5 Family Things to do in Washington, DC

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Washington, D.C. is a great destination for families. It’s worth the trip just to visit the Smithsonian. But there are other sights beyond the various Smithsonian museums that your family should checkout on your next trip to DC. Here are 5 family things to on your next trip to Washington.

Ben’s Chili Bowl (The White House and Foggy Bottom)
We walked to this eatery from The Helix Hotel, where we were staying. The space looks small but it’s really deep, offering lots of tables for guests. The staff is super friendly and the place always seems to be busy. The kids loved the chilidogs and chili fries. Plus there’s a booth marked where President Obama sat.

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Hirshhorn Museum Gardens (National Mall East)
The Hirshhorn Museum is part of the Smithsonian Institute of museums, focusing on contemporary art. The kids enjoyed the interesting take on art and sculpture in the museum, plus being free made it totally affordable to step in and check it out. But even if you don’t visit the museum, the outdoor space is great for letting off a little steam. Our kids loved the sculptures, large open courtyard and the great fountain. Across the road you’ll also find the sunken Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden.

White House Gifts (The White House and Foggy Bottom)
If you’re planning on buying souvenirs from your trip to DC, visit White House Gifts across the street from the White House. The souvenirs are pretty much the same ones you’ll find anywhere in the city but with your $5 store purchase you can get a picture of the kids in the Oval Office or behind the speech podium. Okay, not the real scenes but great replicas.

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Old Post Office Clock Tower (Penn Quarter)
The Old Post Office Clock Tower offers visitors a great bird’s eye view of Washington, DC. This 315-foot clock tower offers 360-degree views of the city with free tours offered daily by the National Park Service Rangers. You’ll also find a large food court in the lower part of the building for grabbing a quick lunch.

Georgetown Cupcakes (Georgetown)
My oldest daughter is a bit of a foodie, especially when it comes to sweets. She has watched many episodes of DC Cupcakes on TLC so when we were making our trip to Washington this had to be a stop for us. Georgetown is a wonderful little village-like community with restaurants and shops (some rather expensive ones) lining the streets. Expect to stand in line, outside, to get into Georgetown Cupcakes but these little treats are delicious. There are a few tables offered inside but you’re probably better off grabbing your cupcakes to go. Take a five minute walk toward the waterfront, to the Georgetown Waterfront park.

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When planning our trip to DC, the Family Guide: Washington, DC from Eyewitness Travel was a great source. Unlike many guidebooks, this one was designed with families in mind, offering suggestions on attractions, dining, and places for kids to just blow-off steam. The kid’s corner column found on each spread in the book offered interesting facts and things to look for when visiting certain attractions, great for my son who loves a challenge or task when visiting exhibits. You can also get these Family Guides for London, New York City, and Paris.

If you’re looking for family dining that doesn’t involve a happy meal, checkout these three restaurants in DC.

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