Washington DC With Kids Day 1-2: DC by Night and Museums by Day

DC Itinerary with Kids Tidal Basin


Our first day in DC started off rather late. We arrived around 5pm after 11 hours drive from Atlanta. Our first priority was to eat.. We missed our exit to the restaurant that I had planned. Note to self, if you don’t know the HOV lane exit, don’t get in.. HOV lanes in DC are really good during rush hour I will assume because once you get in it will be a while before you can get out from that lanes. After a quick check-in, we headed down to find some food. We ended up at Noodle & Company which was about a block from our hotel. It was not bad but it wasn’t something that impressive either. However, it filled us up and gave us energy to start our night in DC.

We decided to check out the metro and took the train to the Tidal Basin area. I was hoping that we could catch the ranger guided lantern walk tour. However, we didn’t bring our flashlight and by the time we got there the tour had already begun. Nevertheless, we walked around the Tidal Basin and enjoyed the view of the Jefferson Memorial at night and was able to catch the sight of the Cherry trees at night.


DC Itinerary with Kids: Smithsonian Castle


The next day, we headed down to the Mall on the Metro Blue line. It was raining in the morning when we got to our Smithsonian stop. We stopped by at the Smithsonian Castle to get the map and coffee. Since most museums aren’t opened till 10am we had some times to roam the Castle and checked out the museum shop.


Washington DC with Kids: National Museum of Natural History


Then we headed across the lawn to the National Museum of Natural History. It was really big and impressive to say the least. We know that we won’t be able to see everything in detail having a 5 years old whose attention span is shorter than 5 minutes. So we just let them lead and take us where they wanted to see.

Our first stop was the Fossil room with all the Dinaosaurs. Then we headed to the Mammal. After the Mammal we took a quick break for our snacks at the basement which also has cafeteria and the kids shop. Next Miss J picked the Ocean room to check out all the underwater creatures. It was huge and had so many things to see. I could spend half a day just in this room. But we all know that it won’t happen when you travel with kids. The neat things about this museum is that there are so many buttons for them to push.. It sure kept them interested for a while!


DC Itinerary- 5 Days in DC with Kids-5


After wandering for a while, it was time for lunch. We headed to the Old Post Office Tower. I have read that they had a great selection of food at their food court. And if the sky opened up, we might get a chance to enjoy bird eye view of the downtown DC from the top of the tower.

At the back entrance to the food court, there is a bike tour shop nearby. I made a mental note to put it on our to-do list for next trip. They also had kiddie bike attachment so we can ride with them. The food court was packed!! We were able to find a table on the third floor and enjoyed our lunch. After lunch, we looked up and who knew.. the sky was as bright as Summer day. We headed to the line for tower observation deck. The wait wasn’t bad for a busy week in DC. We took the elevator up and got the best view.


Washington DC with Kids American History-1


Next stop for today is the National Museum of American History. The rain started again right after we got to the museum. I have to say.. God is looking out for us this trip. :) Ambitious planning is good but flexibility is the key when traveling with kids. Even though there are so many interesting exhibits to see at this museum, we realized that our kids were at the melt-down-too-tired-to-listen point. So we headed directly to the transportation exhibit and then the museum shop. No Lincoln, no ruby shoes for us this trip. But they got to see all the trains, cars and trucks that they will remember. Then it was time to pack and head back.

Our dinner plan for tonight was to head to Ted’s Montana Grill. I had planned it in advance and purchased the gift certificate for discount from restaurant.com. We were able to enjoy great dinner under the budget. The restaurant was a short 5 minutes walk from our hotel. It was a great first full day in DC.


About Amy Querido

Amy is the owner & author of The Q Family Adventures Travel blog, family blog chronicles her family trips, tips and tricks. She hopes to inspire family to travel with kids one adventure at a time. Connect with Amy on Google+, Twitter and Facebook.


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  1. […] Then it was time to head back to the hotel. I had purchased restaurant.com certificate to Ted Montana Grill for this trip. A little bit of planning will help save on our vacation budget. We knew we will have to eat out so why not save on those dinner. Plus, we have always loved dining at Ted Montana Grill so it was a familiar dinner to end a full first day in DC with kids. […]

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