Washington D.C. in 3 days with kids

The United States Capitol Building

Our spring break in Washington, D.C., was a success. The Nation’s capital is beautiful this time of the year; although we wished it would have been a little warmer, we still enjoyed our stay very much.

We were actually surprised that this city offers a lot of kid-friendly activities. When we told Sophia we were going to Washington, D.C., the first thing she asked was if we were going to see the White House. For 7-8-year-olds, it’s an adventure to visit the places they talked about in school and see the historical monuments themselves.

If you stay within walking distance (or a very short ride) from all the major sights (like we did), it’d be easier to plan your day since you don’t need to worry about getting there or being stuck in traffic. What is more, if you like us, enjoy exploring new places on foot, and have a baby who needs to nap, walking with a stroller is the best option. We spent three days in D.C., and it may have not been enough for us to explore the city thoroughly, but you can surely accomplish a lot in this short time.

An interesting fact is that all the parks in Washington D.C. are National Parks, and there are over 100 of them! If you like going to museums, we’ve got great news for you – almost all the museums have free admission, and almost all the major attractions are open to the public and do not require tickets.

Day 1

We landed in Washington D.C. late in the evening and checked in at the hotel at almost 10 pm ET, so basically, we went straight to bed. We stayed at the Park Hyatt, Washington D.C., and this hotel was just perfect for our short stay in the city. Here you can read more about our experience at the Park Hyatt Washington D.C. and how we booked our stay on points.

In the morning, we had our breakfast at the hotel and started our first day by walking to the National Mall.

If you look at the map, you’ll notice that many major landmarks are in the same area, within walking distance of each other. Plan your day accordingly so you can have time to see most of them on the same day.

The map of the National Mall in Washington D.C.
The map of the National Mall in Washington D.C.

Lincoln Memorial

We started at the Lincoln Memorial. This 19 feet tall marble statue of the 16th President was very impressive! The Memorial was built in 1922; its 100th anniversary is this May!

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Washington Monument

We continued to the Washington Monument along the Reflecting Pool.

The Washington Monument is a stone obelisk built to honor the First President of the United States, George Washington. It is considered to be the tallest obelisk in the world (555 ft).

Now, you can take an elevator all the way to the top of the Monument, but the ride needs to have a reservation that can only be made one day in advance (the reservations open at 10 am). Somehow we could never catch any available spots and were not able to take this ride this time, oh well.

There was a big lawn where the kids could run and play; Zoe could finally get out of the stroller and run for the hills like she always does 💨.

Cherry blossoms

When you think of Washington D.C. in April, the first thing that comes to mind is the cherry blossoms! So, that’s where we kept walking – to the Tidal Basin and the loop with cherry trees around it.

Cherry blossoms and the Washington Monument in the background
Cherry blossoms and the Washington Monument in the background

Roman actually thought the cherry trees were along the Reflecting Pool, but further inspection of those trees showed zero signs of blossoms, not a single petal on the ground, so we had to recheck it to be sure we were on the right path 😅.

There are over several thousands of Yoshino cherries in Washington D.C.! Cherry blossoms have several stages of blooming, with the peak of bloom when the 70% of the blossoms are open. The peak can only be predicted ten days beforehand, so planning your trip in advance as we did might not work out ideally if you intend to see the cherry trees in full bloom. We followed the National Mall & Memorial Parks on Instagram to monitor the blossoms and missed the peak bloom by a week.

If you were wondering if the blossoms would still be there one week after the peak bloom, the answer is – no one knows. Typically – yes, but the blossoms are very weather dependent: rain, snow, wind, frost, all of these factors are the main reason the blossoms are still looking full and beautiful, or not.

This is what we could capture with our camera – stunning white blossoms, maybe not at their fullest capacity already, but still breathtaking!

Thomas Jefferson Memorial

Our next stop on the Tidal Basin was the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. The bronze statue of Thomas Jefferson, the Third President of the United States and the author of the Declaration of Independence, is located in the pantheon. The statue can be seen all the way from the other side of the pond.

We went to a little shop inside of the Memorial and bought the National Parks passport and put our first stamps in it (you sure can get a lot of stamps in D.C.). We wished we had it sooner so we could have used it in all of the National Parks that we had visited already, but we’d never even heard of it before 🤷‍♀️.

As we almost finished the loop and got to the last Memorial we planned to see that day, we ended up at the Cherry Blossom Festival with live music and food trucks!

So we decided to have lunch there, which was a big mistake – we waited in line for more than an hour for some mediocre food. It would have been another 30-40 minutes walk into the city, where dining options are abundant.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial

We finished the cherry blossom loop with the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. It’s the first memorial on the National Mall honoring an African American. It symbolizes “The Stone of Hope” being pulled out of the “Mountain of Despair,” referring to Dr. King’s famous “I have a dream” speech.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial

The girls surely enjoyed running around the Memorial and dancing to the music you could hear from the Festival.

There is a visitor center right there, where Sophia got her Junior Ranger badge from the National Mall & Parks and got other stamps in the passport as well.

The White House

As we started walking towards downtown and on the way to our dinner place, we decided to make the last stop of the day at the White House!

If you are planning on having a White House Tour, you would probably want to have it on another day. Since, for us, it was just a quick stop outside of the building to take some pictures, we chose to do it on the first day. If you decide to go on a tour, you can not take any bags (obviously no food or drinks) with you or a stroller, and there is no storage facility. So we thought that this might not be the best time to do it with the little ones.

We walked around the White House and even saw the National Christmas Tree! Some of us weren’t that impressed, though, as you can see on Zoe’s face 😥.

💡 Good To Know

All public White House tours have to be scheduled in advance (no less than 21 days in advance, with a recommended time of 90 days ahead); they are free of charge and held only on Fridays and Saturdays. The requests should be submitted through your Member of Congress.


On that day, for dinner, we went to the Mari Vanna restaurant located in the Dupont Circle District, the Soviet-inspired restaurant with Eastern European cuisine.

Here are some pictures of the streets of D.C. on our first day. Some parts reminded us of Chicago, some of New York or San Francisco. It’s a big city with beautiful architecture and clean streets, people in suits, and a lot of sirens (all day and night long). Zoe got used to the sounds and would even ask for more wee-woo 🤭.

Day 2

The United States Capitol

On the second day, we decided to take the subway to the United States Capitol. Sophia was never on an underground train before and got really excited that we would take one that day.

When the Capitol Visitor center is open for tours you can walk-up with no reservation and free of charge.

This is us sitting leisurely on Capitol Hill with the United States Capitol in the background. Five seconds later, the girls started fighting over a stick they found on the ground and started running around. It’s never a dull moment with those two 👯‍♀️.

The United States Botanic Garden

Right on the corner of the Capitol is the United States Botanic Garden, so that’s where we ventured on next. It has an outdoor garden and a Conservatory. They offered a scavenger hunt for kids at the front desk, which was really lovely. There are plants from all over the world; some are really cool ones, like a cacao tree and different types of giant orchids.

The National Museum of American Indian

We kept walking further and decided to check out the National Museum of American Indian. When the museum admission is free, you can enjoy as many museums as you want in one day; just check out a couple of exhibits you are really excited about and then move on to the next one!

The National Museum of American Indian had a cafeteria with Navajo tacos made with fry bread, so that’s what we had for lunch, and it was delicious!

While Sophia and us were exploring the exhibits, Zoe fell asleep in the stroller, which was perfect.

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

The next Museum on the list was the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History! This Museum offers a variety of exhibits – from the human origins gallery, dinosaur bones, and moon rocks to the Hope Diamond and Moai (stone figure) from Easter Island.


Finally, after spending a few hours at the Museum and being so tired, we decided to have an early dinner (remember the constantly starving kids) and went to one of the Michelin-starred restaurants in D.C. (there are actually a lot of them there) – the Blue Duck Tavern located at the Park Hyatt Washington D.C.

Day 3

Washington National Cathedral

In the morning, we took a bus to the Northern part of the city and started our day at the Washington National Cathedral, the American Cathedral of the Episcopal church.

Smithsonian National Zoological Park

We continued to the Smithsonian National Zoological Park. Again, one of the reasons we love exploring on foot is that you get to see the city as it is, not only the tourist destinations.

The National Zoo is one of the oldest in the United States; it sits on 163 acres and is home to more than 2,700 animals and 390 species. The girls were thrilled to see their favorite animals!

Luckily for us, the Zoo had a lunch option at a little outdoor square. We had the New York-style pizza, and it was surprisingly really good!


After a couple of hours with the animals we walked back to the hotel through the the Georgetown.

Somehow when we started walking, we realized that one of the roads was closed, so we had to choose another route. Long story short, a part of it required us to go through the forest on a hiking trail while Zoe was napping in a stroller; we had to carry the stroller through the rocky parts of the trail, which was very unexpected and not what we had imagined in the beginning 😅.

Bottom Line

These were the three days we spent in Washington, D.C., this early April. The capital is home to Federal buildings, iconic museums, monuments & memorials, and restaurants with fantastic diversity and international cuisine variety.

Being in D.C. is all about walking, admiring the architecture and discovering new places (on the first day we walked 21,000 steps!).

It’s a bustling city with many tourists, but step outside of downtown, and you can find yourself in a serene postcard-looking neighborhood.

The girls loved our little adventure in the capital and left with new great memories. We would love to come back someday when the girls are a little older so we could visit other museums that we didn’t get a chance to see this time and discover other sights that the city has to offer.

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