93 Things to Do With Kids in Washington DC

There are so many great things to do in washington dc with kids and here we’ll pulled together enough ideas to keep you having fun for a long time!

US Capitol in Washington DC

These are all the best places in the nation’s capital so everyone in your group will have a great time.

Table of Contents

#1 Visit the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Learn the story of our planet at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, one of the most popular museums in Washington D.C.

It has over 125 million objects that they care for at the museum. If you’re looking for something fun for kids to do at this museum then check out the Butterfly Garden located inside where you can view hundreds of butterflies from around the world!

A life-like elephant display at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC
Source: Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

What’s fun for kids:

  • Take one of the free family programs with interactive and fun topics on science, culture and museum collection
  • Attend story time called ‘The World & Me’ for ages 3 to 8
  • Attend one of the Family Days with interactive activites, crafts and meet actual scientists
  • The Dinosaur exhibit with over 700 specimens (& of course the huge T. Rex!)
  • See the cave handprints (for younger children) on the first floor
  • Take a photo in the Megalodon jaws (first floor)

This is also where you can see the 45 carat Hope Diamond.

💡DID YOU KNOW? You can get into the Butterfly Pavilion free on Tuesdays!

#2 Go for a swim at the Wilson Aquatic Center

The Wilson Aquatic Center is a premier indoor aquatic facility.and is a great place for kids and families to swim in Washington, D.C.

It’s located in the heart of the city, not too far from the White House and other major tourist attractions like the Washington National Cathedral.

What’s fun for kids:

  • A large pool separate from the adults large pool
  • Two fountains
  • Babies can play in puddle deep water at the entrance to the pool
  • Basketball hoops at the edge of the pool

#3 Visit The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum has the world’s largest collection of historic aircraft and spacecraft.

Picture of a family visiting the National Air and Space Museum
Source: National Air and Space Museum

The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum is a great place to visit with kids. The museum has more than 12,000 artifacts, including the Wright Brothers’ 1903 Wright Flyer, Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis, and astronaut Neil Armstrong’s Apollo 11 spacesuit.

The first floor has all the exhibits and tons of planes hanging above. The second floor has more of a focus on military history so if you’re with little ones, you can probably skip that.

What’s fun for kids:

  • Several interactive exhibits that kids will love (including ones on flight simulators, space exploration and rockets)
  • Get up close with historic planes and rockets
  • Toddler story time at 11am and 1:30pm
  • Explore inside a real cockpit (Gallery 109 on the 1st floor)
  • Especially for the older kids, visit the SkyLab to see how astronauts explore space (2nd floor)

#4 Experience nature in the city at the United States National Arboretum

The United States National Arboretum is a great place for families with kids and is one of the best things to do outside in DC.

It’s full of gardens, trails, and animals. There are also free events during the summer that kids will love.

United States National Arboretum image

Walk around the grounds and see all kinds of plants from around the world!

You can also visit some of our special collections like Lilac Collection or Bonsai Collection which have some really amazing plants.

What’s fun for kids:

  • Visit the Children’s Garden (inside the Conservatory)
  • Snap a photo and play around the pillars and reflecting pool
  • Play at the 1-acre Washington Youth Garden, see how food is grown (and maybe taste it too!), plus visit the play area with xylophones, sand boxes and a kid’s stage
  • See the giant bird in the Washington Youth Garden
  • Take the 35 minute tram tour (on weekends)
  • Bring a picnic

#5 Enjoy views of the river and plenty of green space and trails for picnics or biking at Hains Point

Hains Point is a beautiful place for a picnic right along the Potomac River. The park is also popular for riding bikes and fishing.

What’s fun for kids:

  • Enjoy the 2 playgrounds (at the farthest point of the park)
  • A great place to see the cherry blossoms
  • Ride your bikes

#6 Smell the roses at the United States Botanic Garden

The beautiful botanical gardens right in the city houses one of the largest collections of tropical plants and flowers, and it’s even fun for young children.

This is a nice place to spend the day, watching the kids be outside and having fun. It also makes a great place to take pictures of your kids in a beautiful setting.

Don’t forget to check if the Corpse flower is in bloom (but be careful…it stinks!)

What’s fun for kids:

  • Explore the Children’s Garden filled with hands-on activities for kids to explore and learn about nature
  • They get to use garden tools, dig in the dirt and climb around!
  • Download a free activity guide to explore the garden that includes plant passports, a journal and more activities

#7 Splash around at The Yards Park

Kids will love the Yards Park, which is located in the Southwest Waterfront neighborhood of Washington, D.C. This urban park has a playground, pier, water feature and basketball courts to enjoy

What’s fun for kids:

  • Splash around in the huge wading pool and fountains (summertime)
  • Hop in a canoe
  • Cross the cool pedestrian bridge
  • Grab some ice cream

#8 Have fun at the Anacostia Park Skating Pavilion

This is the only skating rink in the nation’s capital! The skating rink is open from Spring to Fall and you can rent skates for free with a government-issued ID. Starting November 1st, the skating rink remains open but there are no skate rentals available so you will need to bring your own.

Ranger on Skates
Source: NPS

What’s fun for kids:

  • Go roller skating
  • Relax by the water
  • Exercise at the fitness station (older kids)
  • Play at the playground
  • Enjoy the basketball, baseball and tennis courts

#9 Fun for the whole family at East Potomac Mini Golf

This is the only miniature golf course in DC and it’s been around since 1931 so there’s a lot of history here! In fact, it’s the oldest putt-putt course in the entire country!

What’s fun for kids:

  • Play a round of outdoor mini golf
  • Walk across the bridge to the Wharf when you’re done

#10 Stroll around CityCenterDC

Palmer Alley is the highlight of CityCenterDC, a majestic walk decorated with different seasonal features throughout the year.

CityCenterDC is the place to go for luxury shopping. It’s fun to window shop, enjoy the nice ambience and stop off at one of the restaurants or coffee shops along the way.

What’s fun for kids:

  • The small splash pad and fountains
  • Attend a librarian for stories, songs & activities at Kids Corner every Thursday at 10:30am from June through September
  • A tasty treat from the Tuesday Farmer’s Market from May to October (we like the empanadas!)
  • In December enjoy the largest clear ice maze in the country with 110,000 pounds of ice with 7-foot high walls

City Center’s changing decor from snowflakes to beach balls is a great place to take some fun family pictures!

#11 The Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum

The Hirshhorn Museum also has some great art events for little kids all the way up to teens that are worth registering for. You can also stop at the welcome desk in the lobby to pick-up a printed kid’s guide.

What’s fun for kids:

  • The changing galleries
  • Family-friendly events to enjoy hands-on art making and special storytime.
  • Sign-up for the Hirshorns Kids email newsletter for kid activities at home

#12 Visit the only planetarium in the National Park Service at Rock Creek Park

The Rock Creek Park Nature Center and Planetarium is one of our favorite nature spots in the city. Whether you want to sit quietly in nature, observe wildlife, or visit the nature center, this is the place to go!

What’s fun for kids:

  • 2-story nature centter
  • The planetarium
  • Fun classes & events

#13 Smithsonian Gardens is open daily from dawn to dusk.

What’s fun for kids:

  • Smithsoanian Pollinator Garden is a lot of fun and has lots to learn
  • The Enid A. Haupt Garden to see and learn about plants, flowers and horticulture
  • Sitting in the chairs shaped like flowers
Smithsonian Gardens
Source: Smithsonian Gardens

#14 Enjoy the view from the Tidal Basin

The Tidal Basin is a lovely place to walk along the water and enjoy the views of the famous monuments. Kids aren’t able to resist wanting to rent one of the fun, motorized swan boats!

What’s fun for kids:

  • Ride the paddle boats
  • Watch the fishermen
  • Walk the 2.1 mile Tidal Basin Loop Trail

#15 Play free ping pong and eat yummy pizza at Comet Ping Pong

Comet Ping Pong was featured on the Food Network and for good reason! It has tasty pizza and you can enjoy playing free pong pong before or after your meal.

What’s fun for kids:

  • Playing ping pong & watching some good players
  • Enjoying some tasty pizza

#16 Enjoy Lafayette Square

Lafayette Square is a seven-acre public park located within President’s Park.and is a perfect place to get a view and photos of The White House without the bars.

While a small park, they have statues, small animals roaming and often geese.

What’s fun for kids:

  • See the geese
  • To see all the statues
  • To be close to The White House

#17 Check out the Cherry Blossoms at the National Cathedral

While it may not be best for the younger kids, the National Cathedral is an absolutely beautiful place. There are also sightseeing and behind-the-scenes tours to take.

Cherry Blossoms

In the spring, the Cathedral is also a beautiful place to see the cherry blossoms.

What’s fun for kids:

  • Seeing the small fish pond at the Bishop’s Garden
  • Seeing the stained glass windows

#18 There is something for everyone at Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens

Children under 6 can visit the Hillwood Museum for free and it’s only $5 for older kids up to age 18. The museum has family fun days, preschool series and other fun events throughout the year.

What’s fun for kids:

  • The water feature in the garden
  • Family Fun Days
  • The Japanese Garden, Greenhouse & many other gardens

#19 Constitution Gardens & Constitution Gardens Park

You can’t really visit Washington DC without visiting the Constitution Gardens as it’s a living legacy. This is a 50-acre part that is next to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and Reflecting Pool. In fact, it’s between the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial.

Constitution Gardens image
Source: NPS

Kids will love hopping between the 56 stones on the small island that celebrates the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

This is such a beautiful oasis right in the middle of the city!

What’s fun for kids:

  • The Duck Ponds
  • Flying a kite
  • Having a picnic
  • Spotting the native animals
  • The National Mall and Memorial Parks Tracks Trail is 1.2 round trip

#20 Learn something new at The National Geographic Museum

The National Geographic Museum has the best learning experiences for all ages including some great interactive displays for kids which help make it more fun and educational.

The photos and ambience here are incredible and there are changing exhibits which may it worth visiting again from time to time.

This isn’t one of the many free museums, but it’s still definitely worth it!

What’s fun for kids:

  • The colorful and interactive displays
  • The absolutely incredible pictures
  • The use of multimedia to teach which better caters to kids
  • Audio tour

#21 Test your spy skills at the International Spy Museum

The International Spy Museum is is home to the largest collection of spy related materials and is designed for kids 7 and older.

What’s fun for kids:

  • You receive a badge when you arrive that gives each kid their special, secret identity
  • Kids can also go on a secret mission by downloading a free family tour handout with a map that shows you around
  • The interactive activities

#22 The National Children’s Museum

The National Children’s Museum is a children’s museum and science center that has a three-level jungle gym with climbing areas and more.

It’s so much fun for kids up to age 12. They have so many fun, interactive exhibits that will keep the little ones engaged for hours.

A photo of the National Children’s Museum
Source: National Children’s Museum

What’s fun for kids:

  • All the interactive activities including climbing, building and exploring
  • The big 3-story slide for kids and adults to go down
  • Baby jam session every Friday at 10:30am
  • Science exhibits
  • Art room

#23 Do something different with Smithsonian Sleepovers

Did you know you can sleep at the Smithsonian? Yep, that’s right! With Smithsonian Sleepovers kids ages 8 to 14 can sleepover (with an adult) for tours, games, crafts and other activities.

Sleepovers are available from May through August and are available at the following museums:

  • American History Museum
  • Natural History Museum
  • The Air and Space’s Udvar-Hazy Center
  • The National Portrait Gallery

#24 Grab a delicious cupcake from Georgetown Cupcake

Georgetown Cupcake was founded by the stars of DC Cupcakes on TLC. And as you can probably guess, that make some delicious and impressive cupcakes.

What’s fun for kids:

  • The large variety of cupcakes!

#25 Enjoy a delicious meal at Firefly

This is a higher-end restaurant to grab brunch or another meal. The ambience is great and kids are entertained.

What’s fun for kids:

  • Kids get to decorate and eat a cookie at the table
  • French toast

#26 Play oversized games at The Wharf

There is so much fun to be had at The Wharf. You will have no problem spending the whole day here! Stop by Boardwalk Bar and Arcade to play some classic arcade games or visit one of the many other restaurants and shops.

An evening at the Wharf
Source: District Wharf

What’s fun for kids:

  • The swings on the dock
  • The boardwalk (and sometimes live concerts)
  • Go ice skating on DC’s only over water ice skating rink (from November – February)
  • Rent a bike or a boat
  • Play booce ball at the Waterfront Park
  • Search for all 30 historic markers and plaques
  • Roast s’mores at Camp Wharf firepit
  • Take the water take from the Wharf to The National Harbor

#27 Enjoy a Show at the National Theatre

Enjoy a free children’s show at the Helen Hayes Gallery on certain Saturdays. The show is best for kids ages 3 to 6.

What’s fun for kids:

  • Upclose performances
  • Fun, high quality shows and performances throughout the year

#28 Make some noise at the Echo Dome

Make lots of elongated echos by stomping, clapping and singing inside the Echo Dome. Then step outside and you won’t hear a thing.

What’s fun for kids:

  • Making noise!

#29 Have some good outdoor fun at Friendship “Turtle” Park

Play in the tunnels and in the sandbox with turtles at Friendship Park

What’s fun for kids:

  • Tot lot for younger kids up to about 6
  • Playground for older kids up to 12 with zip line and climbing area
  • Sprayground
Source: Friends of Friendship Park

#30 Bilingual storytime at the National Gallery of Art

Go to a free bilingual storytime at the National Gallery of Art.

What’s fun for kids:

  • Grab a kids guide at the front desk
  • The Sculpture Garden
  • The Multiverse Light Sculpture tunnel
  • Free, kid’s art programs
  • Go ice skating in The Sculpture Garden (end of November – early March)
  • Interactive guide available via app

#31 Bring your kid’s drum (or not!) to listen to the drum circle on Sunday afternoons at Meridian Hill Park

Every Sunday afternoon (weather permitting) is a super fun drum circle where you can join in or just sit back and watch.

What’s fun for kids:

  • Watching the drummers
  • The pond
  • Seeing a view of the Washington Monument

#32 Eat a fried doughnut

At Astro Doughnuts and Fried Chicken, as you would expect from the name, serves chicken sandwiches and donuts.

There are many unique flavors, such as the Cherry Blossom donut.

There is no indoor seating so you can use the outdoor seating when it’s warm or take your food to go.

#33 Load up on fresh produce at DC’s oldest continually operated fresh food public market

Eastern Market is DC’s fresh food public market and there is so much to explore during all seasons. We love the old town feel of this market.

What’s fun for kids:

  • Eating pancakes at The Market Lunch
  • Fresh, in-season fruit
  • Home made street food
  • The nearby playground at 9th and Penn Ave. SE

#34 Attend a kid’s story and activity time at an independent bookstore

There are many, wonderful storytimes with authors at Politics and Prose Bookstore for kids and teens. On top of that, just visiting to enjoy this fun bookstore is worth it!

#35 Play at this unique outdoor jungle gym

From 5:30pm to dusk, you can visit the playground and outdoor jungle gym that belongs to Beauvoir, the National Cathedral Elementary School.

An image of young boys reading books and chatting
Source: Beauvoir

Our favorite part is how the play structures all blend in with the natural environment.

There is so much to keep the kid’s entertained and is a great place for them in the evenings.

#36 Ride a bike along the Georgetown Waterfront Park

Rent a bike (or bring your own) and enjoy a ride along the waterfront! Georgetown Waterfront Park is such a beautiful, calming place to spend next to the water.

What’s fun for kids:

  • The fountains and splash pad (summer time)
  • Seeing the ducks and birds
  • Walking or riding along the water
  • Labyrinth
  • A snack or picnic

#37 Check out the 19-foot chair in Anacostia

DC’s “big chair” is 19-foot tall which makes it one of the largest in the world. Makes for a fun photo if you happen to be in the area.

#38 Let the kids run the bases at Nationals Park

Did you know after select Sunday games, kids ages 4 to 12 can actually run the bases at Nationals Park?

Other fun experiences at the park for kids:

  • National Parks Kid Zone for kids 10 and under to play
  • Signature Sundays where 2 Nationals players will sign autographs at home games (you must get a free voucher before the game starts)
Open Air Stadium with crowd at the stands
Source: Nationals Park
  • Becoming a Jr. Nationals Kids Club member
  • Watch the Racing Presidents who race around during the 5th inning of all home games
  • Pick-up a 1st game certificate at Guest Services

#39 Watch a free performance at Millennium Stage

The Kennedy Center offers free performances at their Millennium Stage and tickets are free and are available on a first come, first serve basis!

#40 See the monuments at night

Taking the kids to see the monuments at night is definitely a more unique experience and a lot of fun! Start with the World War II Memorial to see the fountains lit up at night. The kids love it and the monuments look different.

#41 Walk or take a boat to Theodore Roosevelt Island

Since there are no cars allowed on Theodore Roosevelt Island. As you might expect from the name, the island is a memorial to the former president. It’s fun to explore the trails that take you along the water and through the forest.

There are 3 trails available to take:

  • Theodore Roosevelt Island including the Swamp Trail (1.5 mile loop)
  • Woods Trail (1/3 mile)
  • Upland Trail (3/4 mile)

#42 Climb to the rooftop terrace of the National Gallery of Art

Why, you ask? To see the 14 ½ foot giant blue rooster, of course! The East Building of the National Gallery of Art is where you’ll want to go.

And while an art museum isn’t the first place you typically think of to take the kids, this art gallery has quick a bit for the kids to enjoy!

What’s fun for kids:

  • The auditorium with free, family films
  • Eating at the cafe near the cascading waterfall
  • The Young Artists section of the Museum Shop
  • Fantastic children’s programming throughout the year
  • Children’s audio tour

#43 Bring a picnic (or get food there) at the Kennedy Center rooftop and enjoy the view

The cafe and restaurant on the rooftop has casual dining options and as you’d expect, great views of the city. So why not grab dinner, see a show and enjoy a fantastic view?

Definitely a more unique experience.

#44 Small batch ice cream and handmade chocolates. Need we say more?

Thomas Sweet is where you go for homemade ice cream, chocolate and coffee. What more could you (and the kiddos) need? If you need something more, they have fudge and fro-yo too.

You can pick from their available flavors or create your own blend as well. Yum!


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#45 Try a DC Landmark Chocolae Covered Oreo

Pick up a chocolate covered oreo at The Capital Candy Jar. Throughout the year they are decorated to match the season and very delicious!

They have lots of other great treats like:

  • Chocolate covered pretzel rods
  • Popcorn
  • Truffles
  • Candy
  • Peanut butter cups
  • And more

#46 Enjoy a free concert on the lawn of the US Capitol Building

There’s something special about listening to a live, free concert right on Capitol Hill! No tickets are required either.

Just check the calendar of the Architect of The Capitol website for when the concerts take place throughout the year.

US Capitol Building

There is also a 130-year-old tradition that takes place on the West steps of the Capitol Building every summer. This is when the Military Band plays on weekday evenings and is so much fun for kids and adults to enjoy.

#47 Cuddle up with cats

At Crumbs and Whiskers Cat Cafe, you can visit with many cats in a super clean and fun environment. You can even enjoy a snack and coffee while you’re there!

Cat at a Cat Cafe in DC
Source: Mount Purrnon Cat Café + Wine Bar

It’s just like being at home, a nice one at that, and the cats are well loved and spoiled! If you want to adopt a cat, you can but it’s definitely not required for a visit.

This is actually just one of the D.C. area’s cat cafes.

What’s fun for the kids:

  • Many cats all in one area
  • A fun little Polaroid to keep to remember your time
  • Taking pictures of the cats
  • Reminding you they want to come back again, again and again 🙂

#48 Take a selfie at Unicorn Lane

If you happen to be in the area, kids of all ages (yep, even those teens!) like to see the unicorn statue on Unicorn Lane. This makes for a fun and unique photo too!

You’ll find it off Oregon Avenue, west of Rock Creek Park in Upper Northwest. This is at the start of a residential area.

#49 Snap kiddie portraits at Blagden Alley

Another great place to take photos of the kids is at Blagden Alley. The blocks along the alley are now home restaurants and various businesses that even incude classes.

Even if you’re not in a shopping mood, it’s fun to walk through and see all the mural art.

#50 Watch a show at the theater devoted to kids

The Smithsonian Museums are all around town but did you know the Smithsonian also has a theater for kids?

That’s right, the Discovery Theater offers nothing but kid and family-friendly shows so it’s a perfect place to bring the kids.

They also have a variety of shows that do not disappoint. Some examples include:

  • New Squid on the Block
  • Kofi’s African Village
  • Out of This World
  • Once Upon a Moon
  • How Old is a Hero?

#51 Bring a picnic, a kite & a soccer ball to the National Mall and enjoy a relaxing day

If you haven’t been before, you can also grab tickets to go to the top of the Washington Monument. Just make sure your kids are okay with heights as you’ll be riding the elevator up 500-feet to the observation deck.

You can pick-up free, first-come, first-serve tickets on the day of your visit.

If you’re prefer to just sit back and relax, there’s no need to plan anything extra!

#52 Can you catch the mobile cookie & milk man?

I think every kid loves ice cream. If yours doesn’t, please tell me your secret!

And what’s more fun than finding where the cookie man is around town on any given day?

People waiting at the Captain Cookie truck
Source: Captain Cookie

Captain Cookie & The Milk Man trucks can be found around town and they serve up some amazing ice cream, ice cream sandwiches, milkshakes and milk.

#53 Surprise the kids with mac n’ cheese topped with baked Goldfish crackers

If you weren’t already hungry from any of the other recommendations, Old Ebbitt Grill serves up something the kids will really like!

#54 Photograph kids taking pictures with flowers as big as their heads

Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens has some pretty amazing flowers and is always worth a visit! The area is blessed with so many nature opportunities right in the city.

You can’t leave without checking out the lily pads!

#55 See how money is made at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing

As of publication, we’re waiting for tours to re-open.

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing is where money is made and they offer tours for the public to learn about the process. It’s quite fascinating for kids.

What’s fun for kids:

  • Watching the money process
  • Seeing lots of money
  • The money-themed items are for sale

#56 Take the metro to the Zoo

Going to the zoo is fun but kids also love riding the metro, especially if that’s not something they normally get to do. And Smithsonian’s National Zoo

What’s fun for the kids:

  • The Kid’s Farm
  • Me and the Bee playground
  • Squirt Zone
  • The ZooLights event in the winter

#57 Visit the National Portrait Gallery

While the National Portrait Gallery may not sounds like somewhere the kids would enjoy, there is actually quite a bit they will. Not only a visit but other programs and events during the year have been made with kids as young as 3 in mind.

What’s fun for kids:

  • Multiple annual festivals including the Girl Scouts Festival, Dia de Los Muertos and more
  • Explore! Space designed just for kids ages 18 months to 8-years-old (open 11:30am to 7pm daily)
  • Weekend Workshops
  • The kid-friendly fountain (on the top floor)
  • Modern art exhibits (on the top floor)

#58 Plan a staycation at DC’s most awarded hotel, The Jefferson

If you’ve ever wanted to stay in a luxury hotel and wished the kids could come too, The Jefferson is welcoming. This is not just a stay but an experience.

They even have a library with a kids section and everytime a room is booked with them, they donate a book to the DC public library. When eating at the restaurant, they offer nonalcoholic beverage pairings for kids that they pull right up with a side cart so kids can participate in the experience.

Even Katy Perry and John Mayer stayed here!

#59 Design your own stamp (and email it to yourself)

At the National Postal Museum, you not only can design your own stamp but you can also view the largest collection of stamps in the world.

There are games for the kids and so much they will enjoy seeing.

What’s fun for kids:

  • Pick out a handful of stamps to take home
  • Send a postcard to others
  • Fun, interactive games
  • Test your package throwing skills

#60 Play a game of miniature 10-pin bowling

At The Eleanor DC, the kids will really enjoy planning some miniature bowling! Pick duckpin sized balls and 2 mini bowling lanes in the regular 10-pin format you’re used to.

Source: The Eleanor

You can reserve a lane before going or chance it and walk-in.

#61 Take the pay-what-you-like National Mall scavenger hunt tour

Kids 10 and under can participate in the National Mall scavenger hunt tour and parents only have to pay what you wish for them.

#62 Cool off at one of the spray grounds

Langdon Park and Petworth Spray Park offer nice spray grounds for the kids to enjoy when it’s warm but there’s more spraygounds in the area too!

#63 Explore the lesser-visited trails

It’s not just the trails at the Tregaron Conservancy, but also the wild gardens, open fields, meadows, nature center and lily pond that make this such a wonderful escape.

When you’re done, head straight over to the zoo right across from the conservatory!

kids at work at the Tregaron Conservancy
Source: Tregaron Conservancy

What’s fun for kids:

  • Looking for frogs
  • Seeing how many different birds you can spot
  • Walking next to the lily pod (even though it can be hard to resist throwing something in!

Did you know there is an green oasis of trails and woodlands right in NW DC?

#64 Rent a boat at the Fletcher’s Cove

Whether a rowboat, kayak or SUP is what you’re looking for, Fletcher’s boathouse has it! Or if being on the water isn’t in the plan for the day, they also rent bikes.

During the summer they also offer ‘Kids Day’ which teaches about boating and water fun. Kids get to learn how to paddle, fish and more as a group. It’s super fun!

#65 Here’s a chance for the younger kids to become Junior Ranger

At the National Mall and Memorial Parks, kids can becomea Junior Range and earn their own badge to prove it!

Kids up to age 9 can stop by the ranger station and pick up a Junior Ranger Booklet to complete during your visit as you visit the different memorials. This is such a great way to keep the kids engaged and they don’t even realize how much they are learning!

All you have to do is take the completed book back to the ranger station or you can even mail it in if the kids don’t finish it on-site.Don’t forget to check the schedule of events specifically for Junior Rangers as well!

#66 Attend a Free Sunset Parade

In June, July and August of every year, the Marines hold a Sunset Parade at Iwo Jima. The kids love see the drum, other instruments and marching.

Grab the free shuttle from Arlington National Cemetery and back so you don’t have to worry about parking.

What’s fun for kids:

  • Breaking up their normal routine!
  • Watch the US Drum and Bugle Corp & Marine Corp Silent Dril Platoon
  • Being able to go back again (since they play all summer and it’s free!)

#67 Gorge on Wood-Fired Pizzas

At 2 Amys Neapolitan Pizzeria you and the kids can enjoy some seriously tasty pizza! The Pizzeria has been serving the DC area for over 2 decades now so it definitely is visited by many regulars.

#68 See the interactive exhibits at Artechouse

If you haven’t visited any of the rotating exhibits at Artechouse, you are really missing out! Each one is very well thought out and is interactive for the kids.

It keeps the kids well engaged and they get to see some new displays and lights like they never have before.

#69 Visit the Kid Spaces at DC Libraries

DC is home to many public libraries and they all have some fun events for kids of all ages (babies to teens). While they have some regular events, they do change them up and even include seasonal events throughout the year so it’s worth keeping an eye on their calendar.

Just some of the events they have had include:

  • Storytime
  • Art Challenge
  • Reading Challenge
  • Book Bingo
  • Baby Lap Time
  • Teen’s Chill Zone
  • 3-D Printer Orientation

The MLK Library also has a newer kids area that has nice space for kids including a large slide and even a space just for teens.

#70 See the tulips

Every year at the Franciscan Monastery, typically in April, you can experience tons of Tulips blossoming all around the grounds and they are beautiful!

It’s fun to take some photos of the kids and even of the tulips themselves. It definitely transforms the look of the Monastery and is something we like to do every year.

#71 Visit The Museum of the Bible

Despite the name, The Museum of the Bible is actually not a religious museum so everyone can attend an enjoy. The displays are bright, colorful and definitely hold the interest of kids. They even have a playground inside.

Source: Jamie Davis Smith

It took about 5 hours for our family to get through as there is so much to see and do!

This is an easy museum to get to from the metro and there are other fun attractions nearby.

#72 Challenge Yourself at an Escape Room

Escape the Room DC has locations in Penn Quarter and Midtown with different rooms so you can find one for all ages.

Unlike some other escape rooms, these rooms are private so you only play with your group. The Penn Quarter location currently has a Jurassic Park theme which some kids will love. And The Submarine room in Midtown is fun too!

#73 Go ice skating at Fort Dupont Ice Rink

The Fort Dupont Ice Rink is run by a non-profit. Not only can you enjoy the ice rink, they also have a Kids on Ice program where kids can take lessons on:

  • Hockey
  • Figure skating
  • Synchronized skating
  • Speed skating

#74 Enjoy a Picnic at One of These Parks

Hains Point picnic area, Anacostia Park or Rock Creek Park all are great parks for a picnic. Snag one of the picnic tables and enjoy being in nature right in the city.

Source: National Park Service

#75 Visit, learn, and watch the exhibits at the National Building Museum

While the name of the museum is rather boring itself, the National Building Museum is actually quite fun for kids. Kids love the Building Zone where they get to dress up and get to work building away.

#76 Try Sourdough Scallion Pancakes

Maketto offers some yummy dishes of Cambodian and Taiwanese flavors.

You can also take them upstairs to Cool Kids Vinyl and explain what a record is. They also have coffee, books, magazines and comics.

#77 See a 22-Foot Tall Wall of Words

A great place to visit with the kids is Planet Word. While there are so many museums in DC, this one is especially fun for kids. Most of the museum is voice activated as kids explore words and languages, making this an entirely different experience.

What’s fun for kids:

  • Karaoke
  • Using virtual brushes to change the atmosphere of a room
  • Using a teleprompter to deliver a speech
  • Recording studio
  • Short story generator
Kids experiencing exhibit at Planet Word Museum
Source: Planet Word Museum

It’s easy to spend at least a couple of hours here and it will go by fast!

#78 Pay a visit to the National Museum of the American Indian

On the second floor of The National Museum of the American Indian, you’ll find ImagiNations, an interactive kids area. Here adults and kids will get to learn about the different tribes in this nation and a lot of gaps are filled in that aren’t covered in schools.

It’s also neat to see the items in the gift shop that are made by tribe members.

#79 Pick up some fresh food at one of the local farmer’s markets

DC is home to some great farmer’s markets full of local produce and fresh baked goods. Some of the ones worth checking out are:

  • Dupont Circle Freshfarm Market
  • Penn Quarter Freshfarm Market
  • Eastern Market

#80 Attend one (or several!) of the Annual Spring Festivals in DC

The DC area is home to so many awesome festivals that happen throughout the year and there is about every kind you can think of. Some of our favorite are:

  • Smithsonian Folklife Festival
  • Flower Mart
  • The Washington DC Dragon Boat Festival

You can see a full list of 43+ of Spring Fairs & Festivals in & near DC here

#81 Learn About the Holocaust

Washington, DC has a museum dedicated to the Holocaus called the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. While this isn’t typically a topic discussed with children, it’s advised to bring the older children. Overall the museum is best for kids 12 and older.

There are many images, artifacts and personal narratives throughout the museum that really tell the story.

They do keep the worst images and topics more covered so you have to pier over a wall to see. That helps you shield younger ones who are not ready to see these images.

It is helpful for kids to have an idea of what the Holocaust was before going.

#82 See a Free Summer Concert

During the summer, grab the kiddos and go see a free concert and live music by the U.S. Air Force Band. They play on Saturdays at 7pm at the National Harbor.

#83 Visit the National Museum of African American History & Culture

Learn about the richness and diversity of the African culture at National Museum of African American History and Culture.

You will start in the basement where history starts hundreds of years ago and as you progress through the museum, you will get to the more recent history. Some portions of the museum can be hard for kids, especially younger ones, so you can skip certain sections like the third floor.

What’s fun for kids:

  • Explore More! Interactive Gallery where kids can do an interactive dance session
  • The community galleries to see sports images and a great view
  • Picking out a book from the gift shop

#84 Attend a Session at the Supreme Court

Getting to attend a live Supreme Court session is a cool and unique opportunity for the older kids. You can also take a self-guided tour to see the public sections of the Supreme Court building, including the ground and first floors.

Seating in the courtroom is available on a first-come, first-serve basis so make sure to get there early. Make sure to check the court’s calendar before heading there.

Supreme Court
Image Source: Supreme Court website

#85 Visit one of the largest and most inclusive collections of American art in the world

The Smithsonian American Art Museum is a great (and free!) space for kids.

#86 Attend the Annual Drive-In at Union Market

On the second Friday of every month (all the way through mid October!), you can attend the Annual Drive-In at Union Market. Some movies are for the whole family while others are for teens and / or adults only.

#87 Educate yourself about the complex history of our nation at the National Museum of American History

The American Art Museum is part of the Smithsonian Institution and tickets here give you access to the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery with their connecting courtyard.

They also have lots of fun kid activities available on their website for events like: Lunar New Year Cherry Blossom May Day Dia de Los Muertos and more.

What’s fun for kids:

  • Regularly schedule kid’s events and performers
  • The in-gallery scavenger hunts
  • The beautiful, covered and air conditioned courtyard with tables, benches and plants
  • Eating ice cream in the courtyard
  • There is art of plaes many kids will recognize

Just keep in mind, this isn’t the place for kids that want to run and touch everything but letting them get some energy out and the promise of ice cream in the courtyard helps!

#88 Enjoy the Green Space at Stead Park and take a short walk.

Stead Park was created by a husband in memory of his late wife and dedicated to the children of Washington, DC.

Image Source: Friends of the Stead Park website
Source: Friends of the Stead Park

The park itself is more recently renovated and has lots of fun features including:

  • A playground
  • Basketball courts
  • A multi-use playing field
  • Picnic areas
  • A plash park
  • and more

#89 Visit the Local Game Store

If you want to search for new games, try out new games or meet others who like to play games too, head to Labyrinth Games & Puzzles. They have a large selection including:

  • Board games
  • Tabletop role playing games
  • Magic cards
  • Pokémon Cards
  • Puzzles
  • And more

Towards the back of the store you can test out some games and they also have game nights you can attend which are a lot of fun.

#90 Visit the Best Toy Store in the City

Child’s Play Toys and Books is a local, amazing toy store with everything from legos, books, board games, figurines, puzzles, art and more.

You’ll not only find great options for kids but for adults too!

#91 Tour the C&O Canal on Water

Did you know you could actually ride the C&O Canal boat? These are 1-hour tours that run Wednesday through Sunday so you can learn about the history and technology of the canal.

#92 View the Country’s Founding Documents

At the National Archives you can see the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights. While you’re seeing all the National Monuments, it doesn’t seem right to not see the founding documents too!

#93 Visit the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery

The best way to know a city? Immerse yourself in its art and culture.

And there’s no better place than the Smithsonian American Art Museum when it comes to exploring the history of art of the American people throughout three centuries.

Fun Things (& Free Things) to Do in Washington DC for the Entire Family

Wow! You’ll made it to the end of our list of things to do in the DC area with kids. There is so much to do in the heart of Washington from the natural world, special events, historic sites and so much more!

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Michaela Lee

Michaela lives in Northern Virginia and is a mom of 2 young kids. She enjoys writing, reading and going new places with her family.