empty wallet vector clip artistic image

9 Things to Do When You’re Broke


We all know the financial struggles of college student life. While some of our friends have the privilege to brunch, club, and uber all over the city, not everyone has an unlimited budget! Here are 9 free  or low-cost ideas that everyone can enjoy!

  1. Find Outside Art in DC!

DC often gets overlooked as if it isn’t an ~artsy~ city, but it totally is! All over the district you can find amazing works of art that are 100% public because they’re outside! Not only will you have the chance to scope out the work of local artists but this is also a fantastic way to explore DC. Don’t forget to take a trip across the Anacostia River!

Artsy place in DC image

  1. Watch Planes Land Gravelly Point

Grab a blanket and some snacks, take the metro to Reagan, and sit and watch the planes land! This is definitely not a popular AU spot to hit up, but it is totally worth it and now 100% free with your AU U-Pass! If you ask me, this would be a lovely first date 😉

People watching planes at gravelly point near Reagan airport

  1. Get your Library of Congress Card

Be a total wonk and travel down to Capitol South to get your Library of Congress card! Give yourself a few extra hours to explore the many archives and reading rooms this DC-exclusive has to offer!

Library of Congress Building Image

  1. Open Mics at Politics & Prose

Every Friday from 8:00-10:30 PM, local bookstore Politics & Prose has open mics! This little gem is only a 10 minute walk from the AU shuttle and has a great café in the basement! If you’re looking to perform, show up early to get a spot on the list.


  1. Check out a new Smithsonian

Okay, okay. You’ve probably heard about the Smithsonian museums already. But I’m POSITIVE you haven’t been to all of them! They’re all free to attend, including the brand new National Museum of African American History and Culture (but be sure to get tickets for it)! All the others do not require planning ahead; some great options are the National Museum of the American Indian, the Anacostia Community Museum, and let’s not forget the National Zoo!

African American Museum image


  1. Eastern Market

Eastern Market is SO underrated! Not only is there a superb indoor market with tons of delicious foods from local farmers and vendors but every Sunday you can explore the area’s huge historic outdoor market: think a farmer’s market and craft fair combined to create almost four blocks of unique finds! Julia’s personal favorite is Aurora Bath & Jewels, which sells beautiful soy candles and bath products


7. National Arboretum

Located near Union Station, the National Arboretum is a site to see before you graduate! In addition to the fantastic views of the Arboretum itself, enjoy a stroll through the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum! Fun fact: people are allowed to bring pets, so you might even get to pet a dog or two!

National Arboretum image

8. Kennedy Center Millennium Stage

Most of the performances at the Kennedy Center are pretty steep, but they had college students in mind when they created the Millenium Stage! Every day at 6:00 PM, there are free performances open to the public! Acts range from jazz musicians, comedians, dance ensembles, and more! Follow this link to view the lineup! http://www.kennedy-center.org/video/upcoming. You can also catch a live-stream on those nights you want to be cultured from the comfort of your dorm room.

Kennedy Center Millennium Stage

9. Katzen Museum!

The Katzen Museum is a great place to de-stress from your AU responsibilities without even leaving the AU campus! View the exhibits Tuesday-Sunday or attend one of the Artist Talks or Screenings scheduled throughout the semester. Current exhibits include Hung Liu: Daughter of China, Resident Alien; It Takes a Nation: Art for Social Justice; SILOS; Updraft America; Todas las Manos; and Portal Screens: DC to Milwaukee’s Amani Neighborhoods.

Katzen Museum Art image


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