Washington D.C. With Kids
Washington D.C. is one of the best cities to vacation with kids. We especially enjoy visiting in the spring when flowers are in bloom everywhere. On our most recent trip we stayed at the Hotel Harrington, which is a great choice for families given its central location and low prices. The family suites consist of two or three small bedrooms and multiple bathrooms, making them a great choice for larger families. Below I’ve listed ten of the best activities for families in D.C. There are obviously many more possibilities, so a good guidebook is essential. Most of these activities are free; another reason to love Washington D.C.
1. Take a ride on the Smithsonian Carousel. Perpetually popular with young kids, it’s an inexpensive thrill that’s a nice way to take a break from the museums.
2. Tour the FDR Memorial. This is one of the better memorials for kids, because of the splashing waterfalls, reflection pools, and outdoor “rooms” to explore.
3. Walk up to the Lincoln Memorial. It’s an adventure to climb the many steps here and view the huge statue of Lincoln inside. There’s also a great little bookshop at the top with a small but quality selection of children’s titles.
4. Paddle the Tidal Basin. If you visit in warm weather, make time to rent a paddle boat to tour this quiet area. If you’re here in the spring, you may be lucky enough to see the area’s crowning glory: dozens of cherry trees in full bloom.
5. Be awed by the Washington Monument. Kids are amazed by the sheer height of this monument which is visible around the city. It’s also fun to get advance tickets (line up early as you can to avoid crowds) to ride the elevator up to the top and see the great city views.
6. Explore the Capitol grounds. Older kids may be interested in touring this beautiful building, younger kids will be happy clambering around on the steps and watching ducks in the reflecting pool. And next time they see this famous icon on the news, they’ll be sure to recognize it.
7. Visit the U.S. Botanic Gardens. This is a great place to walk through any time of year (especially nice on a cold day) There’s always something in bloom and the trickling water features, lush greenery, and winding paths make for a relaxing hour or two.
8. Tour the White House. You need to plan well ahead to get tickets, but it’s worth it for kids who show an interest. Strollers aren’t permitted on the tours. Whether you choose to take a tour or not, stop by the White House Visitor’s Center to view the exhibits.
9. See the animals. The National Zoo is a must-see for families with kids. The biggest attraction in the zoo is the famous pair of pandas, but there’s also a walk-in aviary, butterfly garden, plus all the favorite zoo animals. The restaurant on site serves up decent food, or you can bring a picnic.
10. Dine out at the Old Ebbitt Grill. Kids are welcomed here with a nicely priced children’s menu (all choices come with dessert), activity sheets to color, and a bustling atmosphere with great people-watching.
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