Free And Fun Things To Do With Kids In Washington Dc
Washington, D.C. is the ultimate place to take your children. They can watch their school history books come to life in an exciting way from the fantastic museums to the historic monuments and youll pay nothing for the experience .
There are so many free and fun things to do with kids in D.C., so pack your bags for a cheap, fun and educational getaway.
Smithsonian MuseumsTechnically, this one counts as numbers 1 to 19, as there are 19 Smithsonian museums in D.C all of which are free to enter and explore! Our favorite Smithsonian museums for kids are the National Museum of Natural History, National Geographic Museum, National Museum of American History, National Air and Space Museum, National Postal Museum and the National Zoo.
Lincoln MemorialAbe Lincoln proudly faces the Washington Monument from his post at Lincoln Memorial Circle, and families can visit the 19-foot statue of our 16th president at no cost. The Lincoln Memorial is open 24 hours go at night for a dramatic perspective of the statue and National Mall.
Walking Tour of National MallSpeaking of the National Mall, its another attraction thats free in Washington, D.C. Stroll the outdoor promenade and stop at the historic sites on your own, or join in on a free walking tour of the National Mall. DC by Foot offers free walking tours that cover several major sites in D.C. the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument , Vietnam Veterans Memorial and more.
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Shopping And Light Shows To Celebrate Christmas In Maryland
Winter Lights Festival: Head to Seneca Creek State Park in Gaithersburg, Maryland for the Winter Lights Festival open nightly from November 26 to December 31 . Youll see over 365 displays including Winter Woods, Teddy Bear Land, and the North Pole on this 3.5 mile drive. Tickets range from $15 to $30 per car. Discounts are available on weekdays and if you advance purchase online. Tickets go on sale on November 1 and purchasing tickets in advance is required.
Merriweather Symphony of Lights: Drive through the Symphony of Lights in Columbia to see thousands of holiday lights! Open nightly from November 25 to January 2. $20/car. Closed to cars on walkthrough nights on November 29, December 7, and December 31.
Bethesdas Winter Wonderland: Head to Downtown Bethesda on December 4 from 1 to 4 pm for a winter wonderland! Enjoy ice sculpture, music, and more!
Holiday Festival of Trains: The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Museum will host their Holiday Festival of Trains from December 13 January 3 . This event also includes a Santa Village and Santa photo opportunities.
Holiday Concerts at the Strathmore: Join the Strathmore on select dates throughout December for holidays concerts. Some big names include:
- Mannheim Steamroller: December 4 at 2 and 7 pm
- Hip Hop Nutcracker: December 20 22 at 8 pm
- Handels Messiah: December 18 at 8 pm and December 19 at 3 pm
- The Washington Chorus in A Candlelite Christmas: December 16-17 at 8 pm and December 23 at 3 pm
Don’t Miss a Thing
Go On A Scavenger Hunt
Viator offers an online scavenger hunt tour for $15 that will take you to major DC sights and monuments by unravelling clues and riddles. With smartphones perpetually glued to their hip pockets, this is the perfect excuse for your teenager to use their devices as they test their knowledge.
Your kids can display their problem-solving skills and team up with their parents, or for a little more fun make teams pitting parents vs. teens or teen and parent vs. teen and parent! See who wins while you explore the National Mall, monuments, and historic DC areas to find out who can decipher the clues faster.
You could also make it more interesting by betting something simple like who gets to choose dinner or deciding the next Washington DC activity with your teen. The treasure hunt is a 3-mile walk and theres no time limit, so you can take your time solving the clues and grab some lunch or explore the area during your search. Dont forget to bring a charger or your portable power bank.
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Shaw & Logan Circle Neighborhoods
There is so much to do in Shaw that you could probably spend a whole weekend just discovering this one neighborhood. This historic neighborhood is now home to dozens of trendy spots restaurants, cocktail bars, beer gardens, and boutique shopping galore.
We suggest going to Shaw in the early afternoon for cocktails and staying for dinner and after-dinner drinks well, you want to try it all, dont you!? Here are a few of our favorites: All Purpose Pizzeria, Tiger Fork Chinese Bistro, the Dabney, Hazel, Himitsu, Kinship.
Note: Shaw is where youll find the aforementioned Right Proper Brewing Company. To get there you can take the metro to the Mt Vernon/7th St Convention Center stop. Shaw is about a minute walk from there.
If there is one neighborhood that has re-gentrified itself beyond recognition in a very short time, its Logan Circle. A new high-end restaurant, cafe or trendy specialty shop opens there seemingly every week.
Its a busy area with beautiful old townhouses to gawk at, a lovely park and fountain in the center of the circle and lots of bar and restaurant hopping to do. Youll almost feel like a local here.
Why not plan ahead? Book a U Street and Shaw Neighborhood Food tour here.
The Nations Capital Is Filled With Free Family Activities And Things For Kids To Do
Theres no shortage of free things to do in DC with kids, as well as family-friendly events that wont cost a cent. From kid-friendly attractions to cool activities that the entire family can enjoy, the nations capital is a great destination for a vacation any time of the year. Weve put together some of the best things to do in DC with your kids, so read on to start planning for your trip to the District!As you plan your family’s seasonal excursion, please make sure to check out our travel status update and what’s open and reopening in the city.
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Fun Things To Do With Kids In Washington Dc Family Friendly Activities
- Tanner Wilkes
Washington D.C. is not considered the capital city in the United States for nothing.
With a plethora of activities and family things to do like museums, national parks and amazing restaurants, this city offers endless possibilities for the whole family.
Planning a trip but dont know where to start? Were here to help!
To plan out an unforgettable trip, we went ahead and listed some of the most fun things to do with kids in Washington D.C.
Why We Recommend This Activity
From monkey bars and colorful landscapes to slides and carousels, the Clemyjontri Park is bound to keep the lil ones entertained for hours and hours.
If your family is looking for a great space in the outdoors with a variety of activities and rides for the kids, then you should definitely swing to this park on your trip to Washington D.C.
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Favorite Tourist Attractions Dressed For Christmas In Washington Dc
The National Christmas Tree: This year, the National Christmas will be lit on Sunday, December 5. The ceremony will be on CBS but guests can still visit the tree in person throughout the season. Consider visiting on a weeknight or during the day when the area is less crowded. Guests can also see the Pathway Of Peace 1 miniature tree to represent each state and territory with ornaments made by children local to that state. Check our tips for visiting the tree.
The US Capitol Christmas Tree: Not to be outdone by The National Christmas Tree, youll find another holiday tree on the Capitol lawn. It generally draws fewer visitors than the National Christmas, especially on weeknights. Harvested from Eureka, California, the tree will travel across the country to Washington, DC. The Capitol Tree should arrive in DC on Friday, November 19 and is usually lit in early December.
DC Neighborhood Lights: DCs Main Streets are joining together this year to bring holiday cheer and highlight local businesses this holiday season. Find festive lights plus special promotions and events from November 19 to January 6. Participating neighborhoods include U Street, Columbia Heights, Mount Pleasant, Woodley Park, Cleveland Park, Dupont Circle, Lower Georgia Ave, and Logan Circle.
Peppermint Treats from Milk Bar: Tis the season for peppermint treats! Order peppermint bark cake, peppermint truffles, and cookies to complete your holiday celebrations this year.
Washington Dc Winter Travel Tips
Only in DC can you take in the holiday lights on the National Mall or ice skate with a view of the Washington Monument.
Washington DC is worth a visit at any time of year, but in winter, off-season visitors of DC will find milder weather, shorter lines, and less expensive attractions. Here are a few frequently asked questions and tips to make the most of your visit to Washington DC in winter:
- How cold is Washington DCs winter?
Washington DC winters are fairly mild: daily highs are usually in the upper 30s to low 40s and the daytime is usually quite pleasant. Nighttime is going to average about 10 degrees cooler, but while we do have the occasional cold snaps, Washington DC is a great wintertime destination.
We do get about 2 to 3 decent snowfalls a year, but it doesnt linger and we are too far south for some of the most inhospitable weather!
- How to get around Washington DC?
Washington DC has excellent public transportation, so driving is not recommended. DC is a great walking city, our metro is both safe and clean, and car services are plentiful so driving in the city is somewhere between unnecessary and a hindrance.
- Whats up with DCs street layout?
Washington DC has a unique grid layout which is often extremely frustrating for visitors. The city is laid out in quadrants centered on the US Capitol, and this shows up in the addresses youll see around the city.
- What is security like in Washington DC?
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Check Out The Museum Cafeterias
I know this sounds strange, but some of the museums in DC have amazing cafeteria food, and they are definitely worth checking out. You might find yourself wanting to visit one of these museums, and you can tack on a lunch in the cafeteria while youre at it.
National Museum of African American History
The Sweet Home Cafe is a cafeteria you do not want to miss. Celebrity chef Carla Hall is the culinary ambassador at Sweet Home Café, so you know theres something special going on there!
The Cafe aims to showcase the culture and history of the African American people through food traditions both old and new. Inside the massive food court, youll find four different culinary areas:
The agricultural south with Buttermilk Fried Chicken, the Creole Coast with a Pan-fried Louisiana Catfish Poboy, the North States with a Smoking Hot Pepper Pot, and the Western Range with a BBQ Beef Brisket Sandwich. These are just the tip of the Iceberg of things you can eat at this museum cafe.
Location: 1400 Constitution Avenue NW Hours: Open 7 days a week 10:00 a.m. 5:30 p.m
Mitsitam Cafe at Museum of the American Indian
When youre walking around the Smithsonian museums and hiking what seems like miles to get from one side of the National Mall to the other, youll work up a crazy appetite and then not find any restaurants in the vicinity for lunch.
You can eat entirely from one region or mix and match, plus they have a chefs tasting experience.
Bureau Of Engraving And Printing
The Bureau of Engraving and Printing is always a favorite. Everyone loves to watch real money being printed. See how U.S. paper currency is printed, stacked, cut, and examined for defects.
You can tour the building and see millions of dollars being printed. The tour lasts just 40 minutes so it is appropriate for kids of all ages. Tickets are required for the tour March 2 through September 4, and November 23 – 27 ticketsare distributed at a ticket booth on a first come, first served basis.
The ticket booth, located at Raoul Wallenberg Place SW , opens at 8:00 a.m. Monday through Friday and closes when they run out of tour tickets for the day. You’ll begin your tour at the entrance on 14th Street, SW, near C Street. Go a bit early to get in line.
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Take A Drive Out To Antietam National Battlefield
On the first Saturday of December every year, 23,110 luminaries are lit at Antietam National Battlefield to signify the soldiers who died, lost or injured in one of the bloodiest one-day battles in American history.
While not a traditional holiday event, the Illumination at Antietamoccurs during the holiday season every year. This unique event is a great opportunity to take a drive into Maryland to experience some local Civil War history with the family.
For a lighter-spirited event out in Frederick County, consider the Walkersville Southern Railroads annual Santa Train. After the ride, hot chocolate and cookies are served up back at the train depot.
Check out this list for more unique holiday events in Washington County and Frederick County Maryland.
Adventure Park Usa Family New Year’s Eve Party
Adventure Park USA is open in December 2020, but the Family New Year’s Eve Party is canceled.
Although the outdoor rides at Adventure Park USA in Monrovia, Maryland, shut down every year during the winter months, visitors can still enjoy all of the indoor attractions on the last day of the year followed by a Family New Year’s Eve Party. This family-friendly event features finger foods and drinks , kids’ games, live music and dancing, and access to all of the indoor attractions at Adventure Park USA.
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Five Things For Today: October 26 2021
1. Have you been to the Hirshhorn lately? The exhibition Laurie Anderson: The Weather, which opened there in late September, is fantastic. The collection of multimedia works includes beautiful abstract paintings, captivating stories, interesting photography, original instruments, spoken word video sculptures, and much more. Most striking of them all is an entire black and white gallery hand painted by Anderson with sketches, quotes, poems, and passages and youll want to examine all of them.
Id recommend the exhibit for tween ages and up, though younger children could definitely tag along there are visual elements that would appeal to them, too.
The exhibit is running through July 2022, and, of course, the rest of the museum is always great to explore, too. The Hirshhorn is currently open Wednesday Sunday, 10am 5:30pm. Admission is free.
2. There are still some appointments available for virtual sessions with renowned silhouette portrait artist Karl Johnson on November 12 & 13. Just in time for the holiday season, the sweet cut outs make for great gifts!
3. Mayor Bowser and Lyft just announced that to help ease travel disruptions caused by reduced Metrorail service, all DC residents can get a free 30-day membership to Capital Bikeshare. Follow the link for instructions on getting your membership.
5. Jason Sudeikis as The Devil on SNL.
Kids Can Explore The Magic Of Opera With Opera Starts With Oh
You and your little ones are invited to what The Washington Post calls, The best Zoom there is!
Opera Starts with Oh! is a virtual series of live, interactive lessons created by professional opera company Opera Lafayette to introduce young audiences to the magic of opera. Led by teaching artist and professional choreographer, Tamrin Goldberg, and joined by a new guest artist for every session, Opera Starts with Oh! is perfect for families with children in pre-K and up.
Each month a different opera is explored. Families can drop in for one or sign-up for every session in the series. And, in an effort to keep the programming inclusive, its a pay-what-you-can model!
After the virtual live sessions, participants gain access to Play On! Activities to do at-home and off the screen to keep everyone singing, dancing, and creating.
Learn more here and explore all of the fall sessions below!
Zélindor: King of the Fairies! | October 23, 11amJourney to an enchanting land with this opera-ballet filled with fairies, gnomes and muses through dance and costume design with professional costume designer Anna Kjellsdotter.Learn more and register.
Pygmalion | November 6, 11amJoin us and special guest artist, dramaturg Peregrine Heard, as we use storytelling and sculpting to explore a love story about a sculptors creation that comes to life.Learn more and register.
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See Live Music At A Concert
Multiple locationsGrab your vaccination card or recent negative COVID test and get ready to hear some live music again after more than a year. Some of our favorite local venues have been reopening, which means its the perfect time to go out and support them . The iconic 9:30 Club just swung its doors back open after seventeen months, and its sister venues The Anthem and Merriweather Post Pavilion are open now as well. Shows are back on at City Winery, and massive electronic music venue Echostage was just named the worlds best nightlife venue.