100 Things to Do With Kids in Washington DC


100 Things to Do With Kids in Washington DC 


And this list is only the tip of the iceberg! There are oodles of incredible, fun activities for families in Washington, DC and the surrounding areas of Maryland and Virginia. I hope you enjoy this list of field and day trips, and that it inspires you and your kids to explore something new.


1. Call your Member of Congress and obtain White House tour tickets
2. Visit Mount Vernon
3. Hop on a trolley tour or double-decker bus tour of the Washington, DC monuments
4. Touch a real piece of the moon at the National Air and Space Museum
5. Learn how to use a compass at Prince William Forest Park.
6. Squeal over the pandas at the National Zoo
7. Play all day at the National Children’s Museum in National Harbor
8. Cheer at a Nationals game
9. Pretend you’re Orville or Wilbur at the College Park Aviation Museum
10. Talk to the animals at Old Maryland Farm at Watkins Regional Park (there’s an antique carousel and mini golf, too)
11. Pick your own seasonal produce at a nearby farm
12. Ride the carousel at Glen Echo Park
13. Smell the roses at a Family Day event at the U.S. Botanical Gardens
14. Tour the Bureau of Engraving & Printing and see money printed
15. Take the gargoyle tour at Washington National Cathedral
16. Ride Metro to Union Station and burst through the main doors like Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
17. Witness the changing of the guard at the Tombs of the Unknown at Arlington National Cemetery
18. Meet artists in residence and play/learn at the Alexandria Archaeology Museum at the Torpdeo Factory
19. Hike around Roosevelt Island
20. Sit in Albert Einstein’s lap
21. Paddle around the Tidal Basin
22. Rent canoes or kayaks and row down the Potomac, Shenandoah or local lakes
23. Play tourist and see the monuments by boat or Duck tour
24. Check out the view from the top of the Washington Monument
25. Play tag in the Hirshhorn Museum Sculpture Garden
26. Play secret agent at the International Spy Museum
27. Make peace with the creepy crawlers at the Orkin Insect Zoo at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History
28. Drive through the Shenandoah’s Skyline Drive and take a family hike along the Appalachian trail
29. Play in the rocket garden of the NASA Goddard Visitors Center
30. Get lost in the hangars of the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Chantilly
31. Ride the miniature trains at Wheaton or Cabin John Regional Parks
32. Take the Old Town Alexandria Ghost and Graveyard Tour
33. Listen to free concerts at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage
34. Explore Luray Caverns
35. Fly a kite on the National Mall
36. Ride the rails at the National Capitol Trolley Museum
37. Feed the animals at the Leesburg Animal Park
38. Enjoy a voyage down the Potomac in a real riverboat
39. Reflect on humanity at the United States Holocaust Museum.
40. Admire the majestic beauty of Great Falls
41. Meet (animatronic) Smokey the Bear at the USDA Forest Service headquarters
42. Shiver your timbers on a Pirate Adventure Cruise in Annapolis
43. Bounce away your troubles at indoor inflatable gyms Bounce U
44. Have a free, old-fashioned playdate at one of the wondrous local playgrounds
45. Catch a kid-centric show at the Adventure Theatre in Glen Echo Park
46. Take family or butterfly photos amongst the beauty of Brookside Gardens
47. See a show at Wolf Trap
48. Putt at one of the country’s best miniature golf courses, Woody’s Perils of the Lost Jungle
49. Go fishing  or pontoonin’ in Little Seneca Lake or Lake Needwood
50. Frolic on the farm at the Agricultural History Farm Park
51. Make figure 8s at the Wheaton or Cabin John ice rinks
52. Tour the inspiration for Uncle Tom’s Cabin
53. See why they called him Stonewall Jackson at Manassas National Battlefield
54. Hike a portion of the Underground Railroad
55. Learn about the lives of 19th Century African Americans at the living history museum, Oakley Cabin Museum and Park
56. Swim laps year-round at indoor pools
57. Have a monstrously good time at indoor Monster Mini Golf 
58. Go camping at a local campground
59. Salute our nation’s veterans at Arlington National Cemetery
60. Remember Iwo Jima at the National Marine Corps Memorial
61. Walk through the Depression and the New Deal at the FDR Memorial
62. Make new friends playing at the Be with Me Playseum locations
63. Play mad scientist at the Koshland Science Museum of the National Academy of Sciences
64. Schedule a local themed hike with Hiking Along
65. Dig for dinosaurs 
66. Step back in time at a historic manor home
67. Take a free morning bird walk with the Audubon Naturalist Society in MD or VA
68. Cheer the Washington Mystics as a member of the Kids Club
69. Practice your acting skills on the first Friday afternoon of the month at Round House Theatre Free for All Friday
70. Take a horseback ride through Rock Creek Park
71. Write a love letter or ride the Pony Express at the National Postal Museum
72. Ride the kiddie rides at Six Flags America
73. Check out the coasters at Kings Dominion
74. Learn about Honest Abe at President Lincoln’s Cottage
75. Walk through the Friendship Archway in DC’s Chinatown
76. Build and play at the Building Zone at the National Building Museum
77. Tour the US Capitol via the public tour or by private tour conducted by your Member of Congress
78. Experience the beginning of American history at the National Museum of the American Indian
79. Hear a story or see a performance at the Discovery Theatre
80. Kick up your heels at a Folklore Society of Greater Washington Family Dance at Glen Echo
81. Talk to the animals at the Reston Zoo
82. Learn about George Mason at Gunston Hall
83. Play, eat and enjoy wallet-friendly design at a nearby IKEA
84. Chow down on dim sum
85. Time travel to 1771 at Claude Moore Colonial Farm at Turkey Run
86. See a family-friendly theatre production at Imagination Stage
87. Drive out to Virginia’s Dinosaurland
88. Go on safari in your sedan at Virginia Safari Park
89. Enjoy a musical performance or a fancy tea party at Strathmore
90. Report live from the Newseum
91. View sites of the city from a bicycle
92. Satisfy your very hungry bookworm at the Library of Congress
93. View the documents of democracy at the National Archives
94. Celebrate patriotism and honor at the National Marine Corps Museum
95. Build a sand castle at Sandy Point State Park
96. Grab weekend brunch on the Georgetown Waterfront
97. Tour the historic 1876 synagogue with the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington
98. Tour the gardens and re-creation of Christian holy sites at the Franciscan Monastery
99. Catch a movie on a weekday with your baby
100. Eat and shop and play your way through Eastern Market and Union Market

If you made it this far and your fave DC-area activity isn’t listed, please add in the comments!


  1. I love taking my kids to Gravelly Point Park to watch the planes take off and land at Reagan National Airport. Another fave, though not for the feign of heart (but for budding naturalists and Entomologists) check out the giant Ant mounds at Little Bennett Park (just remember to wear close toes shoes).

  2. Sign Up, Team Up and Show Up for Children’s Health
    Children’s National Health System calls on communities across DC-MD-VA to start teams for
    2nd annual Race for Every Child 5K run/walk at Freedom Plaza on September 13 from 8:30am to 12 noon

    WASHINGTON – Building on the success of its first-ever Race for Every Child last fall, Children’s National Health System announced today that the second annual Race will be held Saturday, September 13, 2014 at Freedom Plaza in downtown Washington, DC. Registration is now open for individuals and teams on RaceForEveryChild.org. The event’s proceeds will help fund specialized medical care, research into childhood diseases, and important wellness and preventive services to keep children healthy.

    This year’s Race is chaired by Carrie Marriott, whose youngest son Henry was treated for extensive and severe burns to his hands when he was less than a year old. After Henry’s accident and subsequent care by the Children’s National specialized pediatric burn unit team, Marriott became involved actively as an advocate for Children’s National and a member of the Children’s Hospital Foundation board. An avid runner, Marriott will be running in the Race herself with her husband David, and their four children.

    “The Race serves as a fun-filled event guided by a serious purpose,” said Marriott. “Our aim is to bring together the entire Washington metropolitan community to encourage children’s health and wellness, and to raise much-needed funds that help our region’s only children’s hospital provide world-class preventive and critical medical care to every family in need.”

    The goal for the 2014 Race for Every Child is to raise $1 million, which will make a tremendous impact on patients treated at Children’s National, and also to draw more than 4,500 participants in the 5K run/walk and Kids’ Dash. Last year nearly 4,000 people participated, raising more than $750,000. Among those who ran or walked were families whose children’s lives had been saved by the organization. Committed to supporting Children’s National, they formed race teams to help drive pledges toward the final goal.

    Registration is now open at RaceForEveryChild.org. Participants can sign up as an individual, create or join a team, or participate virtually. A half-day event, Race for Every Child features a wide range of fun for the family, including:
    • 5K run/walk
    • Kids’ Dash for kids 3 to 10 years old
    • Awards ceremony for top Race finishers and fundraisers
    • Live entertainment
    • Fun kids fitness activities, face painting, balloon art and more on and around Freedom Plaza
    For more information, visit RaceForEveryChild.org.

    About Children’s National Health System
    Children’s National Health System, based in Washington, DC, has been serving the nation’s children since 1870. Children’s National’s hospital is Magnet®-designated, and is consistently ranked among the top pediatric hospitals by U.S. News & World Report and the Leapfrog Group. Home to the Children’s Research Institute and the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation, Children’s National is one of the nation’s top NIH-funded pediatric institutions. With a community-based pediatric network, eight regional outpatient centers, an ambulatory surgery center, two emergency rooms, an acute care hospital, and collaborations throughout the region, Children’s National is recognized for its expertise and innovation in pediatric care and as an advocate for all children.


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