We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Washington DC for families

94%
Found this guide helpful

Washington DC is a great city for families. It is easy to explore on public transportation and the options are limitless. As a mom with two kids, I was able to easily engage my kids and we all had opportunities to delve deeper into our interests. Here I've laid out two solid days of exploring the city highlights with several options to chose from for the third day.

Good for
  • Family
  • History Buff
  • Thrill Seeker
  • Nature Lover
  • Thrifty Traveller
  • Like a Local

45 Places

2 City Tips

Print
Map

45 Places

Day 1

The Embassy Row Hotel

Hotels

DC Cafe

Restaurants

National Mall

Historic Walking Areas, Parks

Washington Monument

Monuments & Statues

National World War II Memorial

Monuments & Statues

Tidal Basin

Bodies of Water

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

History Museums, Speciality Museums

Jefferson Memorial

Monuments & Statues

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial

Monuments & Statues

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial

Monuments & Statues

Korean War Veterans Memorial

Monuments & Statues

Lincoln Memorial

Monuments & Statues

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Monuments & Statues

Vietnam Women's Memorial

Monuments & Statues

Albert Einstein Memorial

Monuments & Statues

The Hay-Adams

Hotels

St. John's Church

Churches & Cathedrals

Lafayette Square

Points of Interest & Landmarks

White House Visitors Center

Visitor Centres

White House

Government Buildings

Old Post Office Pavilion

Architectural Buildings, Historic Sites, Observation Decks & Towers

The National Archives Museum

Speciality Museums

Smithsonian Institution Building

Speciality Museums

National Museum of American History

History Museums

Ben's Chili Bowl

Restaurants

Day 2

Library of Congress

Government Buildings, Libraries

Folger Shakespeare Library

Libraries

Supreme Court

Government Buildings

U.S. Capitol

Government Buildings

United States Botanic Garden

Fountains, Gardens

National Air and Space Museum

Speciality Museums

National Gallery of Art

Art Museums

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Natural History Museums

National Building Museum

History Museums

National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial

Monuments & Statues

Chinatown

Neighbourhoods

Ford's Theatre

Historic Sites, History Museums, Theatres

Day 3

National Zoological Park

Zoos

President Lincoln's Cottage

Historic Sites

Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

Sacred & Religious Sites, Churches & Cathedrals

Franciscan Monastery

Sacred & Religious Sites, Gardens, Churches & Cathedrals

Washington National Cathedral

Architectural Buildings, Sacred & Religious Sites, Churches & Cathedrals

Alexandria

Destinations

George Washington's Mount Vernon

Historic Sites, Architectural Buildings, Speciality Museums

ColoMama33's City Tips

  • Find a hotel located near a metro station to ease transportation.
  • If you will be in town for a few days, look into the 7-day metro short-trip pass.
    Day 1
  • Save
    The Embassy Row Hotel
    Hotels
    See more photos
    ColoMama33 Says:

    We found this hotel to be an excellent choice for our family and have stayed here on multiple occasions. The rooms are family friendly, the hotel offers free included breakfast, and it is located 2 short blocks to the Dupont metro station.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • The rooftop pool is a great place to cool down after a long day and also offers a great view of the city.
    From the community
    Ranked #90 of 141 Hotels in Washington DC
    • A week in D.C. for the Supreme Court of the U.S. 11/12/2017
    • Wonderful place to stay! 11/12/2017
    • The Embassy Row Hotel
    Address:
    2015 Massachusetts Ave NW
    Washington DC, DC 20036-1011
    Phone:
    +1 855-615-3281
    Other:
  • Save
    DC Cafe
    Restaurants (Lebanese, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Greek)
    ColoMama33 Says:

    This is a gem known mostly to the locals and shouldn't be missed if you are staying at The Embassy Row Hotel a few short blocks away. The Greek/Mediterranean food is fantastic, served hot and cooked fresh right in front of you. There aren't many tables, so grab a sandwich to go.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Nightlife Seeker
    • Like a Local
    Plan to stay:/
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #544 of 2,515 restaurants in Washington DC
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Fantastic 04/12/2017
    • Budapest,Hungary 13/08/2017
    • DC Cafe
    Address:
    2035 P Street Northwest
    Washington DC, DC 20036-5910
    Phone:
    +1 202-887-5819
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    11:00 - 03:00
  • Save
    National Mall
    Historic Walking Areas, Parks
    See more photos
    ColoMama33 Says:

    There is no better place to start your first day in Washington DC than on The National Mall. Take the Metro to the Mall station and enjoy the view. The mall itself is nearly two miles in length, one in each direction from where you stand, so wear your walking shoes, and don't expect to cover it all in one day! Look at the forecast and plan the nicer-weather day for the west half, which I've listed here first.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • The mall is larger than you realize at first glance and usually filled with one sort of activity or another.
    From the community
    Ranked #10 of 458 things to do in Washington DC
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Pride. 11/12/2017
    • Beautiful! 11/12/2017
    • National Mall
    Address:
    Constitution Ave NW
    Washington DC, DC 20565
    Phone:
    +1 202-426-6841
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    00:00 - 23:59
    Other:
  • Save
    Washington Monument
    Monuments & Statues
    See more photos
    ColoMama33 Says:

    As a guiding point that can be seen from nearly all over the city, this is a great place to start your tour of the west half of The National Mall. Book tickets ahead of time if possible, or arrive early for same-day tickets.

    Good for
    • History Buff
    Tips
    • This stands so tall that you can't miss it, even if you don't get tickets to the top.
    From the community
    Ranked #21 of 458 things to do in Washington DC
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Saw it from a distance 11/12/2017
    • Must do photo opp 11/12/2017
    • Washington Monument
    Address:
    2 15th St. NW
    Near 15th St. & Madison Dr. NW
    Washington DC, DC 20560
    Phone:
    +1 202-426-6841
    Other:
  • Save
    National World War II Memorial
    Monuments & Statues
    See more photos
    ColoMama33 Says:

    This was a fun stop along our "walk of the memorials" The kids had fun finding our home state as well as those we've traveled through. There was also an opportunity to have a snack and dip our toes in the water.

    Good for
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • History Buff
    Tips
    • If this is busy when you pass by in the morning, you can easily swing by in the afternoon as you finish your loop around this half of The Mall.
    Plan to stay:/
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #9 of 458 things to do in Washington DC
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Mesmerized at Memorial 11/12/2017
    • Marvelous monument to visit during all hours 11/12/2017
    • National World War II Memorial
    Address:
    1750 Independence Ave. SW
    Near 7th St. & Independence Ave. SW
    Washington DC, DC 20024
    Phone:
    +1 202-426-6841
    Other:
  • Save
    Tidal Basin
    Bodies of Water
    See more photos
    ColoMama33 Says:

    The Tidal Basin can be beautiful, especially when the Cherry Blossoms are blooming. It is also quite large. Consider that, along with the time you have, and walking ability of everyone you are traveling with before heading around the basin. On our first visit to Washington DC, we didn't walk all the way around, on our second, we did. If you chose not to walk around the basin, head for the World War 1 Memorial and on to the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial, if you head around the basin, turn south toward the Jefferson Memorial. The paddle boats are fun for families, but with so much to see and do in the city, consider the amount of time you allot to this activity as well.

    Good for
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • It is a very long walk around!
    Plan to stay:/
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #33 of 458 things to do in Washington DC
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Tidal basin 11/12/2017
    • Pleasant walk 09/12/2017
    • Tidal Basin
  • Save
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    History Museums, Speciality Museums
    See more photos
    ColoMama33 Says:

    The Holocaust Memorial is located a block off the eastern shore of the Tidal Basin. I got advanced, timed tickets ahead of time in order to avoid the line (I highly recommend doing this). As a new(er) museum, there are long lines and huge crowds here. My kids, ages 9 and 11 at the time of visit, didn't understand much of this museum, as they hadn't studied the Holocaust in school or talked about it much at home. For my family, this was one to skip. Between the crowds, long waits, and heavy subject material, our time would have been better spent elsewhere (like the art or history museum later in the day.)

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    Tips
    • Get tickets at home before visiting to save yourself from the long lines. When you arrive, make sure you are in the correct line for the ticket you have.
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #4 of 458 things to do in Washington DC
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Had an impact on me 11/12/2017
    • Sobering and valuable lessons about a dark chapter of history 11/12/2017
    • United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Address:
    100 Raoul Wallenberg Plaza SW
    Washington DC, DC 20024-2126
    Phone:
    +1 202-488-0400
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:00 - 17:30
    Other:
  • Save
    Jefferson Memorial
    Monuments & Statues
    See more photos
    ColoMama33 Says:

    The Jefferson Memorial, located at the south end of the Tidal Basin offers a nice tribute to Thomas Jefferson. The columns are massive and statue of Thomas Jefferson is impressively large. Take time to read the quotes around the inside walls of the building.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Seek out a National Park Ranger for some insider knowledge on the memorial.
    Plan to stay:/
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #12 of 458 things to do in Washington DC
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Beautiful monument 11/12/2017
    • Grand memorial of founding father. 09/12/2017
    • Jefferson Memorial
    Address:
    701 E Basin Dr SW
    At the south shore of the Tidal Basin
    Washington DC, DC 20242
    Phone:
    +1 202-426-6841
    Other:
  • Save
    Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
    Monuments & Statues
    See more photos
    ColoMama33 Says:

    The FDR Memorial was a great find on our walk around the Tidal Basin. It is located on the west side of the Tidal Basin, and stretches over several hundred feet. There are statues, water features, and engraved quotes from FDR. This was an unexpected, nice retreat on an otherwise very long walk around the Tidal Basin for my kids. They enjoyed jumping across the stepping stones of the water features and learning about the Great Depression.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • This can be a great quiet sanctuary if you avoid the school and tour groups. There is also a sometimes well-needed bathroom here.
    Plan to stay:/
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #11 of 458 things to do in Washington DC
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Sprawling memorial 09/12/2017
    • Words have meaning 08/12/2017
    • Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
    Address:
    1850 West Basin Dr SW
    Washington DC, DC 20242
    Phone:
    +1 202-426-6841
    Other:
  • Save
    Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
    Monuments & Statues
    See more photos
    ColoMama33 Says:

    As one of the newest memorials built on The Mall, this is an impressive tribute to a man who changed America. Even if you don't walk around the Tidal Basin, make sure cross to the south side of Independence Avenue to see this remarkable statue and his view of the Tidal Basin.

    Good for
    • Hidden Gems
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Although it can be busy here, the memorial is large and can be enjoyed by all.
    Plan to stay:/
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #15 of 458 things to do in Washington DC
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Tribute to civil rights leader 09/12/2017
    • Seriously Impressive 09/12/2017
    • Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
    Address:
    1850 West Basin Drive SW
    Near West Basin Drive SW & Independence Ave. SW
    Washington DC, DC 20024
    Phone:
    +1 202-426-6841
    Other:
  • Save
    Korean War Veterans Memorial
    Monuments & Statues
    See more photos
    ColoMama33 Says:

    Continuing toward the Lincoln Memorial, you come across the Korean War Memorial. It is a beautiful tribute to our soldiers who fought in this tough battle. As you stand near the soldiers, you can almost feel as though you are there with them, marching through the fields. The detail of the solders is incredible.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    Tips
    • This memorial can be busy with tour busses, but the crowds tend to come and go if you wait about 5 minutes.
    From the community
    Ranked #3 of 458 things to do in Washington DC
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Very interesting 11/12/2017
    • Incredible! 11/12/2017
    • Korean War Veterans Memorial
    Address:
    10 Daniel French Dr SW
    Washington DC, DC 20002
    Phone:
    +1 202-426-6841
    Other:
  • Save
    Lincoln Memorial
    Monuments & Statues
    See more photos
    ColoMama33 Says:

    The Lincoln Memorial sits at the West end of the Reflecting Pool and is as far from a Metro stop as we walked. It is one of our favorite places in Washington DC and shouldn't be missed! We visited several times and always felt the walk from The Mall Metro Stop was the most interesting. We walked from Foggy Bottom, which was all downhill, and we took a taxi from the Memorial to the Rosslyn Metro. My 9 year old son loved sliding down the "slide" just to the side of the main steps to the memorial. This was the highlight of his trip until the last day of our trip when they put up "keep off" signs. My daughter loved walking to the back side and looking over the Potomac and Arlington Cemetery. I loved watching the sun set and the sky change from blue to pink over the Reflecting Pool and Washington Monument. This was also a great place to simply people-watch while enjoying a snack. There is quite a bit of symbolism here, take time to research it at home to make the most of your visit.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Park Rangers offer talks with detailed information about Lincoln. Take time to find the step where King gave his famous "I have a dream" speech.
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 458 things to do in Washington DC
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • History and lovely architecture combined :)) 11/12/2017
    • Beautiful Architecture 11/12/2017
    • Lincoln Memorial
    Address:
    2 Lincoln Memorial Cir NW
    Washington DC, DC 20037
    Phone:
    (202) 426-6841
    Other:
  • Save
    Vietnam Veterans Memorial
    Monuments & Statues
    See more photos
    ColoMama33 Says:

    This is a famous, but very moving memorial to those who served in Vietnam. There are books located at both ends of the wall where you can find the names and locations of loved ones who are listed on the wall. This is a great place to take a pencil and paper to make a rubbing or simply leave a flower. The wall itself is quite long and not protected from the weather, so be prepared for sun and heat, rain, etc.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Look up the name and location of loved ones at home to save time, the line at the books is quite long.
    Plan to stay:/
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #7 of 458 things to do in Washington DC
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • A Profound and Somber Place... 11/12/2017
    • Moving and emotional 11/12/2017
    • Vietnam Veterans Memorial
    Address:
    5 Henry Bacon Dr NW
    Washington DC, DC 20242
    Phone:
    +1 202-426-6841
    Other:
  • Save
    Vietnam Women's Memorial
    Monuments & Statues
    See more photos
    ColoMama33 Says:

    This monument stands near the wall and recognizes the women who served in the Vietnam war. Take time to learn the significance of each woman.

    Good for
    • History Buff
    From the community
    Ranked #43 of 458 things to do in Washington DC
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Nice! 11/12/2017
    • Nice Sentiment 09/12/2017
    • Vietnam Women's Memorial
    Address:
    5 Henry Bacon Dr NW
    Washington DC, DC 20007
    Other:
  • Save
    Albert Einstein Memorial
    Monuments & Statues
    See more photos
    ColoMama33 Says:

    This slightly off-the-wall memorial is located in the shady grove in front of the National Academy of Sciences at the northeast corner of 22nd & Constitution Ave NW. This was one of our favorite memorials! In Einstein's left hand, he holds a paper with three of his most notable equations and there are three quotes on the back side of the benches surrounding Einstein. Embedded on the ground in front of Einstein are over 2,700 metal studs representing the astronomical objects (suns, moons, stars, etc) exactly as they were at the time of the dedication of the statue. Make sure to stand in center (at the sun) and talk to Einstein, you can look directly into his eyes and your voice will be noticeably amplified, fascinating design!

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Hidden Gems
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Plan to stay:/
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #45 of 458 things to do in Washington DC
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • A hidden gem 02/12/2017
    • Cheeky statue very photogenic 17/11/2017
    • Albert Einstein Memorial
    Address:
    2101 Constitution Ave NW
    Washington DC, DC 20418
    Phone:
    +1 202-334-2000
    Other:
  • Save
    The Hay-Adams
    Hotels
    See more photos
    ColoMama33 Says:

    The Hay-Adams is a well-known hotel overlooking Lafayette Square and the White House. We didn't have the luxury of staying here, but still took the elevator to the top floor. Upon exiting the elevator, an employee let us check out the ballroom and even stand on the balcony to enjoy the view. Definitely a highlight for the kiddos to be treated like VIPs.

    Good for
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    From the community
    Ranked #4 of 141 Hotels in Washington DC
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • sense of history 11/12/2017
    • Perfect hotel experience 07/12/2017
    • The Hay-Adams
    Address:
    16th & H Sts. NW
    One Lafayette Square
    Washington DC, DC 20006
    Phone:
    (202) 618-5480
    Other:
  • Save
    St. John's Church
    Churches & Cathedrals
    See more photos
    ColoMama33 Says:

    This quaint, small church can offer a respite from the heat of the city. It's a cute church sitting across Lafayette Square from the White House. Every president since James Madison has attended at least one service here, and you can look for their names in the pews.

    Good for
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Hidden Gems
    From the community
    Ranked #169 of 458 things to do in Washington DC
    • Church of Presidents 30/09/2017
    • Great Episcopal Church 31/05/2017
    • St. John's Church
    Address:
    1525 H St NW
    Washington DC, DC 20005-1098
    Phone:
    +1 202-347-8766
    Other:
  • Save
    Lafayette Square
    Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    ColoMama33 Says:

    Lafayette Square honors some of the heroes of the Revolutionary War. Since my daughter had just studied the Revolutionary War in depth, this was a fantastic stop for her. She enjoyed seeing the statues and telling us all a bit about their roles in the war.

    Good for
    • History Buff
    From the community
    Ranked #93 of 458 things to do in Washington DC
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • 1st Amendment Square 01/12/2017
    • Nice square near white house 03/11/2017
    • Lafayette Square
    Address:
    16th St & Pennsylvania Ave Northwest
    Washington DC, DC 20006
    Phone:
    +1 202-755-7798
    Other:
  • Save
    White House Visitors Center
    Visitor Centres
    See more photos
    ColoMama33 Says:

    The White House Visitor's Center is a great place to stop before your visit to the White House (if you are lucky enough to get tickets in advance) or as a replacement to a trip through the White House (if you couldn't get tickets). There is history here of the presidents and of the White House and the employees are quite knowledgeable.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Plan to stay:/
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #52 of 458 things to do in Washington DC
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Nice small museum about the White House 09/12/2017
    • Insightful 03/12/2017
    • White House Visitors Center
    Address:
    1450 Pennsylvania Ave SE
    Washington DC, DC 20003-3029
    Phone:
    +1 202-208-1631
    Other:
  • Save
    White House
    Government Buildings
    See more photos
    ColoMama33 Says:

    Plan in advance and consider yourself lucky if you land tickets to get inside the White House! In our previous 5 visits, we only got tickets once. It was a great experience and one that I hope everyone can have the opportunity to do once. Once you have cleared the lines and security (which reminded me a bit of Disney - there's always another hidden line just around the corner) you enter the White House on a self-guided tour. Take your time as you pass through the rooms. Also, feel free to ask the Secret Service Agents questions as you go through - they are filled with knowledge and love interacting with guests.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Don't forget your tickets! Also read the rules and limitations, there are no lockers and you will be turned away if you have prohibited items.
    From the community
    Ranked #39 of 458 things to do in Washington DC
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Lovely at night in the crisp Autumn aire... 11/12/2017
    • Wish we could have seen President Trump! 11/12/2017
    • White House
    Address:
    1600 Pennsylvania Ave
    Washington DC, DC 20500
    Phone:
    +1 202-208-1631
    Other:
  • Save
    Old Post Office Pavilion
    Architectural Buildings, Historic Sites, Observation Decks & Towers
    See more photos
    ColoMama33 Says:

    If you have time and it is open, take an elevator ride to the top of the Old Post Office Tower for spectacular views of the city from up high. The tower is home to the Congress Bells, a gift from England which are played on special occasions.

    Good for
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Hidden Gems
    Tips
    • The line moves quickly, if you can't get to the top of the Washington Monument, this is a great alternative.
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #74 of 458 things to do in Washington DC
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Beautiful 08/11/2017
    • Best Views of Washington DC...and free to enjoy! 21/10/2017
    • Old Post Office Pavilion
    Address:
    1100 Pennsylvania Ave NW
    Washington DC, DC 20004-2501
    Phone:
    +1 202-289-4224
    Hours:
    Thu - Sun
    09:00 - 16:30
    Other:
  • Save
    The National Archives Museum
    Speciality Museums
    See more photos
    ColoMama33 Says:

    No trip to Washington DC would be complete without a glimpse at the Nation's founding documents. Here you can see the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, and The Bill of Rights along with other documents significant to the history of our country. While in line make sure to stop and look at the Magna Carta located on the wall just outside the Rotunda.

    Good for
    • History Buff
    Tips
    • Make sure to get timed tickets ahead of time, as the timed ticket line is much, much shorter! Evening can be a great time for a visit, as most groups come in the morning or mid-day.
    From the community
    Ranked #26 of 458 things to do in Washington DC
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Wonderfull redo of the Archives 11/12/2017
    • Incredible! 11/12/2017
    • The National Archives Museum
    Address:
    700 Pennsylvania Ave NW
    Washington DC, DC 20408-0001
    Phone:
    +1 202-357-5000
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:00 - 17:30
    Other:
  • Save
    Smithsonian Institution Building
    Speciality Museums
    See more photos
    ColoMama33 Says:

    This is a great place to get an overview of the Smithsonian museums that are located on the mall. If you have time in the afternoon, or whenever you are near The Mall Metro stop, take a few minutes to pop your head in here to learn more about which museums will interest your family. While here, don't miss the tomb of James Smithson, the founding donor of the Smithsonian Institute.

    Good for
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Plan to stay:/
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #35 of 458 things to do in Washington DC
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Another great one 02/12/2017
    • Early Morning Destination 26/11/2017
    • Smithsonian Institution Building
    Address:
    1000 Jefferson Dr SW
    Washington DC, DC 20560-0008
    Phone:
    +1 202-633-1000
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    08:30 - 17:30
    Other:
  • Save
    National Museum of American History
    History Museums
    See more photos
    ColoMama33 Says:

    If time permits, this is a nice place to visit after the National Archives. Here you will find The Star Spangled Banner, The gowns and china of the first ladies, and other American Memorabilia. You could spend and entire day in each of the Smithsonian Museums and not see everything, so you will need to budget your time, and plan ahead to make the most of your visit. What interests your family? What are your not-to-be-missed items? Start with those to save time and tired feet!

    Good for
    • History Buff
    Tips
    • The Star Spangled Banner room is dimly lit. Give your eyes a few minutes to adjust in order to properly view it.
    From the community
    Ranked #31 of 458 things to do in Washington DC
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Education 10/12/2017
    • Go mid week! 09/12/2017
    • National Museum of American History
    Address:
    1400 Constitution Ave NW
    Between 12th and 14th Street
    Washington DC, DC 20560
    Phone:
    +1 844-750-3012
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:00 - 17:30
    Other:
  • Save
    Ben's Chili Bowl
    Restaurants (American, Fast food, Diner)
    See more photos
    ColoMama33 Says:

    Ah, Ben's Chili Bowl. In our opinion, no visit to DC is complete without a visit to this spot. Bill Cosby and President Obama made it famous with their visits as well as others. You can find pictures on the wall. This place is always packed, but like your good hometown cafe, there's always a spot for your. The staff here work hard and make everyone feel like they are at home. Make sure you try a chili dog, or chili half smoke if you are feeling adventurous! Ben's Chili Bowl is located about 2 blocks from the U Street Metro Stop in a row of unique restaurants and night-life spots.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Trendsetter
    • Hidden Gems
    Tips
    • Make sure you have cash - no credit cards accepted and the ATM fees are high!
    From the community
    Ranked #73 of 2,515 restaurants in Washington DC
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Pretty good 09/12/2017
    • A cultural experience. 09/12/2017
    • Ben's Chili Bowl
    Address:
    1213 U St NW
    Washington DC, DC 20009-4442
    Phone:
    +1 202-667-0909
    Price range:
    USD 0 - USD 7
    Hours:
    Sun
    11:00 - 23:00
    Mon - Thu
    06:00 - 02:00
    Fri
    06:00 - 04:00
    Sat
    07:00 - 04:00
    Other:
  • Day 2
  • Save
    Library of Congress
    Government Buildings, Libraries
    See more photos
    ColoMama33 Says:

    Wow! This was a hidden treasure that we were not expecting on our visit to Washington DC. After reading the guide books, we thought we knew what we were in for, but we were greeted with an amazing building with magnificent architecture. We found this a great way to marvel the greats of the literary world, but were taken aback at every corner by the beauty of the interior of the building.

    Good for
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Hidden Gems
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #6 of 458 things to do in Washington DC
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Beautiful! 10/12/2017
    • Lovely 09/12/2017
    • Library of Congress
    Address:
    101 Independence Ave SE
    Washington DC, DC 20540
    Phone:
    +1 202-707-5000
    Hours:
    Mon - Sat
    08:30 - 16:30
    Other:
  • Save
    Folger Shakespeare Library
    Libraries
    See more photos
    ColoMama33 Says:

    This little gem is located just east of the Library of Congress. The outside of the building offers murals of Shakespeare's most famous plays. Inside you will find an intimate theater and a nice little museum showcasing some books and artifacts from Shakespeare.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Hidden Gems
    Tips
    • The woman who works the front desk is passionate about Shakespeare and a wealth of information. She's great at relating to kids and will surely add to your visit if you take a few minutes to talk to her.
    Plan to stay:/
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #75 of 458 things to do in Washington DC
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • A Real Treasure 10/12/2017
    • Transporting 06/12/2017
    • Folger Shakespeare Library
    Address:
    201 E Capitol St SE
    Washington DC, DC 20003-1094
    Phone:
    +1 202-544-4600
    Hours:
    Sun
    12:00 - 17:00
    Mon - Sat
    10:00 - 17:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Supreme Court
    Government Buildings
    See more photos
    ColoMama33 Says:

    The majestic Supreme Court Building stands tall behind the US Capitol. It is truly an honor to stand in the highest court, where some of the most influential cases in US History have been heard. There are two very different ways to see this building. If you go on a day when court is in session, you must pass through security, check all of your belongings in a locker (make sure you have 3 quarters), wait in the 5 minute line, then be ushered into the back of the courtroom, where if you are lucky enough to get a seat that isn't behind a pole, you can see the Supreme Court Justices hearing testimony regarding the case being heard that day. On days when court is in session, the building is buzzing with activity and excitement. There are often news stations broadcasting in front of the building, and reporters inside getting the latest news out. Alternately, if you visit on a day when court is not in session, the building is much quieter. You are free to enter the courtroom where you can hear Park Rangers give 30 minute talks about the history of the Supreme Court. This provides you with the opportunity to ask questions and really examine the courtroom and it's architecture. If you are hungry during you visit, the basement offers a fantastic cafeteria. If you are lucky, you might even get to sit next to a Supreme Court Justice while you eat your lunch.

    Good for
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • History Buff
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #36 of 458 things to do in Washington DC
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • We saw injustic incarnate onthe steps of the SC Building! 11/12/2017
    • Fine 07/12/2017
    • Supreme Court
    Address:
    First Street NE
    Washington DC, DC 20003
    Phone:
    +1 202-479-3211
    Hours:
    Mon - Fri
    09:00 - 16:30
    Other:
  • Save
    U.S. Capitol
    Government Buildings
    See more photos
    ColoMama33 Says:

    The US Capitol is a landmark knows to nearly every American. Tours can be arranged the day of your visit or in advance by contacting your state representative. We've done both ways, and waited excruciatingly long both times. Because there are strict limitations on what you can take into this building and our long wait to tour the building, it is hard for me to recommend a tour of the Capitol to families. We enjoyed walking around the building much more than dragging through building on an over-crowded tour. An alternate to the tour is to get gallery passes for the Senate or House from your state representative's office. Then you can bypass the tour, and go directly to the gallery to see our government in action. On a hot summer day, make sure you stop by the Summer House, located on the grounds of the Capitol, northwest of the building. Here you will find shaded seating for 22 people, a fountain to enjoy, and drinking fountains in a peaceful, quiet environment.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • History Buff
    Tips
    • No food or drink is allowed. Be prepared for a long wait for your tour time.
    From the community
    Ranked #20 of 458 things to do in Washington DC
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Incredible history. 11/12/2017
    • Beautiful building 11/12/2017
    • U.S. Capitol
    Address:
    East Capitol St NE & First St SE
    Washington DC, DC 20004
    Phone:
    +1 202-226-8000
    Hours:
    Mon - Sat
    08:30 - 16:30
    Other:
  • Save
    United States Botanic Garden
    Fountains, Gardens
    See more photos
    ColoMama33 Says:

    The Botanic Gardens house a variety of plants, including some of the oldest known ferns. The orchid room is also amazing. This is a great place to grown your green thumb and breath some clean air. This is another place that can be seen in 30 minutes or a full day, depending on your family and your interest level. Think about your interests and plan accordingly.

    Good for
    • Hidden Gems
    • Nature Lover
    From the community
    Ranked #24 of 458 things to do in Washington DC
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Get Going to a Garden 10/12/2017
    • A Must See at Christmas 10/12/2017
    • United States Botanic Garden
    Address:
    100 Maryland Ave. at First St. SW
    At the east end of the Mall
    Washington DC, DC 20001
    Phone:
    +1 202-225-8333
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:00 - 17:00
    Other:
  • Save
    National Air and Space Museum
    Speciality Museums
    See more photos
    ColoMama33 Says:

    The Air and Space Museum was exactly as we imagined, only larger! There are wonderful examples here of all types of aircraft, from the Wright Brother's first plane, to Amelia Earhart's plane, to the Mars Rover. If your family has interest or ties to the air or space industry, this is the place for you! If not, I'd suggest a different museum, as The Mall offers something for everyone and there isn't time to see it all. Because of the museum's popularity, this museum is often crowded with school groups, plan accordingly.

    Good for
    • Family
    From the community
    Ranked #5 of 458 things to do in Washington DC
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Need Days - Not Hours 11/12/2017
    • Wow this was simply amazing 11/12/2017
    • National Air and Space Museum
    Address:
    6th and Independence Ave., SW
    Washington DC, DC 20560
    Phone:
    +1 202-633-2214
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:00 - 17:00
    Other:
  • Save
    National Gallery of Art
    Art Museums
    See more photos
    ColoMama33 Says:

    The National Gallery of Art houses a huge collection of art from all over the world and all time frames. If you are an art aficionado, you could spend days in this museum alone. At the very least, I recommend asking the desk for the "Less than one hour, West building highlights" guide. It will give you a great overview, in an organized path, through the museum. You wouldn't want to miss Da Vinci or Picasso. After having seen the movie Night at the Museum; Battle of the Smithsonian, my kids found this museum to me a special treat! If your family has interest in art, this is the place for you! If not, you might not want to spend as much time here, leaving time for other museums on the mall. The Mall offers something for everyone and there isn't time to see it all.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Large backpacks aren't allowed and must be checked at the door. Because there are multiple exits, avoid this at the risk of having to back-track or forgetting which door your bag is checked at.
    From the community
    Ranked #2 of 458 things to do in Washington DC
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Wonderful collection of artwork for all tastes 11/12/2017
    • One of the most enjoyable art museums! 11/12/2017
    • National Gallery of Art
    Phone:
    +1 202-737-4215
    Hours:
    Sun
    11:00 - 18:00
    Mon - Sat
    10:00 - 17:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
    Natural History Museums
    See more photos
    ColoMama33 Says:

    Upon entering the building, you are greeted by a huge African Elephant surrounded by other exhibits. If your family has interest in natural history, this is the place for you! You will find ocean animals, a butterfly room, dinosaurs, gems and minerals, and the study of human bones among other things. If this doesn't interest your family, you might not want to spend as much time here, leaving time for other museums on the mall. The Mall offers something for everyone and there isn't time to see it all. This museum is huge (as they all are) and little feet can tire quickly walking through several exhibits. My kids loved the precious gems area, in particular the Hope Diamond. We read about the history of this necklace before arriving, which made the experience more memorable.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    From the community
    Ranked #13 of 458 things to do in Washington DC
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Renovated and better than ever! 11/12/2017
    • Average 10/12/2017
    • Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
    Address:
    10th Street and Constitution Ave
    Washington DC, DC 20560
    Phone:
    +1 202-633-1000
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:00 - 17:30
    Other:
  • Save
    National Building Museum
    History Museums
    See more photos
    ColoMama33 Says:

    If time permits, hop off the metro at the Judiciary Square Metro Station and pop your head into the National Building Museum. This massive building, measuring 316 x 116 ft on the interior, has gigantic columns supporting the roof and upper floors. The space has been used to hold inaugural balls. When entering the building nearest the Metro (on the South side) notice the Presidential Seal set in the floor. Around the exterior of the building is a frieze depicting Civil War soldiers in interesting scenes.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Beyond poking your head in to see the massive building,there isn't much here. The rotating exhibits lack the luster of those on Then National Mall.
    Plan to stay:/
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #70 of 458 things to do in Washington DC
    • Not a first tier attraction 11/12/2017
    • Ok, but not great. 04/12/2017
    • National Building Museum
    Address:
    401 F St NW
    Washington DC, DC 20001
    Phone:
    +1 202-272-2448
    Hours:
    Sun
    11:00 - 17:00
    Mon - Sat
    10:00 - 17:00
    Other:
  • Save
    National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial
    Monuments & Statues
    See more photos
    ColoMama33 Says:

    Just outside the National Building Museum and at the Judiciary Square Metro Station is the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. This is a somber reminder of those who lost their lives serving in the line of duty. There is a book listing the names of officers by state that we found quite interesting.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Hidden Gems
    Plan to stay:/
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #80 of 458 things to do in Washington DC
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • A must visit spot 27/10/2017
    • Honored to see this memorial 10/10/2017
    • National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial
    Address:
    400 E St Northwest
    Washington DC, DC 20003
    Phone:
    +1 202-737-4300
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    00:00 - 23:45
    Other:
  • Save
    Chinatown
    Neighbourhoods
    See more photos
    ColoMama33 Says:

    If time permits, stop by Chinatown to see the Friendship Arch dedicated in 1986. There are quite a few sit-down restaurants here (Applebee's, Ruby Tuesdays, Outback, etc) where you can find a bite to eat before heading to an event at the Verizon Center. Notice that all the store's signs are written in Chinese!

    Good for
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Hidden Gems
    • Nightlife Seeker
    From the community
    Ranked #141 of 458 things to do in Washington DC
    • Really? 01/12/2017
    • Stay away! 09/11/2017
    • Chinatown
    Address:
    Bounded by G
    H, 5th, and 8th Sts.
    Washington DC, DC
    Other:
  • Save
    Ford's Theatre
    Historic Sites, History Museums, Theatres
    See more photos
    ColoMama33 Says:

    This is a great place to learn more about President Lincoln. I highly recommend doing research ahead of your visit and planning to see a play at this working theatre. It will enhance your experience beyond that which you get simply by visiting. Play tickets were priced very reasonably and intermission gave us plenty of time to explore the basement, where there is information on Lincoln's death.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • Get play tickets ahead of time for a fabulous night of theatre.
    From the community
    Ranked #22 of 458 things to do in Washington DC
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • A must see 11/12/2017
    • A Thespian's Paradise 10/12/2017
    • Ford's Theatre
    Address:
    511 10th St NW
    Washington DC, DC 20004-1499
    Phone:
    +1 202-347-4833
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    08:30 - 17:00
    Other:
  • Day 3
  • Save
    National Zoological Park
    Zoos
    See more photos
    ColoMama33 Says:

    Head to the National Zoo early in the morning where you can see animals from around the world. The animals always seem more active in the mornings. Visit their website ahead of time to know which animals have new babies, those are always fun to see! No trip to the Zoo would be complete without a visit to the Panda House, where you can see giant pandas eating or playing. Plan on spending half a day at the zoo.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Conneticut Ave runs downhill from the Cleveland Park metro stop to the zoo to the Woodley-Park Zoo Metro stop.
    • There is only one entrance/exit at the zoo. So know however far you walk down into the zoo you will have to walk back out. Be alert for weary little legs!
    Plan to stay:/
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #41 of 458 things to do in Washington DC
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Lovely zoo 11/12/2017
    • Free...so how much can you honestly complain? 10/12/2017
    • National Zoological Park
    Address:
    3001 Connecticut Ave NW
    Washington DC, DC 20008-2537
    Phone:
    +1 202-633-4888
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    08:00 - 17:00
    Other:
  • Save
    President Lincoln's Cottage
    Historic Sites
    See more photos
    ColoMama33 Says:

    President Lincoln's cottage was an unexpected treat on our recent trip to Washington DC. This is where President Lincoln lived with his family during the height of the Civil War. The house is beautiful and the tours are well thought out. They provide you with a glimpse into the daily life and give your imagination the chance to really put yourself into the moment. Plan to spend half a day here including transportation time, as it is located a bit north of the majority of sites in DC.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Hidden Gems
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Make sure to book tickets online ahead of time as it can sell out.
    Plan to stay:/
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #53 of 458 things to do in Washington DC
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Amazing Hidden Gem 07/12/2017
    • Historical Jem 26/11/2017
    • President Lincoln's Cottage
    Address:
    140 Rock Creek Church Road NW and Upshur Street, NW
    Washington DC, DC 20011-8400
    Phone:
    +1 202-829-0436
    Hours:
    Sun
    10:30 - 16:30
    Mon - Sat
    09:30 - 16:30
    Other:
  • Save
    Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
    Sacred & Religious Sites, Churches & Cathedrals
    See more photos
    ColoMama33 Says:

    The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is the largest Catholic church in the US. It is open to the public and serves the Catholic University located next door to the church. This church has been visited and honored by two Popes. The main hall is massive and gorgeous. But the crypt on the lower level that is also interesting. Combining a visit to the Basilica and the Franciscan Monastary will fill half a day easily, plan accordingly in this city filled with lots to see and do.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Like a Local
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #14 of 458 things to do in Washington DC
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Gorgeous 11/12/2017
    • The Most Amazing Church in the USA 07/12/2017
    • Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
    Address:
    400 Michigan Ave NE
    Washington DC, DC 20017-1566
    Phone:
    +1 202-526-8300
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    07:00 - 19:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Franciscan Monastery
    Sacred & Religious Sites, Gardens, Churches & Cathedrals
    See more photos
    ColoMama33 Says:

    The Franciscan Monastery was a fabulous stop on our recent trip to Washington DC. It was built in the neo-Byzantine style, resembling the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. We happened to be there for mass in Spanish, which was a unique experience for us. The building is beautiful inside, as are the grounds outside including the Rosary Portico containing 15 chapels depicting the mysteries of the Rosary. The catacombs located under the church here are a real treat and not to be missed! Combine a visit here with the Basilica for a nice half day adventure.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Hidden Gems
    Tips
    • Don't miss the tour of the catacombs.
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #77 of 458 things to do in Washington DC
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Wonderful! 11/11/2017
    • Quiet place in busy DC 10/11/2017
    • Franciscan Monastery
    Address:
    1400 Quincy St Northeast
    Washington DC, DC 20017
    Phone:
    +1 202-526-6800
    Hours:
    Mon - Fri
    10:00 - 16:00
    Sat - Sun
    10:00 - 18:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Washington National Cathedral
    Architectural Buildings, Sacred & Religious Sites, Churches & Cathedrals
    See more photos
    ColoMama33 Says:

    Washington National Cathedral is a beautiful English Gothic style building. It is the sixth largest cathedral in the world and second largest in the US. The interior is a beautiful sight to see, especially if you can time it for services on Sunday. The stained glass is impressive, as are the gargoyles atop the building.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Getting here requires a bus ride and takes longer than you would expect. Plan a half day to visit.
    From the community
    Ranked #19 of 458 things to do in Washington DC
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Simply Beautiful! 11/12/2017
    • Impressive 09/12/2017
    • Washington National Cathedral
    Address:
    3101 Wisconsin Ave NW
    Washington DC, DC 20016-5000
    Phone:
    +1 202-537-6207
    Other:
  • Save
    Alexandria
    Destinations
    See more photos
    ColoMama33 Says:

    Alexandria is a quaint Olde American town located just south of Washington DC. If you have an extra day, I highly recommend visiting Mount Vernon followed by an afternoon in Alexandria. The town itself offers such treats as the church George Washington attended and the narrowest house in the US. There are lots of shops and eateries along King Street worth stopping at.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Hidden Gems
    Plan to stay:/
    2-3 hours
    • Alexandria
  • Save
    George Washington's Mount Vernon
    Historic Sites, Architectural Buildings, Speciality Museums
    See more photos
    ColoMama33 Says:

    Mount Vernon is a beautiful estate on the banks of the Potomac River. The grounds are expansive and each area offers another learning opportunity. There are gardens, a blacksmith, salt house, kitchen, and the main house. My kids enjoyed the ability to run and enjoy a bit of nature after several days of the concrete jungle that is Washington DC.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Hidden Gems
    • History Buff
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Buy timed tickets for the house before your trip. Arrive early to explore the grounds.
    Plan to stay:/
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 4 things to do in Mount Vernon
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • I Could Have Stayed for Hours 09/12/2017
    • Excellent tour of George Washington's estate 09/12/2017
    • George Washington's Mount Vernon
    Address:
    3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway
    Mount Vernon, VA 22121
    Phone:
    +1 703-780-2000
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    09:00 - 16:00
    Other:
top
×
Was this guide helpful?
YesNo