Family Vacation Fun
- Make a New Friend.
On weekends, look for the special kids’ check-in area and pick up an activity folder. At The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown, Washington, D.C., you’ll receive the hotel’s famous Red Wagon Warm Welcome during which your children can choose a toy to take home.
- Breakfast Fun.
Have breakfast at the hotel’s Degrees restaurant. As part of the Ritz Kids Dining Experience, children can enjoy coloring books and Ritz Kids Healthy Taste Menus featuring nourishing and tasty treats.
- Get Curious.
The Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History houses some of the most famous artifacts in the world, including the mysterious Hope Diamond, said to be cursed. Q?rius (pronounced “curious”), the museum’s interactive education center, offers a lab for preteens and teens to conduct their own science experiments.
- Lunch Break.
For a quick lunch, try The National Museum of American History’s Stars and Stripes Cafe, on the lower level. The restaurant uses natural and sustainable foods in its pizza and sandwiches.
- America’s Epic Story.
The National Museum of American History holds a treasure trove of artifacts such as the flag that inspired the national anthem and the top hat worn by President Lincoln the night he was assassinated. Check out Spark!Lab, where youngsters become inventors, and the interactive exhibits at Wegmans Wonderplace for kids up to age 6.
- Go Undercover.
At the International Spy Museum, sign up for the Spy in the City program, an interactive experience that sends agents 10 or older on a secret mission on a circuit through Chinatown and Penn Quarter using a portable GPS.
- A Taste of Americana.
All will be hungry after a day of walking and museums, so comfort food should hit the spot. Try Ted’s Bulletin Family Restaurant, a homey, relaxed venue with such children’s favorites as grilled cheese — and elevated classics for adults.
- Learn and Seek.
The Ritz Kids program encourages children to explore the sights surrounding the hotel and introduces the four pillars of Ritz Kids discovery: Water, Land, Environmental Responsibility and Culture. As part of the program, sign up for a scavenger hunt around the hotel; a special prize awaits at the end.
- Potomac Adventures.
Step out to the 10-acre Georgetown waterfront. The children can navigate a labyrinth and feed the ducks while you take in views of the Kennedy Center or Roosevelt Island. On warm days, the kids can cool off in a fountain spraying giant arcs of water.
- Go Wild.
The 163-acre National Zoo is home to more than 1,500 animals covering 300 different species, including lions, tigers, giraffes and the charismatic, endangered giant pandas Mei Xiang and Tian Tian and their cubs. In fact, about 25 percent of the inhabitants are endangered.
- Monumental Treasures.
The expansive monuments in Washington are a must-see and provide a memorable historical lesson for children. Avoid the big tours and long lines and go in style by hiring a private tour company to customize your sightseeing.
- Blast Off!
The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum features a smorgasbord of interactive activities for young scientists and explorers in training: Walk through the nose sections of an old DC-7 airliner and a 757 jumbo jet, touch part of a moon rock picked up by Apollo astronauts, and see shows at the Imax theater and Planetarium.
- Quiet Time.
Unwind from a full day in one of Washington’s many family-friendly pubs, where children are welcome and you can choose from a wide selection of craft beers and Virginia wines.
- Sweet Treats.
Surprise your kids by picking up gourmet cupcakes along M Street in Georgetown — a perfectly fitting end to a day of wonder and adventure.
- Coffee, Hot Chocolate and Pastries.
The whole family will need energy for the full day ahead, so make sure everyone has some fuel in their tanks with breakfast at one of Georgetown’s charming bakery and coffeehouses.
- Step Back in Time.
Head south to Old Town Alexandria, just across the Potomac from Washington, D.C., yet a world away with its cobblestone streets, red brick sidewalks and architecture that will make you think you’ve traveled 200 years back in time. Start with a visit to the small Alexandria Archeology Museum and see artifacts from the Colonial and Civil War eras.
- Neighborhood Stroll.
Spend some time strolling the eclectic and artsy Del Ray neighborhood. Mount Vernon Avenue is known as the place “where Main Street still exists.” The area hosts a new family-friendly street festival every first Thursday of the month.
- Presidential Field Trip.
Visit nearby Mount Vernon, George Washington’s home 8 miles south of Old Town, where kid-friendly activities and high-tech, interactive experiences such as a revolutionary spy adventure app and a 4-D movie immerse you in the Revolutionary War. Just be ready for shaking seats and smoke when the cinematic cannons fire.
- A Little Colonial Flavor.
Linger longer to enjoy a taste of early America flavors at the Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant, which offers a kids menu that includes Colonial Turkey Pye.
- Spooky Fun.
Time permitting before leaving Alexandria, older kids will like the spook factor of Alexandria’s Original Ghost & Graveyard Tour. Led by a costumed guide carrying an authentic 18th-century lantern, you’ll learn about the city’s legends, folklore and unsolved mysteries. Private tours are also available.
- International Travel.
Drive past Embassy Row on Massachusetts Avenue in Georgetown where buildings originally built for the area’s wealthy in the 19th century now house numerous embassies. Look for statues of Mohandas Gandhi at the Embassy of India and of Winston Churchill at the British Embassy.
- Honor Military Sacrifice.
Visit Arlington National Cemetery, the final resting place for more than 400,000 service members and family members. The changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is an especially moving and solemn ceremony.
- A Capitol Idea.
Tour the focal point of power, the U.S. Capitol building. Docent-led tours are available, or book through your representative or senator’s office ahead of time to be guided by congressional staff, or opt for a private company tour. A tip for keeping hungry kids happy: The Dirksen Senate Office building basement has a convenient, quick eatery.
- Artistic Treasures, Family Style.
amily programs at the National Gallery of Art are aimed at getting kids to slow down, focus on a single work of art, and develop observation and thinking skills. Some programs are age-specific — Stories in Art (ages 4 to 7) and Family Workshops (ages 8 to 11) — while others cover all ages.
- Architecture Appreciation.
Time permitting, stop by the National Building Museum, a wonderful way to learn the marvels of engineering, construction and architecture with hands-on exhibits. The Building Zone provides an interactive building experience for kids ages 2 to 6.
- Delicious Charm.
Return to Georgetown for dinner. Firefly has a whimsical cottage décor with a lantern-adorned tree that will captivate little ones. But if that isn’t enough to impress, each kids meal comes with a cookie to decorate
- Tour the Nation’s Cathedral.
The Washington National Cathedral has seen many significant events, including funeral services for two presidents and the last speech from a pulpit for Martin Luther King Jr. Kids can discover the cathedral’s highlights with a scavenger hunt — look for the stone-carved depiction of “Star Wars” villain Darth Vader.
- National Treasures.
View the original documents that form the foundations of the United States — the Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights — at the National Archives Museum. Check the schedule for Constitution-in-Action Learning Lab Family Programs.
- Book Look.
At the Library of Congress, the research library for the U.S. Congress and the world’s largest library, family tours designed for kids ages 6 to 14 introduce the history, art and architecture of the Thomas Jefferson Building as well as the work of the Library of Congress.
- Moments to Savor.
Take a last stroll along the mall to enjoy some peaceful time together and savor the sights you’ve seen, the history you’ve discovered and the memories you’ve made as a family.
- D.C., Revitalized.
Head south to Capitol Riverfront, a former industrial area on the Anacostia River that now is home to Major League Baseball’s Washington Nationals and a thriving dining scene that features a variety of restaurants.
- A Final Delight.
Ice Cream Jubilee’s gourmet ice cream and sorbet are inspired by the owner’s childhood, international travels and even cocktail flavors. Using a small-batch technique and sourcing all-natural cream and milk from a nearby creamery, this treat puts the perfect topping on your stay.