All D.C. locals get bored of the same old tourist traps around the National Mall, and none more than parents trying to fill hours pre- and post-naptime. Don’t worry—we’ve got your back with a list of our favorite destinations your whole family can enjoy. Add one of these sites or food venues to your trip, and you’ll make your kiddos’ National Mall visit a whole lot more fun.

Photo: NCinDC via flickr


Fun House
Snarkitecture, the studio who brought you THE BEACH (remember the pool full of plastic balls?), is back with a whole house curated with their designs. The museum will be busy, but timed tickets will keep the crowd under control. FUN HOUSE runs from July 4th to September 3rd, and tickets get you one hour in FUN HOUSE and admission to the rest of the museum.

National Building Museum
401 F St., NW

USDA Farmers Market
Consider making your National Mall visit a Friday trip and you’ll be able to lunch at the USDA Farmers Market, where from May to October you can find over thirty vendors of organic produce, flowers, breads, and a ton of other food options. You can even multitask and do your grocery shopping at the same time!

Outside USDA Headquarters
Independence Ave. & 12th St., S.W.
When: Fridays 9 a.m. to 2 p.m, May-October

Newseum Summer Fun Deal
If you haven’t been to the Newseum because of the cost of entry, good news—this summer, kids get in free! For every adult or senior who buys a ticket ($24.95 or $19.95), you can bring up to four kids with you. Be sure to check out “First Dogs: American Presidents and Their Pets,” as well as the Interactive Newsroom, where kids can play reporter.

555 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
When: July 1, 2018Labor Day

Pizza Dough Balls at Matchbox
Finding an affordable restaurant near the National Mall can be tough, but at Matchbox Vintage Pizza Bistro in Chinatown, kids menu options are all $6 and include both classic favorites (think macaroni and cheese or chicken tenders) and their “Captain Healthy to the Rescue” (includes fresh fruit, veggies, cheese slices, and peanut butter). Plus, the best part: kids get pizza dough balls to play with while you wait!

713 H St., NW

Military Bands Summer Concert Series
During this free summer series, military bands will play concerts every evening on the U.S. Capitol West Front steps (National Mall side) starting at 8:00 P.M., weather permitting. Note: you can bring lawn chairs if you get a space on the stone terrace in front of the band, and you can even bring a picnic dinner (no alcohol or glass bottles).

East Capitol St., NE & First St., SE

Storytime at the Hirshhorn
Every Wednesday at 10 a.m. and Saturday at 11 a.m. from September through July, the Hirshhorn puts on a storytime where they tell kids about a piece of art and read them a book. Afterward, kids get the chance to create their own artwork. If your kiddos get hungry after all of that creative thinking, you can take them for a snack at Dolcezza Coffe & Gelato. Planning on going to the Hirshhorn in August? Check out their Library & Art Pop-Up instead.

Independence Ave. at 7th St.
When: September-July

Concretes at Shake Shack

If you find yourself hot and hungry during your trip, don’t get drawn in by the food trucks on the Mall—instead, walks a few blocks to the nearest Shake Shack, where you can grab a burger (or Shroom Burger for you vegetarians) and one of their original Concretes, which blend frozen custard with mix-ins. Choose from location-specific options like “Shack Attack” or make your own combination.

800 F St.,NW

—Kelly Ann Jacobson

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