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What to Do in Washington D.C. with Kids

white house featured photo

Washington D.C. is one of my favorite cities in the world. Megan and I lived there together for a time after college and those experiences have always made our nation’s Capitol very special to me even though it’s been over a decade since I’ve been a D.C. resident. So, introducing this beloved city of mine to my family was a dream come true. And I got to do it last month. Neither my husband nor my children had ever been, so I decided to put together an impromptu trip as an early Christmas surprise. My son has been fascinated by the President and the White House since he was little more than a toddler. I knew it would be an incredible experience for him and I’m happy to report that my entire family walked away from our trip as big a fan of Washington D.C. as I am.  I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite ideas for what to do in Washington D.C. with kids!

family dc

what to do in Washington D.C.

museum

sparklab

space shuttle

The Museums…The Natural Museum of American History, the National Air and Space Museum and the National Museum of Natural History were HUGE hits with my kids. From the interactive Spark!Lab where kids can create their own science projects to large scale plane and space shuttle models and even classic dinosaur bones, the Smithsonian museums’ exhibitions and displays kept my kids busy for hours upon hours. In fact, we had to split up our museum tour into two days they had so much fun! That’s why the Smithsonian museums are my number one for what to do in Washington D.C. with kids.

Remember, they are all FREE so you can take your time without any pressure to see it all in one day. Make sure to check the open and closing times to plan. capitol

capitol building

capitol tour building

Capitol Tour…If you can get a White House Tour, I’ve heard it’s amazing. We weren’t able to so we settled for the next best thing, a Capital Tour. Not only is the building downright gorgeous, but if you and your kids are at all interested in history, you’ll love learning about all the different rooms, statues, paintings etc. that can be found inside. The tour guide will even find out which states are represented in your group and call out specific facts. Your local representative can set you up with a tour, you just have to call and request it.

white house visit

the white house

washington monument

White House and Monument Walk…Even if you can’t get in for a tour, just taking your kids to see the White House is worth doing. My kids loved being able to see where the President lives. From there, you can proceed on down to the National Mall where you will find the monuments. Now December is admittedly not the easiest time to do the monument walk considering how chilly it typically is, but we didn’t let the weather deter us. The Lincoln Memorial was very popular with my family. The sheer size of it is just so awe inspiring. And being fairly little, they aren’t familiar with all the history that encompasses the National Monuments and Memorials, but they do know who President Lincoln was!

We highly recommend tackling a museum in the morning with lunch at the museum cafeteria or a packed picnic. There aren’t a ton of restaurants that are in the area for kids. Then get the wiggles out with a great monument walk in the afternoon. It is a beautiful end to a day!

Pro Tip: Start at the White House. From there head to the Washington Monument and then walk towards the Lincoln Memorial.

If you have time or a second day for a Monument walk, remember these are VERY long walks, head to the Tidal Basin to discover the fairly new Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial. From there walk to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt memorial and then head to the Thomas Jefferson memorial to end your walk. If the weather is nice there are nearby paddle boats that the kids will LOVE!

lincoln memorial

the lincoln memorial

If you’ve been mulling over planning a trip to Washington D.C. for your family, I say go for it! As you can see from our take on what to do in Washington D.C. with kids, there is just as much to do there for kids as there is for us ‘rents!

This is not a sponsored post.

  • Courtney Thomas

    I spent about six months living in DC many. many years ago and it was such an amazing experience – I loved scrolling through your photos!

    Courtney ~ Sartorial Sidelines

    January 3, 2017 at 8:05 am Reply
  • Emmy

    Thank you for sharing this.:) Man….my kiddos would love to visit the Museum of Natural History for sure, and it would be great to see the White House.

    January 3, 2017 at 9:03 am Reply
  • Jennifer Williams

    We just visited DC in November. My littles, 3 and 6, loved it. My 6 year old also was fascinated to see the White House where the President and First Nana live! They were in awe of the Washington Monument, the museums, the Mall, everything! It really is a wonderful city for kids of all ages!

    January 3, 2017 at 12:43 pm Reply
  • Megan mccoig

    The muesums and capitol tour look incredible. I wish I had the chance to visit when I was a kid. Would’ve been amazing. Looks like you had a great trip!

    January 3, 2017 at 6:07 pm Reply
  • Catherine

    I’m so jealous that you got to visit DC. I’ve always wanted to go, but we’ve always lived too far away. Sorry you didn’t get the White House tour but it still looks like it was a great time overall! (I love his invention picture by the way!!)

    January 3, 2017 at 7:37 pm Reply
  • julie porter

    I’ve never had the chance to see Washington DC and it is definitely on my list of must-sees. I want to see everything you have mentioned in your post! Hopefully, I will be able to go someday.

    January 3, 2017 at 7:41 pm Reply
  • Theresa

    I would like to take my children to DC, but I think they are a little young. You make it look doable even with small kids!

    January 3, 2017 at 7:45 pm Reply
  • Dawn Nieves

    This is a great list! DC is on our travel list this year and I can’t wait to check out some of these places.

    January 3, 2017 at 8:27 pm Reply
  • Cecilia Cannon

    we are looking forward to this trip very soon! thanks for your tips on traveling there with kids, of which mine are about the same ages.

    January 3, 2017 at 8:39 pm Reply
  • Debra

    What a great place to visit with kids, so much history – can’t wait to take our kiddos one day!

    January 3, 2017 at 10:39 pm Reply
  • Terri Steffes

    It’s such a special place, isn’t it? I think all children should get to see this place that works for their future.

    January 3, 2017 at 11:28 pm Reply
  • Anna nuttall

    I would love to visit Washington DC one day. My parents been and said it was awesome. One day that will be me.

    January 4, 2017 at 7:44 am Reply
  • reesa

    I live 3 hours MAX from DC and do you know we have NEVER been!!!! It’s such a shame, I want to go so bad!

    January 4, 2017 at 10:32 am Reply
  • Joanna @ Everyday Made Fresh

    DC is full of wonderful things to do with kids! Wow! I’d love to go there one day on vacation. I know that my girls would love it.

    January 4, 2017 at 11:02 am Reply
  • Veronica

    Washington DC is also one if my most favorite cities in the world! I don’t have kids yet, but there’s definitely a lit to do for everyone!

    January 4, 2017 at 11:15 am Reply
  • Brittany

    It’s been years and years since I’ve been to DC and I wasn’t married, nor did I have little ones. I would love to go back with the whole family it looks like a ton of fun.

    January 4, 2017 at 1:29 pm Reply
  • Dawn McAlexander

    Washington, D.C. has been a place that I have long been wanting to re-visit. It has been years since I was there and I really want to go back and visit the Smithsonian again.

    January 4, 2017 at 5:01 pm Reply
  • Robin Rue

    I have always wanted to take my kids to DC. I am so happy to see that there is so much to be able to see and do for them.

    January 4, 2017 at 7:00 pm Reply
  • Silvia

    I’ve been visiting a bunch of big cities in the US and I have yet to go to DC! This year should be the year! Thanks for all the tips!

    January 4, 2017 at 8:22 pm Reply
  • Amanda Love

    That’s awesome. I love trips where there’s stuff to do for the whole family especially for the kids. It’s always nice to be able to just enjoy what a place has to offer.

    January 4, 2017 at 11:53 pm Reply
  • Carolyn

    We took our kids several years ago. They loved the zoo. We need to go back now that they are older.

    January 5, 2017 at 9:46 am Reply
  • Irina

    I so want to visit Washington DC. We are planning to go with our son when he’s 16. I can’t wait. Museums are so great to explore with children. Looks like you had a great time.

    January 5, 2017 at 12:38 pm Reply
  • Brittany

    My kids would have so much fun going to the dinosaur exhibit! They would freak out being able to see it! I never really imagined DC being a place for a family with little kids but these are great ideas!

    January 5, 2017 at 4:57 pm Reply
  • Donna

    We were just there over the holidays! I love DC its in my top 5 cities to live in. Its the perfect family spot for vacation!

    January 5, 2017 at 6:18 pm Reply
  • CourtneyLynne

    D.C. Is an awesome place to take the kids! I have a bestie that lives in DC and we visit her every year!!!

    January 5, 2017 at 8:22 pm Reply
  • Laura

    I love D.C. It’s one of my favorite places. I took my son when he was younger and we had a blast, didn’t get to tour the white house but the museums were amazing!

    January 5, 2017 at 11:36 pm Reply
  • Kristin F.

    What a fun trip! We can’t wait to take our girls to DC when they are a little older. I went in the 5th grade and LOVED it!

    January 6, 2017 at 12:37 pm Reply
  • Melissa Vera

    Do you know in my whole life I have never been to Washington and I have always wanted to go. Thank you for sharing the list for kids and adults alike.

    January 6, 2017 at 6:19 pm Reply
  • Breyona Sharpnack

    Washington, DC looks very family friendly. Looks like you guys had a lot of fun and def found plenty to do. The pics are amazing as well.

    January 6, 2017 at 10:45 pm Reply
  • Kristy / Seven Graces

    How cool! D.C. is definitely on our bucket list. Looks like you all had a great time! 🙂

    January 23, 2017 at 1:21 pm Reply

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