Looking to travel to or planning a move to Washington D.C. with kids? Then this guest post by Jacqui Cooper, a native of the Washington Metropolitan area for over 30 years, should come in very useful.
Depending on the age of your children and their interests, you can find plenty of things do with kids in Washington D.C.
The Washington Metropolitan area comprises of four main areas to explore: Washington D.C. (proper), Alexandria (Virginia), Annapolis (Maryland) and Baltimore. Among these there is art, sports, museums, food, history and so much more to take in.
Jacqui’s daughter is currently 23 years old. She grew up in this area so as a family they have explored all over. Jacqui also has friends who have children ranging in age from just born to older than her daughter so she has a lot of experience and knows what the best things to do with kids in Washington D.C are. Each year she has lived in the area she has added to her own bucket list.
Below she shares her favourite things to do as a family in the Washington D.C. area.
Best things to do in Washington D.C. (with kids!)
The Washington Metropolitan area is blessed with so historic areas to visit including the cities near the water such as Baltimore, Anapolis, Alexandria and Washington D.C.
There is the wonderful Smithsonian museums on the National Mall as well as two wonderful zoos in – The National Zoo and The Baltimore Zoo. The historic homes of past US Presidents and a variety of parks to explore. Depending on the age of your child, you can select activities in the daily papers or online that are age appropriate.
Best outings in Washington D.C. for kids
Our favourite outing in our home town was to visit the National Zoo since my daughter’s passion is protecting the environment and animals. She ended up interning at the zoo during her senior year of high school.
The Goddard NASA space has fascinating science exhibits.
We also have the George Washington Monument and the Library of Congress. Many famous movies have used Washington D.C. as their backdrop so we often like to explore the locations used by those movies.
Best good weather outing in Washington D.C.
When the weather is good visit the Jefferson Memorial and walk the mall.
We also like to explore the Cherry Blossoms when they are blooming.
The Kennedy Center is a fun place to explore when the weather is good because of its outside deck or walk the streets of Georgetown to look at the architecture and explore the shops.
Best bad weather outings in Washington D.C.
When the weather is bad head inside the museums from the art museums to the science museums. There are so many free activities in the Washington Metropolitan area.
An “insider” tip for visiting Washington D.C.
Wear your walking shoes. Pack snacks. Look at a map to plan your outings since some areas look close but they are possibly farther apart.
Best kid-friendly restaurants in Washington D.C.
We have too many restaurants to name just one favorite but that means you can find restaurants to meet everyone’s tastes.
In Annapolis there is a food market. In Alexandria there are little quaint shops. In Baltimore there are so many new restaurants near the water and the Aquarium now. On Capital Hill (near the Library of Congress) be sure to visit the outdoor farmer’s market.
Maryland is known for crabs so if your children like fish, try crab cakes or soup.
How to get around Washington D.C. with kids
The easiest way to get around with kids depends on where you are. You can walk or you can take a car. You can do the metro, but if you have a family and are carrying items it is best to take a car and find a parking spot.
The best family-friendly neighbourhood to stay in Washington D.C.
This will depend on your budget. Alexandria is a good place to stay since you can walk around but it is not convenient to the Mall area. You can stay near the Mall but then there are no supermarkets to get supplies for the family. You can stay in the Maryland outskirts (like Greenbelt) but you need to ask the hotel if they have free transportation to the metro. If you want to stay in Washington DC, you can find hotels in Georgetown, Bethesda, and even Rockville (off the metro line)
Top 5 things to do in Washington D.C. with kids!
- All the museums on the Mall including the Washington Monument
- Hop On Hop Off Bus so you can visit more places and save your feet
- National Zoo
- Glen Echo Park
- Baltimore Aquarium
About the Author
Jacqui Cooper is a mom entrepreneur who founded Cooper-Travel in 2017. After traveling the world with her daughter using the traditional retail booking portals, she realized she wanted to start a different type of travel company to help families travel at 3 Star Rates & enjoy 5 Star experiences. She is a Certified Travel Consultant & a Travel Savings Ambassador. She currently is helping over 355 families (& growing) travel both globally & locally. Her background includes being both a National Board Certified Special Education Teacher. She is able to assist those with special needs travel comfortably as well. Her passion is traveling by train & backpacking with her daughter. They have traveled from Washington D.C. to California on Amtrak.. They have also explored Scotland, Wales, & Britain on a backpack train trip. Recently they visited China & trained from Beijing to Shanghai. Additionally, they have experienced Europe from Italy to France. Jacqui offers her clients access to wholesale travel rates both locally as well as globally. She has the ability to offer a free wholesale booking portal so families can either book their own travel on their own, or use her as a complimentary consultant.
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