A Last-Minute Bleg: What to Do in D.C. With the Kids?

Photo: iStockphoto

We’ll be spending a couple of days this week in Washington, D.C. It’ll be my kids’ first trip. (They are 10 and 9.) Am looking for non-obvious things to do and good things to eat as well. Staying downtown without a car, FWIW. Will gladly throw in a piece of Freakonomics swag for the best suggestion that gets put to use. Thanks in advance!

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  1. AHurd says:

    There’s a lot to do at the National Building Museum. It’s close to chinatown, and theirs tons of kid workshops. THe place is also really beautiful. One of DC’s gems.

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    • Sam G says:

      I’m pretty sure that they still have the Lego exhibit going on, even though it is the only part of the museum that has a cost to enter. The rest of the museum is free, and the five block walk from the mall is worth it for the Pensioner’s building alone, a spectacular space that is one of the only colorful government buildings.

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  2. Jamie says:

    Visit the LongView Gallery to see the DCist Exposed photo exhibit, which highlights various aspects of D.C. not usually for tourists. Maine Avenue Seafood Market is always good for eating and looking out at the Potomac. Dumbarton Oaks in Georgetown. The magnolias should be in bloom at the National Arboretum.

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  3. Liz says:

    One of the more memorable places I went to in DC was the Smithsonian Postal Museum. It might sound kind of lame, but it was pretty cool. They had exhibits on stuff like the Pony Express and let you make your own custom post card.

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  4. Zach Girod says:

    I am not sure if it is obvious or not but given your interests I would think I trip to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing would be a must. It is not like other museums where you we free to wonder, it is a ~45min tour of how they print money. It is actually very cool and you see like $18M being printed during your tour.

    Here is a link for information on getting tickets (they are free): http://www.moneyfactory.gov/tours/washingtondctours.html

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  5. Clarityeconomic says:

    I am a Brit living in London so this info comes from a fellow tourist in your fine capital. We were in DC during an unexpected April cold snap a couple of years ago and needed something indoors but different (having done Museum Mall.) We found the National Building Museum http://www.nbm.org/ in an offbeat location near Judiciary Square. It had a room with a stack of building blocks and suggestions for construction projects that kept two kids (c.6 and 10 at the time) and even a one-year-old fully occupied. Maybe they learned something about architecture, too.

    I hope that room is still there (hard to see from the website) but in any event it seems to have an exhibition of 15 building models made entirely out of Lego, which always goes down well.

    I’d take them there again. My now-12-year-old does amateur animation so I guess there would be a crossover.

    For the adults it is a stunningly beautiful building, both inside and out with a nice and decently priced cafe.

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  6. Justin says:

    Lunch at the Native American Museum is delicious, but a little pricey.

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    • Kim says:

      Second on lunch at the Native American Museum. They cover all regions, so there is a lot to choose from, and so everyone can get different things. It was the best lunch we found there, and ended up going back several times.

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  7. mike says:

    Canal boat pulled by a mule:


    Bonus for excellent cupcake place across the street:


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    • nate says:

      someone recommended georgetown cupcake? are you kidding me? sure, that’s a great recommendation. if you want to pay five dollars and stand in line for 30 minutes for a cupcake that tastes no better than the average betty crocker with store-bought frosting, go to georgetown cupcake. if you’re really in the mood for a cupcake and don’t feel like waiting in line like every other tourist in the city, you can go to one of many other cupcake shops in dc.

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  8. VB in NV says:

    Food Court at Union Station

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