Are you visiting Washington, D.C. for the first time or planning to make it your permanent home? Do you have kids? Any parent knows how important it is to keep their kids occupied if you do – and also how rewarding it is to find fun activities you can do together.
It is easy to get carried away with the historic buildings and monuments of D.C. and forget that kids are into different things. This guide keeps them in mind, taking you through some of the most enjoyable things to do in Washington, D.C., with kids.
Things to Consider When Looking for Kid-Friendly Activities in DC
The first step in planning activities with your kids is to factor in what they like to do. Each child is different, so coming up with a list of your young one’s favorite activities is an excellent place to begin.
Washington, D.C., is full of awesome parks if your child likes being outside, and there are also indoor venues for the colder months. It becomes much easier to find the best places to visit once you have a clear idea of the types of activities you’re looking for.
Kids have unique needs and their own interests, so don’t assume that they’re going to like the same places and activities you do. Consider these aspects when looking for kid-friendly activities:
- Safety – Your child’s safety is the most important thing, naturally, so you’ll always want to choose activities that keep them away from danger. Washington, D.C., is a safe city, but you might want to avoid activities around a river’s edge if your child is likely to enter the water, or stay away from busy areas if your kids like to wander.
- Nearby Dining Options – Parents know their kids get hungry a lot, so going with activities featuring on-site or nearby dining options is a great idea. Many of Washington, D.C.’s most popular attractions for kids have concession stands or restaurants so you can stop for a quick meal as you visit.
- Season – The time of year determines which venues are open. You will find that more outdoor facilities are available in the summer, although wintertime brings unique opportunities to go ice skating or sledding. Consider the season and temperatures when making plans to avoid disappointment.
You can pick your outing once you have a clear idea of the types of activities you want to participate in. Washington, D.C., has plentiful facilities for children with a variety of interests.
8 Child-Friendly Places to Visit in Washington, D.C.
There are few places in America that can surpass Washington, D.C., for its huge variety of attractions, landmarks, and other fun things to do. This list consists of child-friendly spots that are famous on a national level, including:
- The National Zoo –The National Zoo sits just north of downtown Washington in Rock Creek Park. The facility has over 390 species of animals and is part of the Smithsonian Institution. Admission to the National Zoo is free, although it’s important to keep in mind that it gets busy on weekends in the summer. 3001 Connecticut Ave., NW Washington, DC 20008
- Discovery Theater – The Ripley Center on the National Mall is home to the Smithsonian’s Discovery Theater. Most of these activities, including puppet shows, music, and live theater performances, are for school-aged children and occur on weekday mornings. Discovery Theater is a great place for the entire family. 1100 Jefferson Dr SW, Washington, DC 20024
- Glen Echo Park – Glen Echo, dating back to 1891, is a historic park just northwest of downtown Washington in Maryland. The park’s main attraction is its vintage carousel, which kids can ride during their visit. The park also has a wide array of kid- and teen-friendly classes, camps, and workshops in art, dance, music, and more. 7300 Macarthur Blvd, Glen Echo, MD 20812
- Six Flags America – Most kids love a little fun and excitement, and that’s precisely what Six Flags America provides. This theme park, which sits about 30 minutes from downtown Washington, D.C., in Bowie, Maryland, has over 100 attractions, including the region’s largest water park. It’s divided into six themed areas inspired by unique places in the U.S., such as Mardi Gras and the American frontier, as well as fictional settings such as the City of Gotham and Looney Tunes: Movie Town. 13710 Central Ave, Bowie, MD 20721
- National Air and Space Museum – A visit to the Air and Space Museum will provide insight into the history of aviation and space flight to your kids. Older kids love looking at the on-site planes, and there are also IMAX films, planetarium shows, and interactive flight simulators available for an additional fee. The museum has special Family Days that feature story times and presentations from pilots and astronauts. 600 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20560
- Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History – Another famous Smithsonian museum is the Natural History Museum, which enjoys a convenient location at the National Mall in the heart of D.C. Some of the top attractions at this facility include a historic 11-ton, 13-foot-tall African bush elephant, a 45.5-carat diamond, and the ancient Egypt exhibit, which has 2,000+ year-old-mummies. You can spend an entire day with your kids at this massive museum exploring exhibits on many historical periods. 10th St. & Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20560
- Georgetown Waterfront Park – One venue that works well as an attraction for both kids and adults is Georgetown Waterfront Park. This facility features beautiful views of the Potomac River and the Kennedy Center, along with trees and benches that make it relaxing for adults. Kids also love the open green spaces, playgrounds, and labyrinths, where they can play for hours. 3303 Water St NW, Washington, DC 20007
- United States Botanic Garden – A final venue at the National Mall is the United States Botanic Garden, which is the oldest continuously operating botanic garden in the U.S. You will find pretty much any flower you can imagine in this garden, and there’s a Children’s Garden where young ones can play with gardening tools and learn to appreciate local plant life. It is open from spring to fall. 100 Maryland Ave SW, Washington, DC 20001
All these venues are great places to start a day of family fun that will be fun and memorable. They also reinforce the notion that D.C. is a great place to raise a family.
Contact an Expert With Your Washington, D.C., Rental Questions
Moving is always more challenging when it involves kids, who place greater importance on finding the right area with plenty of activities nearby. That is why it’s important to work with experts who know the region.
Nomadic Real Estate is an experienced property management company that can provide you with insight into renting in Washington, D.C., making the move easier for you and your kids. Contact Nomadic Real Estate to learn more about available properties in the D.C. area.
Alternatively, if you are looking for a place to rent, check out our DC rentals.