With many historical venues and lots of walking required, a trip to Washington, D.C., seemed risky. Turns out, it’s a great place to take young kids.
Big Bus Hop-On Hop-Off Tours
Even though we walked nearly 20,000 steps a day (it was fun to watch the numbers climb on our Fitbits!), having the option to jump on the bus and rest for a while was great. Also, I really appreciated the narrative on the bus. Everyone gets a set of headphones and sets the dial to their language preference. We took the bus to the zoo, to Arlington National Cemetery, around the National Mall and Tidal Basin, and toured much of D.C. that way.
Arlington National Cemetery
While some families avoid this stop, we thought it was an important one to visit. We went straight to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to watch the changing of the guard. My kids found this very fascinating: The guards change every 30 minutes. Then we slowly walked back and talked about soldiers and war at the level that was appropriate for them. Kids today know about these topics—how can they not, with what’s in the news every day?—and discussing it with them in a way they understand allowed them to ask questions and created an open dialogue.
Washington Nationals Baseball Game
My kids love sports; me, not so much. But even I got into the energy of a Nationals game. The crowd was so energetic that it was simply contagious. Plus, there are playgrounds on-site for kids who can’t sit still for hours. Before hitting the game, we stopped at a Shake Shack across the street from the park and feasted on burgers, fries, and shakes. Due to the location of the restaurant, pretty much everyone was going to the game, so the excitement started even before we entered the ball field. We went to an evening game, and it was a great way to spend a warm night, after walking all day.
Monuments and Memorials of Washington, D.C.
The weather in DC the week we went was beautiful and perfect for walking. We visited many memorials--Lincoln, Washington, Jefferson, Martin Luther King Jr., Franklin Delano Roosevelt--and this was actually one of my favorite things that we did. Simply being outside in such a beautiful setting and surrounded by inspiration quotes from great leaders appealed to and inspirited each of us.
Most of our dining while in Washington, D.C., was on-the-go. Truth be told, my kids are not great at sitting down for long periods of time, but I wanted to try Firefly since I had heard that it’s built around a large indoor tree, which sits in the middle of the room, and is known for its family-friendly atmosphere and comfort food. Verdict: The pot roast is divine, definitely a favorite dish. Ingeniously, they give all children cookies to decorate as soon as they sit down. My boys took the project seriously and gave serious thought to where they were putting the sprinkles and chocolate chips. No iPads were needed to entertain them, and I was able to have adult conversation while the boys were preoccupied. Then when the food arrived, our waiter took the cookies away to be baked and brought them back for dessert. My kids thought this was the best restaurant ever!
Turns out, there is plenty to do and see in Washington, D.C., for young kids. We enjoyed our visit so much, we are thinking about coming back next year.
For more information on our nation’s capital go to Destination DC.