We’re down to the final stretch: just two weeks left of summer vacay. Let’s face it, back-to-school supplies can get expensive! We’ve rounded up a list of the best free things to do this weekend with a few spendy (but epic!) options. Get out and enjoy the final moments of summer without spending a dime.
photo: Bruna Saito via Pexels
Create Contemporary Art at the Hirshhorn Museum
Get inspired by the museum’s masterpieces and create your own work of art. Join this free drop-in sketch class where participants are challenged to practice skills exhibited in current museum works. No prior drawing or art experience needed. All ages are welcome. Just drop by, pick up a pencil and a clipboard, and draw! Fri. Event details.
Free Family Mindfulness
Beat the heat with your little ones during our summer meditation series! Take a moment to pause and reflect in front of artworks in the Freer’s permanent collection. Then, admire nature’s beauty in the courtyard with a series of facilitated activities to help deepen self-awareness. Finally, we’ll slow things down and experience guided breathing, storytelling, and other beginner-friendly mindfulness techniques led by instructors. Come ready to move in comfortable clothes. For ages four and above with adult companions. No registration required. First-come, first-served. Sun. Event details.
Get Swept Off Your (Crystal Slipper) Feet in Cinderella’s Carriage (Free!)
Grab your tiara and your best crystal slippers and head to Lansdowne Town Center Village Green for an evening fit for a bippity boppity princess. Cinderella’s magic chariot will be providing complimentary rides before the free showing of Enchanted. Kids get the royal treatment with other free, pre-movie activities, like face painting and a moon bounce. The movie screening starts at dusk. Fri. Event details.
Freebie Fridays at Surratt House Museum
The Surratt House Museum is a historic property of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission and its Department of Parks and Recreation for Prince George’s County. Tours are free on Friday. Tours depart every 30 minutes from the Visitor Center beginning at noon. Last tour departs at 2:30 p.m. Fri. Event details.
Free Youth Tickets at Wolf Trap
Wolf Trap’s Young at Arts program provides free tickets for kids 17 & under for select shows (with the purchase of an adult ticket). Enjoy an evening of jazz; it’s the last free concert of the season. The “finest big band in the world today” (The Daily Telegraph) led by nine-time Grammy-winning jazz icon Wynton Marsalis returns on Fri., Aug. 16. Join 15 of the finest soloists, ensemble players, and arrangers in jazz music for a swingin’ evening like no other. Fri. Event details.
Nourish the Mind with Stone Soup and Other Stories
The Pushcart Players will perform a collection of folktales brought to life through the magic of storytelling with a charming presentation of Stone Soup and Other Stories. This performance is a part of The National’s Saturday morning series, which is geared toward children 4-10 years, but all ages are always welcome. These performances take place in the Helen Hayes Gallery on the second floor of the theater. Admission is free, but tickets must be reserved in advance. Sat. Event details.
Celebrate at this Indian Independence Day Party
Celebrate India’s 72nd Independence Day at Cultivate the City’s rooftop farm. Sample fresh produce from the garden and taste some home-grown and prepared Indian food. A free garden workshop, Indian and Ethic Home Gardening, commences at 11 a.m. and explores unique crops that you can grow right here in DC! This event is free to join. Food tickets cost $15. Sat. Event details.
Free Garden Tours
Enjoy the beautiful gardens at the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land while learning about its plants, architecture, history and shrines. Free tours are held every Saturday, 11 a.m. and noon, with guides from the Franciscan Monastery Garden Guild. Sat. Event details.
The Arlington County Fair
The Arlington County Fair is one of the largest free events on the East Coast and has been providing affordable entertainment for 40 years. This year, the Fair has added two exciting new events: a Beer Garden and Baby Goat Yoga. The Kids’ Court features free entertainment, moon bounces and more. For a small fee, enjoy classic carnival rides like the Zipper, Heart Flip, Rainbow and more. Thurs.-Sun. Event details.
Spend a Night in an Aviation Hanger
There’s no more perfect setting for dreams of flight than the Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia. Its two huge hangars—the Boeing Aviation Hangar and the James S. McDonnell Space Hangar—display thousands of aviation and space artifacts, including a Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, a Concorde, and the space shuttle Discovery. Sleepover guests are on a mission to explore the whole world of flight, from its pioneering days through the era of commercial aviation to the excitement of today’s space program. Grab your flight checklist and take off for a night that includes plenty of games, art activities, and close-up looks at some of the most historic and fascinating craft ever to take to the skies. Sleepovers are designed for children 8 to 14. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Sat. Event details
The Cat in the Hat at Adventure Theater
Hurry! It’s the last weekend to see The Cat in the Hat at Adventure Theater MTC. From the moment his tall, red-and-white-striped hat appears around the door, Sally and her brother know that the cat in the hat is the funniest, most mischievous cat they have ever met. With the trickiest of tricks and craziest of ideas, he is certainly fun to play with. Sat.-Sun. Event details.
Free Craft: Make a Recycled Garden Collage
The Wonderoom is a free, dedicated space filled with experiential, hands-on, family-friendly activities that inspire creativity through design based problem solving challenges. Designed for children ages 5-11 with family members. Young children can create in the space from noon to 2 p.m. Older children are invited to explore the craft space from 2-4 p.m. Sun. Event details.
Enjoy a Musical Storytime at Loyalty Bookstore
Come singalong with Bearsong at Loyalty Bookstore. This event combines joyful tunes with storytelling for an epic morning adventure. After this family song and story hour, enjoy 10% off children’s books. Sun. Event details.
—Meghan Yudes Meyers