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!
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.
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 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!
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.