fun things to do with kids in washington dc - family travel   Travel for Kids
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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
    Southwest
    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)

 

     
Joey: The Story of Joe Biden
Jill Biden, Amy June Bates

Read about childhood of President Biden, growing up in Scranton Pennsylvania and Delaware – his pets, best buddies, playing sports, overcoming stuttering, family life, anecdotes, photographs. (Picture book)

 

 
     
 
Kamala Harris: Rooted in Justice
Nikki Grimes, Laura Freeman

Biography of Kamala Harris, multi-racial daughter of immigrants, from civil rights marches as a child in California to high school in French speaking Montreal, attending Howard, historic Black university, becoming a lawyer, elected Senator, and now the first woman Vice President. (Picture book)

Also chapter book: Who is Kamala Harris?

 

     
Superheroes Are Everywhere
Kamala Harris, Mechal Renee Roe

Personal story, written by Kamala Harris, of the heroes in her life – her mother, her sister, teachers, childhood friends, diverse community, family photos of her extended family and friends. (Picture book)

 

 
     
 
Champ and Major: First Dogs
Joy McCollough, Sheyda Abvabi Best

Two new pets, Champ and Major, have taken up residence in the White House. Two German sheperds, Champ lived in Washington DC when Biden was vice president, so Champ is "big brother" to Major, a rescue dog, and now both dogs are going to have fun! (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)

 

 
     
1000 facts about the white house  

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)

 

     
The Lincoln Memorial
Kristin L. Nelson

Fun facts about the Lincoln Memorial – how was it built, how big is the statue of President Lincoln, when was it finished, why are there thirty-six columns? (Picture book)

 

 
childrens books washington dc The Lincoln Memorial
     
biography Looking at Lincoln washington dc children  
Looking at Lincoln
Maira Kalman

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?

 

     

Read about this historic 1963 March (largest US protest at the time), in support of equal rights for black Americans. More than 250,000 people gathered at the Lincoln Memorial to hear from speakers, including Martin Luther King Dr., who gave his historic “I Have a Dream” speech. (Illustrated chapter book)

 

 
     
 

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)

 

     
Peel + Discover Washington DC
Workman Publishing

Peel off stickers to discover answers to questions underneath (e.g. Where can you touch a moon rock?), decorate and draw pages about landmarks, White House, museums, memorials National Mall. (Activity book)

 

 
     
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)
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