Visiting Washington, DC with kids
Washington, D.C., a great vacation
If you are planning a vacation to Washington, D.C., you're in for a real treat.
Our first vacation ever by train was to Washington, D.C. It was an adventure for us since no one in our family had ever been on a train. It took approximately 24 hours from Miami to Washington, D.C., but it gave us time to spend together and get much needed sleep before embarking on a new city. At the time, my children were 3 and 9 years old. They had a great time on the train, which included our meals, movies, and lots of time with mom and dad.
The train arrived at Union Station. We had lunch there and walked around a bit before taking a taxi to our hotel, The Sheraton, located on K Street and 12th Street. After checking in we spent the rest of the day walking around our neighborhood and getting a feel of the city. That night, we planned out our itinerary for the next day and decided to head out early towards the National Mall.
The National Mall is a large open area, a national park located in downtown Washington, D.C., somewhat of a rectangular shape. This is where you will find most of the museums and memorials you want to visit in Washington. If you are able to find a hotel near the Mall, it will make it easier for you to walk to most or all the museums. If you don't want to walk you can also take the Metro.
Our favorite places to visit in Washington, D.C. were and are:
1. National Air and Space Museum:
Address: 600 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, D.C. 20560
Our first stop during our trip was the National Air and Space Museum. Although we planned only to stay here for about 3 hours, we ended up staying all day. There are so many interesting things to see that you lose track of time once you are in there. The museum is located on Independence Avenue between 4th and 7th Street. The admission is free and it is indoors. Visit www.nasm.si.edu.
2. Lincoln Memorial
Address: Lincoln Memorial Cir SW, Washington, D.C. 20037
The Lincoln Memorial is an outdoor memorial and it plays tribute to Abraham Lincoln. The Gettysburg address is in scripted around his statue. From the steps you can look onto The Mall and it is a beautiful site. The admission is free and it is outdoors. Visit www.nps.gov/linc.
3. Washington Memorial
Address: Madison Drive NW and 15st NW, Washington, D.C.
For the Washington Memorial, tickets are sold in order to visit the observatory. We did not go inside, but took pictures of the memorial outside. The monument is over 500 feet tall and a site to see. Visit www.nps.gov/wash.
4. Vietnams Veterans Memorial
Address: Constitution Avenue and Henry Bacon Dr. NW, Washington, D.C.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is a memorial dedicated to those who died or disappeared during the Vietnam War. The memorial consists of two black slabs of granite with the names of the dead and missing inscribed into the slabs. It is a beautiful memorial to see and honor those who lost their lives. The admission is free and it is outdoors. Visit www.npa.gov/vive.
5. National Museum of American History
Address: 1400 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20560
This is another museum we enjoyed tremendously. It had all of the inaugural gowns worn by the First Ladies', collections, objects, and art from America's history. Visit www.americanhisory.si.edu.
6. National Gallery of Art
Address: 4th Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20565
The National Gallery of Art was my favorite museum, although the kids didn't really enjoy it as much as the others. There are numerous works of art such as Giotto's Madonna and Child, Leonardo's Ginevra de' Benci, and Monet's Woman with a Parasol. Visit www.nga.gov.
7. U. S. Capitol Building
Address: East Capitol Street, NE and 1st Street, NE, Washington, D.C. 20002
Tours to the U. S. Capitol Building are available by calling 1-202-226-8000. There are a limited number of tickets available. You can also go online to www.visitthecapitol.gov.
8. White House
Address: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest, Washington, D.C. 20500
We were not able to tour the White House, but did enjoy the outside view. Around this area is where we were able to find several vendors selling t-shirts and souvenirs which we purchased a few for our family at home. Visit www.whitehouse.gov.
9. Arlington Cemetery
Address: 1 Memorial Drive, Fort Myer, VA 22211
To get to Arlington, we took the Metro (subway). Once there, there is a bit of walking but so worth seeing. We were able to see Arlington House, the Tomb of the Unknown and the gravesite of John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Visit www.nps.gov.
10. The Pentagon
Address: 1600 Defense Pentagon, Washington, D.C. 20301
The Pentagon was also a bit away from our hotel, so we took the Metro there. They offer free tours, but I would call before going. During our visit there, we were not able to visit inside due to security reasons. My son still enjoyed the visit seeing the soldiers and taking pictures. Visit www.defenselink.mil/pubs/pentagon.
11. Union Station
Address: 50 Massachusetts Ave, NE, Washington, D.C. 20002
Union Station is where our train arrived and departed. We had lunch here on the first day and it is a great place to visit for a quick lunch. www.unionstationdc.com.
Other places you may want to visit are:
- WWII Memorial
- Korean War Veterans Memorial
- Hirshhorn Museum
- U. S. Botanic Garden
- The National Archives
- National Postal Museum
- Library of Congress
- National Zoological Park
I love visiting Washington. It's full of so much history and interesting places. It's One Great Vacation Destination!