Visiting our country’s capital is a special visit for the whole family.
There is so much significant history here to explore, and there’s also so many prominent places to visit.
A city of power, people, and politics, it’s hard to ignore the rush of awe you feel as you take in sites like the White House, knowing the utmost importance of the decisions being made here, or the Lincoln Memorial, remembering what it signifies and how it changed the trajectory of our country. Full of iconic sites and hidden gems, we’re here to make sure you get the most out of your visit.
Between two different airports and Washington Union Station, traveling to DC is so easy!
Arriving in DC!
Depending on what time you arrive, you can decide to spend a day walking around downtown getting familiar with the area or instead, taking a break at the hotel before venturing out to dinner.
If you’re up for it, a walk around the National Mall is a great place to start.
Seeing it for the first or hundredth time will never fail to induce appreciation and recognition of the sacrifices others made to serve this country and protect our rights and freedom.
Here you will find the stunning site of the Washington Monument looming above, with the US Capitol Building on one side and the Lincoln Memorial on the other. This destination really embodies what the city stands for.
Tip: You can easily bring strollers or walk around the reflection pools with your little ones.
Start the trip at one of DC’s most beloved museums, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.
Because of the many films that have taken place here, many little ones are familiar with the museum. It’s larger than life exhibits transport you to a completely different world.
Divided by different sections, it’s easy to navigate the museum and keep track of all the different aspects of natural history or pick and choose based on your interests.
Also just a quick walk or metro away is Smithsonian’s National Museum of Air and Space, a huge hit with families. There are so many great museums in this area, but this one follows the history of aviation and space exploration in a way that makes it unique from all others.
Located on the National Mall, this is a great way to revisit the sites from yesterday or visit the mall if you didn’t make it there on Day 1.
The metro provides easy transportation and you can venture a little further and make a stop at the White House.
Switch it up and make a trip to Georgetown, home to the prestigious university and modern shops.
This neighborhood offers stunning views of the Potomac River and the Key Bridge. Known for its charming cobblestone streets and federal-style architecture, this is a great area to see DC’s modern appeal.
Here, you will find lush green space and Georgetown’s beautiful waterfront park. If the weather is cooperating, consider renting canoes or kayaks to take on the river. If water isn’t for you, there is a great trail along the river that you can walk or bike.
Spend the day and go out to dinner at one of Georgetown’s many fine dining options.
After a good night’s rest, this iconic stop is a must when in DC.
The Smithsonian’s National Zoo is dedicated to protecting biodiversity and sharing knowledge. This 163-acre park is located in the heart of the city and is home to 1,800 wildlife and over 360 different species.
Their variety of exhibits is unmatched and their mission is heart-warming. Children will enjoy the engaging stations and animal meet-and-greets, and the zoo offers daily programs aimed to educate young ones.
After, spend some more time outside in Woodley Park. This gorgeous lush neighborhood is home to different hiking and bike trails, perfect for older kids looking to get out some extra energy. For a more relaxing afternoon, the area is also full of great restaurants and shops.
This recently installed museum is seriously cool.
The International Spy Museum features hands-on exhibits, your family will get an inside peek into the wild world of espionage. This exhibit is very insightful into how spies have contributed to major world events.
Displays include special equipment and they also offer different programs that are great for children under 10. During the programs, children can embark on secret missions, climb through duct work, or even diffuse an atomic bomb.
The DC Hop-On-Hop-Off bus tour stops at this location, and we recommend spending the afternoon on the bus to get to see some other fun sites in the area without all the walking.
If you can, catch a baseball game at Nationals Park and watch the fans come to life.
This open-air baseball field is fairly new and has great options for snacks during the game. Even if there’s no games playing, Nationals Park is still a very cool destination with lots to see in the surrounding area.
The surrounding neighborhood, Navy Yard, offers a dense urban feel and is considered one of the best places to live in DC. Named for its historic association as the Navy manufacturing center, now there are lots of cute restaurants and shops within walking distance. Located right next to the Anacostia River, there are also plenty of green spaces and easy trails to walk along the water.
If you have time before you leave, take a trip to the U.S. Botanical Gardens. This relaxing space is filled with lots of greenery and different floral exhibits.
Established by Congress in 1820, this location is one of North America’s largest botanical gardens.
Today, it is still supervised by Congress and presents annual shows to foster an appreciation for study and conservatorship, both locally and globally.
With many different kids’ programs and interesting exhibits, this is a great additional stop should you have the time!
Although charming all year round, we recommend making a trip either early fall or late spring. It’s a very pleasant city, meaning it’s not too loud or bustling but there’s still an un-ignorable air of importance and lots of history to unpack.
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