The Washington Post

Interns! Here’s when to see all of D.C.’s free museums

You came to Washington for the monuments, the museums, the history; the internship was just an excuse to spend a summer in D.C. But now that you’re here, you’re finding that your pesky day job is interfering with your plans to see all those sights.

Never fear, interns of Washington! We made a list of the top items on any intern’s extended to-do list. And guess what? We found that the Supreme Court is the one and only attraction whose hours fall smack-dab in your 9-to-5 weekday schedule. Just about everything else is open weekday evenings or on the weekends. Here’s how you can hit them all – and as an added bonus, every single one of them is free.

National Museum of Natural History. (Smithsonian Institution)

Weekday Evenings

Smithsonian MuseumsYou can see many of our national museums that line the Mall on weekdays after you get out of work. The National Air and Space Museum, National Museum of American History, and National Museum of Natural History stay open until 7:30 p.m. almost every weekday this summer, and the American Art Museum and Portrait Gallery is open until 7 p.m. All the others are open every weekend.

Arlington National Cemetery – The final resting place of many presidents, Supreme Court justices and military heroes stays open every day until 7 p.m. You can walk around on your own. But if you’re planning to pay for a tour, which costs $8.75, arrive before 6:30 p.m.

Old Post Office TowerStop by the third-tallest structure in Washington before 8 p.m. for one of the best 360-degree views of the city. It’s free, usually not crowded and seriously underrated.

Kennedy Center – Catch free shows every single day at 6 p.m. on the Millennium Stage at the famed performing arts center.

Bureau of Engraving and Printing – Free tours, running every 15 minutes until 7 p.m., will show you how money is made even if you’re not making any this summer. The Web site is actually Now, don’t get any ideas.

• Related: The intern's guide to D.C. happy hours


Use your Saturdays to see the Library of Congress and the U.S. Capitol. Other attractions are open both days of the weekend – we recommend Washington National Cathedral, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Folger Shakespeare Library, and the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site to get you started.

(And if you want to set foot inside the Supreme Court despite its 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekday schedule, maybe take a long lunch break.)

Julie Zauzmer is a local news reporter.



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