What to Do & Where to Eat with Kids in Washington D.C.

I can't say enough about D.C being the ultimate long weekend vaca with the kiddos. I know, I know. Obviously it's a kid friendly city since, let's face it, we have all taken the junior high field trip there. But to me, this is a city you can take your children to at various ages and discover new things to do every time you visit. I find this vacation to be very unassuming and not something most families would think of as a fun option. I'm a personal fan of mixing the year up with a variety of long weekend trips in various states and one long tropical vacation. Many times the stateside trips are much more adventurous than laying out on a beach every day. 

First things first, all sixteen Smithsonian Museums are free. FREE! As a mom of toddlers, this is amazing. It's always kind of risky to venture into a museum because you are not sure if it's really going to be age appropriate / kid-friendly and you don't want to waste the money if it is not going to work out. In D.C. you can wander in and out and enjoy what works for you and your family. They are all accessible via the Metro and most of them are clustered together in the National Mall. 

Ideal way to visit? Pop the kids in the stroller, bring snacks, and stroll the National Mall. Work your way from one end to the other by starting at Capitol Hill and making your way through the Washington Monument, WWII Memorial, Reflecting Pool, Korea and Vietnam Memorial, and the Lincoln Memorial. 


 Running amuck in front of the Washington Monument

Running amuck in front of the Washington Monument

 Made our way to the Lincoln Memorial! I look terrible but lets not kid ourselves about the "glamour" of being on vaca with three kids. #amiright

Made our way to the Lincoln Memorial! I look terrible but lets not kid ourselves about the "glamour" of being on vaca with three kids. #amiright

 WWII Memorial

WWII Memorial

The National Mall and the Smithsonian Museums are definitely a good two days of the trip thus far, but there is so much more. The Smithsonian National Zoological Park  is always a big hit with the kids. Who doesn't want to see a giant panda? Only the cold hearted if you ask me. The U.S. Botanic Garden is the oldest, continually operating, botanic garden in the U.S. and a great place to head to rain or shine. The International Spy Museum is a really neat place for parents and kids alike. It features the largest collection of international espionage artifacts ever placed on public display and I bet older kids would get a big kick out of it. If you are interested in walking in the footsteps of George Washington, take some time to do the Alexandria Colonial Tours' Kids' Scavenger Hunt.  The tour is self guided and you can purchase your map at The Christmas Attic on Union Street. 

Curious about where to eat? D.C. has some truly amazing restaurants for expanding the palate of your children. 

  • Pizzeria Orso
    • The kids can play with a ball of pizza dough while waiting for the food. Great distraction!
  • Trummer's On Main
    • Treat the kids to a five course Petite Gourmand menu. Mocktail included!
  • Härth

    • Treat your ‘foodie in training’ to an elevated kids menu at Härth, with a focus on fresh ingredients and kid-friendly mock-tails. Our own Chef Luc has designed a healthy menu for the discerning palates of kids ten years and younger, featuring truffle fried mac and cheese, meatballs, and seasonal salads and soup. Kids also receive a ‘Foodie in Training’ certificate that can be signed by the chef that day.

  • Firefly

    • The kids can decorate sugar cookies while they wait for their food and then they will be baked by the kitchen and provided as a warm dessert afterwards. 

  • Pinstripes

    • Play bocce ball and bowl while you eat!


I am so excited to return here next year and find even more new and exciting experiences to have as a family. 

“Adventure, yeah. I guess that's what you call it when everybody comes back alive.” - Mercedes Lackey, Spirits White as Lightning