• Sheena Saydam

17 Family-Friendly Things to Do in Washington DC, Your New Backyard

Looking to move to the Washington DC, Maryland or Virginia area? People pay thousands

to visit our area rich with United States history, but residents enjoy over 100 places for free or almost free right in their own backyard!

Here are 17 family-friendly attractions for you to enjoy in Washington, DC.

  • National Zoological Park - One of the oldest zoos in the United States is part of the Smithsonian Institution. Admission is free. Address: 3001 Connecticut Ave NW Washington, DC 20008 Hours: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm Phone: (202) 633-4888

  • Rock Creek Park - This park is a large natural area and comes with public park services. It divides the northwestern urban areas of Washington, DC. The park is managed by the National Park Service. Enjoy free tours of the night sky. Address: 3545 Williamsburg Ln NW Washington, DC 20008 Hours: 6:00 am - 7:00 pm Phone: (202) 895-6000

  • Freer & Sackler Gallery's Imaginasia family programming offers exploration of exhibitions and the opportunity to create art projects to take home. Address: 1050 Independence Ave SE Washington, DC 20003 Hours: 10:00 am - 5:30 pm Phone: (202) 633-1000

  • National Mall - This national park is in downtown Washington, DC. The National Park Service manages the National Mall. Take a free walking tour of the National Mall with the company DC by Foot. This company gives free, kid-friendly tours filled with games, fun facts and trivia. Donations are suggested. Address: Washington, DC Phone: (202) 426-6841

  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial – Visit the FDR Memorial and take pictures with President Roosevelt’s dog Fala. This is a memorial dedicated to U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s memory and to the time period he represents. Address: 1850 West Basin Dr SW Washington, DC Phone: (202) 426-6841

  • Bureau of Engraving & Printing – Learn about our U.S. paper currency with a free 40-minute tour of the Bureau of Engraving & Printing. First-come, first-served same-day tickets are required March through August. Address: BEP’s Washington, DC Tour and Visitor Center In the heart of Washington, DC Hours: Ticket office opens at 8:00 am

  • East Potomac Golf Course - Play some miniature golf at the East Potomac Golf Course. If you’re a golfer who is 18 years old or younger, this activity will cost $5 per game. You’ll enjoy beautiful scenery provided by the Potomac River and planes flying into the nearby National Airport while putting for par or those exciting hole-in-ones! Address: 972 Ohio Dr SW Washington, DC 20024 Hours: 6:00 am - 9:30 pm Phone: (202) 479-2596

  • National Air and Space Museum - America by Air is a permanent exhibit at the National Air and Space Museum. Touch a lunar rock or even pretend to be a pilot in a mock cockpit at America by Air. In the Pioneers of Flight gallery you’ll be impressed with the aircraft and exhibits united by a common theme: they all have to do with people who pushed the technological or social limits of flight in their time. Other displays include the 1903 Wright flyer, Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis, the Apollo 11 command Module Columbia. There are thousands of displays to view in this museum! Admission is free. Address: Independence Ave at 6th St SW Washington, DC 20560 Hours: 10:00 am - 5:30 pm Phone: (202) 633-2214

  • National Museum of Natural History - The Butterfly Pavilion allows you to walk among and observe living butterflies. The cost for adults is $6, $5 for children. You may visit the pavilion for free on Tuesdays but a timed-entry ticket is required. Free timed-entry tickets may be acquired at the Butterfly Pavilion box office beginning at 10 a.m. on Tuesdays. Address: 10th St & Constitution Ave NW Washington, DC 20560 Hours: 10:00 am - 5:30 pm Phone: (202) 633-1000

  • National Museum of American History – More than 3 million artifacts of American history have been collected, preserved and put on display at the National Museum of American History including the original “Star-Spangled Banner” that inspired our national anthem. See items like Dorothy’s red slippers and other social, political, cultural, scientific and military artifacts in permanent displays. Address: 14th St & Constitution Ave NW Washington, DC 20001 Hours: 10:00 am - 5:30 pm Phone: (202) 633-1000

  • Smithsonian Discovery Theater – Enjoy family-friendly tap dance performances and classic stories and folk tales told through puppet shows at the Smithsonian Discovery Theater. Tickets are less than $10. All shows are Mondays through Fridays at 10 am and 11:30 am. Visit About Travel: DC for details and coupons. Address: 3rd level of the S Dillon Ripley Center 1100 Jefferson Dr SW Washington, DC 20560 Hours: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm Phone: (202) 633-8700

  • Friendship Park (aka Turtle Park) – This popular playground gets its name Turtle Park from the five large statues in the large enclosed play area. It offers swings, a huge sandbox full of toys, picnic tables, basketball courts, tennis courts, baseball and softball fields, a recreation center and a spray park which opens after Memorial Day. Address: 45th and Van Ness Streets Washington, DC 20016 Hours: Monday through Friday, 2:30 pm - 9:00 pm Saturday, 10 am - 4 pm Phone: (202) 282-2198

  • Metrorail - Take a break from the heat with a train ride. Purchase a day pass for $9 and travel all over DC on the Metrorail. The Metrorail opens at 5 am on weekdays, 7 am on weekends. It closes at 12 am Sunday through Thursday, 3 am Friday and Saturday.

  • Tidal Basin - For $19 an hour and weather permitting, you might enjoy renting a four-person paddle boat at the Tidal Basin.

  • National Archives – Be inspired with a lesson in freedom! The historical preservations, the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights and the Constitution have been on display since 1952 and you can view them all at the National Archives. Don’t miss seeing John Hancock’s famous signature on the Declaration of Independence. Address: 3rd level of the S Dillon Ripley Center 1100 Jefferson Dr SW Washington, DC 20560 Hours: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm Phone: (202) 633-8700