Many people don’t realize that it’s possible to stay at a first class Washington, D.C. hotel, enjoy all that the nation’s capital has to offer and still have money left over.

An affordable Washington, D.C. vacation is as easy as finding Marriott Washington, D.C. hotels that are stylish, moderately priced and centrally located in a city that was made for walking. Whether seeking historic charm or trendy living with modern amenities, Marriott has several Washington, D.C. hotels to choose from. Those traveling on a family vacation will appreciate spacious guestrooms, convenient locations near Washington, D.C. attractions and Marriott’s renowned customer service. Business travelers will find that Marriott hotels also offer the latest in business technology for work and the ultimate in spa luxury for post-workday relaxation.

From the obvious tourist hot spots to some of the best-kept secrets in Washington, D.C., there are still entertainment bargains to be found in this vibrant city. Some are sophisticated and some are campy, but all are great entertainment at a great value – oh, and some are free! Here are just a few:

Visit the Monuments – The monuments in Washington, D.C. draw visitors from around the world. During the day they are majestic and moving, while at night they can be quite romantic. The best part about these national treasures is that they are free for the viewing.

Jazz in the Café – The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History has local jazz artists perform on Friday evenings in the cafeteria – a perfect venue for some smooth jazz.

Community Theatres – Tickets to major productions in the Washington, D.C area can be pricey. However, Ticketplace located at 407 7th Street NW, offers half-price, day-of-show tickets to all the best shows in town. Many of Washington, D.C.’s smaller theaters offer Broadway quality shows at a fraction of the cost. A few of the local favorites are the Source Theatre, the Studio Theatre and the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company. Curtains up!

Historic Sites and Museums – Washington, D.C. has more than its fair share of historic sites and museums. It is home to the world’s most extensive collection of artifacts of history, space, art, science and more. The trick is to check out the smaller museums for a quieter and more intimate experience at a lower price.

Visit the National Zoo – There is no admission fee to enjoy the 163-acre zoological park that features more than 400 different species of animals. However, there is a fee for parking in their lots. The National Zoo is part of the Smithsonian Institution.

Summer Concerts – Great free concerts come to the Washington, D.C. area in the summertime. All travelers need do is pack a blanket and a picnic lunch or dinner, then head to the parks to enjoy local entertainment.

Visit the Gardens – Washington, D.C. boasts some of the most beautiful gardens in the world. Passing the time enjoying the beauty and fragrance of colorful flowers and rare plants is a unique, relaxing and affordable option for any occasion. It is home to the U.S. Botanic Gardens, National Arboretum and the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, just to name a few.

Dancing – Most tourists are not aware that Glen Echo Park holds regularly scheduled dances in their Spanish Ballroom that are open to the public. Lessons are included in the price of most dances.

Birds-eye View of DC – Visit the Observation Deck of the Old Post Office Pavilion. Its 270-foot observation deck offers breathtaking views of Washington, D.C.

A Day in the Park – For a refreshing time outdoors, go walking, hiking, biking, rollerblading or just picnicking in one of the many parks in Washington, D.C. Some of the best spots for outdoor recreation include Rock Creek Park, Great Falls Park and Theodore Roosevelt Island.

Kayaking and Canoeing – Kayaking and canoeing are popular activities in Washington, D.C. Travelers can rent a canoe or kayak and enjoy a day exploring the history filled banks of the Potomac River or the C&O Canal. The C&O Canal is known for its calm waters, easy paddling and beautiful scenery. The Potomac River presents more of a challenge. Be aware that there are some dangerous white-water areas between great Falls and Chain Bridge. Local paddling organizations and sports outfitters lead day trips and overnight excursions.

Comedy Clubs – Have a few laughs at one of Washington, D.C.’s many local comedy clubs; it’s big entertainment for a reasonable price. At Capitol Steps, located at 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, you will chuckle at a one-of-a-kind political musical satire. One of the nations premier comedy venues is the DC Improv, located at 1140 Connecticut Avenue NW. Comedy legends such as Richard Pryor, Robin Williams, David Letterman, Jerry Seinfield and Jay Leno all began right there.

Ice Skating – Enjoy a variety of music while gliding around one of Washington, D.C.’s outdoor ice-skating rinks, or simply relax on the side with a cup of hot cocoa in hand. The Sculpture Garden Ice Rink lets travelers view extraordinary art sculptures while skating at the rink that is located across from the National Gallery of Art. If that’s not convenient for you, just two blocks away from the White House is another “cool spot”, Pershing Park Ice Rink.

There should be something on this list for everyone. If not, travelers need only visit the Concierge at one of the Washington DC hotels they are staying at to learn about even more creative and economical ways to enjoy this exciting city.