Things to Do


Reasons to Bring Your Family and Friends to HPLC 2018 

Washington Monument

The Washington, DC area provides considerable free entertainment and learning opportunities. There are more than 3 dozen museums that charge no entrance fee!  Free musical concerts abound.  About one third of DC is park land available for hiking.  With a bit of advance planning, an affordable and fulfilling vacation can be realized. For an overview of Washington, DC including transportation and a guide, please visit Check out a trolley tour with a stop close to the meeting site at  Here are some no cost examples easily reached by public transport or on foot: 

DC by Foot Free Monuments Walking Tour

15th and Constitution Avenue, NW

(202) 370-1830  

(800) 217-7740  (cell phone audio tour)

DC by Foot is pleased to present the original name-your-own-price Washington, DC tours.  You choose how much the tour was worth, encouraging the guide to do his or her best. Choose which walking tour suits your schedule and interests!  Tours offered will give you a fuller appreciation of this great capital city, whether you’re visiting for a day, a weekend, or longer.  Be sure to check out the tour calendar to see what’s running when you are in town. 

Capitol Visitor Center

1st Street and East Capitol Street, NE

(202) 226-8000

The United States Capitol is a monument, a working office building, and one of the most recognizable symbols of representative democracy in the world. Visitors are welcome to enter the building through the Capitol Visitor Center, located underground on the east side of the Capitol. You can begin your Capitol experience at the Visitor Center by visiting the Exhibition Hall, perusing the Gift Shops or dining in the Restaurant. Please review the U.S. Capitol prohibited items list before your visit. The Capitol Visitor Center, the main entrance to the U.S. Capitol, is located beneath the East Front plaza of the U.S. Capitol at First Street and East Capitol Street. 

The Library of Congress

Thomas Jefferson Building

1st Street near Independence Avenue, SE

(202) 707-8000

The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world, with millions of books, recordings, photographs, newspapers, maps and manuscripts in its collections. The Library is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. 

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

100 Raoul Wallenberg Place, SW (15th St. south of Independence) 

(202) 488-0400

A living memorial to the Holocaust, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum inspires citizens and leaders worldwide to confront hatred, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity. Located among the national monuments to freedom on the National Mall, the Museum provides a powerful lesson in the fragility of freedom, the myth of progress, and the need for vigilance in preserving democratic values. With unique power and authenticity, the Museum teaches millions of people each year about the dangers of unchecked hatred and the need to prevent genocide. Since its dedication in 1993, the Museum has welcomed more than 40 million visitors, including 99 heads of state and more than ten million school-age children. The website, the world’s leading online authority on the Holocaust, is available in 16 languages and was visited in 2015 by more than 16.5 million people representing 211 countries and territories. 

United States Botanic Garden

100 Maryland Avenue, SW

(202) 225-8333

Steeped in history, rich with tradition, the United States Botanic Garden (USBG) is a living plant museum that informs visitors about the importance, and often irreplaceable value, of plants to the well-being of humans and to earth's fragile ecosystems. More than 200 years ago, George Washington had a vision for the capital city of the United States that included a botanic garden that would demonstrate and promote the importance of plants to the young nation. Established by the U.S. Congress in 1820, the U.S. Botanic Garden is one of the oldest botanic gardens in North America. Since 1934, it has been administered through the Architect of the Capitol. The Garden has been recognized as a museum and is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. This accreditation is a widely recognized seal of approval that recognizes a museum's commitment to excellence, accountability, high professional standards and continued institutional improvement. 

PARTIAL LIST OF FREE MUSEUMS with exhibits of interest to adults and children that also provides special activities such as musical or dance performances, lectures, films or other entertainment:

The National Zoo

3001 Connecticut Ave., NW (between Cortland Place and Cathedral Avenue)

(202) 633-4800

The National Zoo has a great collection of wildlife, a children’s petting zoo and a fascinating panda section including Bei Bei the youngest panda. “How do you zoo?,” a training course in which children try out different zoo jobs, requires a fee.    

National Museum of Natural History

1000 Constitution Ave. (between 9th and 12th Streets, NW)

(202) 633-1000

See the African Elephant Hall, the Butterfly Hall (on Tuesday—get free timed entrance tickets at the Butterfly Box office), the Orkin Insect Zoo (watch for tarantula feedings), Check Q?rius for teens and tweens. 

National Air and Space Museum—National Mall

Independence Avenue at 6th Street, SW

(202) 633-1000

A wonderland for anybody, this place has fascinating exhibits about flight and outer space. 

Spark! Lab at the National Museum of American History

14th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW

(202) 633-1000

Activities geared to inventing a new product, age 6 and up. 

National Gallery of Art

4th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW

(202) 737-4215

Register for hands on workshops with artists and museum educators. 

National Portrait Gallery

8th and F Streets, NW

(202) 633-8300

(202) 633-8501—class registration

Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Independence Avenue and 7th Street, SW

(202) 633-1000

National Museum of the American Indian

4th Street and Independence Avenue, SW

(202) 633-1000

Story times for children, music and dance performance, and good food in the cafeteria.

ImaginAsiaFreer/Sackler Galleries

1150 Jefferson Drive, SW (at 12th Street)

(202) 633-1000

Hands on Asian crafts and activities for children. 

National Museum of African Art

950 Independence Avenue, SW (between 7th and 14th Streets)

(202) 633-4600

Workshops, films and performances for young people.  

FREE CONCERTS, check the following:


Rock Creek Nature Center and Planetarium (check website and park map for sites)

5200 Glover Road, NW

(202) 895-6070 (information)

(202) 895-6000 (head quarters)

U. S. Capitol