1300 9th St. NW, Mount Vernon Square
One of the things we love most about DistrictCryo is it’s absolutely immaculate facilities. You can get cryotherapy, infrared sessions in your own sauna, or lymphatic massage compression treatment. For those looking to combat inflammation or sore muscles, there’s even a treatment that combines all three methods. Even a brief visit will leave you feeling refreshed and revived. Forewarning: It’s kind of addictive. Many people who pop in for a short session start going a few times a week.
Oddfellows Café + Bar
1525 10th Ave., Capitol Hill
We like this cozy spot for a laid-back brunch (no waiter service) or an easy dinner. It's hard to order wrong here, and we've never been disappointed by classics like homemade biscuits and eggs, Nicoise salads, and spiced caramel bread pudding. Note: Arrive early on weekend mornings, as they don't take reservations.
3214 P St. NW, Georgetown
Thomas Sweet actually got its start in New Jersey (the first store opened there in 1979), though you’d never know it talking to someone who grew up in DC. There are lines around the block virtually year-round; it’s a universally beloved Georgetown spot. There’s nothing particularly exciting about the interior, but the ice cream is made fresh daily and there’s something indescribably perfect about it. They’re also famous for blend-ins (like a creamy, upscale version of a DQ Blizzard) and homemade fudge.
Captain Cookie & the Milkman
2000 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Foggy Bottom
Kirk Francis (a.k.a. Captain Cookie) seems to have found a workaround for the classic seasonal conundrum of ice cream shops—locals go to him in the winter for warm chocolate chip cookies, and in the summer for made-to-order ice cream sandwiches. The superhero-themed shop—and its’ three corresponding food trucks—are famous for cookies that are made completely from scratch; he even makes his own vegan butter for vegan cookies. Note: His trucks can be booked for private events.
3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy., Mount Vernon
Further than Arlington—about 20 miles from D.C.—Mount Vernon is another quintessential kids field trip. The grounds of this sprawling 18th-century estate include the meticulously restored, 21-room mansion that George Washington lived in. There’s also the outbuildings that were home to daily operations like laundry, spinning, meat curing; six acres of gardens; a crew of animals (many are the same breed as in Washington’s day); the Mount Vernon slave memorial; the Washington family tomb; and working gristmill. There’s a lot for kids to learn here about plantation life, and the live reenactments and hands-on activities serve as a real draw.
Arlington National Cemetery
This is an iconic field trip right outside of D.C., across the Potomac. You can take kids of all ages but the gravity of the place is obviously more easily appreciated by middle schoolers and up. The cemetery’s rolling green hills make an impressive landscape, as does the somber Changing of the Guard ritual, which occurs every hour October 1 through March 31, and every half hour April 1 through September 30, at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Boating in DC
So, the Potomac River isn’t known as the most pristine of waters. But touring it via kayak is a surprisingly fun outdoor family adventure that breaks up the museum visits and trips to historical sites in the best way. This outfitter makes it easy to rent kayaks, as well as canoes, row boats, hydro bikes, etc. And conveniently, they have a handful of waterside hubs.
National Museum of Natural History
1000 Constitution Ave. NW, National Mall
As a whole, the Smithsonian museums are first rate, but doing them all isn’t feasible (or really all that entertaining for the littles). If you’re choosing just one, we recommend the Museum of Natural History. And if you’re not too squeamish, take the kids to the museum’s insect zoo, a fan-favorite permanent collection.
555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Downtown
Just outside the National Mall near the National Gallery of Art, the super interactive Newseum is cool for adults and kids. The museum opened in 2008 and centers around groundbreaking moments in media history. Their best known exhibits are a 9/11 gallery, featuring the broadcast antennae from the top of the WTC; the Berlin Wall gallery, which is home to one of the largest pieces of the wall outside of Germany; and their collection of Pulitzer Prize photographs dating back to 1942.
Monuments + Memorials
Almost too obvious to include, but unlike many other popular tourist destinations in other American cities, seeing the monuments and memorials in D.C. is really such an iconic, impressionable experience, and one that kids remember. Absolutely walk the National Mall and check out as many of the big ones as you can, including: Lincoln Memorial, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, and the Vietnam Veterans wall. And in terms of government buildings, touring the U.S. Capitol is an interesting, behind-the-scenes sort of activity if your kids are on the older side, but it’s best to plan advance (see how here).
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