See the zoo, the museums, the monuments… a stroll thru history
Our family has been able to put together this list of Washington DC travel tips through our many short visits to Washington DC.
We live fairly close to DC, so have tried to expose the children to the history of that area (building life experiences).
We initially made several “history” trips to Washington DC trying to “do everything”, and eventually realized that we were wearing ourselves out, and boring the kids, so…..
We finally decided to make shorter trips, choosing several Washington DC attractions for each visit. Our family vacations to Washington DC now usually consist of three days / two nights touring two to three Washington DC attractions….with all of the walking required, this has turned out to be the perfect solution for our family vacations.
So…. Here’s what you will find on this page…. We hope you will enjoy, and plan a family vacation to Washington DC real soon….
Things to Do
The Smithsonian Museum is located on The National Mall in Washington DC. The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History has some fantastic exhibits including the dinosaur exhibit. The National Museum of American History includes some great exhibits as well – our favorite is the exhibit depicting the modes of travel. A very favorite museum is the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. The exhibits there include spacecraft and airplanes. The Washington DC National Zoo is a free attraction. It is not located on the Mall, but is very accessible via the The Washington DC Metro Rail System.
Photo by SnoShuu@flickr
Bureau of Engraving and Printing and The National Archives
The Bureau of Engraving and Printing is a great place to visit. You will see actual US currency being printed. There is a great gift shop where you can purchase uncut bills. The National Archives is a very interesting attraction. The Declaration of Independence is on display as well as many other National Documents.
The US Capitol
Check out The US Capitol – Visit the visitors center to book a tour, and make a morning or afternoon of it! The tour includes a walk through of the building and a tour of various exhibits… Most exciting is the visit to the gallery where congress meets.
The White House
The White House is where the US President’s lives… The house is majestic, and just from the outside you will be able to see the lawn where the news reporters gather, and the location where the White House helicopter lands.
The Arlington National Cemetery
The Arlington National Cemetery can take an entire day to visit if you are willing to spend the time to really look around. If the weather is nice, walking the cemetery is the way to go. There are many memorials there…. be sure to see the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns.
The National Cathedral
The National Cathedral is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and is a welcome place for people of all faiths. The church is full of history, and many architectural features that are amazing to see… Take time out to see this fabulous Cathedral.
The DC Monuments are classics…. there are The Washington Monument, The Lincoln Memorial, and The Jefferson Memorial….all are a must see while there – and within easy walking distance of each other and the National Mall. Visitors can travel to the top of the Washington Monument. The tickets are free, but you must have a ticket.
The Holocaust Museum
The Holocaust Memorial Museum is a living memory museum to the Holocaust… It is a place that you can visit with your older children; however, there are sections of the museum that will be fine even for younger children…
Other great Washington DC Attractions
Additional Washington DC Travel Tips ….. Other places that we visited are the Ford’s Theater and The Spy Museum. Fords Theater is open for tours daily. You will be able to see the box set that Lincoln was sitting in when he was assassinated, and visit the museum in the lower level. The spy museum has many interactive activities and gives a lot of information on espionage in the USA.
For a tour of Presidential History… be sure to take a look at Mount Vernon.
Where To Stay
When we visit Washington DC, we normally stay in one of the outlying areas, and choose a hotel that is close to a metro stop. We use the metro as our primary form or transportation throughout the stay. Our favorite areas to stay are Alexandria, Virginia and Arlington, Virginia. If you are interested, here are links to reviews about the two hotels that we enjoy staying in…..Embassy Suites – Alexandria Old Towne and Days Inn Arlington/Washington DC, and these are just two fabulous DC Family Hotels out there.
Our Favorite Washington DC Travel Tips
- US Capitol Tour
- Washington DC Zoo
- Bureau of Engraving & Printing – the kids really enjoyed this tour….
- Washington Monument Tour – get there early to get free tickets to tour the monument. Check out all of our Washington DC travel tips for kid friendly family vacations……