If you like a larger variety of religious figures, the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America contains catacombs (viewable on a free tour), crypts and what may be Washington’s most beautiful hidden gardens. There are donation boxes, as well as two candle-lighting options: $1 gets you an electric candle, and for $5, the monks in residence will light a votive candle and submit your prayer request at a later time. 1400 Quincy St. NE.
The Washington National Cathedral has charged admission since 2014 — $10 for adults, $6 for seniors, students, military and children — but worship, prayer and “other spiritual visits” are free. So you could get in by being a pretend pilgrim, but that has to violate at least one Thou Shalt Not. Best to wait for Sunday, when the fees are waived. 3101 Wisconsin Ave. NW.
The Textile Museum suggests an $8 donation that you can awkwardly ignore while you take in the inaugural set of exhibits at its new location on the George Washington University campus. 701 21st St. NW.
At the Phillips Collection, you can see their main collection — the display rotates through their nearly 4,000 works of art — on a donation basis from Tuesday to Friday. 1600 21st St. NW.
For what may be the most uncomfortable moment in pay-what-you-will history, DC by Foot gives various walking tours with no upfront costs. At the end you pay what you think it was worth, and if that’s just a smile and a handshake … well, frankly, that makes you kind of a jerk.
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