Ninety-six historic places offer a variety of ways to bring the history of the United States to life. Visitors flock to the Nation’s Capital to learn about politics, government, science and arts through famous national landmarks and monuments. There’s nothing comparable to seeing the real thing up close. Visit the White House, Capitol Building, Museums, and the National Mall, but also experience historic neighborhoods and local hot spots that make the city so unique.
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Erin is a mom of two boys who lives near Seattle. Erin's family loves to travel. Rain or shine, the family loves to play outdoors. You can often find Erin dreaming up her next adventure. Erin's favorite places outside the Northwest are San Diego and Paris, Florence.Book this Guide
What to know before you travel to Washington DC with Kids
The Capital of the United States of America, Washington D.C. is the epicenter of government, iconic monuments, politics, history, and culture. Among the most patriotic places to visit in the country, spending a few days taking a peek into the democratic origins is captivating. DC is packed with memorials and some of the best museums in the country, alongside historic neighborhoods, parks, and food.
The National Mall is a vast swath of parkway spanning from the Washington Monument at one end to the Lincoln Memorial at the other. If there’s a DC neighborhood that’s a must see, this is it. It’s America’s most visited National Park, home to monuments and memorials connected by wide, tree-lined walking paths. The World War II, Korean War Veterans and Vietnam Veterans memorials, Jefferson Memorial, Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, There’s always something to see and do. So much, in fact, you’d be hard pressed to do it all in one day. East of the Washington Monument lies world-class museums, including the Smithsonian, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, National Gallery of Art, and the National Air and Space Museum.
There are three major airports in the Washington DC region offering daily options domestic and international flights. Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA), Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD), and Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI).
All three airports offer easy access into the District via public transportation, busses and taxi service.
Amtrak offers train service to Union Station station in Portland. Three routes go through this hub: the Amtrak Cascades connecting to Vancouver, BC and Eugene, OR, the Coast Starlight from Seattle to Los Angeles, and the Empire Builder connecting to Chicago. Union Station is located in the Pearl District and near downtown.
Washington DC boasts one of the cleanest, safest and user-friendly public transportation services in the country. Both Metrorail and Metrobus are the most convenient way to navigate yourself around DC and many hotels are conveniently located near Metro stations and routes. More than 1,400 buses along hundreds of routes run throughout the city. Buy a rechargeable Metro SmarTrip card as soon as you arrive at the airport or Union Station. The Metro is the easiest way to get around.
One of the best ways to explore DC is on foot, as the wide sidewalks take you directly to all the inspiring monuments and the collection of neighborhoods you’ll want to visit. Bikes are also welcome along the pathways and boulevards. Many bike tour companies provide both a bike and a guided visit to the cultural sights.
The best time of the year to visit Washington DC would be Spring to Early summer, or again in early Fall when the weather is mild and temps are warmer. However, there is plenty to do year-round. It rains more in May than other months, but the temperatures remain mild. June sees the end of Peak season, as school group visits wind down. High Summer means high temps, high humidity, and high crowds. July, especially around Independence day, see the most number of visitors, next to March and April during the Cherry Blossom Festival. September and October offer lovely weather and fewer tourists before the holidays and frigid temperatures set in throughout the winter months.
The winter in Washington DC can vary from cold, snowy and freezing temperatures in the winter all the way to sweltering humidity in the Summer. Spring brings more rain, with many days of sun. July to August sees the hottest highs (in the upper 90s) and January and February experience freezing temperatures and the occasional snow. Fall means warm temps and sunshine.
Experience frustration-free planning and travel like an insider to the best family-friendly hotels, restaurants and places to visit in Washington DC