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10 fun things to do in Washington, D.C. with kids

Last updated 30th April 2019
With an array of family attractions, easy-to-navigate transport and some the US’s best museums, Washington, D.C should be on every family’s list. Samantha Berit shares her insider tips for the 10 best days out in the capital

10/10  The International Spy Museum

The International Spy Museum is probably one of the most interactive museums that D.C has to offer. This museum is brimming with spy stories, games, and fun tests that the kids will love! While exploring the exhibits, listen in on the stories from real spies and learn some of the lingo. On 12 May 2019, the museum will open its new, permanent home in Southwest Washington D.C. On launch day, 12 May, the museum is hosting a family festival that will happen outside the building in the late morning. The festival will feature a performance from the National Symphony Orchestra Youth Fellowship Program and Peter Wood’s magic tricks. This event is free, and attendees do not need museum tickets to participate in the fun. Although this is one of the few museums in the city that charges an entrance fee, it’s an exciting and unique experience that will be a highlight of your Washington trip.

Price: Adult – £19.25, Child 7-12 – £11.50, Child 7 or younger – No admission fee

9/10  The Yards Park

It’s no secret that D.C gets hotter than the sun in the summer. Stay cool and play in the water at The Yards Park. This park hosts various activities and has a wading pool for the kids to play in. Throughout the summer, they offer a plethora of events like concerts and trivia nights that will hold up in a diverse range of weather conditions. The Yards Park is housed near museums, shops, and restaurants; so stop by at some point during your day out.

Price: No admission fee

8/10  The Lincoln Memorial

It will be a delight for families to gaze up at the 19-foot (5.8 meters) statue of the States’ former president at the Lincoln Memorial. Race up the stairs and get the family’s picture at the famous site. Look out and take in the beautiful views of the city, and you’ll see the Washington Monument on the opposite end of the reflecting pool. Walk from one monument to the other and pass the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the World War II Memorial along the stroll.

Price: No admission fee

7/10 Pinstripes

Good meals can make for great memories. Stop by Pinstripes in Georgetown for a tasty meal and a fun game. The Italian-American restaurant offers bowling and bocce ball to keep diners entertained. Make a reservation because this place fills up in advance. This is a perfect way to end off a busy day.

Price: Varies

6/10 Boat on the Potomac

Take a trip over to the bridge to gorgeous Georgetown. When you’re there, go down to the banks of the Potomac for an adventurous day with the family. Paddleboards, kayaks and canoes await. Take out one of the rental boats at the Key Bridge Boathouse and spend the day taking in the beautiful sights as you bob along the water.

Price: Double kayak – £17/hr

5/10  Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

Future astronauts will be in awe of all that the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum has to offer. It features 23 galleries that display a variety of significant artifacts like the 1903 Wright Flyer, the Bell X-1, and the command module of Apollo 11. Space-lovers will marvel at the museum’s planetarium and IMAX theatre for brilliant displays. Your kid will feel like a star!

Price: No admission fee

Image by Holly Williamson

4/10 Millennium Stage at The Kennedy Center

Washington D.C. is not usually the city that comes to mind when you think of theatre. But, the city really does have a great selection of shows to see. Visit the Millennium Stage at 6 p.m. on any night at the Kennedy Center to catch a free show. The performances vary and so do the casts. Talent from around the world, around the country, or just around the city come to perform. Get there early as seating is on a available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Price: No admission fee at 6 p.m

3/10 Smithsonian National Museum of American History

Any history buffs in the family? Even if there aren’t any, everyone is bound to enjoy the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. This museum strives to demonstrate the evolution of the young country through its achievements and downfalls in the arts, sciences, politics, and social movements. The experience stretches back to colonial times and leads to the present with its various displays. Bonus: There’s even a section dedicated to the nation’s First Ladies.

Price: No admission fee

Image: National Museum of American History

2/10  United States Botanic Garden

Take a moment to stop and smell the roses – literally! Although flowers and greenery may not seem appealing to the kids, you might be surprised by their reaction to the United States Botanic Garden. There is a Children’s Garden where kids can plant, explore, and engage in scavenger hunts and other activities. Enjoy the beauty of the foliage, and learn about sustainability and plant conservation at this exquisite space. This garden has been recognised as a museum by the American Alliance of Museums.

Price: No admission fee

1/10 Tudor Place

Visit the Washington family’s old digs. Tudor Place has been around since 1816. It holds intricate artifacts and captivating art pieces, but arguably the most beautiful part of the entire space is the garden. The open lawn is adorned with small trees and shrubs where children can roam around the historic site.

Price: Adults£7.70, Children (age 5-17 with student ID) – £2.30, Children (under 5) – No admission fee

Image: Ron Blunt for Tudor Place Historic House & Garden