Washington, DC is a great place for historical sight-seeing. So many historical events have taken place there or are commemorated there. From monuments to museums to historical homes, Washington, DC has something for everyone in the family.
General tips on a Washington, DC trip with kids:
- Transportation: DC is quite large and most of the sites are spread throughout the city. While the National Mall looks very walkable, be forewarned that it is a mile long, which is a LONG distance in the sweltering summer heat.
- Public Transportation: The DC Metro is a convenient way to get around town. It is easy to use and very navigable. However it is currently undergoing lots of maintenance work so be sure to check its website before your trip.
- Unlike some larger cities, you can drive in DC. However, traffic is horrible and parking is costly.
- Your best bet is to group your sites together and walk as much as you can.
- Food: DC has plentiful restaurants and food trucks. It’s known for its high-end restaurants but there are lots of family-friendly options, particularly in the tourist areas. Check out The Washingtonian magazine for ideas.
- Lodging: DC has lots of family-friendly options for hotels. Several areas to consider are: Penn Quarter/Gallery Place, George Washington University/Foggy Bottom, The Wharf, and Old Town Alexandria. My favorites that are walking distance from most of the sites are: Marriott Marquis, Hilton Garden Inn Downtown, Courtyard Washington Downtown, Kimpton Monaco, and J.W. Marriott.
- Websites to help you plan your trip:
Don’t miss attractions with kids: Washington, DC has tons of things to do with the family. The problem will be fitting everything in! Some favorites include:
- National Zoo (currently free timed entry tickets are required)
- International Spy Museum
- Trolley tours
- National Children’s Museum
- Sporting events: DC has several professional sports teams. See who is playing when you’re there!
- National Carousel – on the National Mall near Smithsonian
Historical Sites to see: Check back often for more of these sites to be reviewed by The History Mom! Note that only sites reviewed by The History Mom are marked with *. Other links are external links to the museum’s own web site. Also check out this fantastic resource on DC historical sites compiled by the National Park Service.
- *National Mall Monuments and Memorials
- *U.S. Capitol
- *The White House
- Supreme Court
- Library of Congress
- *Smithsonian Museums along the National Mall
- *National Archives
- *United States Holocaust Museum
- Bureau of Engraving and Printing
- World War I Memorial – the newest memorial
- *Hamilton sites: Hamilton Statue at the Treasury Department (15th and ) and site of Eliza’s last home (1325 H Street NW)
- Civil War Defenses of Washington
- African American Civil War Museum and Memorial
- Frederick Douglass National Historic Site
- Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Museum
- *National Cathedral
- In Northern Virginia:
- Presidential historical sites/museums:
Books to read:
All links are Amazon affiliate links.
- 10 and up:
- 6 and up:
- Kids’ Travel Guide – Washington, DC: The fun way to discover Washington, DC
- Journey Around Washington D.C. from A to Z
- Awesome Adventures at the Smithsonian: The Official Kids Guide to the Smithsonian Institution
- This is Washington, D.C.: A Children’s Classic
- The Mystery in Washington D.C. (The Boxcar Children)
- Flat Stanley’s Worldwide Adventures #9: The US Capital Commotion
- The Capital Mysteries
This page is continually updated.