Discover why Washington D.C. is  a great place for a family vacation.


My husband and I found early on that if we could find a playground when we were touring we would have a much happier child on our hands. It’s amazing how a few pushes on a swing can make a grumpy child happy again. So if your child is like ours, where should you go for a trip down the slide in DC? Here are a few suggestions.

The National Mall is known as America’s front yard and is a great place to let children run and run. Stop into one of the Smithsonian Museum gift shops and pick up a kite or a ball to play with.

There is also a carousel outside of the Smithsonian Castle, midway down the mall. It costs $3.50 to take a spin and is open 10:00 am – 5:30 pm daily from March through Labor Day. The Fall and Winter hours are Labor Day through February 28th, 11:00 am – 5:00 pm.

Capitol Hill is the best place to find a playground near the major tourist sites. There are three playgrounds within walking distance of the Capitol and Union Station. All of these playgrounds are located on the East side of the Capitol, opposite the National Mall.

The biggest is Lincoln Park, located on East Capitol between 11th and 13th, on the border of NE and SE. This is a big grassy park, perfect for running, but it also includes two small gated playgrounds with slides.

Another option is Stanton Park, located between 4th and 6th Streets and Massachusetts Ave., NE. It is a much smaller park, again with a gated playground with slides. This park is located close to Union Station, where you can catch the metro, rent a bike or grab a bite to eat.

The final park on Capitol Hill is on the SE side (same side as the House of Representatives) of the Capitol. This park, called Garfield Park, is quite near the raised SW Freeway, but is a popular spot none the less. It has a gated playground with baby swings and a larger climbing area for the older kids.

If it’s a hot day and you don’t mind if your kids get wet then there are two more options to keep in mind.

Yards Park is located near the new Nationals baseball stadium. The park is a 1.4 mile walk from the Capitol or you can take the metro to the Navy Yard Station. This is a great spot with a large grassy area for running, a walking trail along the river and awesome water fountains and pools. Click here for a complete list of seasonal activities.

Another similar park, although much smaller, can be found along the Potomac River at the Georgetown Waterfront. This park is part of a great biking trail along the Potomac River and the Georgetown Canal. It would be fun to rent some bikes and take a family bike ride as it is pretty flat and very scenic. Capitol Bike Share has a bike kiosk just steps from the park on Wisconsin Avenue at the C&O Canal. But back to the water park, the water fountains are located at the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and K Street, NW. Georgetown is also a great place for shopping and eating. Click here for some of our favorite restaurants.

Have fun exploring!


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