8 Ways to Start an Only-in-D.C. Family Tradition

We all have fond memories of special outings with our parents, and now that we’re parents too, it’s easy to understand just how much we hope our children will look back on their time with us and smile. Luckily, we live in a city where creating special memories is easy and fun. Check out these unique ways to build memorable moments with your kids in the DMV.

mansion on o st.
Photo: Mansion on O Street

Explore Secret Rooms and Passageways at The Mansion on O Street
Take hide-and-seek to a new level at The Mansion on O Street. This luxury hotel in Dupont was built in 1892 by Edward Clark, the same architect who built the Capitol, and its founder, H.H. Leonards Spero, had enough creative vision to transform it into a magical space full of endless secret doors and passageways! The ultimate way to experience the Mansion on O Street is to stay the night in one of its 100 uniquely decorated rooms, but you don’t have to. You can simply take the kids for a self-guided tour ($15) or join one of the many themed treasure hunts.

2020 O St. NW St. (Dupont Circle)
Online: omansion.com

Take in Family Night at the Phillips Collection
Teach your family the importance of connecting with art and music at a free and fun family event on the first weekend in June. The Jazz n’ Families Fun Days is an annual celebration featuring live jazz music throughout the gallery, an instrument petting zoo, art-making activities and more. This is a popular annual event that presents the perfect union of children, music and art. It’s a special way to create a lasting impression in the minds of your kids.

Where: 1600 21st Street NW – Dupont
When: First weekend in June 2017
Online: phillipscollection.org

lincoln memorial crdt
Photo: GoonSquadSarah via Flickr

Enjoy a Sunset Picnic at the Lincoln Memorial
There are lots of great spots for a picnic in the DMV area, but arguably one of the best spots is the stairs of the Lincoln Memorial, especially if you choose a warm spring or early summer evening as the sun goes down. From here, you and the kids will stare endlessly across the reflecting pool to the Washington Monument, and be awe-struck by the play of light and changing color on the water as the sun spreads itself across the sky. It’s the perfect place to remind yourself and your kids not to sweat the small stuff, but savor the big.

Where: 2 Lincoln Memorial Cir., NW
Online: nps.gov/Linc

Fly Kites on the Mall
If you haven’t taken the kids to D.C.’s annual Blossom Kite Festival, you are missing out on a guaranteed ticket to fond memories. The festival showcases the creativity of kite makers from across the world. There’s nothing like a sky full of colorful kites billowing against the backdrop of the Washington Monument to get your spirits soaring. Bring your own kite to fly, or let the kids make a kite at one of the kite-making stations featured at the festival.

When: April 1, 2017
Time: 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Where: Grounds of the Washington Monument near 17th St. NW and Constitution Ave.
Online: nationalcherryblossomfestival.org

Roll Easter Eggs on the White House Lawn
Democrat, Republican, it doesn’t matter when you’re rolling Easter eggs down a hill on the South Lawn of the White House. And DC is the only city on earth where you and the kids can make this kind of history together! The White House Easter Egg Roll is a tradition that dates back to 1878 and has grown into the largest event held annually at the White House. This year, nearly 35,000 lucky guests will gather for games, storytelling, entertainment and egg rolling. It’s fun, it’s festive, it’s unforgettable. Tickets are free and can only be won through an online lottery. The exact lottery dates and further details will be published six weeks prior to the Easter Egg Roll at the link below.

Where: South Lawn of the White House
When: April 17, 2017, 8am – 5pm
Online: whitehouse.gov1.info

Photo: S Pakhrin

Smell the Roses at National Cathedral’s Flower Mart
Flowers, food and fun mean family memories galore. The All Hallows Guild will host its 78th annual Flower Mart on May 5th and 6th, 2017 at the Washington National Cathedral. You and the kids can enjoy a variety of free music and dance performances on stage in front of the Cathedral, plus hundreds of booths showcasing an amazing selection of sun-loving plants, flowers and herbs. There’s also jewelry, china, crystals and collectables. Special activities for the kids will feature master puppeteers, games, an antique organ grinder, and a lovingly restored, hand-painted, antique carousel for an unforgettable ride.

Where: 3101 Wisconsin Ave. NW
When: May 5 – 6, 2017
Online: allhallowsguild.org

Celebrate July 4th with the Ultimate Fire Works Show
There’s fireworks and then there’s the 4th of July Fireworks on the National Mall, with DC’s monuments and the U.S. Capitol in the background. Nothing is quite like seeing more than 6,500 shells explode across the sky to light up your patriotic spirit. Yes, it gets crowded down there, but you and the kids will love looking back and saying, “we were there!”

Online: home.nps.gov

Watch How Money is Made, Literally!
You might assume a tour of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing would be unexciting, but you would be wrong. An up-close look at how money truly gets made is an unforgettable experience. You’ll learn interesting factoids, such as currency paper consists of 75% cotton and 25% linen; and it will take 4,000 double folds before a note will tear. Plus, you’ll see millions of dollars being printed as you walk the gallery overlooking the production floor.

Bureau of Engraving and Printing
301 14th St. SW (14th and C St.)
Online: moneyfactory.gov

Do you have any cool D.C. family traditions? Tell us about them in the comments section below. 

–Jamy Bond


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