Establishment neighborhood
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
The Mall
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).
The Hay Adams
800 16th St. NW, Downtown
The Hay Adams is as classic a hotel as you’ll find in D.C. It’s named after John Hay (who served as personal secretary to Lincoln, U.S. Ambassador to the U.K., and Secretary of State) and Henry Adams (historian, Harvard professor, grandson of President John Quincy Adams and great-grandson of President John Adams)—who both lived in homes where the hotel now stands. Many historic details (like original wood paneling) have been preserved, but the building also underwent major renovation in the early 2000s to make a stay there feel all the more luxurious. And kids tend to be impressed by the location—you’re literally steps from the White House, blocks from the National Mall, the Smithsonians are nearby, and the panoramic views of it all are pretty awesome.