Washington DC with Young Kids
Let me just get right to the point: Traveling with three young kids is a complete shit show. But a fun shit show! And one that can provide you with endless stories to regale them with for years to come!
I want so badly to get into the (really funny) specifics of what it was like actually traveling to Washington, DC, because that’s where all the crazy stuff happened, but then this post would be 13,000 pages long. So I’m going to keep it short and tell you to go check out my DC 2019 Instagram Story Highlight on my IG page instead.
Long/Short: It involves these things:
- Travels and travails on the DC Metro (do not attempt public transportation–especially after a 2-hour flight–with three kids six and under and a double stroller, mmkay?)
- A lost shoe
- A complete rainout of a day
- A relocation to a new hotel room no fewer than THREE times (within the same hotel)
- And having to nurse the baby (who I’m still trying to wean, but this trip really screwed things up) IN FRONT OF SECRET SERVICE IN LINE FOR THE WHITE HOUSE.
Said it before, saying it again: Thank God I have no shame.
Anyhow! DC with kids! Totally doable! Here are our very kid-friendly recommendations:
Where We Stayed
This will depend on what part of town you prefer, but we chose downtown for one main reason. We applied for a White House tour a couple months ahead of time, so we wanted to be within walking distance of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, because you can’t bring anything with you on the tour. No strollers, no bags, no nothing. (Just apparently, tantruming babies. Again, see my Instagram Story highlight.)
We stayed at the Grand Hyatt downtown. Nothing luxurious as far as accommodations, but nice for sure! The prices for a suite are about as reasonable as you can expect. (We needed lots of sleeping space.) They have a bangup breakfast buffet. There is high-end boutique shopping literally across the street. And again, it’s within walking distance to the White House.
Our suite had a king bed, a living space and one and a half baths, connected to another room with two queens. The girls and I crashed on the king; the guys took over the adjoining room. The living space was key for some couch-and-Netflix catching-up at night, after the little monsters fell asleep.
Where We Ate
Founding Farmers (Dinner)
This was about a fifteen-minute walk from our hotel, but past the White House and other attractions, so it was fun.
American cuisine, but glam American. Also majorly kid-friendly, quick service and fun atmosphere. It does have two stories, so if you bring a stroller plan on breaking it down and leaving it on the first level.
Oh, and get the mac and cheese. Probably the best I’ve ever had. (And I steal my kids’ food allll the time.)
Ted’s Bulletin (Breakfast)
Actually voted the most kid-friendly restaurant in the US, and my tribe would agree. We got breakfast there, and the highlight? Homemade Pop Tarts. Warm homemade Pop Tarts. Get the brown sugar or strawberry, and thank me later.
Oh, and for breakfast, get the T.U.B.S.–the Ted’s Ultimate Breakfast Sandwich. Two eggs–one scrambled, one fried, one sausage patty, bacon and cheese. All in my belly.
Oh, and check this out–adult milkshakes with whiskey. Drink at your own risk! (Preferably when you don’t have three young kids to chase.)
Il Canale (Dinner)
Authentic, Neapolitan thin-crust pizza, in gorgeous Georgetown. That’s probably all you need to hear.
For all other meals (one can only do so many sit-down meals with three rowdy children), we grabbed Starbucks food on the go and ate at the hotel restaurant. Again, the breakfast buffet at the Grand Hyatt was perfect for a quick meal before taking off for the day.
Other beautiful shots of Georgetown. There are so many picturesque spots, but these were the only ones I could grab amidst all the chaos before the sun set!
What We Did
Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
I think the kids would have loved this much more if literally all of Washington, DC, weren’t in there at the same time as us. It was crowded. (That’s what happens when it rains.)
But they did love gazing up at all the space artifacts and walking through the early aviation section.
Not a home run for a nearly two-year-old, but from about 4 years old on, probably fun for the kiddos.
Electric Car Monument Tour (Washington DC Urban Adventures)
A small electric car (holds five, see above) drives you from monument to monument, allowing you time to hop off at each and check them out closer.
When we booked, we were imagining warm spring weather which would have made this absolutely perfect. As it were, we got wall-to-wall rain and temperatures in the low 40s. Still, we did it! (They have a closed-in car for rainy days.)
The kids loved seeing all the monuments a little closer, although we didn’t end up getting out and walking up to them, as you normally would on this tour.
Budget about 2 to 2.5 hours total.
By the way, we would absolutely do this again, when the weather is better. It’s the perfect way to check out all the big monuments in one trip.
Fairy Godmother Book and Toy Store (Capitol Hill)
We popped into this quaint but adorable kids’ book and toy store to let the kids pick up a little treat. Full of children’s books and smaller toys (unique dolls, Lego sets and other smallish treats), this was a great little break for the kids.
And for all my fellow makeup-lovin’ mamas–there is a Sephora Studio across the street, so you can get a treat after your kids do. (Sephora Studios are smaller, more service-oriented Sephora locations that focus on one-on-one consultations and makeovers). They don’t carry all the products that a regular Sephora would, but whatever they don’t have in store, they ship to you for free!
White House Tour
Here are some pictures, but the really good content is on my IG Stories. Check out the DC 2019 Highlight for video from inside the White House!
First things first: You will have to wait in line. For a long time. Like, one and a half hours, long. (This is necessary information if you’re bringing young kids. I suggest you charge up your phone and have some videos ready for viewing, because nearly two hours with three young kids is… wow.)
But it’s worth it. So, so worth the 1.5 hour wait in a security line. You get to walk through the bottom floor of the East Wing and see the rooms where the President entertains (State Dining Room) and other incredible relics, like some Presidential Portraits.
Take a picture under the official seal while you’re there!
How We Got Around
Maybe not new to you, but new to me: You can request an Uber with a car seat. Life changing. And much better than pushing a double stroller in the rain. (Trust me on that.)
And while we’re on the topic of places not-so-friendly for the tourist with a double stroller–maybe avoid the Metro, too. 😉 But if do you find a teal and pink toddler shoe on the train, let me know.
Those are our kid-friendly tips for traveling to Washington, DC! Have advice we can use on our next trip there? I think we may make this a tradition… Let me know below!