Tag Archives: Free Things to do in Washington DC

Where to Play on the Weekdays: January 21-24

Bundle up for a day outdoors at Great Falls Park


Tuesday – Locate secret doors, see outrageously fabulous themed rooms, and browse a trove of secondhand treasures on a tour of The Mansion on O Street. The Dupont Circle landmark is a mansion, museum, restaurant, vintage store, and hotel all in one. It’s one of the neatest and most stunning spaces in DC! And visitors are welcome to explore (and shop!) it all. Tours are offered 11am – 3pm. Self-guided tours start at $25 — purchase tickets in advance online.

Wednesday – Get excited for the Lunar New Year at the Freer|Sackler Gallery, where you can view a remarkable collection of Asian art and special exhibits. Ask for activity cards and a family guide at the front desk when you arrive to help with kiddos with their art adventure. Museum hours are 10am – 5:30pm. Admission is free.

Thursday – Bundle up for a hike and some nature fun at Great Falls Park. Whether you opt for the Maryland or Virginia side, you really can’t go wrong. Take in spectacular views of the falls and rapids from several overlooks, hike easy trails along the river or through the woods, and stop in the Visitor Center — there’s one on each side — to learn more about the area’s history and wildlife. Open 7am to 30 minutes after sunset. Admission is $20/vehicle.

Friday – See some entertainment especially for kids at The Puppet Co., where Rapunzel is the current Main Stage production. Showtime is 11am, and tickets are $12.


Leave a Comment

Filed under 2020, All ages, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays

Where to Play on the Weekdays: January 13-17

The National Arboetum is a great place to enjoy warmer-than-normal weather


Monday – Go to Story Time at the National Postal Museum. Taking place every Monday, the program includes a book reading and activities for little ones in the museum’s education space. Of course, stay to explore the rest of the museum, which is full of interactive exhibits that appeal to all ages. Story Time is at 10:30am and repeated at 11am. Admission is free. Read more about the museum in this KFDC post.

Tuesday – Take kiddos to bounce, climb, swing, tumble, and slide at the PG Sports & Learning Complex Gymnastics Center in Landover, MD. The hour-long weekly open play workshop is a great way for kiddos to be active indoors (it was a regular outing for us when the kids were younger)! The session begins at 11:30am, and admission is $7/child. This also takes place on Wednesdays at 11:30am and Fridays at 4:30pm. Read more about the open play sessions here.

Wednesday – Spend what’s forecast to be a warmer-than-normal winter day at one of the prettiest places in DC, the U.S. National Arboretum. Explore the plant collections on nature walks, view the bonsai exhibit, visit the Washington Youth Garden and romp on the natural playground, check out the old Capitol columns, picnic in the Grove of State Trees, and so much more. Hours are 8am – 5pm, and admission is free. Read even more about the Arboretum in the round-up of the best places to spend a day outdoors — it tops the list! — as well as this post and this one.

Thursday – Explore the local environment at Buddie Ford Nature Center. The facility in Alexandria houses fascinating exhibits (including live creatures!), hands-on activities, and a staff of friendly and knowledgeable naturalists that all ages will appreciate. Afterwards, take the fun outdoors with a short hike at the adjacent Dora Kelley Nature Park. Buddie Ford hours are 10am – 5pm (Wednesday – Saturday, 1-5pm Sunday). Admission is free.

Friday – Rock out with local kids’ fave Rocknocerous at Jammin’ Java in Vienna, VA. You can also nosh while you’re there — the smoothie, juice, acai bowl, and coffee menu will be available. Showtime is 10:30am, doors open at 10am. Tickets are $5.


Leave a Comment

Filed under 2020, All ages, DC, Free, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Seasonal, Story Time, Virginia, Weekdays

Where to Play on the Weekdays: January 6-10

Celebrating 11 years of our fiercely loved girl this week. Happy Birthday, sweet Sash 💜💙💚


Monday – Savor the sunshine and some outdoor time at Roosevelt Island, which I just posted a big write-up about! It’s a great place to hike with kids and get a dose of history in one fell swoop. The trails are easy for little legs to tramp, and you can explore the Memorial Plaza to learn about the legacy of President Theodore Roosevelt. The entrance to the park is located right off the GW Parkway, just past the Roosevelt Bridge, and accessible only from the northbound lanes. Hours are 6am – 10pm, and admission is free.

Tuesday – Visit a DC go-to: The National Museum of Natural History, which has exhibits to indulge a variety of interests. View all kinds of mammals, hold live insects, learn about early humans (and see what you’d look like as one), gaze at amazing gemstones, and, of course, check out the dinos and other prehistoric creatures in the Hall of Fossils. KFDC Tip: On Tuesdays, entry to the Butterfly Pavilion is free, and I recommend getting tickets when you arrive, since entry is timed, and yours may not begin right away. Admission to the museum is free, the Butterfly Pavilion is $7.50/adult, $6/child other days. Museum hours are 10am – 5:30pm.

Wednesday – Go to Story Time at Kramerbooks in Dupont Circle. The weekly program features a different children’s book and fun activities for little ones each session. They’ll watch your kids while you grab a coffee (or, if it’s that kind of morning, a mimosa) from the great Afterwords Café. The session starts at 10:30am, and admission is free (but mimosas you have to pay for). All ages welcome.

Thursday – Head north to Charm City for a time trip through Baltimore’s early business days at the Museum of Industry. The Inner Harbor attraction highlights the trades and people that helped build the port city. It’s full of fun and interesting exhibits and installations, many with hands-on elements, that appeal to children and adults alike. Hours are 10am – 4pm (Tuesday – Sunday). Admission is $12/adult, $7/ages 7-12, free for 6 and under. Look for a deal here.

Friday – Join a free workshop for preschoolers (ages 2-5) with the Wolf Trap Foundation. The interactive session at Green Hedges School in Vienna, VA, will include a story dramatization of the book Ask Mr. Bear with the goal of exploring simple math concepts and learning how to bring stories to life. The program takes place 10-11am, and admission is free. Register in advance here.


Leave a Comment

Filed under 2020, All ages, DC

Where to Play on the Weekdays: December 30 – January 3

Glide into 2020…


* Along with these daily recommendations, don’t forget to check the Winter Break Guide, which contains a great mix of ideas for activities and adventures with the kids during the winter break from school.

Monday – Make your way up to Baltimore to visit the Maryland Science Center, which is open this Monday during Winter Break (regularly only open Tuesday – Sunday). You can easily make a whole day of it exploring the variety of neat hands-on exhibits, playing in the Kids Room, and so much more. Hours are 10am – 5pm. Admission is $25.95/adults, $19.95/ages 3+, free for 2 and under. (I suggest checking out their membership options — if your family of 4 goes just twice in a year, it’s worth it. Plus, there’s reciprocity with other museums around the country.) Read more about the museum in this KFDC post.

For something local and easier on the wallet, visit the largest library in the world, the Library of Congress, to explore children’s books, see interesting exhibits, and marvel at one of DC’s most beautiful buildings. The Young Readers Center is open 9am – 4pm and welcomes visitors to read books and hang out in the cozy space. And be sure to spend time checking out the rest of the LOC, too — it’s truly magnificent and a must-see for both locals and visitors to DC. Hours are 8:30am – 4:30pm. Admission is free.

Tuesday – Celebrate New Year’s Eve at one of many events around town that not only welcome kids, but in most cases center around them. See this post for a list of family-friendly options to ring in 2020. 🎉Happy New Year! 🎉

Wednesday – A couple of suggestions: Take a New Year’s Day hike — this post has details on a bunch of great places to hit the trail with the kids. Or, go out for a fun family meal. All Purpose Pizza at the Capitol Riverfront is doing a special New Year’s Day brunch. Pinstripes in Georgetown has a bistro, plus bowling and bocce. Jaleo, located in Penn Quarter, Bethesda, and Crystal City, has tapas to please everyone — and they might seat you at a Foosball table. Carmine’s serves food family-style and is very family-friendly. Ted’s Bulletin is always a hit with kids.

Thursday – Go ice skating! It’s always a fun, active way to take advantage of the season, especially when you glide under the sky at one of the many outdoors rinks in the area. Several offer push aids to help newbie skaters, and most are located in places with even more to do beyond the ice. This post has all the details on all of them.

Friday – Experience AURORA: The Spirit of Northern Lights before it closes after this coming weekend! The art installation at ARTECHOUSE is beautiful, enchanting, and interactive with a little bit of magic that both kids and adults will love. Family-friendly hours are 10am – 5pm (21+ 5:30-10pm), and admission is timed entry. Tickets are $16-20/adult, $8-10/child, and they are offering a 20% discount package for 2 adults + 2 children, Sundays through Thursdays (the deal will auto-populate when tickets are requested online).


Leave a Comment

Filed under 2019, 2020, All ages, Annual, DC, Exhibit, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Seasonal, Virginia, Weekdays, Winter