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Five Family-Friendly Things to Do in DC

Washington is full of fun activities for families. Check out these five great options:

1. The National Mall

We recommend any trip to Washington include a tour of the National Mall. Some of the nation’s most iconic architecture is on the Mall, including the Capitol Building, White House, Washington Monument, and the Lincoln Memorial. And the price is hard to beat: there’s nothing more family-friendly than free!

2. The National Arboretum

If you’re interested in something a little off the beaten path, look no further than the National Arboretum! Pictured above are the original columns of the United States Capitol, removed when the building was modified in the 1950’s. Also, a treat for kids is the bonsai collection, with one Japanese White Pine dating to the 17th century!

2. Mount Vernon

Just 16 miles downriver from the District is George Washington’s Mount Vernon, home of our first president and a living, working plantation to this day. A visit to Mount Vernon is truly fun for all ages. You can go inside his original mansion, see real blacksmiths make tools for the estate, and even check out the general’s dentures! Especially good for children are the Pioneer Farm where they can see what 18th-century farming was really like, as well as the hands-on activities and 4D Movie in the Education Center.

3. The National Air and Space Museum

Of all the great museums in Washington, Air and Space may well be the best. It’s the second-most-visited museum in the world (behind only the Louvre in Paris) and is free to enter year ’round. Highlights for children include the touchable Moon Rock, the Wright Flyer, Skylab, and some really fun flight simulators!

Grand Atlas Tip: If the entry line is long on one side of the building, try the other side. It’s often much shorter!

4. Climb on Einstein!

There aren’t too many statues you’re invited to actually climb on in Washington, but Einstein is an exception! In front of the National Academy of Science at 22nd Street and Constitution Avenue NW is a memorial to the 20th century’s most famous physicist. All are welcome to climb on his lap for a picture, or simply to rub his nose to get smarter! And he’s not hard to get to, being a block away from the Lincoln Memorial and across the street from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Grand Atlas Tip: Note the thousands of silver rivets in the Norwegian granite base: they show the positions of the stars and planets the day this memorial opened. If you stand on the North Star, where all the lines intersect, you can talk to Einstein and your voice will be amplified!

5. The Capitol Building

Now fully open for the first time in more than three years, the United States Capitol is a must-see for truly anyone who visits the District of Columbia. Between the Visitor Center Museum, National Statuary Hall and the magnificent Rotunda, everyone will be impressed! Inside the Visitor Center, be sure to look up at the enormous dome through the skylights.

Grand Atlas tip: When you’re finished in the Capitol, skip another security line and take the special tunnel to the Library of Congress. It’s only a few minutes to get there and it’s a gorgeous place to pop in!