Are you in search of fun kid-friendly activities to do D.C.? Whether you are from the area or just stopping by, there are a variety of great spots and experiences to choose from. Below are 12 of the best things to do with kids this winter in D.C..
Glowing spectacles are popping up in the DMV area to get the whole family into the holiday spirit. If you’re looking for a unique adventure that’s more than just a feast for the eyes, search no further than this radiant Winter Lantern Festival in Tysons. Designed to celebrate the culture and craftsmanship of traditional Chinese lantern festivals, this winter attraction features over 1,000 lanterns.
Each of the lanterns are entirely handmade by skilled artisans, crafted with thin wire and vibrant silk or gauze, and lit by LEDs to create the most magical creations. The kids will love the illuminated swings and see-saws, as well as the bounce house! Get tickets here to save your spot.
This fascinating Dinos Alive exhibition will transport you back millions of years to an age when dinosaurs ruled! Prepare to take the kids on a mind-blowing adventure as you interact with over 80 life-sized animated dinosaur replicas. The experience even includes a “Budding Experts” interactive area, where kids can become paleontologists for a day.
This out-of-this-world experience is fun and educational for the whole family. As one visitor keenly put it, it’s the “perfect family-friendly activity that’ll wear the kiddos out.” The exhibit is open to all ages, and children 3 and under can enter for free. Snag tickets here to travel back in time to the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods!
Coming to D.C. this December, Dopamine Land is specially designed to trigger the happiness hormone, dopamine. From a massive ball pit to a designated pillow fight section, this immersive installation in Friendship Heights blends technology, media and play through vibrant, whimsical installations. You’re bound to love it as much as the kids! Snag tickets here to plan your visit.
There is no such thing as too many light attractions in the winter – and this new experience at the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair is no exception. Now open for your enjoyment, LuminoCity features impressive creations, such as a majestic unicorn, glowing pandas and a 50-foot donut tunnel! From an arctic wonderland, to an illuminated jungle and a candy-coated paradise, the festive experience will have the entire family in awe. Grab your tickets today!
Located at the Rhode Island Center, the Van Gogh immersive experience welcomes you to learn about the Dutch artist’s life and step into iconic paintings like Starry Night and Sunflowers. You and the kids will be blown away by the stunning floor-to-ceiling projections of Van Gogh’s infamous works. With plenty of comfy bean bags and blankets in the immersive space, the exhibit won’t tire little ones out the way a traditional museum might. Get tickets here while you can!
6. Meet more than 360 species at Smithsonian’s National Zoo
The giant pandas may be gone, but plenty of other incredible animals await! Always free of charge, the Smithsonian National Zoo is a great place to take kids of all ages. Today, the 163-acre park in Northwest D.C. contains nearly 1,800 animals. From big cats to reptiles and amphibians, there’s something for everyone.
Plus, the zoo’s Bird House is finally open again after a six-year closure, showcasing over 170 birds from 56 different species, with 16 additional species featured in the bird plateau and outdoor areas.
7. Escape reality at D.C.’s Museum of Illusions
A recent addition to the D.C. museum scene, the Museum of Illusions in CityCenterDC offers an amazing immersive experience for the kids. From holograms and vortex tunnels, to mirror infinity and scale-distorting rooms, this place is sure to keep the kids entertained—and give you some great photo opportunities!
The Museum of Illusions also includes an educational component, delving into the mechanics behind the illusions. All ages are welcome, and tickets include full access to all exhibits.
8. Step into the shoes of a spy at the International Spy Museum
The International Spy Museum is definitely a fun one to add to your list of the best things to do with kids this winter in D.C.. Kids can test their spy skills through an interactive “undercover mission,” examine hundreds of inventions created to steal secrets, try their hand at code-cracking and much more! The museum is located at 700 L’Enfant Plaza SW, and those 6 and under get in for free.
9. Explore the National Mall and monuments
While certainly not a secret, the National Mall is undoubtedly a great place to take the kiddos. With open green space, towering monuments and, of course, plenty of food trucks to stop at for a quick bite, the mall is a spot to add to your list if you need a break from museums and exhibits. Whether you want to pick a favorite bench to rest your legs, or make the walk from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial, this family-friendly spot tends to be a crowd pleaser.
10. Watch language come to life at Planet Word
This immersive language experience in downtown D.C. is just as fun as it is educational. Planet Word is the world’s first voice-activated museum, encouraging visitors of all ages to interact with their galleries in all kinds of new and exciting ways. Children can paint with words, sing karaoke-style, laugh it out in the “humor gallery” and much more.
11. Foster learning in a playful manner at the National Children’s Museum
The National Children’s Museum encourages children to engage with a wide array of exhibits, honing their backgrounds in science, technology, engineering, art and math. Little ones will be able to wander through a sensory-filled Slime funhouse, control the weather through green screen technology, explore a three-story climber and slide, learn about how data presents itself in our daily lives and more!
The museum is now located at 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW, and children under one gain free admission.
12. Wander through Rock Creek Park
If you don’t want to leave D.C. but are looking for a more nature-oriented activity to do with kids this winter, Rock Creek Park is the place for you. The park bisects Northwest D.C. and contains a number of trails and paths that are accessible for smaller kids. Consider packing a lunch and stopping at one of the picnic areas if the weather is nice!