What age would you take your kids to DC?

I haven’t been to DC, except on business trips with no sight seeing, since I was a kid. We only live a 5 hour drive from there, so it might be something I consider in a couple years. What age would you say is best for a DC trip these days? The kids are 3 years apart, so hoping to find a “sweet spot” age that hits both. :slight_smile: We’ll probably mix in Williamsburg area when we do it…


Haven’t done DC but have taken kids to London and Paris. There are lots of variables depending on what you want to see and do. Minimum age for youngest 7/8. We have done 2 trips one kids were 10/7 and second 12/9. The one with them aged 12/9 was much more successful.

I think middle school would be a good time. I would wait for the youngest be 10 maybe?

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Both DC and Williamsburg are good for all ages.

We just took our kids, ages 10, 5, and 3, to DC for Thanksgiving this year. I thought it was especially good for the ten year old because she was studying American history and asking more questions about the government, etc. But that being said, all three LOVED the trip and we made some great family memories and learned a lot. I think there are so many choices of things to do that you can’t go wrong at any age.

Natural History museum can be enjoyed around age 3.

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Awesome, thanks everyone! My kids are currently 5 and 8, so maybe it’s something I’ll consider for one of the next 2 summers.

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We live about 5 hours away too and have taken our son (now 15 1/2) multiple times.
Started slow with “fun” trips to Spy Museum, Air & Space. Walking around the Mall and people watching is pretty amazing.
Saw a friend get “inaugurated” into Congress once - that was sweet.
Waited until he was older and took him to the Holocaust Museum last Spring.
Did a separate trip to Williamsburg with family friends a few years ago (I think his father enjoyed the history there, more than him).

I grew up there, so it felt OK for us to start taking our kids there around age 5/6. That being said - I dramatically underestimated the length of the Mall and tried to pack way too much into a 2-day trip.

Older and slightly wiser now, we’ve been back a few more times over the years. The great thing is you can really go at your own pace and tailor the trip to the age range.

This - like most things comes down to the kids and their interests. DC is like any other city - filled with families that do fun things. So you can go to DC at any time - weather or not your kids are into it is something completely different.

My suggestion is ALWAYS do things that are empirically fun to do for your family. Do the museums etc but then also do LASER TAG or BOWLING or MINI GOLF. Go to Chucky Cheese (if your kids are into it). Don’t turn it into a week of MUSEUMS 24 x 7. Look kids - MORE history.

So whatever it is you do / and when you plan on going - do things that you as a family would consider fun.

There is also the National Zoo (which I didn’t particularly care for but it is free and what kid doesn’t like a zoo).

Fold in FUN things.

We travel a lot with the kids and do a lot of “seeing” of things - but we also ensure we do things that the kids are sure to like and that are FUN.

Also - as previously noted the mall is LONG - LONG - LONG. We went from the Capital down to Lincoln and back in June (we aren’t the smartest people obviously).

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I live outside of DC. I took my kids at all ages. It really depends on the kid and their interests. Like Disney, plan on a lot of walking. And it can be hot and humid in the summer. If you go over the 4th July - stay downtown as close to the Mall as possible. There is a lot going on - Folk Life Festival (there is something for everyone), reading of the Declaration of Independence in the morning on the steps of the National Archive (one of my favorites) and the Capital Fourth Concert always has a star studded line-up (front lawn of the Capital). They also do a dress rehearsal the evening prior – also can be fun and less crowded. The Fireworks are amazing. Only Disney does it better.

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We are semi-local and have been downtown many times at varying ages. Over winter break last year we stayed downtown at a Residence Inn on a spur of the moment trip (I had a certificate + pts, so “free”). My 2.5yo and 8yo went with me. We enjoyed the Natural History Museum, Air and Space Museum, Madame Taussad’s (Groupon), and the Native American Museum the most as well as the food trucks. We mostly walked and but caught an Uber once when it was raining. Toddler age can be a little hard with all the walking, so I would say the ideal age is 5+, maybe 7 or 8+ for some of the museums like the American History Museum or the International Spy Museum and for the war memorials. I took my oldest to the spy museum when he was 7 or 8 and he really enjoyed the kids’ activity sheet they hand out there.

The ideal time of year would probably be October, IMO. Get a pass for a HOHO bus and enjoy the cooler weather. Remember that in spring time all of the museums and sights will be packed with class field trips.