More Great Things To Do In Dc With Kids
Washingtons riches extend beyond the Malls most-visited museums and memorials. The family-oriented listings here dont include important art collections like the Renwick Gallery of American crafts, the Corcoran Gallery of American art, and the Phillips Collection, a private gallery with treasures from Renoir to Rothko. Judge for yourself whether these would be of interest to your family.
See The National Christmas Tree
The lighting of the National Christmas Tree is one of the best holiday traditions and takes place right after Thanksgiving. It’s free to visit all of December!
It is located at the Ellipse, the park south of the White House, and it is a beautiful sight to see. There are also mini trees from all the states around it, a train display, and great music to enjoy as well.
For more free things to do in DC in December, check out our below.
Mitsitam Native Foods Cafe
Mitsitam Native Foods Cafe
Located within the National Museum of the American Indian, this cafe is one of the only ones in the country that serves exclusively Native American food.
Its a great place to expand your culinary horizons while also supporting the indigenous populations of Washington, DC!
Menu items range from bison burgers to yellow corn tacos served with goat meat and plantains.
An open kitchen will allow you to watch your meal being prepared over fire pits and cedar-covered grills.
Theres a bit of a food court atmosphere to the cafe since it offers dishes from multiple Native American tribes.
You can even order a sample platter if you want to try different ones.
On slow days, the cooks will chat with you about the history of their skills and dishes.
The Mitsitam Native Foods Cafe is one of the best ways to spend your money in Washington, DC.
It gets its ingredients from tribal co-ops it supports a museum dedicated to its people.
Most importantly, it serves Native American food thats awesome and authentic, so you can feel good about your lunchtime choices when you eat here.
Address: Independence Ave SW & 4th Street Southwest, Washington, DC 20024, United States
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Secret Entrance To The White House
Impress your friends and visitors with your knowledge of this secret passageway. The alley entrance is located on the south side of H Street NW, between 15th Street NW and Vermont Avenue NW, next to BAU International University at house number 1510. Its not very glamorous , but it will make you sound like an insider.
National Museum Of American History
This free, no ticket required Smithsonian Museum entertained all of us! From viewing the flag that inspired our national anthem, to seeing George Washingtons uniform, Dorothys ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz, and the Greensboro lunch counter from the civil rights sit-intheNational Museum of American History has something for everyone.
We toured the entire museum and also enjoyed things of particular interest to our teens such as the First Ladies exhibit featuring gowns from numerous presidential inaugural balls and the exhibit on Latinos in Baseball.
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Visit The Library Of Congress
The Library of Congress is one of the most beautiful buildings in America, home to the largest collection in the world.
The Jefferson Library will also have its annual Christmas tree put up, making it a beautiful place for taking holiday-themed pictures.
The library runs free tours throughout the day.
What Dc Activities Do Teens Find The Most Interesting
Hi there –
We are a family of four visiting from July 18-22. We have already obtained our Holocaust tickets, but I wonder what else we ought to consider buying ahead of time. I’m reading mixed reviews about the Spy Museum, and while I think I would love the Newseum, I wonder how enthralled our teenagers would be. Any suggestions on “must-see/do” activities or attractions? We want this to be a fun, memorable trip for all of us, as we’ve never been there, and want to not bombard them with too much reading and museum-ing. Thanks for the help.
Becky in CO
You’ve heard the phrase “different strokes for different folks” and it applies to teenagers too. Their interests make a big difference. Many find the Air & Space Museum fascination and could spend many hours there. Others would rather study the documents at the National Archives. Why not have them look at a guidebook to DC and pick one or two things that pique their interest? Having them involved in the planning helps make the whole trip more memorable for them.
We just got back from DC after a trip with our 18-year-old son. With all the interesting free museums there, you would not have to go to any of the other museums, unless your teens express an interest in it. My son is a history buff, so his favorite museums were American History and the Air and Space. But he also really enjoyed the sites related to our government–the Capitol, Supreme Court building, National Archives, Library of Congress and all the monuments.
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Things To Do With Kids In Virginia & Dc
Every year, tons of families visit Virginia and surrounding areas and find lots of family fun. Our family friendly activities are great for kids of all ages there are things to do with toddlers in Northern Virginia, tons of kids activities and attractions, but also enough to keep your teenager occupied and interested. Youll find great things to do for the whole family! There are also some great Free Things to Do with kids in the area!
From fun and interactive displays at the kid-friendly educational center at George Washington’s Mount Vernon to the fastest jet in the world at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center. Even to outdoor performing arts theaters, built JUST for kids. Northern Virginia has many kids and toddler activities that will have them saying “Best Trip Ever!”
If you are looking for the complete family vacation be sure to check out our family getaway in Northern Virginia itinerary or explore all the best activities for each age group in the search below:
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
The Holocaust Museum might not be the first place you add to your list when you are planning a day of things to do in D.C. However, this museum is one of a kind and an experience every teenager should have at least once.
Keep in mind that the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum can be a hard one to get through. You will walk through very difficult subject matter being discussed and seen in a way your kids just dont get in a text book.
The museum recommends that only kids over the age of 9 visit the museum, some sections they should be over age 13.
So basically, if you have teenagers, this is a must, but be ready to talk through the exhibits, videos you will see from the camps, and stories you will hear of people who did and did not escape this horrific period in our worlds history.
Need more museums, including the citys natural history museum ? Check out our guide to DC Museums by Age.
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Museum Of Pop Culture
The Museum of Pop Culture will grab the attention of just about every teenager. What teen doesnt like music, and for your parents, you will find some of your oldies but goodies in this museum as well. With the largest collection of music memorabilia spanning decades, your teen will be enthralled for hours. Dont forget to enjoy one of the free indoor and outdoor concerts!
Go Winter Bird Watching At Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens
Youve already completed your mastery of sourdough breadmaking and even created a TikTok or two, so its time to level up your socially distanced pandemic activities and pick up birding. In DC theres no better place to do so than at Kenilworth Park, where you can find beautiful lotuses in the summer and an array of migrating birds in the winter. There, check out the River Trail or the boardwalk, where you can find a variety of new feathered friends such as great blue herons, Canada geese, kingfishers, woodpeckers, and bluebirds.
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National Museum Of Health And Medicine
National Museum of Health and Medicine
The National Museum of Health and Medicine is run by the U.S. government, but you wouldnt know that by looking at its exhibitions.
Rather than being the dull, drone-like museum of school field trips, its a fun and dynamic place that disguises its lessons so cleverly that your kids will be begging to come back.
Organs are displayed in glass jars.
Hairballs are behind glass cases after being pulled from human stomachs.
Rare and vintage medical tool are everywhere some are replicas, and others are rusted originals.
You can also see one-of-a-kind relics like the bullet that was pulled from Abraham Lincolns skull.
It still has trace amounts of brain matter on it.
If youre seeking Washington DC attractions that offer something a little different than usual, try the National Museum of Health and Medicine.
Its a nice mix of informative and educational, and whether youre traveling with kids, colleagues, dates, spouses or no one at all, you can have a great time here.
Address: 2500 Linden Ln, Silver Spring, MD 20910, United States
Traveling With Teens To Washington Dc In 2020
Jodi / /
A big thank you to guest writer, Laura Broullire. When school went virtual this fall, her family packed up to travel the US. Here are her suggestions and tips to help you navigate traveling with teens to Washington D.C. this year.
While this crazy year has led to many doors being closed for people, it has actually opened up a world of travel for me and my family.
During quarantine, my husband discovered that he can work from anywhere with an internet connection. Then our two girls were given the option to do virtual schoolthus allowing us to take a yearlong tour of the United States. It was time to hit the road.
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Strange, new world
In planning for our grand adventure, a visit to Washington, D.C., was on everyones wish list. But we discovered right away that traveling in 2020 is not like normal travel. There were big and small disappointments along the way, from Smithsonian museums being shut down for tours to hotels closing their pools and discontinuing hot breakfasts.
Upon arrival in our nations capital, we realized the district was taking its strict mask policy extremely seriously. We were visitors in a much different D.C. than I remembered from previous visits.
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Hillwood Estate Museum And Garden
Put together by a rich heiress with a taste for high art and culture, the Hillwood Estate is filled with things like tapestries, portraits, ornaments, flowers, tea sets and porcelain goods.
Its a collection that spans the globe, and its one of the best places to visit in Washington, DC if you enjoy delicate beauty.
The Hillwood Estate is technically known as a decorative arts museum.
However, itll offer a much different experience than your standard museum.
Youll start with a trip through a Japanese zen garden.
A set of sliding doors will open into the estate, and a tour guide will escort you through everything from the French Porcelain Room to Russian Sacred Arts Room.
If you like the House of Romanov, they have an entire suite dedicated to them items on display include a stunning collection of Faberge eggs.
Theres also an entire exhibit dedicated to the jewelry and fashion of pre-industrial England.
When youre done with the exhibitions, hit up the on-site cafe for tea and sandwiches, or check out the souvenir shop filled with books, artwork, stationery and other delicately charming goods.
Theres a lot to see at the Hillwood Estate.
Youll wish that you had more than one pair of eyes.
If youre looking for cool things to do in Washington, DC, however, you wont want to miss it!
Address: 4155 Linnean Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008, United States
Attend A Baseball Game
For all baseball loving families, take a trip to the neighbourhood of Navy Yard and catch a Washington Nationals game at Nationals Park. Tickets to the game are affordable and Navy Yard is easily accessible by the green line on the Metro. The atmosphere at the game is awesome with tons of fans coming in all over to watch some baseball. It can get crowded but ultimately its worth it for a fun daytime or night time activity.
Before going in for the game, come in a little earlier to explore the surrounding area. It offers an amazing array of food I highly recommend trying TaKorean for delicious korean tacos whilst you can enjoy strolling in the beautiful parks overlooking the river.
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Where To Stay In Washington Dc
There are a lot of great neighborhoods in Washington where you can stay as a tourist and fully enjoy yourself. Where you stay depends a lot on what you want to do and your budget.
It can be expensive to stay right in the city. For budget travelers, it may be more economical to stay outside the city in Arlington or Alexandria and take the Metro in to the city.
If you can afford it, try to stay as close to the action as possible. You can see prices or book directly with Booking.com through these links:
We recommend these places to stay in Arlington and Alexandria:
- The Westin Crystal City Trip Advisor | Book now on Expedia
- Kimpton Lorien Hotel & Spa, Old Town, Alexandria Trip Advisor | Book now on Expedia
» A Locals Guide to Arlington, VA Hotels Where to Stay in Arlington for Sightseeing, or Visiting D.C. for the first time.
We recommend these places to stay in Washington DC:
Nine Unique Places To Visit
Theres no shortage of attractions to explore and things to experience in and around the nations capital. Its a city with a little bit of everything to please history buffs, foodies, and culture lovers. But the city also hosts numerous lesser-known places worthy of sightseeing adventuressome unusual, some whimsical, and some downright bizarre.
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National Air And Space Museum
The National Air and Space Museum is the Smithsonian home to all things aviation and outer space. Be on the lookout for the Wright Brothers exhibit, Spirit of St. Louis, Apollo 11 Command Module and lunar rock. There is also a large hands-on play area for younger siblings to enjoy.
Theres an auxiliary museum near Dulles airport if you need something to do before or after a flight there. The full size space shuttle in this location is beyond impressive.
This museum is always one of the most popular in DC, but to be honest, it was not a big hit with our group this trip. Because it tends to be one of the busiest museums in the area, I felt the crowds affected our particular visit.
The Lincoln Book Tower
This quirky tribute to one of the countrys best-loved presidents is located in the Peterson House, where Lincoln died. The 34-foot-tall stack of books is dedicated to the life and times of the storied 16th president standing in the middle of a spiral staircase. It consists of 6,800 books . All painstakingly recreated by artists to make the book jackets look more realistic) stretches three floors high.
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Stroll The National Harbor
The National Harbor is a recent addition to the Washington D.C. Metro area. This expansive complex boasts 6 hotels, 23 restaurants, 32 shops, and an amazing marina. Its located on the Potomac River just over the Woodrow Wilson Bridge in Prince Georges County, Maryland. The National Harbor has wonderful views of Washington D.C. and Old Town Alexandria, and an 180-foot Observation Wheel a particularly lovely experience at sunset. The spacious marina and pier have a number of local cruises available to visitors, including a water taxi to the Washington National games. If all this wasnt enough, the National Harbor also plays host to outdoor movies, a Wine & Food Festival, a summer concert series, an annual road race, and a producer-only farmers market. Check the website for all the details. With reasonable room rates and loads of activities, you might opt for a room at one of the National Harbor hotels , with ferry rides into the Washington D.C.
J Edgar Hoover Building
Roman Babakin / Shutterstock
You might know the J. Edgar Hoover Building as the headquarters of the FBI.
Its another place that you wouldnt expect to welcome visitors, but as long as youre a U.S. citizen who books an advanced tour and complies with the restricted items list, you can indeed walk the halls of this venerable institution.
The tours are self-guided, so youll need to be comfortable on your own.
You can look at different articles, artifacts and multimedia exhibits as you move along the permitted areas.
All of the materials that youll see are dedicated to the history and legacy of the FBI.
Its done some important work for the country, and those efforts are on full display here.
If youll be traveling to Washington, DC, make time for the J. Edgar Hoover Building.
Its a rare opportunity to peek behind the curtain of a powerful organization, and with all of its stories and mementos, its also one of the best places to visit to learn about U.S. history.
Address: 935 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20535, United States
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