10 Things Your Kids Will Love in Washington, DC

As I’ve been writing about my travels and sharing some of my favorite places in my own backyard I decided it was time I asked the kids what their favorite places in our city are. Kids can have such unique and wonderful perspectives that should be listened to. What the kids think is exciting or special might not be the same to me or an adult. And when you’re planning a trip with kids, getting a kid’s perspective could be helpful. Some of these are seasonal events, but they were part of their Top 10, and believe me this was quite a discussion.


Artechouse {1238 Maryland Ave SW}

You may have seen my post about the Artechouse – their current exhibit is up until March 10th, but I’m sure that whatever comes next for this place will be equally as wonderful. My kids loved this place and have asked to go back. That tells me that this is a hit with all three of them.

See my Artechouse post here


Smithsonian Natural History Museum (specifically the rock/gemstones) {10th Street NE & Constitution Ave NE}

One of our favorite museums in the Smithsonian system is the Natural History Museum. There is a lot of cool stuff to see, but the kids’ favorite part is the rocks and gemstones portion. You can touch a piece of Mars, find your birthstone and see the Hope Diamond.

Washington Monument {National Mall}

When my oldest was in Kindergarten he was given a project at school. He had to make a poster about him and include his favorite place. He chose the Washington Monument. Before all the kids were in school I would pack a lunch and take the kids down to the Mall and spend the afternoon walking around, running and playing in the dirt. It was such a wonderful time, and I truly believe it is then that they fell in love with our little city. Note, there is more construction going on at the Monument now and you can’t go up. It doesn’t look like the construction in the picture (that’s from when we first moved here after the earthquake damage), but there is construction going on.

Lincoln Memorial {National Mall}

This is one of my favorite places to go but was the top of the list for my daughter. For me, it has a little something to do with Lincoln being one of my very favorite Presidents. When asked to put it into words why she liked it, it was a little difficult for her. “It’s just a really special place to go, mom,” was the response I got.  I remember going for the first time and being in awe of the site of it. The fact that I was actually standing in front of something that I had seen in pictures and movies, and read about, was so cool.


DC fourth of July Parade and the fireworks

This item on the list is obviously something that only occurs once a year, but if you’re planning a trip to DC over the holiday or you live here, I would highly recommend giving this a shot. We chose to get a hotel for two nights in the city so that we could be there the day before, and then not have to drive back home after the events. The very thought of fighting that traffic makes me want to cry, so that was a big nope. The crowds that gathered to watch were not as bad as I thought they would be, and the kids had a blast with ZERO technology. Hanging out right by the Washington Monument was also a good choice, and getting through security wasn’t an issue at all. Look for a “Fourth of July in DC” post to come soon!

Christmas White House tour and/or National Christmas Trees

Another seasonal item and one you need to get tickets for is the White House Christmas Tour. We were blessed to be able to do it very soon after we got here and I took the two bigs with me. Standing in line and waiting would have been difficult for Phillip, as I believe he was only two when we went. We had lots of fun and the did a great job. The two oldest were five and seven when we went. But, if you can’t get tickets the kids highly recommend checking out the National Christmas Tree and all of the state trees. Find YOUR state and see how each one is decorated.

Great Falls Park {9200 Old Dominion Drive, McLean VA}

While not in DC, it is just a short drive and a great way to spend the day. Pick up or pack and lunch, bring a football or a frisbee, and spend the day outdoors. There are different levels of hikes that you can go on, a great Junior Ranger program. The falls are truly breathtaking and definitely something you should see. They have a great open green space for eating or throwing a ball around. Pack the insect repellent because our east coast bugs are no joke!

Cherry Blossoms

If you’re traveling to DC for the Cherry Blossom Festival I’m going to warn you now that you could show up and there will be no Cherry Blossoms. There have been several years where ran has come, promptly knocking all the blossoms off the trees. But sometimes it all works out so beautifully and you get some great shots. Prepare yourself for the crazy, especially if you are going to go during the festival. Lines for the metro are crazy, and it will be crowded. We like to go a day or two before the festival depending on when the blossoms actually bloom.

Just Walking Around DC

I included this one because this is something that all three of them mentioned to me. They truly do like being downtown, checking out the buildings and all the history around. They don’t tire of it and that makes me one happy mama! Spending time down there, despite the traffic and despite the crowds is such a good idea. My kids are comfortable navigating on the metro and are slowly getting an understanding of where things are when they are down there. Walking around and checking out all the memorials and monuments is a great way to spend your day.

National Harbor (Ferris Wheel)

The National Harbor is a fun place to go in general, but we recently went up in the Ferris Wheel for the first time. It’s not really my favorite thing at all and I spent the majority of the time with my eyes closed, but the kids absolutely loved it! Get breathtaking views of DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Ones that are hard to replicate because we just don’t have skyscrapers here. Keeps our skyline nice and pretty.


what would your kids add to the list?

Check out more of our DC/NoVA Adventures here!




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