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KeeKee's Corner
KeeKee's Washington, D.C. Must See for Families


Washington, D.C., is a must-visit for all families. It's the nation's capital full of history, culture, and family-friendly activities and attractions.

It's the perfect destination no matter the time of year and whether you have a long weekend or a week. There's so much to explore, and getting around on foot or via the convenient Metro public transportation system is easy.

Here are some reasons Washington, D.C., is a must-see for families.

Washington, D.C., is home to many museums and historical sites offering engaging and educational experiences for kids and adults. Many, including the Smithsonian Museums, the National Zoo, and the National Children's Museum, are designed with children in mind and provide interactive exhibits and hands-on activities that make learning fun.

Families have the unique opportunity to explore the history and workings of the United States government in person. Visits to the U.S. Capitol, the White House Visitor Center, and sites like Ford's Theatre and Mount Vernon allow families to go beyond what is in schoolbooks and visit the actual locations where history has taken place and is still occurring today.

The city is home to many iconic landmarks like the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, and Jefferson Memorial, which are incredible to see in real life.

So many of the building designs were inspired by buildings across the world. The Washington Monument obelisk follows ancient Egyptian designs. The Lincoln Memorial was designed after the Parthenon in Athens, Greece. The Jefferson Memorial building was designed after the Pantheon in Rome, Italy.

Cherry Blossoms with Washington Monument in background

D.C. is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the nation, with more than 175 embassies, ambassador residences, and international cultural centers. "Embassy Row," on Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., between 18th and 35th streets, is a great place to take a walking tour and learn more about the diplomatic city.

Washington, D.C. residents speak at least 168 different languages at home. Your family can experience other cultures, foods, and traditions through its neighborhoods and international cuisine, like in Chinatown.

Families can enjoy free admission to most museums and monuments, making for an affordable and adventure-filled trip.

The National Mall & Memorial Parks: The National Mall, a two-mile-long park, stretches from the Lincoln Memorial, honoring the 16th president of the U.S., on the Potomac River to the U.S. Capitol Building. In the middle, you’ll find the world’s tallest obelisk, the Washington Monument, built to commemorate George Washington, the first president of the U.S.

It's also home to many other iconic landmarks, monuments, and memorials, including the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, World War II Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. Learn about American history where it happened and is still happening.

KeeKee in Alaska

Smithsonian Museums: The Smithsonian Institution has 21 museums in the D.C. area, most of which are free to enter and have something for everyone in the family. Across the museums, you'll find a collection of nearly 138 million objects and works of art.

Some popular choices for families include the National Air and Space Museum (air and spacecraft), National Museum of Natural History (fossils & gems), National Museum of American History (U.S. history through artifacts and exhibits), National Museum of African American History & Culture, National Museum of the American Indian, and National Postal Museum (create your own stamp).

Jefferson Memorial, Tidal Basin, and Cherry Blossoms: The memorial dedicated to President Jefferson is surrounded by the beautiful Tidal Basin. In spring, it's filled with puffy pink cherry blossoms from the 3,000 trees that were a gift from the mayor of Tokyo in 1912. D.C.'s Cherry Blossom Festival in the spring is a great time to visit. You can also rent paddle boats on the Tidal Basin from spring until fall.

The Smithsonian's National Zoo: Located in Rock Creek Park, 4 miles from the National Mall area, this 163-acre park is home to over 2,000 animals, including lions, tigers, elephants, and primates. It's a great place to spend a day with the family and learn about wildlife conservation. The zoo is free.

The International Spy Museum: Kids can learn about espionage and undercover operations throughout history in fun exhibits and activities in this one-of-a-kind interactive museum. The Spy Museum is privately operated, so there is an admission fee.

KeeKee at the Washington DC Spy Museum

National Archives Museum: Home to the original Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights.

United States Capitol Visitor Center: Take a guided tour of the U.S. Capitol and learn about the legislative process. Be sure to check for tour availability and book in advance.

White House Visitor Center: While tours of the White House itself are limited, you can visit the White House Visitor Center to learn about the history and significance of the presidential residence.

National Children's Museum: This museum is designed specifically for children and offers hands-on exhibits focused on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) subjects.

U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum: This powerful living memorial to the Holocaust offers a moving experience for families with older kids to learn about and understand this devastating period of history.

Ford's Theatre and Petersen House: A working theater, historical monument, museum, and learning center. The museum in the basement has an exhibit on the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War. The Petersen House across the street, known as "The House Where Lincoln Died," is also part of this historic site.

National Building Museum: This museum features interactive exhibits celebrating architecture, engineering, and design and has a massive indoor play area for kids called the "Building Zone."

National Building Museum in Washington DC

Potomac River Activities: Along the Potomac River, you'll find many areas perfect for families to enjoy outdoor activities. Explore historic Georgetown's cobblestone streets (the oldest part of the city dating back to 1751), dine at The Washington Harbor, or rent paddleboats and kayaks at the Key Bridge Boathouse. The Wharf has restaurants, shopping, seasonal activities, boat rentals, water taxis, and entertainment. Yards Park area, home to D.C.'s Nationals baseball team, has restaurants, shops, and a water fountain play areas for kids.

And, across the Potomac River in Virginia, you'll also find…

Mount Vernon: Take a short drive to Mount Vernon, George Washington's historic estate. Explore the mansion and gardens and learn about the United States' first president.

National Air and Space Museum's Udvar-Hazy Center: Located near Washington Dulles International Airport (around a 35-minute drive from downtown D.C.), this incredible hangar-like museum is enormous and full of all things air and space travel, including a Concorde and the space shuttle Discovery.

Overall, D.C. offers a wonderful family experience, combining educational opportunities, cultural experiences, and plenty of family-friendly attractions and activities. It's a destination where kids can have fun, and the whole family can gain a deeper understanding of the nation's history and government.

Washington, D.C. Adventure Awaits!

AAA Travel Advisors are available to help you navigate and plan all the details of your Washington D.C. vacation with special Member benefits and savings. Find an Advisor

Link to KeeKee Washington DC Guide