Washington DC with Kids: Five Tips for Visiting

Washington, DC is a great family friendly travel destination! These are our five to tips and things to do in DC when you visit Washington, DC with kids.

5 Tips for Visiting Washington DC with Kids

 1. National Zoo 

The National Zoo is a fantastic place to bring a family. In addition to the pandas and the elephants, which are the fan favorites, there are some other really cool and often overlooked exhibits. The National Zoo has a farm just for kids, as well as the Amazon room which has some of the biggest fish you will ever see. The sea lions also often put on a great show for the children and there is also a splash pad where they can run around and have fun.

2. Take a duck tour or go out on a boat

DC Ducks is a tour of DC by both land and water. The tour uses an amphibious vehicle that drives around the National Mall and then it goes down to a marina. You get in the water and the tour shows you the sights from the river. Once you’re in the water, the captain will let the kids drive the boat and that’s a really fun feature.

For older kids, you can check out a kayak or canoe from the Georgetown or the Ballpark boathouses and see the sights from the water. There are no specific age rules about kids going out in a kayak or canoe, so if you think your kids can handle it and can fit into a life jacket, then go for it!

3. Take the kids to a museum

Washington, DC has a ton of museums and they’re almost all family-friendly. But some of them are definitely better for kids. One important thing to remember about these museums is that they are great educational opportunities. But They do require a lot of walking and a lot of reading. Kids tend to get worn out more quickly than the adults. A few of our favorites include:

National Postal Museum

Make sure to check out the underrated National Postal museum. It is rarely crowded and it’s off the National Mall – right next to Union Station They have one of the biggest and best stamp collections in the entire country. So, if your kid is a collector or you want to get them into a hobby, it is a great chance to show them what stamp collecting is like.

Museum of the American Indian

If you have small kids consider a museum that has a dedicated play space for children. Fortunately, there are a number of them in DC. The Museum of the American Indian has a great kids play area. Your kid can kayak, skateboard, and even build an igloo.

National Portrait Gallery

In the National Portrait Gallery, there is an exhibit now that’s hosted by a museum that is coming to DC student called Explore. Explore is going to be a dedicated Children’s Museum in DC when it opens. This little exhibit, for now, showcases what their museum will be about.

Kogod Courtyard

The Kogod Courtyard is great for kids as well. This is located between the Portrait Gallery and the American Art Museum. This gallery has a little water feature and it has coffee to keep the parents energized. So, it is the perfect place to sit let your kids run around, relax and enjoy a beverage.

4. Spray parks and splash paths

These are particularly good in the summer months. When it gets really hot and you just want to go someplace cool down take your kids and let them run around in one of these. DC has so many spray parks. Although, there are some that are definitely better than others. For out-of-town guests and residents alike, we recommend the Yards Park. There is a shallow wading pool and a waterfall as well as small fountains for the younger kids.

5. Places to eat with kids

Washington, DC has such a huge diversity of restaurants that there is something for everybody. However, you don’t want to take your kids to expensive restaurants with white tablecloths. And you probably don’t want to be stuck eating pizza and hamburgers all week either. We have two recommendations for more unique foods that are great for kids.

Ethiopian Restaurants

DC has a huge Ethiopian population and as a result a ton of Ethiopian restaurants. The reason these restaurants are kid friendly is because you eat with your hands and everybody gets a little messy. Kids will find it fun and adults will also love that they are traveling to new culture without leaving the country. That is a great opportunity to introduce your kids to a new cuisine, especially if you don’t have Ethiopian food back home.

Ramen Places

Ramen is great as well. No, we are not talking about those cheap packets you may remember from college. A great ramen restaurant is called Bantam King. Ramen is great for kids because it’s noodles and kids love noodles! Ramen is also a big foody trend right now.

Coming to Washington, DC and want us to show you around?

Trip Hacks DC was founded by Rob, a veteran tour guide in the Nation’s Capital. Trip Hacks DC provides tips, tricks and travel hacks for planning your trip; and guided tours to show you around once you get here. Our tours are family and school group friendly and our guides specialize in the major Washington, DC sites. Click here to check out the upcoming tour options and to book your tour here today! Feel free to contact us if you have any tour questions.

About Trip Hacks DC

Trip Hacks DC was founded by Rob, a veteran tour guide in the Nation's Capital.

Everyone wants to get the most out of travel experience; we know that planning a trip can be fun but sometimes stressful. The tips and travel hacks offered here will help you make the most of your trip and avoid missing out on the best things the city has to offer. Our trip planning e-book is the perfect resource for every first-time Washington, DC visitor.

If you're looking for a guided experience once you arrive, Trip Hacks DC specializes in private tours; but has public tours options as well. Visit the Guided Tours section to learn about some of the suggested tours and the trip planning resources section for help preparing for your trip. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions!

Trip Planning Resources

Newest Podcast Episodes

Proceed Booking