3 Day Washington DC Trip Itinerary (with youngsters)

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Washington DC could not sound like essentially the most thrilling vacation journey vacation spot for a teen and tween who’ve spent most of their lives touring (and visiting far too many museums).

DC shall be boring” my two daughters protested once I informed them we have been taking our annual vacation season journey this yr to the nation’s capital.

Mom and daughters looking out over the National Mall in DC
With my teen & tween in entrance of the Abraham Lincoln Memorial

So, I appointed myself the troublesome job of constructing a memorable Washington DC trip for all members of our household. And I’m very joyful to say, “Mission completed.”

Each of our ladies liked their journey to DC. They loved experiencing firsthand lots of the locations they’ve seen in movies and TV or discovered about at school. They liked the additional enjoyable issues we did like bike using, ice skating, and vacation procuring.

Mom and two daughters riding bikes in Washington DC
We loved biking the Nationwide Mall

If you happen to’re searching for a three-day itinerary for Washington DC that may please your youngsters, in addition to mother and pop in fact, then you’ll get pleasure from this Washington DC journey I’ve highlighted under.

Is Washington DC a Good Vacation spot To Go to In The Vacation Season?

Parents and their daughters posing for a photo under an arch of Christmas lights
Decorations in Georgetown, D.C.

When Allianz Partners Prime 10 Thanksgiving Vacation spot Index got here out sharing the highest 10 locations for Individuals touring in america for Thanksgiving and the Vacation season, we determined to decide on quantity 9 on the listing, Washington DC.

(New York Metropolis in fact topped the listing, adopted by Seattle, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Boston, Atlanta, Phoenix, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Dallas.)

Whereas it could be too late so that you can journey to DC for Thanksgiving, Christmas is across the nook and a time that’s simply as nice to expertise any of those locations.

Many of the seasonal Christmas experiences begin the day after Thanksgiving, so it’s good timing to get pleasure from them.

About This 3 Day Itinerary for Washington DC

Mon and daughter taking a photo outside the US Capitol Builing in Washington DC
We loved a tour of the U.S. Capitol Constructing

For this journey to DC, we wished to slot in a couple of vacation experiences in addition to go to the highest Washington DC points of interest together with memorials, museums, and naturally, a style of native tradition.

We arrived on a Sunday afternoon and left after lunch on Wednesday, so had a full three days of exploring.

Relying in your schedule, it’s possible you’ll must be versatile with the way you do that itinerary. Chances are you’ll must adapt it to suit your circumstances. Use this as a information and inspiration, and juggle it round as you see match.

I’ve additionally included some ideas with different options (principally what we might have completed otherwise). We make the errors so it can save you money and time. You’re welcome!

Day 1: Sunday Afternoon in Georgetown

Row of shopfronts in the main street of Georgetown
Row of shopfronts in Georgetown

Downtown DC is fairly quiet on a Sunday, so we determined to discover Georgetown positioned on the Potomac River in Northwest Washington, D.C.

Georgetown is thought to be the oldest neighborhood in Washington DC and is stuffed with colourful row properties, cobblestone streets, good procuring, and scrumptious cupcakes.

It made for the proper first cease as we simply wandered round and took all of it in, and stretched our legs after a five-hour drive from our dwelling in Raleigh, NC. Right here’s the place we went.

Cease 1: Lunch at Thunder Burger & Bar

Burger, ketchup and potatoes on a plate
Nice burgers!

Sunday brunch was nonetheless taking place once we arrived moderately late at 2pm on the Thunder Burger & Bar on Important Road. That suited us as we have been all famished after a food-less drive.

Craig chowed down on their Breakfast Burger topped with Virginia ham, grilled pineapple, and over straightforward egg – similar to we do in Australia.

My Shakshuka was scrumptious! The Mediterranean spices within the meatballs have been so flavorful, and nearly tricked me into pondering I used to be consuming a falafel however with a significantly better texture.

The ladies fortunately shared an enormous plate of Hen and Waffles with a double thumbs up. And for a DC restaurant, the costs have been fairly cheap.

Cease 2: Wander the Georgetown streets

Mother and daughter walking along a sidewalk with American flag and townhownes
Georgetown is charming!

Among the best free issues to do in Georgetown, particularly with older youngsters, is to only roam across the streets, do some procuring, take a look at some vacation decorations and see what you’ll be able to uncover.

The intersection of M and Wisconsin Avenue is the center of Georgetown, with boutique-lined streets extending in all 4 instructions.

A mom and two daughters walking along a city street with Christmas decorations

We fortunately adopted the ladies into big-name shops like City Outfitters and Glossier, but in addition unbiased shops like the lovable Bridge Road Books.

As new kitten homeowners, we stopped for some time to gaze on the kittens by means of the window of the Crumbs & Whiskers Kitten & Cat Cafe.

Flip down a number of the facet streets and cobblestone alleys to see what you uncover. Like this illuminated butterfly backyard, we discovered it on the grounds of a historic church.

Large butterfly decorations in a city park

Cease 3: Pattern Cupcakes at Baked & Wired

Cupcakes on display in a bakery
Tremendous fashionable cupcake retailer!

We had memorable cupcakes and low right here a couple of years in the past, so in fact, we knew this is able to be a DC spotlight for our children!

Baked & Wired is a household bakery making small-batch baked items and scrumptious craft espresso. Lining the counter is all kinds of cupcakes with flavors like flapjack, the good pumpkin, soiled chai, and pink velvet. They even have vegan and gluten-free choices!

Kalyra says don’t miss the Tessita cupcake, a vanilla cake with dulce de leche filling, topped with chocolate hazelnut satin frosting.

I discover their cupcakes to be the proper moist texture and never sickly candy regardless of the abundance of creamy icing on prime.

You may both eat in amongst stunning portraiture adorning the partitions or take them to-go as you stroll alongside the lovable Georgetown canal pathways to admire the historic colourful homes and Christmas lights.

Cease 4: Go to the Outdated Stone Home

Old Stone House in Georgetown

The Old Stone House is the oldest construction on its authentic basis in Washington, D.C.

This pre-revolutionary colonial constructing is sort of small with not lots to see. You may go to the decrease flooring of the constructing which has some displays in what was as soon as the kitchen.

I discovered the outside gardens to be fairly pretty. I loved sitting right here ending my espresso and cupcake!

Cease 5: Ice Skating at Washington Harbor

People ice skating inside a rink surrounded by buildings

Just some steps from Georgetown on the Potomac River is Washington Harbor’s Vacation ice skating rink.

Ice skating has grow to be one among our vacation traditions since we first did it at Bryant Park in NYC for Christmas.

I’m unsure if the ice-skating rink was tough or if I used to be simply rusty, nevertheless it felt like skating alongside a gravel pathway at first.

Mom and daughters ice skating photo

Fairly quickly our skates warmed as much as it because the ice turned extra worn down and we stayed up and skated for about an hour. The one factor lacking was Christmas music!

This ice-skating rink is Washington DC’s largest. Alternatively, the ice-skating rink within the Nationwide Artwork Gallery sculpture backyard comes extremely beneficial, nevertheless it had not but opened for the season.

People ice skating inside a rink with a fire pit
Warmed our arms round this fireplace pit
People ice skating inside a rink surrounded by buildings
Mom and two daughters getting photo in front of a Christmas tree
There’s a Christmas tree up the steps right here too!

HOT TIP: Get right here at nightfall. The crowds shall be much less, and also you’ll get fairly sundown colours. I liked the putting views of the Watergate Lodge (sure, the SAME place as Nixon scandal) all lit up at evening.

Cease 6: Dinner at Agora D.C.

We took an Uber to Dupont Circle as we thought it was a vibrant place to hang around and Georgetown obtained actually quiet as soon as the solar went down.

Dupont Circle was a flop on a Sunday evening, however we discovered an important restaurant a couple of streets again that was solely a 15-minute stroll from our lodge.

Agora D.C. is a family-owned Mediterranean Mezze Restaurant. It’s impressed by the wealthy culinary traditions of Turkey melded with flavors from Greece and Lebanon.

People dining in a Turkish restaurant
Good atmosphere

Fragrant, Spicy, and Scrumptious with a smooth ambiance and a fairly inexpensive worth, particularly with their share plates.

I used to be nonetheless full from our late lunch so was greater than happy with an Htipiti appetizer of roasted pink Pepper, Feta, Thyme, Olive Oil, and a bowl of scrumptious brussels on a mattress of lemon yogurt, urfa peppers, and golden raisins.

There are a number of flatbread flavors the youngsters will love and Craig loved a plate of Kofte: minced lamb and New York strip patties with Cack, Sumac, Onions, and tomatoes.

I additionally had a glass of Lebanese Syrah – my first ever Lebanese wine and I used to be impressed with this smoothness.

Day 2: Nationwide Mall by Bike, Spy Museum & Vacation Markets

Family riding bikes
We liked biking round D.C.

Among the best issues to do in Washington DC is to tour the Nationwide Mall. You could possibly simply spend a full day right here because it’s surrounded by a number of the prime points of interest in DC.

If you happen to don’t know something in regards to the National Mall, it isn’t a shopping center, however a unending expanse of land encompassing inspiring monuments and museums which are administered by the Nationwide Park Service.

View of the Nationwide Mall from prime of the Washington Monument

This putting “America’s entrance yard “stretches for practically two-miles and has the Lincoln Memorial on one finish, the U.S. Capitol Constructing on the opposite, museums lined on both facet and the Washington Monument piercing the sky in between. The White Home can be simply off the Mall.

Touring the Mall is an unbelievable lesson in historical past as a number of the US’s most iconic memorials inform the story of the individuals and occasions that formed the nation.

On the opposite half of the Mall (the jap facet) are a number of the world’s finest museums.

However as we solely had three days in DC, we would have liked a strategy to see as a lot of the Nationwide Mall as potential in such a short while.

Biking Round The Nationwide Mall

Three girls bike riding in Washington DC
Nice strategy to discover the Mall

Okay. So should you’re going to include museums and memorials with a teen and tween, you higher one way or the other discover a distinctive and memorable strategy to do it.

I knew bike using across the Nationwide Mall can be it.

Granted, they complained as quickly as they came upon. Craig spoiled my shock by telling them the night earlier than. I used to be going to inform them by handing over their bike helmets at check-in to keep away from stretched-out durations of complaining.

Family riding bikes
DC is flat and really easy to bike!

I turned enemy Quantity One, till they obtained on the bikes, skilled the enjoyable of it, and realized simply how a lot worse it might have been if we walked round that Mall as a substitute.

We solely managed to discover half of the Mall on today in Washington DC (between 10am-3pm) and that was on bikes!

We rode across the tidal basin, stopping on the memorials alongside there. We then visited the Lincoln Memorial, earlier than using right down to the Washington Monument.

Girl riding a bike in Washington DC
We biked to the Washington Monument

We took a fast break after that with lunch from the many meals vehicles lined alongside the streets. I can’t say it was improbable meals, however they’re cheaper and sooner than the eating places close by. (Maybe pack a picnic!)

Meals vehicles lining the Nationwide Mall

After lunch we rode again round stopping at a couple of extra memorials earlier than dropping off the bikes at 3pm.

Nationwide Mall Memorials

Abraham Lincoln Memorial
Abraham Lincoln Memorial

The entire memorials within the western half of the Nationwide Mall are FREE.

There’s not lots to learn or do right here besides replicate and benefit from the tranquil magnificence of every memorial. I’m impressed on the effort put into all of them.

Plan your stops round your pre-booked tour of the Washington Monument. We booked ours for 12pm, however in hindsight, 9am would have perhaps been a greater time.

Additionally, should you don’t wish to bike or stroll the Nationwide Mall, there are guided tours you can join which take you round in a bus.

These memorials under are listed within the order we seen them on our bike trip.

Cease 1: Thomas Jefferson Memorial

Thomas Jefferson Monument in DC
Lovely location on the Tidal Basin

One among my favourite of the Washington memorials for its architectural magnificence (particularly amidst the backdrop of the blooming cherry blossoms) is the Thomas Jefferson Memorial on the Tidal Basin.

Mom and daughter taking a photo of a monument
Spectacular bronze statue

It stands as an emblem of liberty and has marble steps main as much as big ionic columns housing a bronze statue of Jefferson looking over the Washington Monument.

The partitions are inlaid with excerpts from his letters, speeches, and the Declaration of Independence.

Cease 2: Franklin D Roosevelt Memorial

Man looking up at the Thomas Jefferson Monument in DC
Empowering quotes

Undoubtedly essentially the most distinctive of the memorials is the one in honor of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s 4 phrases in workplace from the Nice Melancholy to World Warfare II.

Elanor Roosevelt

I liked its tranquil nature set again into the forest on the banks of the Tidal Basin with waterfalls, statues of FDR (along with his canine) and his spouse Elanor and well-known quotes etched into the brown marble partitions.

Cease 3: Martin Luther King Memorial

Giant stone monument of Martin Luther King in DC

Because the Lincoln Memorial was the place of MLK’s most well-known speech, “I’ve a dream”, it is sensible that his MLK Memorial is positioned fairly near it.

The memorial, unveiled in 2011, relies on a line from the speech, “With this religion, we will hew out of a mountain of despair, a stone of hope.”

Giant stone monument of Martin Luther King in DC
Stone of Hope

The massive (oddly) white granite statue of Dr. King is the stone of hope and the 2 items of granite close to him are depicted because the mountain of despair. Alongside the again is a black wall with quotes of MLK reminding us to maintain working in direction of inclusion for all.

Cease 4: Lincoln Memorial

Abraham Lincoln Memorial
Lincoln Memorial

One of the vital well-known memorials on the earth is the Lincoln Memorial with its white, larger-than-life, marble statue of the larger-than-life President Abraham Lincoln trying straight over the reflection pool previous the Washington Monument and to the domed Capitol constructing.

Mom and daughters looking up at monument of Abraham Lincoln
Hiya Abe!

My ladies acknowledged it as quickly as we walked to the reflection pool because the place from Forrest Gump!

Mom and daughters looking out over the National Mall in DC
Wonderful views of reflection pool

This is without doubt one of the finest views in Washington DC and an important place to replicate upon what Lincoln stood for and the way he helped change the world for the higher.

Cease 5: Vietnam Veterans Memorial

People looking at a war memorial in Washington DC

I typically really feel fairly emotional strolling up and down the black wall of the Vietnam Warfare Memorial trying on the seemingly infinite listing of names etched into the wall of the hundreds of members of the U.S. armed forces who fought, died in service, or have been listed MIA in the course of the Vietnam Warfare. 

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial stands as probably the most visited and transferring memorials on the Nationwide Mall

Cease 6: Korean Warfare Veterans Memorial

Statues of men in a war memorial in DC

The Korean Warfare Veterans Memorial is equally putting and unnerving with 19 chrome steel statues of troopers on patrol.

It’s the depth of their faces that makes you are feeling such as you’re being hunted within the jungle throughout wartime.

The mural wall behind them – much like the Vietnam battle memorial – has real-life pictures of the two,499 males, girls, and canines who served within the battle. It’s fairly a sight to see.

Cease 7: World Warfare II Memorial

Lake and fountain at a war memorial monument in DC

One of the vital poignant of the Washington DC Memorials is the World War II Memorial on the backside of Washington Monument hill.

Opened in 2004, it honors the spirit and sacrifice of the 16 million women and men who served abroad and the greater than 400,000 that perished.

There’s a lot to see and replicate on on this fashionable memorial. There’s a stunning fountain at its heart, which 56 granite columns forming a semi-circle round.

They symbolize unity among the many 48 states, seven federal territories, and the District of Columbia. There are two 43-foot-tall arches on reverse sides: the northern arch represents victory within the Atlantic, whereas the southern arch symbolizes victory within the Pacific.

Cease 8: Climb to The Prime of the Washington Monument (12pm)

Mom and two daughters looking up at a 555 ft tall monument in DC
555 ft excessive presents wonderful views!

Do you know you’ll be able to go as much as the highest of the 555 ft excessive Washington Monument? Though your 360-degree views of Washington shall be by means of tiny home windows, it’s effectively price it.

This monumental obelisk was constructed to honor George Washington and nonetheless, right this moment stands because the world’s tallest freestanding stone construction.

A raise will take you as much as the commentary deck the place you’ll be able to see practically 25 miles in each course. Spot the landmarks just like the U.S. Capitol, the White Home, Arlington Nationwide Cemetery, the Pentagon, Lincoln Memorial, and the Washington Nationwide Cathedral.

Aerial view of a lake and buildings in Washington DC
Beautiful view of the Lincoln Memorial and Reflection Pool
Aerial view of a large green park and buildings in Washington DC
View of The White Home and Ellipse

There’s additionally a small museum with details about the constructing of the monument and a statue of Washington on the backside of the raise.

Don’t shut your eyes when going again down. It would decelerate twice to offer you a glimpse of the inside partitions, that are lined with commemorative stones.

Like many of the monuments, memorials, and museums in Washington, this tour is free. Though, should you e-book forward on-line – and I like to recommend you do – you’ll have to pay a $1 reserving price per ticket.

Girl looking out a winow over a city skyline
Unimaginable view in direction of the U.S. Capitol Constructing

Tickets for the next day are launched at 10am every day, and it’s like making an attempt to seize Taylor Swift tickets. I arrived at 10am on Monday and will see the tickets out there shortly counting down. I managed to get 4 tickets for noon.

If you happen to don’t get any, they launch some tickets on the morning of, however you’ll have to line up outdoors the monument fairly early. All tickets for the day have been gone once we arrived at noon.

You too can e-book tickets precisely 30 days upfront of your tour date.

NOTE: The next guided tour of the Nationwide Mall by bus consists of entry to the Washington Monument. It’s additionally useful for many who don’t wish to bike or stroll the Nationwide Mall. Reserve your place on the tour here.

Cease 9: Cease for a view of the White Home

Large black metal fence surrounding the White House
Distant view of the South Garden from in entrance of the Ellipse (E St NW)

Need to go to the White Home? Particularly to see the gorgeous Christmas decorations? Craig and I did it in 2014 after being invited by the White Home for his or her first-ever journey summit. It was one of many prime highlights of our 12-year journey running a blog profession.

couple posing in front of Christmas tree in the White House
With Craig contained in the White Home in 2014

As this was a last-minute journey to DC, we missed the chance to e-book a tour to go to the White Home. You may attain out to your native representatives to tour the White Home, nevertheless it have to be completed at the least 21 days upfront and no additional than 90 days upfront.

As I mentioned, we make errors that can assist you keep away from them! However, should you’re planning to go to DC for the vacations in 2022, you’ll be too late. However not should you’re planning to journey in 2023.

We rode from the Nationwide Mall round the Ellipse – the place they have been placing collectively their Christmas tree to the again gates of the White Home.

Christmas tree getting decorated at The White House
Christmas tree on the Ellipse

You’re fairly removed from the home right here however get the basic view of the White Home and its semi-circular portico overlooking the big expansive South garden.

TOP TIP: Go round to the entrance of the White Home on H Road that overlooks Lafayette Square. You may get a lot nearer to the home and get a really completely different and delightful view of the White Home’s northern facade.

I actually loved standing right here and considering life within the White Home and all it takes for an individual with a dream to truly make it there.

Fountain in front of The White House
View from the entrance on H Road

Be aware: this avenue can get closed off at any time. We went at 5pm and the Secret Service officers shut it down. Given the variety of helicopters roaming the skies, we figured President Biden was about to go away the constructing.

You may go a block again on the northern facet of Lafayette Sq. and nonetheless get views. We additionally noticed a reporter (I feel from CNN) movie a political phase from right here. Look as much as the roof and see should you can see the snipers! Sort of creepy, however our inside spies additionally discover it kinda cool.

We returned at 7am to H Road and had all the north facet view of the White Home to ourselves.

Cease 10: Espresso Break at Colada

Dad and daughters in coffee shop

How have I by no means had Cuban espresso earlier than?

After dropping off our bike leases within the District Wharf space – which seems to be like it might be quite a lot of enjoyable at evening, particularly in the summertime – we had half-hour to relaxation earlier than our subsequent prime Washington DC attraction.

We stopped on the vibrant Colada Shop café and bar the place I made a decision to attempt a café con leche, which should you don’t know is espresso, steamed milk, candy Cuban crema.

I liked the recent zing it gave me with out the heaviness of a milky latte.

Because it’s close to the bike rental cease, this is also a great place to have breakfast earlier than your bike trip. Additionally they produce other places round DC. 

Cease 11: Worldwide Spy Museum

People exploring a spy museum in DC

After we requested our Instagram community what are the very best issues to do in Washington DC with youngsters, the overwhelming majority mentioned, “Worldwide Spy Museum”.

There have been no complaints of boredom for the 2 hours we spent there refining our spy expertise, studying about espionage, the significance of intelligence gathering, and the lives of real-life spies.

People exploring a spy museum in DC

The museum is partaking from the beginning by giving all guests a particular undercover spy mission. You’re given an alias and a mission, all recorded on a card which you utilize on stations located across the museum to make use of your spy expertise to uncover mission clues, crack codes, and remedy the thriller – you even get to create your personal digital spy disguise.

Whereas it was enjoyable to be a fake spy, after studying in regards to the lifetime of spies, and the danger of coming to torturous ends, it’s not one thing I ever have an curiosity in being!

Cease 12: Discover the Downtown Vacation Market

People enjoying a Christmas market

Kalyra mentioned the Downtown Holiday Markets have been her favourite factor to do in Washington DC. Teenagers are at all times going to like the chance to buy their pursuits.

The Vacation Markets are in Penn Quarter simply north of the mall till Dec 23rd. You’ll discover greater than 70 native artisans and exhibitors together with black and minority-owned companies.

There are meals distributors with tasty treats like donuts, empanadas, and German meals. Dwell music was additionally taking part in and there have been interactive mild shows lining the markets.

We liked them. and picked up some stunning drawn prints from Marcella Kriebel and a few Christmas introduction calendars from the German stall.

Cease 13: Dinner at Pi Pizzeria

Family eating pizza in a restaurant
Household-friendly pizza joint

For an inexpensive household dinner, it’s possible you’ll get pleasure from consuming at Pi Pizzeria, which was solely a block away from the Downtown Vacation Market in Penn Quarter.

You may customise your personal pizzas or select from their distinctive specialty deep crust or skinny pizzas. They’re giant sufficient for your loved ones to share at an important worth and so they even have gluten-free pizzas.

Two pizzas in a restaurant
We shared two pizzas between 4

And, they poured us actually giant glasses of chianti. A glass of chianti with pizza reminiscing over a enjoyable day using round DC and pretending to be spies was stuffed with heat vacation cheer.

Day 3: Capitol Hill & Nationwide Mall Museums

Mom and daughter taking photo in front of a pond and US Capitol Builing in Washington DC
U.S. Capitol Constructing

After cramming lots into day two, we determined that day three needs to be spent exploring the opposite half of the Nationwide Mall (the Japanese facet) that includes the U.S. Capitol and the world-famous Smithsonian Museums.

Right here’s what we obtained as much as on day three of our Washington DC trip.

Cease 1: U.S. Capitol Constructing Tour (9am)

People on a tour inside the US Capitol Builing in Washington DC
The Crypt

The U.S. Capitol Building is without doubt one of the most recognizable buildings on the earth and the middle of American democracy. No journey to Washington DC can be full with out paying a go to to the place the place legal guidelines are debated and payments handed on behalf of the American individuals.

Sadly, because of the January 6th storming of the Capitol, our ladies have been excited to go to Capitol Hill simply so they might see the place all of it occurred. (They positively have been NOT in approval of what occurred!)

Round room inside the US Capitol Builing in Washington DC
The Rotunda

As we’re additionally planning to grow to be US residents, and so they study a lot in regards to the branches of presidency at school, I do know this is able to be an important Washington attraction with youngsters.

A guided tour of the US Capitol begins with an informative 13-minute movie known as “Out of Many, One, which shares the historical past of this constructing and department of presidency.

Domed ceiling inside the US Capitol Builing in Washington DC
Wanting up within the Rotunda on the ceiling of the dome

The 45-minute tour then continues by means of the constructing to the Crypt, the Rotunda which is beneath the beautiful Capitol dome, and the Nationwide Statuary Corridor, which is stuffed with statues of essential leaders in historical past (not essentially politicians).

A public tour of the U.S. Capitol is free. Reserve your tickets in advance. However, should you don’t thoughts lengthy traces, there are restricted same-day tickets out there.

If you wish to go to the Home and Senate galleries or watch Congress in session, you have to e-book this beforehand by reaching out to your native Congressman.

We had time after the tour to wander the grounds of the US Capitol and take photographs. They have been placing up the Christmas tree, which is admittedly stunning at evening when lit.

Cease 2: Library of Congress (10:45)

Outsdie view of the Library of Congress

Even if you’re not a e-book nerd or care about Congress, it’s price visiting the Library of Congress (Thomas Jefferson Building) simply to see the flowery design of the inside.

I solely reserved a timed entry go as a result of it was proper subsequent to the Capitol Constructing, and because it’s the largest library on the earth, I believed my book-loving teen would like it.

I feel I liked it greater than her!

Lobby Beautiful lobby inside the Library of Congress
Beautiful structure

The Library of Congress is dwelling to over 164 million objects together with books, manuscripts, maps, pictures, and movies that are housed throughout three buildings on Capitol Hill.

The Thomas Jefferson Constructing is the place vacationers have a tendency to go to. There are a couple of displays you’ll be able to see inside, however principally you’ll be gawking on the architectural fantastic thing about the Nice Corridor with marble arches and columns. Each inch is roofed in decorations from many US artists and sculptures, brightly painted partitions, and ceilings.

Stunning ceiling iBooks inside the Library of Congress
Attractive ceiling

You may view a uncommon and ideal copy of the Gutenberg Bible, which is the primary Bible printed utilizing the printing press.

There was an exhibit showcasing beautiful images amassed by the library for the reason that 1800s. We significantly liked this Royal cat and dancing grandmother!

A spotlight was seeing Thomas Jefferson’s private assortment of 6,400 books that based the Library of Congress. He offered them for $24,000 again in 1800.

Books inside the Library of Congress
Thomas Jefferson’s private assortment

And don’t miss the primary Studying Room, which you’ll overlook from the second degree of the constructing. Spend time trying on the ornate portray on the ceiling and the figures surrounding the work. There’s an data plaque that describes the symbolism of the artwork.

Beautiful lobby inside the Library of Congress
Studying Room

I solely discovered this out after our go to, however you will get a library card from right here, which can provide you entry to the Studying Room.

NOTE: You are able to do a paid guided tour of the Capitol Constructing and Library of Congress. It additionally features a cease on the Supreme Court docket and the power to calm down as your information shares the historical past and insider data. You additionally then gained’t want to fret about reserving tickets upfront or ready on lengthy traces as your entry is included within the tour. Book your spot here.

Cease 3: Lunch at Capitol Hill

Townhome in Washington DC
City-home in Capitol Hill

Lunch choices aren’t nice proper on the Nationwide Mall. You actually should stroll a couple of streets away. Though I’ve heard the café contained in the US Capitol is definitely fairly good and it’s possible you’ll get to rub shoulders with some essential politicians. Good or dangerous? You determine!

We walked 15-minutes down into Capitol Hill. I believed it could be extra of a enjoyable neighborhood to take a look at than it was.

Family walking on a sidewalk in main street Capitol Hill
Pennsylvania Ave in Capitol Hill

In hindsight, I could have skipped it and simply grabbed lunch on the Capitol to avoid wasting on time and plenty of strolling. However we did discover an important lunch spot and low there.

District Taco (656 Pennsylvania Ave. SE) is a series so you can find them round DC. The meals was scrumptious, and comparatively inexpensive, and I liked how customizable all their dishes have been.

I used to be so joyful to eat scrumptious nachos and have the power to choose off or substitute the ‘Choose de Calle’ with tomatoes and salsa (I can’t eat uncooked onion and stay joyful).

Across the nook from District Taco is Peregrine Espresso, which has excellent espresso. We relaxed right here for a bit absorbing native life and planning the second half of today in Washington.

Cease 4: See the Tropics within the U.S. Botanic Gardens

Boardwalk and plants in a graden

Again to the Nationwide Mall with our first cease on the stress-free United States Botanic Gardens. Established by the U.S. Congress in 1820, the U.S. Botanic Backyard is the oldest repeatedly working botanic backyard in america

There’s a conservatory and outside gardens to discover.

The rainforest was one among Kalyra’s favourite issues to do in DC – besides wearing our winter garments, it was so stiflingly sizzling that we couldn’t keep in for too lengthy with out stripping right down to nakedness.

The dome inside The Tropics rises to 93 toes and has a mezzanine degree from which you’ll view the jungle cover. It was actually stunning and a contented place for me.

There are a “Season’s Greenings” vacation show now till Jan 2, 2023, G-gauge mannequin trains will run within the gated outside gardens and the Conservatory will function poinsettias, vacation decor, and D.C. landmarks made out of crops.

Cease 5: Discover the Smithsonian Museums

Exterior of a museum
Hirshhorn Museum

You’ll actually wish to plan effectively for which museums to discover alongside the northern half of the Nationwide Mall. There’s a Smithsonian Museum to go well with any form of curiosity and elegance – and they’re all FREE.

The Smithsonian Establishment is the world’s largest museum, training, and analysis complicated, with 21 museums and the Nationwide Zoo (additionally free to enter).

The preferred ones require timed entry passes. We missed out on visiting the Air and Space Museum and the National Museum of African American History & Culture as a result of we didn’t notice this, and all passes have been booked out!

These have been two of the museums most beneficial to us. As a strategy to keep away from lacking out, you’ll be able to join this paid guided tour of both these museums which ensures you entry.

As we aren’t big museums individuals, I knew, the ladies particularly, wouldn’t recognize me including too many museums to our Washington DC journey.

We selected a pair and principally simply popped in to see an exhibition or two in each. So, plan accordingly primarily based in your pursuits and journey model.

Listed below are the museums we visited.

National Museum of the American Indian

Display inside a museum

We went straight to the 4th flooring of the Our Universes exhibit, which focuses on indigenous worldviews and philosophies associated to the creation and order of the universe—and the religious relationship between humankind and the pure world. 

I want I had extra time (or ideally solo time) to actually take in the various tribal philosophies.

For these with youthful youngsters, the interactive, family-friendly imagiNATIONS Exercise Middle offers younger guests a full of life house with all kinds of studying experiences.

One other potential change to today’s itinerary in DC would have been to eat lunch on the Mitsitam Café contained in the museum. It options Native meals discovered all through the Western Hemisphere.

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Backyard

Art sculpture

I actually loved the Hirshhorn Museum, which options worldwide fashionable and up to date artwork and a singular cylindrical constructing designed by Gordon Bunshaft.

We simply selected the highest flooring and liked the putting Pickett’s Cost panorama by Mark Bradford that wraps across the outer fringe of the ground.

Wall painting in an Art museum

It’s a collage of coloured paper that turns the historic Gettysburg Pickett’s Cost cyclorama (which we’ve skilled) right into a sequence of eight highly effective, summary work. Every is about 45 to 50 toes lengthy and 12 toes excessive.

I additionally actually loved the Guerilla Ladies exhibition Put it This Manner talking out for equality and inclusion for feminine artists.

Art museum
Fascinating stat that shouldn’t be!

A reader additionally beneficial that the timed passes to the exhibit. One with Eternity: Yayoi Kusama within the Hirshhorn Assortment, is price getting (particularly for the gram photographs!).

Out the entrance of the gallery is the 1.3-acre sunken Sculpture Backyard which options works from a number of artists. of Auguste Rodin’s most well-known sculptures, entitled The Burghers of Calais, might be discovered right here.

Even the timber have been chosen for his or her sculpture-like qualities and within the backyard, you’ll discover Babylon weeping willows, copper beeches, weeping beeches, Japanese black pines, and daybreak redwood timber.

Make sure to cease by Yoko Ono’s Wishing Tree the place you’ll be able to whisper your want for peace.

Nationwide Gallery of Artwork Sculpture Backyard

Art sculpture

The Sculpture Backyard on the National Gallery of Art is an excellent oasis in the course of a tiring Museum Day.

Take pleasure in works of recent sculpture as you slowly wander by means of the 6.1-acre backyard. There’s a café the place you’ll be able to relaxation for some time, and as talked about beforehand, an ice-skating rink in the course of the Vacation season.

We have been so exhausted by the tip of the day that we loved utilizing our $100 lodge credit score to eat on the Lady Madison restaurant in our lodge. It was my favourite meal of our journey in DC.

The bacon cheeseburger was scrumptious. They set the bar for what a burger ought to style like in a land of burgers. Our waiter, Abdul was so pretty.

Day 4: The Ford Theater + Alexandria

The final morning of our household journey to DC was all about President Lincoln and a stopover for lunch earlier than our lengthy drive dwelling.

In case you have a morning free after spending three days in Washington DC, right here’s how one can spend it.

Cease 1: Breakfast at Lincoln’s Waffle Store (8am)

People having breakfast in a diner

One of the vital fashionable – and inexpensive – locations to eat breakfast in Washington DC is Lincoln’s Waffle Shop.

We deliberate it for the final day as we had booked into the Ford Theater Museum throughout the highway at 9am.

As you’ll be able to think about, you’ll discover a menu stuffed with waffles and your typical diner-type breakfast meals: grits, potato hash, over-easy eggs, sausage, and bacon.

I discovered it very tasty and liked how the sausage was not your typical diner, weeny-in-size, and cardboard in style.

I additionally loved how this restaurant was a pleasing mixture of vacationers and locals – teams of development staff and cops getting a hearty begin to their day.

Cease 2: Tour Ford’s Theater

Exterior of Ford Theater in DC
Standard DC attraction

I wasn’t positive if Ford’s Theater can be price it, however given we’d heard a lot about Lincoln throughout our time in DC – one of many biggest Presidents of all time – we’d be remiss to not go to the place the place he was shot and later died.

After he was shot within the Presidential suite of the Ford Theater by Sales space, he was taken throughout the highway to a boarding home to die 9 hours later in dignity.

A go to to Ford’s Theater – a nationwide park – lets you see each.

Displays in a museum

The tour begins within the museum the place you study extra about Lincoln’s household, the Civil Warfare, and the timeline of his loss of life. You then go to the theater to see the place he was shot. If you happen to’re fortunate, there could also be a rangers discuss on, which I discovered informative and acquired the assassination to dwell.

You then go to the Peterson House throughout the highway to see the room the place Lincoln died and to study what occurred to all these concerned within the assassination.

Bed in a museum
Mattress the place Lincoln handed away

It was similar to the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, the place Martin Luther King was assassinated.

Be sure you book your tickets in advance for this. We went in on the opening and once we walked out an hour later the road outdoors went all the way in which down the road.

They’ve timed-entry tickets each half hour, that are solely $5.

A restricted variety of free entry tickets can be found on the field workplace on a first-come foundation.

Ford Theater where Lincoln was assassinated
Prime left Presidents sales space is the place Lincoln was sitting when shot

A enjoyable factor to do with youngsters in DC in the course of the holidays can be to see A Christmas Carol efficiency at Ford’s Theater. In hindsight, I want I did this, particularly after visiting the Museum.

WARNING: Not all stops on the location are included with each ticket. Concentrate when reserving your tour. I don’t suppose it’s price visiting until you’ll be able to see all of the displays, particularly the theater.

Cease 3: Go to Alexandria, Virginia

Downtown street scene with store fronts on each side

We determined to cease in at Outdated City Alexandria, 15-minutes south of DC in Virginia on our approach dwelling to Raleigh as my analysis informed me that Oprah thought this was essentially the most “Christmassy city within the US.’

The ladies have been fairly upset we stopped right here, as they wished to get dwelling to their kittens, and there have been only a few Christmas decorations up but (pre-Thanksgiving).

Alexandria is a nationally designated historic district based in 1749, most famous for its wealthy historical past and superbly preserved 18th and 19th-century structure.

Mom and daughters walking down a road
Exploring Alexandria

Old Town Alexandria is dwelling to unbiased eating places, boutique shops, and historic museums, with a contemporary waterfront space alongside the Potomac River.

It was just a little underwhelming, however I wish to return and discover extra deeply one other time.

We didn’t spend an excessive amount of time right here. We explored the primary avenue, had a scrumptious espresso at Misha’s (which additionally had scrumptious sausage rolls made similar to again dwelling in Australia), and a hearty Irish lunch at Murphy’s Grand Irish Pub on King St.

Store fronts in a downtown street

We definitely wanted it because the drive dwelling took us nearly 7 hours because of vacation site visitors!

This can be one thing you wish to skip in your DC household journey, relying on whether or not that is in your approach dwelling or not.

Chances are you’ll want to visit Mt Vernon in case you have extra time within the afternoon. It’s meant to be very stunning in the course of the holidays with its Candlelight tour and decorations.

OR, you simply could wish to take your weary toes dwelling to your kittens.

Prime Ideas on your Washington DC Trip with Children

Use this map that can assist you along with your planning. Save a replica and alter as you see match. This may provide help to plan out your days, so that you spend much less time strolling round. After you’ve completed that, take a look at these different ideas for visiting Washington DC:

  • Guide your prime Washington DC points of interest upfront. They’re fashionable and can e-book shortly, particularly throughout vacation season. Though lots of the museums and authorities points of interest are free, many require timed entry passes. Your pre-booked tour occasions will decide the way you schedule your days.
  • If you’re driving up from the South, give your self additional site visitors time because the stretch between DC and Richmond needs to be one of many worst within the nation. We’re at the moment sitting in site visitors on our approach dwelling and we’re already 90 minutes delayed and circumnavigating round nation roads – nonetheless the quickest approach!
  • If you happen to’re visiting DC outdoors of the Vacation season, most of those points of interest and excursions are nonetheless related! Simply substitute one thing else in for the Vacation points of interest we skilled.
  • Meals is sort of costly in Washington DC, so we’ve got talked about a couple of locations we thought have been inexpensive and value visiting. It was exhausting to seek out one thing in between terrible quick meals and costly eating places. I’m gluten-free which implies it’s exhausting to seek out straightforward breakfast choices like bagels or muffins from the various bakeries round. I hope you’ll be able to!
  • If you happen to plan on visiting a couple of paid points of interest, it’s possible you’ll lower your expenses with a Washington DC Sightseeing Pass. For instance The Worldwide Spy Museum, guided bike tour of the Nationwide Mall, and a visit to George Washington’s Mt Vernon are all included on it, so it’ll prevent cash in your entrance passes.

The place to Keep in Washington DC

Hotel room with two beds and desk
Our room at The Madison Hotel

On this quick 3-day household trip to DC, it was perfect to decide on a lodge inside strolling distance to the Nationwide Mall.

After making use of our methods to avoid wasting on lodging, we discovered the very best deal through our American Specific Gold bank card with their Lodge Assortment.

If you happen to keep greater than 2 nights, you get a $100 credit score to spend on qualifying eating, spa, and resort actions. You additionally get a room improve – if available- and it was to a deluxe queen.

Steak, asparagus, fries
Dinner on the lodge restaurant

We booked a room at The Madison on 15th avenue solely a few blocks away from the White Home.

 We might stroll all over the place – Georgetown was even a 3-minute stroll from our lodge.

The room was snug however most essential of all, was the handy location.

Parking in DC

If you happen to’re on a USA highway journey and driving to DC, make sure that to analysis the price of parking at your lodge. Most have valet parking solely and cost on common round $65 per evening!

As we arrived on Sunday, avenue parking was free. So we parked the primary evening on the road after which moved it to a parking storage the subsequent morning, which solely charged $32 in a single day (this doesn’t embrace out and in privileges).

There are many parking garages downtown that may have offers like this. Be aware, most are closed on a Sunday. (However you get the free avenue parking should you can jag a spot).

When you park, you shouldn’t want your automobile for this journey. You’re higher off taking an Uber/Lyft or using the DC Metro.

Last Ideas On This Washington DC Trip

Mom and daughters looking out over the National Mall in DC
Reflection Pool

So there you could have it, that is how one can spend three days in Washington DC along with your tweens and youths and as you’ll be able to see, there’s quite a bit to see and do.

I extremely suggest hiring bikes and biking from A to B in your journey. We have been solely capable of cowl all of the stops we did on day two as a result of we have been capable of cycle between them.

If you happen to don’t really feel like biking, you’ll need to be ready to chop a couple of issues off on day two of this itinerary.

We hope that you just discovered this information helpful and that it helped you intend your DC trip. However, earlier than you go…

Don’t overlook Journey Insurance coverage!

Girl riding a bike near a lake
Biking across the Tidal Basin in D.C.

Journey insurance coverage is the very first thing we buy earlier than reserving a visit so we’re protected ought to one thing go mistaken whereas we’re ready for our journey to start! Fortunately journey insurance coverage might be actually inexpensive.

We’re ambassadors for Allianz Journey Insurance coverage and suggest them on your journey insurance policy. Contemplate their OneTrip Prime and OneTrip Premier journey insurance policy for a ton of Good-Advantages.

We personally have an annual plan as we’re frequent vacationers. We love packing our baggage and strolling out the door figuring out we’re at all times lined. 

The free Allianz TravelSmart™ App makes it straightforward to handle your Allianz Journey Insurance coverage plan on the go. It additionally has options that can assist you observe flights, get updates about occasions that will impression your travels, and useful emergency numbers for the vacation spot you’re touring to.