Visiting Washington DC with my kids has always been on the bucket list. My first trip there was when I was 19 and I loved it so much, being surrounded by so much history, activism, and politics, I knew I wanted to share the experience with my kids.
If you’ve been a long-time reader, you know that Tyler is from Virginia. Since our kids were born, we have traveled back east many times but we finally felt like they were at the right ages to handle all the walking required in DC. Our time there was limited but we managed to packed in a lot!
I should also mention that our trip was at the point of the COVID-19 pandemic where things were just starting to open back up. Timed entry was required for all museums and they filled up quickly. My biggest tip for pandemic travel is definitely to plan ahead–we learned this the hard way on our most recent road trip.
In this guide, you will find recommendations on where to stay in Washington DC, kid-friendly activities, where to eat, and general tips.
Where To Stay In Washington DC: The Mayflower Hotel
Our stay was hosted by The Mayflower, all opinions are my own.
If I had to sum up The Mayflower in one word, it would be: wow. Walking into the lobby took my breath away. It was beautiful and grand, but also inviting and warm. We checked in and found out that the hotel was only operating at about 30% capacity. Because of the hotel’s size, at certain points, it felt like we were the only guests there. It was definitely a once in a lifetime experience.
After we checked in, we headed up to our room. We opened the door to an incredible King Suite with an adjoining double queen room. It was more than enough space for our family of four. The boys absolutely loved having their own space away from the parents (is this what having big kids is like?!)
I loved every detail from the geometric tile to signature wallpaper. Much like its sister hotel, The Citizen, that we visited last fall, The Mayflower has subtle nods to the political scene throughout.
Fun Facts About The Mayflower
The Mayflower Hotel opened in 1925 so its history is as storied as the DC itself. It has been the home to many Inaugural Balls, political figures as regular guests, and famous speeches. Just down the hall from our room was Room 570 where the GI Bill was written in December 1943. On March 3, 1933, newly elected Franklin D. Roosevelt penned his famous line, “we have nothing to fear but fear itself,” in room 776. As a frequent patron, President Harry Truman dubbed The Mayflower, “Washington’s second best address.” Tyler loved reading all the history and fun facts about the hotel. Check out our saved Instagram Stories Highlight for more.
The location is perfect, too. It is located on Connecticut Avenue, between L and M streets. It took us about 15 minutes to walk to the National Mall. On the way we past The White House, Black Lives Matter Plaza, Farragut Square, and many beautiful government buildings
I could go on and on about how wonderful The Mayflower is but it really is one of those places you have to experience for yourself. The next time you go to DC, we highly recommend it!
What To Do In DC With Kids
Planning ahead was huge for us. We were able to get timed admission tickets to the Smithsonian American History Museum. All admission to Smithsonian museums is free, though, so it’s really a great activity for the whole family! There are so many to choose from, too.
The cool thing about DC is that most everything there is to do, is free! You could spend a full day walking around the National Mall where you can see The Washington Monument, the WWII Memorial, the Reflecting Pool, the Lincoln Memorial, and so much more.
Definitely bring your walking shoes because DC requires a lot of walking.
The photo opportunities are numerous. I had to dig up and recreate this photo from 2007. Cameras have come a long way in 14 years!
Where To Eat
For breakfast, we ordered to go food from Edgar Bar & Kitchen in the lobby of The Mayflower. While in-restaurant dining hadn’t resumed as of the date of our visit they offered to go options. The bagel with lox and capers was delicious!
For lunch, we checked out Founding Farmers DC, which was highly recommended by so many people we asked. Everything is made from scratch with high quality ingredients and sustainability in mind. The Eggs Benedict was phenom.
By dinnertime we were all exhausted and decided to order in so we could enjoy our beautiful room. We ordered from North Italia and we were so impressed! Everything was delicious and fresh. My mouth is watering now just thinking about the Prosciutto Bruschetta!
is 24 hours in dc enough?
If you’re thinking to yourself 24 hours in DC with kids is not enough time… you are right. Our biggest regret is not staying another day. But, if you are on a tight schedule like we were, it is totally doable.
Overall, we had so much fun and made so many memories. DC will always have a special place in my heart and I can’t wait to go back!