Planning a trip to the nation’s capitol soon? Here’s a list of fun things to do in Washington DC with kids including free and affordable stops.
updated March 16, 2021
Things to Do in Washington DC with Kids
Washington DC is the perfect destination for families with kids. T was only 5 when we visited for the very first time. We had so much fun together and learned more than we could have ever imagined. Before we left we created a bucket list of things we wanted to do so that we were prepared for when we arrived. Our stay at The Fairmont Hotel was nothing short of perfect.
There are so many different ways to get to Washington DC. We flew on JetBlue and it was actually Tatiana’s first time on a plane so she was so excited. One thing I love about flying with JetBlue is that they are a kid-friendly airline. Our flight from Orlando was about 2 hours so it was the perfect first flight for Tatiana.
If you’re planning on scheduling a trip with your family sometime soon, I highly recommend Washington DC. Here’s a list of things to do in Washington DC with kids that we absolutely love.
Free Places to Visit
Washington DC has a plethora of things to do and places to see. The best thing to so that you don’t get overwhelmed or miss out on anything is to make a bucket list like the one we made here. Once your bucket list is made, you can go through and create a detailed itinerary. Be sure to schedule in breaks or leisure time if you’re traveling with young kids because they get tired from being out all day long. The last thing you want to do is wear everyone out. No one will have fun if they’re overly tired.
Walking through the National Mall will give you goosebumps. It’s a reminder of our country’s history and all the men/women who have died for our freedom. One of the reasons the National Mall was on our bucket list was because it’s a great place to teach your children history.
Before we went on our trip to Washington DC, Tatiana was learning about Abraham Lincoln in school so we had to add his memorial to our list. The walk to the memorial was insane. It’s a perfect walk for families to chat about exactly the history of the city and the memorial itself. It was freezing during our walk but T enjoyed reading her book about Abraham Lincoln in front of his memorial is a memory that she’ll never forget. If you love bringing home souvenirs, there’s a gift shop at the memorial with books and tons of kitschy items for you to remember your trip.
The Smithsonian has endless branches of history museums but we only made it to this one. Tatiana dreams of being a veterinarian when she grows up so it was the perfect opportunity to take her to explore a museum with animals and their natural habitats. The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History has free entry. The early weekdays are the less busy days at the museum. For safety, you’ll have to go through security and a bag check before entering the museum. There’s wi-fi available for visitors and an area for those who are wanting to bring their own lunch to enjoy during their trip.
Check out their site for a virtual tour if you’re not going to make it during your trip.
National Museum of African American History and Culture
The newest building for the museum was opened in September 2016. That was after our visit but I’ve heard nothing but great things about the museum.
The White House
A trip to Washington DC without visiting these two spots. If you plan your trip far enough in advance, you can request a tour of The White House through your state senator. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to take the tour but we did get to sit in a Senate hearing which was pretty cool.
Smithsonian National Post Museum
The Capitol Building
The U.S. Visitors Capitol Building is open to visitors Monday through Saturday from 8:30am to 4:30pm except for on major holidays. Admission is free but passes are required for tours of the Capitol. Tours of the U.S. Capitol can be scheduled in advance online or through the office of one of your senators or your representative. Same-day passes are usually available at the Information Desk on the lower level. The last tour of the day is at 3:20 p.m.
If you want a tour of the Senate and House Galleries, you’ll need a separate ticket for that. You’ll have to get these tickets from your state’s senator or representative in advance of your visit. It was a fun learning experience getting to sit in on an actual congress session. I definitely think that this is something that older kids will enjoy.
US Supreme Court Building
Martin Luther King Jr, Memorial
This was probably the highlight of our trip for Tatiana. She was most excited for visiting. The memorial is free to visit and something that kids will love to do.
Kid-Friendly Restaurants in Washington DC
The restaurant choices are endless. Washington DC restaurants do a great job of incorporating their history into not only their menu but their decor. Many of the restaurants pride themselves on fresh, local ingredients which is definitely a plus.
The Juniper Restaurant was our go-to during our trip because it was easily accessible in our hotel. The food is outstanding! The chef does an impeccable job with the menu each season and makes sure to utilize fresh, locally grown ingredients. They even make their own honey on the rooftop of the hotel with their own honey bees. Isn’t that amazing?
Loggia Lounge is a popular hot spot for millennials. It’s also a great place for happy hour and to unwind after a long day at work. You don’t have to stay at The Fairmont to enjoy their bar bites and beverage menu but I would highly recommend staying to experience the entire property.
Let me tell you, you haven’t lived until you’ve eaten at Ted’s Bulletin. Their housemade pop tarts are to die for. I ate one for dinner and took a few back to our room with us. Now, I’m wishing I would’ve taken some back home with us because they were that good! Their menu is filled with hearty and healthy options and has something for everyone.
You can’t make a trip to Washington DC without visiting the famous Georgetown Cupcakes. Their cupcakes are delicious. This was probably one of Tatiana’s favorite stops during our trip. With over two dozen cupcake variations to choose from, you can’t go wrong. The half dozen cupcakes we bought were devoured within an hour back at our hotel.
We did a little highlight video of our trip to Washington DC. Check it out and subscribe to my YouTube channel while you’re at it. There will be a lot more travel videos coming soon!
Do you have any favorite things to do in Washington DC with kids?