Travel From Home: Washington D.C.

 Melissa Dunham family in Washington DC
Photo Courtesy: Melissa Dunham (Moderator of Families Who Love to Travel Group)

Let’s make travel accessible to everyone around the world, virtually, from home! This is a place where we will celebrate culture, language, history, and acceptance of people around the world. Today, families can travel to Washington D.C. comfortably from their home! Find virtual fun, tours of famous destinations and museums, cooking lessons, and more in our Travel From Home section. Kids will get hands-on experiences and learn about a variety of cities, countries, and regions through these at-home travel guides. Additionally, these resources can be used as an educational tool.

Each one also includes a list of books and movies for all ages to bring the whole experience to life in your living room. This is a wonderful opportunity to inspire young travelers, introduce kids to a place you will travel to in the future, and/or simply teach your family about other places around the world. Enjoy, explore, and create memories together!

Travel From Home | Washington D.C.

toddler in Washington DC
Photo Courtesy: Lisa Vlieg

Today, let’s travel to Washington D.C. without leaving home! On the ground, Washington D.C. boasts a fabulous array of free activities for the family, a bursting cultural scene, and much more beyond its iconic monuments (but even the monuments are not to be missed!). Luckily, we can still explore this amazing city virtually. For today’s Travel From Home segment, try activities, recipes, and more to experience all that Washington D.C. has to offer! First, introduce children to the destination you’ll be traveling to. Start with a brief video detailing a kid’s guide to Washington D.C

Washington D.C. is brimming with culture and history. Once you’ve completed your introduction, one of the best spaces to deep dive into that history is with Cultural Tourism D.C’.s digital guide books, a selection of self-guided walking tours through the city’s diverse culture. Additionally, they do an amazing event called the Passport D.C. Embassy Tour. Embassy row is pretty cool all on its own but during this event, it truly comes alive! Today, watch this short tour of Embassy Row to hear the city sounds and see the street in action. Next, families can learn more about what an embassy is and where they are located through an animated video by General Knowledge!

Take in Some History at the Smithsonian

Next, teach kids about D.C.’s historical significance by visiting some of its most treasured museums! Let’s start with the Smithsonian, a museum, education, and research complex all-in-one! Kids and adults alike will find plenty to do in its sprawling collection. The Smithsonian actually contains 19 museums, in addition to showcasing The United States National Zoo. In the many exhibits available online, families can view Dorothy’s Ruby Red Slippers, learning more about famous American sweetheart Judy Garland. Or, budding foodies have an even more magical find at the National Museum of American history: the entirety of Julia Child’s Kitchen! 

Next, potential pilots can explore the National Air and Space Museum, which is right next door! Start by checking out one of the most amazing pieces of history on display, Neil Armstrong’s Apollo 11 Space Suit. Children will also marvel when seeing some of the earliest airplanes, especially when they realize what pioneering pilots flew in like the Wright brothers. One of the more current and picture-worthy Smithsonian museums is the Hirshorn. Here, you can see incredible modern art installations like Barbara Kruger’s: Belief+Doubt, which is filled with complex, thought-provoking open-ended questions to try as a family! Follow along as Bethany Thiele, Art Teacher, explains more during her family-friendly tour of the exhibit.

RELATED ARTICLE: Best DC Museums For Kids By Age

Activity Time!

Photo Credit: Zeina Davis

Devise some activities related to your museum visits to immerse kids even more. First, talk with your children about what questions don’t have a clear answer – like the ones in Kruger’s Belief+Doubt exhibit. Examples include “how old is old?” or “what time do you consider to be late?” and “can money buy love?” Write them down with bold colors and cut them out to make a collage. It is a wonderful time to explain to them that not everything has a simple answer! This activity doesn’t have to be super in-depth, though it is a great way to think outside the box. Kids have free reign to open up and express some of their big questions! 

Monuments and More

Mom and daughter in Washington DC
Photo Courtesy: Sem Myers

After exploring D.C.’s prized cultural institutions, take to the streets to discover its monuments! Destination D.C., a comprehensive list of the city’s monuments and memorials, is a great resource to learn more about D.C’s national monuments. Just remember: when in D.C. these monuments should be seen both by day and by night. Today, let’s get the full experience by exploring the iconic Washington Monument and Martin Luther King Jr. Monument, a tribute to America’s great civil rights leader. Both fixtures stand proud in Washington D.C., representing important aspects of history and culture. Kids can learn more about George Washington and the United States Judicial system with this read-aloud by The Cozy Chair: I am George Washington, by Brad Meltzer. To learn more about Martin Luther King, you can also try this read-aloud with Story Time with Mrs. Melange: I am Martin Luther King Jr., by Brad Meltzer.

Next, let’s check out some of D.C.’s amazing animals! The National Zoo is one of the coolest attractions in town – easy to access and teeming with the city’s most exotic creatures. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways families can keep up with their favorite animals! Of course, international panda celebrity Mei Xiang can be seen in action on a live webcam, along with many of his furry friends. Plus, the National Zoo also offers corresponding webcam activities for little minds to go to work! Once you’ve worked up an appetite, it’s time for a special D.C-themed cooking activity. (When actually visiting the Zoo in person, head over to Kalorama in Adams Morgan for some Afghan dumplings at Lapis! Or, check out some really tasty all-American food at Brothers And Sisters.) 

Let’s Get Cooking

Kids in a restaurant in Washington DC
Photo Credit: Zeina Davis Wardrobe by Little Birdies Boutique, Georgetown DC

Speaking of food, there are plenty of D.C-inspired recipes you can make at home! Watch this fun and surprisingly easy pasta tutorial with amazing D.C.-based 2 Star Michelin Chef, Josh Hermias, designed for families to follow along together. Perfect each step to eventually create an amazing meal with your family! Or, if hot dogs are more your style, eat as the D.C locals do. A fixture in any neighborhood, try these D.C.-style hotdogs and top them with delish relish, ketchup, or any other customized condiment. These delicious dogs are sure to please the whole family! 

Get a (Virtual) Feel for Georgetown

Town of Georgetown
Photo Credit: Zeina Davis

Once you’ve filled your belly, experience another authentic travel to Washington D.C. experience in Georgetown! An idyllic area filled with small shops, hip vintage boutiques, and charming cobblestone streets, it’s a great change of pace from D.C’s bustling city center. Walkthrough the northern Book Hill Region, lined with antique stores and cafes, to get a feel for the culture. If you are lucky enough, take a look around the Georgetown BID’s French Market, the epitome of Parisian charm. Though many of these activities are better enjoyed in person, there are still so many ways to take in Georgetown virtually. Check out DCCityGirl on Instagram to get an amazing visual of Georgetown and beyond. Or, check out some of Georgetown’s hidden gems with Trip Hacks D.C.! 

Next, leave the main street and find yourself in awe of Georgetown’s beautiful residencies. South of Book Hill, you’ll find the C&O Canal, an important trade route used during United States history. First, learn more about this historic canal through a brief documentary, which also explores the lives of those who worked the canal. As you walk along with it, find local favorites nearby, like Baked & Wired, which has the most amazing cupcakes, coffee, and good vibes out there. Next, explore hidden gems like Tudor Place, which is working on fun content like recreating Major Pete’s Pocket Watch. Finally, take in nature by exploring the luscious gardens of Dumbarton Oaks. If you are planning travels to the D.C. area, be sure to check out Georgetown Glow in the winter and, in the summer, make sure you go to the fountains at the Waterfront so your littles can splash (both free)!

Arts & Crafts

Girl sitting on a tree during cherry blossom season in Washington DC
Photo Courtesy: Contributor of Families Who Love to Travel group

Washington D.C. is particularly famed for its stunning light exhibitions. Put kids to the test to see if they can make their own! First, grab holiday lights, electric candles, and/or flashlights to assemble your installation. Then, cover your lights with tissue paper to arrange them together, creating beautiful formations. It’s also a fantastic way to get creative and experimental! Try different lights, paper, or shapes, and then predict what they will look like on the wall. Or, craftier kids may want to try making their own nightlight with a tutorial from CreativeIdeas.

No travel to Washington D.C. is complete without a glimpse at the famous cherry blossoms. Cherry Blossom season is a monumental period in D.C., attracting visitors from worldwide who want to see these beautiful flowers. Locals often tend to avoid it, but there is no denying it’s a fantastic time to travel to Washington D.C. Get in the spring spirit by creating your own cherry blossom crafts kids can complete.

Little Passports Banners

Snuggle Up with a Good Book

Mom and dad with a baby girl snuggling
Photo Credit: Zeina Davis

Introduce children to a fictional universe set in Washington D.C by perusing some literary classics. Younger children may particularly enjoy a few great read-aloud to help them learn more like Ana Goes to Washington D.C. or Grace Goes to Washington, stories about two young girls visiting the capital for the first time. Or, introduce a familiar character with Clifford Goes to Washington, a heartwarming tale featuring kid’s favorite red dog. Follow Arthur the Aardvark in his adventures through Arthur Meets the President.

Kids Love Washington D.C.

There is so much to do when you travel to Washington D.C. with kids! If you’re planning a real family trip to Washington D.C., keep the following in mind: D.C. is very hot during summer months! Consider taking little ones to MilkBar for cereal milk ice cream (it’s amazing), or Dolcezza for fancy gelato in swanky City Center D.C. Next, also check out the Building Museum. Though it is not free, there is so much fun for kids. Today, you even can explore their online content, like using D.C. building patterns to find patterns in your own life. Kids can also view some of their films online

A thriving theater scene still lives on in D.C. If you’re walking near the White House in the summer, check out the Golden Triangle BID’s outdoor summer series, which includes fun activities all summer long like outdoor movies and yoga. The Washington Ballet also has beautiful performances throughout the year, including The Nutcracker featuring appearances by Nationals Baseball Mascots and by local D.C. celebrities. The Kennedy Center also has a surprising amount of other family-friendly events for children! Check out Lunch Doodles with Mo Williams or Union Market, a fun pit stop with an eclectic eatery and a beautiful heart mural. For something more formal, head over to Hazel for amazing cuisine and a fairytale floral mural.

 Happy (Virtual) Travels

Washington D.C. has so much to offer! Beyond being a political and cultural heart for the United States, it’s also rich in history and vibrant neighborhoods. Families can continue to explore this wonderful city and its surrounding areas online with our travel to Washington D.C from home resources. Or, simply use it as a launching point to your next destination on the Eastern Seaboard! Whether you are preparing to travel to Washington D.C. in the future or looking for ways to travel from home, we hope this virtual vacation helps you and your kids get a taste of this dynamic city.

From wonderful history to iconic monuments to vibrant culture, Washington D. C. is sure to be a hit with your kids – be it on the ground or from your couch! We hope you have enjoyed your virtual vacation to Washington D.C.!

Want to see more from Zeina?  Find her on Instagram @zeinaindc.

Curated by Zeina Davis 


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