Top Five Things to Do in Washington, D.C. with Kids

There are so many educational and fun things to do in Washington, D.C. with kids, and it’s hard to know which ones to see first. Here are my recommendations for the top five must-see attractions for your first visit to Washington, D.C.

1. The White House
Although tickets for a public tour are extremely difficult to obtain, seeing this recognizable and impactful building is the first thing most kids want to do in Washington, D.C. Even at a young age, kids seem to understand the importance of the building and what it represents. If you are hoping to take a tour, you will need to contact your local member of Congress four to six months in advance requesting tickets to a timed tour. For more details, visit

If you don’t make it inside the White House but you would still like a great photo opportunity, stop into White House Gifts, a gift store across the street from the White House at Pennsylvania Avenue and 15th Street. Here, with a minimum purchase of $10, you can take your picture in an authentic-looking White House Oval Office and standing behind a look-alike of the White House podium. It makes a fun souvenir for the family!

Fun things to do in Washington DC with kids: Photo Op at look alike Oval Office
For a fun photo opportunity in Washington, D.C. stop by White House Gifts and have your picture taken in a replica of the Oval Office.

2. Washington Monument
The Washington Monument is a very recognizable memorial that my kids associated with Washington, D.C. and seeing it in person was impressive. It’s the tallest structure in the city and there are stunning views from the observation deck near the top. To get inside and go to the to the observation deck you will need timed tickets which you can reserve in advance or pick up early on the day of your visit at the Washington Memorial Visitors Center.

3. Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
With 10 million visitors a year, the National Air and Space Museum is the most popular museum in Washington, D.C. and it’s definitely an interesting choice for kids. Highlights include an Apollo command center, the Wright Brothers exhibit, and the original Spirit of St. Louis plane that flew around the world. Kids also get a kick out of touching a piece of moon rock.

4. Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
One of the highlights at the Museum of Natural History is studying the dinosaurs. During 2014 they are part of the exhibits The Rex Room and The Last American Dinosaurs. Other interesting exhibits include The Evolving Universe and Sant Ocean Hall. Hands-on areas kids will find interesting include the Butterfly Pavilion and Forensics Lab. The Hope Diamond is also on display here in Gems and Diamonds.

5. Lincoln Memorial
The Lincoln Memorial is a great spot to visit with kids because most school kids recognize President Lincoln and understand his accomplishments. The size of the Lincoln statue is also worth seeing and it was unlike any statue my kids had seen before. Finally, besides seeing Lincoln’s statue and reading his speeches at the memorial, you can also stand in the spot where Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous “I have a dream” speech.

Things to do in Washington DC with kids: Visiting Lincoln Memorial
Visiting the Lincoln Memorial should be on your list of things to do in Washington, D.C. with kids.

There are so many great memorials, museums and attractions to see in our capital city, and these are just a few suggestions for the best things to do in Washington, D.C. on your first trip. We enjoyed our stay at Capital Hilton, and if you are like us, you will want to come back for more visits down the road and see even more sights!

You may also enjoy:

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Know Before You Go

  • Many of the monuments and memorials surrounding the National Mall are open 24 hours a day!
  • Driving through the city isn’t recommended – walking or taking the Washington Metro are great ways to navigate the city.
  • Be prepared for numerous security checks if you are visiting any government buildings!

This post was written by Hilton Suggests Team Member, Susan K. Are you interested in traveling to Washington DC? Let us know if we can help you with any other recommendations. Tweet us for more great local travel tips!

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