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13 free things to do in D.C. on Black Friday

These free activities range from hiking to comedy shows to art galleries

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Editor's Note: This post was originally published in November 2016 and has been updated with the most recent information.

Sure, there are things to like about Black Friday. Besides all the fighting and the elbows to the face, there are also great deals. But what deal is better than a no-cost, good time in Washington, D.C.?

Rather than focus on a consumerist holiday that may not even be legitimate, consider the following alternatives that are free, fun, and local.

Did Curbed DC miss a no-cost event? Let readers know in the comments or email Curbed DC’s tipline.

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1. Rock Creek Park

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Beach Dr NW
Washington, D.C. 20015
Autumn is here, and that means it's time to sit back, relax, and enjoy the vibrant yellow and red colors on the trees. If interested in taking a hike and enjoying the great outdoors, there's no better place to do so in Washington, D.C. than in Rock Creek Park. Here are more suggestions on the best hiking trails in the area.
Photo via Shutterstock/Avner Ofer Photography

2. Kogod Courtyard

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800 F St NW
Washington, D.C. 20004
In the National Portrait Gallery, there is an indoor courtyard with a fountain, trees, and a glass, undulating ceiling. This space is one of the best for reading as well as relaxing after a long day of sight seeing.
Photo via
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  • 3. U.S. National Arboretum

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    3501 New York Ave NE
    Washington, D.C. 20002
    (202) 245-2726
    Visit Website
    At Washington, D.C.'s "living museum," the public can discover the original columns from the East Portico of the U.S. Capitol. Expect beautiful flowers and other types of foliage as well as a museum dedicated to the study of bonsai and related art forms. If this isn't the green space of your dreams, here are 19 other suggestions.
    Photo via Wikimedia Commons/AgnosticPreachersKid

    4. Blind Whino

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    700 Delaware Avenue SW
    Washington, D.C. 20024
    This multi-colored Victorian church dates back to the early 1900s, but all of the artworks inside are contemporary and cool. For a look inside and a list of the exhibitions, check out the Blind Whino website here.
    Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Artwhino

    5. Hillyer Art Space

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    9 Hillyer Ct NW
    Washington, D.C. 20008
    (202) 338-0680
    Visit Website
    This small gallery is located behind the Phillips Collection, the first modern art museum in the U.S. There are only three rooms inside the Hillyer Art Space, but it still offers a wide variety of contemporary artworks as well as exposure to under-represented artists who have never had a major solo exhibition within the last three years.

    A photo posted by Brian Yi (@byi14) on

    6. National Gallery of Art - Sculpture Garden

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    Constitution Ave NW
    Washington, D.C. 20565
    (202) 737-4215
    Visit Website
    All year round, the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden offers the public a free, artistic oasis filled with works from famous artists like Joan Miró, Roy Lichtenstein, and Alexander Calder. What makes the space even better is its addition of a cafe, ice skating rink, and jazz concert venue.
    Photo via Allie_Caulfield

    7. Kennedy Center Millennium Stage

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    2700 F St NW
    Washington, D.C. 20037
    On November 24 at 6 p.m., the Millennium Stage will host a free showing of the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra. No tickets are required to check out this performance. According to the event page, the orchestra will play selections from Strauss and Devienne.
    Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Tom

    8. U.S. Botanic Garden

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    100 Maryland Ave SW
    Washington, D.C. 20024
    (202) 225-8333
    Visit Website
    On the grounds of the U.S. Capitol, this "living plant museum" is open all year-round. Dating back more than 200 years ago, this is the oldest continually operating botanic garden in the nation. Expect a range of flowers, from roses to orchids and beyond.
    Photo via Bob Stovall

    9. Smithsonian National Zoological Park

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    3001 Connecticut Ave NW
    Washington, D.C. 20008
    (202) 633-4888
    Visit Website
    Here, at the oldest zoo in the nation, the public can see everything from cheetahs to elephants to apes.
    Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Quadell

    10. Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

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    400 Michigan Ave NE
    Washington, D.C. 20017
    (202) 526-8300
    Visit Website
    You don't need to be religious to love beautiful architecture, and when it comes to the Basilica, it's stunning enough to impress people from all walks of life. This structure is the tallest habitable building in Washington, D.C., and the eighth largest church building in the world.
    Photo via Wikimedia Commons/AgnosticPreachersKid

    11. Habana Village Comedy

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    1834 Columbia Rd NW
    Washington, D.C. 20009
    (202) 462-6310
    Visit Website
    While others are shopping on Black Friday, why not simply laugh it up at a comedy night? The show starts at 8:30 p.m. with a social dance that starts at 10:30 p.m.

    12. The Big Hunt Comedy

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    1345 Connecticut Ave NW
    Washington, D.C. 20036
    (202) 785-2333
    Visit Website
    No reservations are required for this fun-filled comedy night near Dupont Circle, but they're recommended to get a seat. This comedy show starts at 11:30 p.m. with no cover or drink minimum. Only those aged 21 and over may enter.

    A post shared by Naomi Karavani (@naomikaravani) on

    13. National Postal Museum

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    2 Massachusetts Ave NE
    Washington, D.C. 20002
    (202) 633-5285
    Visit Website
    Through November 29, the National Postal Museum is hosting an exhibition called, "My Fellow Soldiers: Letters from World War I." With this selection of letters, this exhibition allows visitors to see what relationships and emotions were experienced by soldiers in World War I.
    Photo via Wikimedia Commons/AgnosticPreachersKid

    1. Rock Creek Park

    Beach Dr NW, Washington, D.C. 20015
    Photo via Shutterstock/Avner Ofer Photography
    Autumn is here, and that means it's time to sit back, relax, and enjoy the vibrant yellow and red colors on the trees. If interested in taking a hike and enjoying the great outdoors, there's no better place to do so in Washington, D.C. than in Rock Creek Park. Here are more suggestions on the best hiking trails in the area.
    Beach Dr NW
    Washington, D.C. 20015

    2. Kogod Courtyard

    800 F St NW, Washington, D.C. 20004

    3. U.S. National Arboretum

    3501 New York Ave NE, Washington, D.C. 20002
    Photo via Wikimedia Commons/AgnosticPreachersKid
    At Washington, D.C.'s "living museum," the public can discover the original columns from the East Portico of the U.S. Capitol. Expect beautiful flowers and other types of foliage as well as a museum dedicated to the study of bonsai and related art forms. If this isn't the green space of your dreams, here are 19 other suggestions.
    3501 New York Ave NE
    Washington, D.C. 20002

    4. Blind Whino

    700 Delaware Avenue SW, Washington, D.C. 20024
    Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Artwhino
    This multi-colored Victorian church dates back to the early 1900s, but all of the artworks inside are contemporary and cool. For a look inside and a list of the exhibitions, check out the Blind Whino website here.
    700 Delaware Avenue SW
    Washington, D.C. 20024

    5. Hillyer Art Space

    9 Hillyer Ct NW, Washington, D.C. 20008
    This small gallery is located behind the Phillips Collection, the first modern art museum in the U.S. There are only three rooms inside the Hillyer Art Space, but it still offers a wide variety of contemporary artworks as well as exposure to under-represented artists who have never had a major solo exhibition within the last three years.

    A photo posted by Brian Yi (@byi14) on

    9 Hillyer Ct NW
    Washington, D.C. 20008

    6. National Gallery of Art - Sculpture Garden

    Constitution Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20565
    Photo via Allie_Caulfield
    All year round, the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden offers the public a free, artistic oasis filled with works from famous artists like Joan Miró, Roy Lichtenstein, and Alexander Calder. What makes the space even better is its addition of a cafe, ice skating rink, and jazz concert venue.
    Constitution Ave NW
    Washington, D.C. 20565

    7. Kennedy Center Millennium Stage

    2700 F St NW, Washington, D.C. 20037
    Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Tom
    On November 24 at 6 p.m., the Millennium Stage will host a free showing of the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra. No tickets are required to check out this performance. According to the event page, the orchestra will play selections from Strauss and Devienne.
    2700 F St NW
    Washington, D.C. 20037

    8. U.S. Botanic Garden

    100 Maryland Ave SW, Washington, D.C. 20024
    Photo via Bob Stovall
    On the grounds of the U.S. Capitol, this "living plant museum" is open all year-round. Dating back more than 200 years ago, this is the oldest continually operating botanic garden in the nation. Expect a range of flowers, from roses to orchids and beyond.
    100 Maryland Ave SW
    Washington, D.C. 20024

    9. Smithsonian National Zoological Park

    3001 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20008
    Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Quadell
    Here, at the oldest zoo in the nation, the public can see everything from cheetahs to elephants to apes.
    3001 Connecticut Ave NW
    Washington, D.C. 20008

    10. Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

    400 Michigan Ave NE, Washington, D.C. 20017
    Photo via Wikimedia Commons/AgnosticPreachersKid
    You don't need to be religious to love beautiful architecture, and when it comes to the Basilica, it's stunning enough to impress people from all walks of life. This structure is the tallest habitable building in Washington, D.C., and the eighth largest church building in the world.
    400 Michigan Ave NE
    Washington, D.C. 20017

    11. Habana Village Comedy

    1834 Columbia Rd NW, Washington, D.C. 20009
    While others are shopping on Black Friday, why not simply laugh it up at a comedy night? The show starts at 8:30 p.m. with a social dance that starts at 10:30 p.m.
    1834 Columbia Rd NW
    Washington, D.C. 20009

    12. The Big Hunt Comedy

    1345 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20036
    No reservations are required for this fun-filled comedy night near Dupont Circle, but they're recommended to get a seat. This comedy show starts at 11:30 p.m. with no cover or drink minimum. Only those aged 21 and over may enter.

    A post shared by Naomi Karavani (@naomikaravani) on

    1345 Connecticut Ave NW
    Washington, D.C. 20036

    13. National Postal Museum

    2 Massachusetts Ave NE, Washington, D.C. 20002
    Photo via Wikimedia Commons/AgnosticPreachersKid
    Through November 29, the National Postal Museum is hosting an exhibition called, "My Fellow Soldiers: Letters from World War I." With this selection of letters, this exhibition allows visitors to see what relationships and emotions were experienced by soldiers in World War I.
    2 Massachusetts Ave NE
    Washington, D.C. 20002