Feet First: D.C.’s Best Kid-Friendly Walking Tours

Remember the Brady Bunch family band favorite “It’s A Sunshine Day”? When the fabulous six all crooned about a sunny day and taking a walk outside? Now that the sun is actually out and here to stay a while, the DMV offers practically endless opportunities to do just that with your own adorable bunch. And if you want someone to show you the sites as you amble along, check out one of these kid friendly tours. Tie your laces or fasten the velcro, it’s time for a walk outside!

Photo:  David Adelman

For Construction-Loving Kids
The American Institute of Architecture offers both the occasional family friendly live tour of D.C. area neighborhoods or buildings of interest and import, such as a recent look around the Mexican Cultural Institute. Go online and find Children’s Architectural Walking Tours, colorful and well-designed printable guides chock full of information perfect for educational groups and families, including a glossary of architectural terms, for Shaw and Blagden Alley, Capitol Hill, and the White House neighborhoods.

Online: aiadc.com

For the Colonial History Buffs
Once about a day’s horse ride away from the Capital, Old Town Alexandria is now a hop skip and jump down the cobblestoned streets, with a metro station at the top of King Street, and a free trolley for tired feet running all the way to the waterfront. Kid-friendly historic sites include Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, Torpedo Arts Factory, and the Stabler-Leadbeter Apothecary Museum. Old Town is also popular for nighttime ghost tours like those offered by Colonial Tours, recommended for kids 9 and up. Check Alexandria’s Historic Calendar, in particular during Historic Preservation Month in May, for occasional museum hosted tours, and events like the Friendship Fire House Festival, held this year on Aug 4.

Online: alexandriava.gov

For the Dramatists
Head to Historic Ford’s Theater, the site of President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. A National Historic Site, Ford’s serves as the starting point for History on Foot’s Investigation: Detective McDevitt tour. As the police detective on duty, McDevitt finds clues to the President’s murder on eight stops along the way from the theater to the White House. Kids will love the interactive and dramatic storytelling, and you can reserve a double dose of learning with separate entry to the theater to see the box where Lincoln was shot, and a visit to the four story educational center. Within easy walking distance is also Chinatown, the Smithsonian American Art and International Spy Museums

Online: fords.org

For the Patriots
Hook up with DC Tours by Foot for a just for kids tour of landmark national memorial highlights, including the WWII, Vietnam Veterans and the Lincoln and Einstein Memorials . This tour, complete with scavenger hunt and other activities, is a shortened version of the company’s self-described name your own price” National Mall tour, just one of several historic and entertaining walkabouts they offer at sites like Arlington Cemetery, Embassy Row, and Georgetown. Patrons are encouraged to pay what they think the tour was worth at its conclusion.

Online: freetoursbyfoot.com

For the Foodies
Mangia Tours brings Italy to you in the heart of Northwest D.C. Focusing on the Dupont Circle area, this tour allows for parents to share their tasting menu portions with children ages 9 and under, while ages 10 and up pay a reasonable per person price for four to five food portions, and guided tour. Enjoy a leisurely afternoon walk as you pop into restaurants and learn about the history of Italians in the area, noteworthy sites, and local cuisine.

Online: Mangia DC

Where do you like to walk with your kids? Share in the comments below. 

—Carolyn Ross


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