visitors on a visceral and emotional chronological journey through the treatment of African Americans throughout US history—from the first settlements in North America to contemporary periods. The March special exhibit "Watching Oprah" discusses Oprah’s background, her rise to fame, and the ways in which her show has impacted the United States today.
This museum contains a variety of exhibits, including historical exhibits that take visitors through the rise of Nazism in Germany, the Holocaust, and the aftermath of World War II, and interactive multimedia stations that provide information on American interactions with and responses to news of the Holocaust throughout World War II. This museum also features artistic displays commemorating those who lost their lives during the Holocaust as well as large memorial spaces that allow visitors to mourn and meditate.