Skip Navigation

Washington DC for one or two days on a budget - any ideas?

Travel Forums North America Washington DC for one or two days on a budget - any ideas?

1. Posted by mm143 (Budding Member 70 posts) 4y

Hi guys,

I plan to go to Washington DC for on or two days in June and I need suggestions. Is there something I have to do? Preferably on a budget...
Can foreigners visit The White House? How easy is it to get tickets?

2. Posted by SAbuelona (Budding Member 2 posts) 4y

Last year, I visited DC in the June time frame. There are many museums, most are free. I also liked the Library of Congress. Foreigners can visit the White House, but you need to get tickets several months in advance and through a member of the US government - I couldn't do it. The gift shop across the street has good history and pictures of the White House.

3. Posted by mm143 (Budding Member 70 posts) 4y

Thanks for the information!
Any museum you would recommend?

4. Posted by Calcruzer (Moderator 2000 posts) 4y

Best museum is the Smithsonian--which is actually 32 separate museums. The best known of these are the Aeronautical Museum (one of the most visited buildings in the world) and the Natural History Museum. I also think one of the most !interesting places to visit is the Bureau of Printing and Engraving where they print the money. The tour is free, but they don't give away any free samples (darn!).

Some of the buildings worth visiting besides the White House are (1) the Capitol, (2) Lincoln Memorial, (3) Federal Bureau of Investigation, (4) Washington Monument, (5) Jefferson Memorial, (6) National Archives (where our Constitution and Declaration of Independence are located, and the train station, which, strangely enough, is in my view the most ornate building in all of Washington DC. It is located just two blocks north of the Capitol building.

5. Posted by Calcruzer (Moderator 2000 posts) 4y

P. S About that White House tour

It used to be that anyone could get tickets and just show up with their ticket in hand and take the tour. Nowadays (post-September 11, 2011), the government is a little more careful, so you have to apply a few months in advance (through your local Congressman/woman and/or state Senator) and that way they can do a quick, simple background search before giving you tickets and letting you in.

Naturally, this makes it tougher for foreigners. First, because they have no local Congressman/woman and Second, because doing a quick background check is not so easy in most cases. What you might do is consider asking about this at the US Embassy in your country when you apply for a visa and seeing if there is any new method for getting tickets for the White House tour for foreigners.

Also, it should be noted that they do not take the tours near the rooms where the first family is located (and on some days there are no tours), and you will have to undergo a security screening at the times you enter the grounds. I've been on the tour twice, but personally prefer the museums and memorials to this tour.