Kid Friendly Washington: Family Fun in the Federal City

Description:

Washington offers everything a vacationing family could want: monuments, museums, parks, performances, and much more. You’d need a month to take advantage of all of the kid-friendly attractions and activities in DC; this guide provides a five-day itinerary of the must-sees and must-dos for a traveling family.

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Author: Torie Castiello


Day 1 - Washington DC


If you’re traveling with children, the last thing you want to do is lug suitcases back and forth; better to stay in one central place and plan your daily itinerary from there. The Marriott Key Bridge is good for families in that it’s central without being too chaotically urban. If the weather is nice, you can cross the Key Bridge and wander into Georgetown; if not, the Rosslyn Metro is just a few blocks away. Familiarize yourself with the dozens of DC landmarks and monuments by hopping on the DC Tourmobile. The Tourmobile provides a great way for you and your family to check out all of DC’s best-known landmarks without exhausting yourselves by walking too much. Hop on and off at various points of interest as much as you want; your ticket lasts all day. The Lincoln Memorial allows you to soak up views of the Mall; if you’re feeling up to it, you can walk down the Memorial stairs and along the Reflecting Pool. Kids will get a kick out of the odd and wonderful creatures in the National Aquarium. Though it’s not as impressive as its Baltimore cousin, the National Aquarium in Washington still provides a great opportunity for kids to marvel at the myriad assortment of fish, reptiles and amphibians that it houses. And its central location makes it an itinerary item to plan. Finish off your day with Tex-Mex at Austin Grill; it's the perfect place for families – loud enough to allow for the inevitable temper tantrum or two, without being *too* chaotic. The food is plentiful, and there’s a kids’ menu as well.


2

Georgetown

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Location:

M Street and Wisconsin Avenue
Washington DC, DC 20007

Phone:

+1 202 789 7000 (Tourist Information)


3

Tourmobile Sightseeing

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Location:

1000 Ohio Drive Southwest
(Main Office)
Washington DC, DC 20024

Phone:

+1 202 554 5100


4

Lincoln Memorial

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Location:

900 Ohio Drive Southwest
National Mall & Memorial Park
Washington DC, DC 20024

Phone:

+1 202 426 6841


5

National Aquarium

expert pick

Location:

14th Street
(between Pennsylvania & Constitution avenues NW)
Washington DC, DC 20230

Phone:

+1 202 482 2825


6

Austin Grill

Location:

2404 Wisconsin Avenue North West
(between Hall Place and Calvert Street North West)
Washington DC, DC 20007

Phone:

1 202 337 8080


Day 2 - Washington DC


No trip to DC is complete without a museum visit or two, and there are many museums that will appeal to both kids and parents. DC Ducks will give you another hassle-free chance to see the city’s biggest attractions - is there anything cooler to kids than the idea of a bus that can travel on both land and water? It's a fun and quirky way to travel, using restored World War II-era vehicles that tour everywhere from Union Station to the Potomac River. Afterwards, you can check out both man-made and natural marvels at the National Air and Space Museum. This museum is comprised of two separate facilities in separate locations. If your kids are really interested in air and spacecraft, then it’s worth driving out to the Museum’s much larger facility in Dulles, the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. If not, then the Smithsonian facility on the Mall has some fascinating objects on display, including the Wright Flyer. At the Museum of Natural History, also on the Mall, you can explore the wonders of nature (including the famous Hope Diamond). Admission is free; you can save your money for tickets to the Museum’s IMAX Theater, which shows both commercial films and documentaries in 3-D. Try Cheesecake Factory for dinner. This popular restaurant chain doesn’t take reservations, so it’s best to get there a little on the early side in the evening to avoid waiting. Try to save room for one of the dozen of varieties of cheesecake – no mean feat, considering how large the portions are!


1

DC Ducks

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Location:

Union Station
Washington DC, DC 20018

Phone:

+1 800 213 2474


2

National Air and Space Museum

Location:

6th Street and Independence Avenue Southwest
On Independence Ave. SW, between 4th and 7th sts., on the south side of the Mall, with entrances on Jefferson Dr. or Independence Ave
Washington DC, DC 20576

Phone:

+1 202 633 1000


3

National Museum of Natural History

Location:

10th Street and Constutution Avenue, Northwest
Washington DC, DC 20560

Phone:

+1 202 633 1000 / +1 202 357 1729


4

Cheesecake Factory

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Location:

5345 Wisconsin Avenue NW
Washington DC, DC 20015

Phone:

1 202 364 0500


Day 3 - Washington DC


Switch your focus and head for the great outdoors. The Billy Goat trail is one of the country’s best known hiking trails, with great views of the Potomac River. Depending on your children’s ages and your desired exertion level, you will love the gorgeous views that this rugged four-mile hike provides. Be advised that this is a somewhat strenuous hike – if your kids are very young or you’d rather not break a sweat, head to Georgetown and hit the Capital Crescent Trail instead, where the paths are completely flat. Also situated along the river is Glen Echo Park, a leafy suburban retreat that offers loads of fun activities and picnic spots. This little gem isn’t even well known among many Washingtonians, probably due to its location. It’s a bit out of the way, and you need a car to get there, but it’s worth the trip. The former amusement park only has one working ride (a carousel), but there are plenty of other diversions for kids and adults alike, including a puppet theater. Consider stopping by the pub at the Irish Inn at Glen Echo (http:// www.irishusa.com) for a bite to eat afterward.


1

Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park

Location:

P.O. Box 4
Washington DC, MD 21782

Phone:

804-462-5030


2

Capital Crescent Trail

Location:

Water Street Northwest
Washington DC, DC 20009


3

Glen Echo Park

Location:

7300 MacArthur Boulevard
Washington DC, MD 20812

Phone:

+1 301 492 6229


Day 4 - Washington DC


For a nice combination of wildlife and learning, start with a trip to the National Zoo. The Zoo is a must-see for families; it’s centrally located and beautifully landscaped – an idyllic retreat in the middle of the city. It’s also free, and home to lots of family-friendly events, especially during the summer months. Follow this up with a visit to the nearby National Geographic Museum at Founders Hall. You’re not too far from the White House, so wander past and wave hello to the President. The venerable building on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue definitely merits a walk-by. Tours of the House itself are tricky to organize; you need to have at least 10 people in your group and submit a request months in advance through your State’s Congress member (phew!). Old Glory BBQ in Georgetown is a fun and laid back dining option – and you can grab ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s or Haagen Daz afterwards.


1

National Zoological Park

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Location:

3001 Connecticut Ave. NW
Adjacent to Rock Creek Park
Washington DC, DC 20008

Phone:

202.633.4800


2

National Geographic Museum at Explorers Hall

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Location:

17th and M Street North West
Washington DC, DC 20036

Phone:

+1 202 857 7588


3

The White House

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Location:

1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Visitor entrance gate at E St. and E. Executive Ave
Washington DC, DC 20502

Phone:

+1 202 456 2121 / +1 202 456 1111


4

Old Glory Barbecue

Location:

3139 M St. N.W.
(near the corner of Wisconsin and M Streets)
Washington DC, DC 20007

Phone:

1 202 337 3406


Day 5 - Luray, Washington DC


The guide’s only truly “out of town” visit is to the natural wonder of Luray Caverns. It’s hard not to be awed by the Caverns’ unusual grandeur, no matter what your age. You’ll need a car to get to Luray, which is about 90 miles outside of Washington, but it’s worth the trip. The Caverns are fascinating and provide an up-close look at awe-inspiriring stalactites and glimmering pools. Afterwards, head out and lose yourselves (literally) in the labyrinthine Garden Maze. Pack a lunch, or eat in the Cavern’s café. If you’re not too tried after a day in Luray, consider attending a game or concert at Verizon Center. Even if you don’t attend a specific event in this multifaceted sports and entertainment complex, you and your family can check out the huge Discovery Channel Store or have dinner at the huge Velocity Grill.


1

Luray Caverns

Location:

970 US Highway 211
Luray, VA 22835

Phone:

+1 540 743 6551


2

Verizon Center

Location:

601 F Street Northwest
Washington DC, DC 20004

Phone:

+1 202 628 3200 / +1 202 661 5000


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