fun things to do with kids in washington dc - family travel   Travel for Kids
United States

Washington DC

Washington DC

Washington, DC, capital of the United States of America, is a "biggie." Traveling with kids in Washington, DC, you could wander for days, exploring the riches of fabulous free museums and historic sights. The key to a fun family trip is don't try to cram too much into each day (especially in summer, which can be quite hot and humid). The city has space and grace, trees and grass, so take time to sit in the shade and wonder how Thomas Jefferson could walk two grizzly cubs around the White House gardens.

Washington DC Photo Album
  The National Mall – Museums
    Downtown - Penn Square – White House
    Capitol Hill
    Memorials and Tidal Basin – Washington Monument
    Upper Northwest
    Washington, DC day trips – Mount Vernon
    Look for eagles – The bald eagle is the national symbol of the United States, and kids can see how many places they spot the eagle. Look eagles on buildings, White House china, memorials, military emblems, seal of the President of the United States, and more (when you start looking the eagle turns up everywhere).
Eagles DC Photo Album
      eagles washington dc
    Rent bikes – Best (and fun) way to zip around the Tidal Basin and see all the memorials is to rent bikes. Bike paths are level, easy to ride, and much cooler than slogging by foot on a hot summer day.
      Bike rentals at L'Enfant Plaza, Bike and Roll has cruisers, kid's bikes, and helmets.
    Ride the metro – The Washington, DC metro is clean, well-run and a fun and easy way get around. Kids will enjoy the distinctive coffered ceilings in the subway, as well as the huge long escalators to ascend or descend from the street. Fares aren't expensive, and there's also a one day pass for unlimited travel.

DC Circulator National Mall Service – The DC Circulator bus is best one to take for all the National Mall museums, Capitol, plus Tidal Basin and memorials, goes in a loop. Here's the route map.


Arlington National Cemetery (Arlington, VA) – Arlington National Cemetery remembers America's war heroes, from the American Revolution to the present day, as well as astronauts, explorers, writers, doctors, presidents, and Supreme Court justices.

family hotels washington dc

Travel for Kids has so many fun things to do with kids in Washington, D.C., but you'll need a fun place to stay.

Here's our own Travel for Kids hand-picked list of family hotels in Washington, D.C., all styles and price ranges, in neighborhoods that are comfortable for families, and near to places you'll want to explore:

Washington DC family hotels
family tours national gallery of art washington dc

The National Gallery of Art is not just American stuff, the collections contain spectacular paintings from famous European artists too. There's tons to see, but how do you make artworks come alive for your kids? Take a three hour private family tour of the museum:

    Art Detective, National Gallery for Kids
kids books washington dc
Our White House washington dc childrens books  
Our White House
National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance

A fabulous anthology of short stories, poems, letters from presidents to their children, a visit by Charles Dickens, accounts by people who built and worked in the White House, presidential hobbies, ghosts, a White House wedding, dresses worn by First Ladies, packed with original illustrations – Jefferson in his kitchen garden, British burning the White House, “Freedom” collages, all the presidents board game, and more. Two hundred years of the great American story! (Illustrated chapter book)


Looking at Lincoln
Maira Kalman

A fresh, fun look at Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth president and author of the Gettysburg Address. Lincoln loved apples and vanilla cake, hated slavery, believed the country should stay united, and when you visit the Lincoln Memorial, you can look into his beautiful eyes. Fabulously illustrated, this is a gem. (Picture book)

Also, biography chapter book: Who Was Abraham Lincoln?


biography Looking at Lincoln washington dc children
kid presidents  
Kid Presidents
David Stabler, Doogie Horner

True tales of presidents as children – five year old Ulysses Grant could ride a horse standing up, Ronald Reagan needed serious glasses but as a summer lifeguard he rescued people, Bill Clinton played saxaphone and credited his school music with becoming president, Barry Obama had a meat-eating monitor lizard in his backyard, plus presidental report cards and teacher comments. Fun cartoons illustrate kids adventures! (Illustrated chapter book)



Filled with fascinating facts and photos about the most famous workplace and home of presidents and their families – secret doors in the West Wing, White House food, Christmas, fashion, sports, treasures, history, traditions and stories! (Illustrated chapter book)


1000 facts about the white house
presidential pets  
Presidential Pets
Julia Moberg

Animals in the White House, for each president and their families. John Adams had a stable and racehorse called Cleopatra, Lincoln's son pet turkey got a reprieve, when Caroline Kennedy's dog had pups, JFK called them "pupniks" and more. Fun facts about each president too. (Picture book)


Where is the White House?
Megan Stine, David Groff

Read an illustrated history of the White House, which today has a movie theater, bowling alley, and swimming pool, but first built in 1800, it was light brown sandstone and painted white. (Chapter book)


kids washington dc Mystery at the Washington Monument  
Mystery at the Washington Monument
(Capital Mysteries)
Ron Roy, Timothy Bush

In another mystery with KC Corcoran and her best friend Marshall, there's something strange going on in Washington Monument, and the clues are a broken memorial stone and some peanut shells. Plus, info about the Washington Monument. (Easy reader)

Don't miss more adventures, all centered on Washington, DC landmarks: A Thief at the National Zoo, Trouble at the Treasury, Fireworks at the FBI, Who Broke Lincoln's Thumb?, A Spy in the White House, The Skeleton in the Smithsonian, Kidnapped at the Capital, Who Cloned the President?



Find out about the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument before you visit – when and how were they built, how big is the statue of Lincoln, how long did it take to build the Washington Monument, and more.
(Picture book)


kids landmarks washington dc The Lincoln Memorial
The Journey of the One and Only Declaration of Independence kids washington dc  

The Declaration of Independence hasn't always been sitting under glass in the National Archives, on the contrary, it really gets around. History of this well-traveled parchment – since 1776, the document has been rolled up and carted around in war time, locked up in a steel case for twenty-six years, packed away with the gold in Fort Knox. (Picture book)

Also, chapter book: What is the Declaration of Independence?


The Biggest (and Best) Flag That Ever Flew
Rebecca C. Jones, Charles Geer

Before you see the Star-Spangled Banner in the National Museum of American History, read this charming story about the ladies who made the flag, Mrs. Pickersgill and her daughter Caroline. (Picture book)


The Biggest (and Best) Flag That Ever Flew kids museums washington dc
Wheels of Change
Darlene Beck Jacoson

It's 1909, and Washington, DC is changing – electricity instead of gas lighting, automobiles chugging down the streets. Twelve year old Emily's dad makes a beautiful horse-drawn carriage for President Teddy Roosevelt, but the family business is in trouble. (Chapter book)


The Real Spy's Guide to Becoming a Spy
Peter Earnest, Suzanne Harper

This is the perfect book to read before you visit the International Spy Museum, written by the director of the museum, and a spy for thirty years. What a spy's life really like, plus spy speak, quizzes and practice your skills. (Chapter book)


The Real Spy's Guide to Becoming a Real Spy kids washington dc
awesome adventures at the smithsonian official kids guide  

Just for kids guide to Smithsonian museums, chock full of museum maps, what's in the galleries, activities to do, and more information online. Essential for your trip to Washington DC with kids. (Activity book)



Fun facts about Washington, DC, each with a matching sticker. Over 60 reusable stickers of landmarks, statues, monuments, portraits, memorials, and objects in the museums. (Sticker book)


Ultimate Sticker Book Washington D.C.
larry gets lost in washington dc  
Larrry Gets Lost in Washington DC
John Skewes, Andrew Fox

Take a trip around Washington DC with Pete and his dog, Larry. After running off at the Lincoln Memorial, Larry sees a big white house with fancy lawn, but no Pete. Larry circles around all the museums at the National Mall, whips by the Declaration of Independence, checks out a tattered flag, goes underground at the Capitol, and finds Pete at the Jefferson Memorial. (Picture book)


(More children's books on other Washington DC pages)
travel for kids | united states | washington dc
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