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Top 5 things to do in Washington DC for families


One of the reasons why Washington, DC is so great for families is it’s one of the best cities in America for free attractions. So if you want to be savvy with your cash while you’re on holiday, here are 5 family-friendly activities that you can do here, that are absolutely free.


Visit the Zoo

National Zoo

The National Zoo in Washington, DC is part of the Smithsonian Institute so there are no admission charges to see some of the world’s greatest and most exotic animal species. The zoo itself spans across 163 acres and it has everything from a birdhouse and elephant training demonstrations to a kid’s farm and Lemur Island. Some of the most popular family attractions here are the live keeper talks where you can learn about the resident gorillas and orangutans. The famous family of four giant pandas, who you will ‘meet’ on the Asia Trail, is also a must-see sight while you’re here.


Celebrate Independence Day in style

Independence Day

Washington, DC is a capital place to celebrate July Fourth fun. One of the biggest events on the American calendar you can experience the fun and spirit of Independence Day in the most American setting. While a couple of the attractions during this famous event may charge admission, the majority of the festival is free. Along with viewing the dynamic fireworks show on the National Mall, visitors can celebrate America’s birthday in dozens of venues and in a multitude of ways. 


See the Key Monuments and Memorials

Monuments and Memorials

The monuments and memorials are some of the most famous sights of Washington, DC. And not only are they easily walkable, they are also absolutely free to visit too.

You will find most of the monuments along The National Mall, which Caz and Dave from Ytravel Blog say is one of the best attractions for families. They say: 'Spread out across two miles from the US Capitol Building to the Lincoln Memorial, The Mall is in the heart of downtown and home to the country’s most famous monuments and memorials.'

So get your bearings and wander between these two great sites and see the myriad of war memorials along the way. If your feet aren’t too weary, you could even kick start your tour at the Washington Monument. If you join the queues early enough, you can take a lift to the top of this obelisk for excellent city views. And it’s completely free!


Visit a Smithsonian Museum


There are 19 museums to choose from on The National Mall in Washington, DC. And It might sound too good to be true, but every single one of these offers free admission.

Aside from special exhibits and features such as the Planetarium at the Air and Space Museum, you can wander about these gigantic buildings as long as you like, with no worry of breaking the bank. Many of them have purse-friendly fast food chains and places to eat inside them too. For an intriguing look at the human body, check out the National Museum of Health and Medicine. Or step into the movie Night at the Museum when you visit the American Museum of Natural History. With a Discovery Room, Insect Zoo and of course, skeletons of your favourite dinosaurs, it’s an unforgettable day out for all the family.


Hit the Great Outdoors at Rock Creek Park

Rock Creek Park

Washington, DC might be one of America’s most political cities, but you’ll find plenty of open space and city parks that are great for families. The bonus about visiting the parks here, is they are free to the public. Rock Creek Park is the best leafy oasis and offers 2,100 acres of wildlife trails, picnic areas and natural attractions. Visit the ‘Old Stone House’, the oldest house in the capital built in 1765 and head to the Rock Creek Park Nature Centre and Planetarium where you can enjoy free star-gazing sessions and educational talks. It’s a fabulous place for families to hit the great outdoors.

With many more free attractions on offer, Washington, DC is one of the best US cities for cash savvy families in search of a culture-packed holiday!


See our Washington, DC offers »


Tagged in:

  • Washington, DC
  • Family
  • City and shopping breaks
  • Travel tips
  • Family fun
  • USA
  • Off the beaten track
14 Jun 2016 | Virgin Holidays


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