Planning on moving to Washington DC? For families with kids, there’s no place better!
Famous, historical monuments and world-renowned museums abound here. And there’s a plethora of free attractions and entertainment options your family can enjoy every day.
In fact, there are so many things to do in DC with kids, you may not know where to start. Lucky for you, we do. And we’ve made you a bucket list of DC family fun.
While it’s nowhere near a full overview of what DC has to offer, this list starts you off with 10 points of interest to good to pass up. Read on and see what’s waiting for you when you and your family arrive.
1. The Beauvoir Outdoors Playground
Since playtime is number one on your child’s list, the Beauvoir Outdoors Playground is first on ours. Plus, it’s 100% free and open to the public from 6 pm to sunset on school days.
Your kids will enjoy rope bridges, swings, wooden play structures, a zip line, and plenty of climbing areas. It’s the perfect place to wind down after a long day of sightseeing. But the kid stuff isn’t the only reason to visit.
This exciting outdoor play area is part of the National Cathedral Elementary School. Just a few feet from the playground is the massive and breathtaking Washington National Cathedral.
The cathedral is not free, but very affordable and well worth the admission price. It closes half an hour before the park opens, though, so view the cathedral first.
Besides, the playground doesn’t have a public restroom. So you’ll want to take a potty break right before playtime anyway.
2. The Yards Park
Here’s another free DC destination you won’t want to miss, especially during the hot summer months. Located on the scenic Anacostia River, the Yards Park is waterfront fun for the whole family.
In addition to free admission, you’ll also enjoy free dancing fountain shows and the occasional free concert or other special events. It’s also a great spot for kayaking, canoeing, or simply enjoying a picnic lunch.
There’s a dog park too, so your fur babies don’t have to miss all the fun.
3. National Air and Space Museum
Any future astronauts/NASA enthusiasts in your family? Then you definitely don’t want to miss the National Air and Space Museum.
This celebration of scientific marvels provides an immersive, educational, inspiring environment for your kids. Sights and activities include 22 exhibition galleries, an IMAX screen, a planetarium, and VR exhibits. It’s sure to keep the whole family entertained for at least a few hours.
4. International Spy Museum
Yes, you read that right. There’s an International Spy Museum in DC. What kid would say no to that?
Here, your kids will explore the intriguing world of espionage. They’ll learn about real spies, actual missions throughout history, and more.
There are plenty of hands-on exhibits where kids can hone their own secret spy skills. Highlights include diffusing bombs and climbing through ducts.
5. Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute
Your next stop is the famous Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. With over 300 species to see (over 1,800 animals in total) your little animal lovers will get an entire day of zoo fun.
Aside from rare sights and endangered animals, the zoo has various daily programs scheduled to keep your little ones engaged. Check the website beforehand to see what’s happening.
6. The Museum of Natural History
What visit to DC would be complete without visiting the world-famous Museum of Natural History? Here, your kids can view huge scale model animals, including the blue whale and a giant squid.
Then check out small-scale live attractions in the insect zoo. Kids can even feed the tarantula.
Then, it’s on to the hall of gems, rocks, and minerals. View the world’s largest diamond, a 23-carat ruby, and more.
Check out special daily programs and hands-on learning activities for more educational fun.
7. Discovery Theatre
For a good time that won’t wear your kids out, check out the Discovery Theatre. This acclaimed children’s theatre provides younger kids with fun, high-energy entertainment, and without all the walking around.
Plus the performances are educational, teaching a variety of lessons for various grade-levels. The Discovery Theatre is a fun learning option for kids who are too young to be dragged all over a museum.
8. The White House
Obviously, the United States Capital is the number one family tourism destination in DC. So, now that you’re moving here, make sure to plan a visit.
And when we say plan, we mean way, way in advance. Signing up for your visit must be done at least 3 months in advance.
The 540-room building has remained in use for about 200 years. During your visit, tour guides teach your family fascinating facts you never know about the building and its historical inhabitants.
Plus, one of the fun things about the White House is that newsworthy things happen there every day. It’s very likely that important, running-the-country-type work will be carried out there while you and your family are in the building.
9. The Washington Monument
Another must-see DC landmark is the Washington Monument. Towering over 555 feet above onlookers, the Washington Monument is the tallest freestanding stone sculpture in the world.
Your family can take tours to the very top of the monument for a breathtaking view of the city. But even standing by the reflecting pool at ground level provides an amazing, one-of-a-kind selfie opportunity you don’t want to miss.
If you are planning on taking the elevator to the top, you’ll want to make sure it’s open before you visit. The structure is occasionally closed for repairs.
10. The Lincoln Memorial
When your family sees Honest Abe’s giant, 19-foot-tall likeness for the first time, you’ll all realize the same thing. Pictures just don’t do him justice.
Seeing the intimate details of Lincoln’s humongous features is truly a sight to behold. Plus, when something this majestic is right around the corner from your new DC home, what excuse is there not to check it out?
10 Family-Friendly Things to Do in DC with Kids
Not everyone will get to see these historical wonders and unique attractions in their lifetime. But certainly no family living in DC should have to miss out.
With so many amazing things to do in DC with kids, what are you waiting for? Pack up the family, join us here, and see it all.
For related reading, check out these 7 Best Places to Live in Washington DC for Families.