Five must visit places in Washington DC, a totally biased list of my favorite DC spots.
Washington, DC is an amazing place to live or visit with children. The city is bursting at the seams with kid friendly museums and gardens most of them free. After having lived in the city for a year, here are my favorite places to spend my time.
I was ready to leave Washington, DC and to stay all at the same time. The perks of the city, free museums, free preschool and great public transportation were as large to me as the drawbacks. DC is an Ultra transient city with high costs of living and prohibitive childcare expenses.
I stayed home with Ooey during our time in Washington, DC and started a blog and made a ton of friends. I am a better person for having lived in DC; the friends I made, the art I was exposed to and the time to take a step back from the workforce did me good. But, without further ado here are some of my favorite places from Washington, DC.
The National Gallery of Art
The National Gallery of Art is a free museum, not in the Smithsonian System (bet you didn’t know that). It was definitely my happy place and I would often go by myself on weekends to wander around at a slower pace. Ooey and I would go and meet friends at the walkway between the East and West buildings. The walkway between the two buildings is a glide through a starry night, a light installation designed by Leo Villareal. (Another light fixture by Villareal can be found at the Renwick Gallery across the street from the White House)
The NGA occasionally offers classes for kids aged 4-7, Art Investigators, so keep your eyes out for those!
Ramen at Bantam King
There are a number of ramen shops at DC, and I promise you they’re all good. We found ourselves eating at Bantam King at an almost weekly basis, it’s the underrated sister of Daikaya where we were once told it would be two hours to be seated. The restaurant is brightly lit and its specialty is a broth of chicken stock. The name is reminiscent of the buildings former tenant, Burger King.
The National Building Museum
Conveniently located across the street from Bantam King, the National Building Museum is hands down the best place to take your kid. Their massive lobby is a great place to picnic and playdate. best of all your kids can run around screaming and no one will bat an eye. They have two distinct play spaces for kids, one has timed entry which is included in your entry fee. Be sure to get those tickets ASAP, and if you’re a member of the museum you can get back to back time slots for that space. The play area upstairs has no timed entry requirements.
The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Every parent treasures the place where their child was first introduced to performance art! The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is the modern art museum within the Smithsonian Museum System. It stands out on the National Mall, completely round with a fountain in the middle of its inner courtyard and a car crushed beneath a smiling boulder out front.
The museum has hosted my favorite art exhibits, Infinity Mirrors by Yayoi Kusama and Scandinavian Pain by Ragnar Kjartansson. I recommend you attend a story time at the Hirshhorn and grab gelato at the Dolcezza Coffee and Gelato pop-up stand afterwards.
Getting around on the Metro
I miss the metro, I’ve thought this everyday since leaving DC. Getting around without a car is THE BEST.
Tips for riding the metro
- Buy your metro card, “SmartTrip” card in advance of your trip to DC, here.
- Once in Washington DC you can buy and refill cards at the kiosks at the metro stops.
- Elevators are frequently out of service, using an umbrella stroller allows you to carry it up and down stairs which is something I had to do frequently to get into and out of stations.
- Strollers have to be folded up on all busses, expect the circulator busses.
- Your iPhone will give you transit information in your native map app
- Children under the age of five do not need SmartTrip cards
- Los Hermanos serves up delicious Dominican food everyday, get a to go box because the portions are enormous.
- Un Je Nais Sais Quo makes some of the craziest French pastries I’ve ever had, but go early because they sell out!
- ARTECHOUSE is a newly opened art space in DC that provides interactive art that’s accessible to the youngest audiences.