Visiting DC with the kids? You’ve come to the right place! The US capital offer up valuable history lessons everywhere you look, plus plenty of hands-on fun for the wee ones, including interactive museum exhibits, exciting outdoor activities, fun shops and child-friendly eateries. The best part? Most of these kid-tested-and-approved attractions are free – unless, of course, you decide to buy yourself a souvenir.

Best museums for kids

A mini architect hard at work at the National Building Museum. Image by Tom Moore / National Building Museum

Top child-friendly experiences

Feeding the family

  • Baked & Wired makes giant, cream-frosted cupcakes in Georgetown (and it's conveniently located near Georgetown Waterfront Park).
  • Gourmet Neapolitan style pizza keeps the parents happy, while crayons keep the kids busy at 2 Amys, near the National Cathedral.
  • You’d never know it from the swank décor, but Legal Sea Foods in Penn Quarter has an award-winning children’s menu, with classics like mac & cheese and slightly more highbrow fare, like steamed lobster (which is taken out of the shell then put back in, easy for little fingers to handle).
  • Retro Ted's Bulletin whips up smiley face pancakes, peanut butter sandwiches and milkshakes (with a booze-spiked option for parents).
Baked & Wired frosted cupcake. Image by m01229 / CC BY 2.0

Best stores for kids

  • Tugooh Toys sells eco-friendly stuffed animals and educational games amid the cupcake and ice cream shops of Georgetown.
  • The store at the International Spy Museum stocks everything from mustache disguises to voice changing gadgets.
  • Dawn Price Baby carries stylish stuff for mom and baby, from designer diaper bags to organic cotton layette sets.

Top tours for families

  • Bike and Roll has all-ages, four-mile cycling tours that zip around the Mall and Tidal Basin. Children's bikes are provided.
  • DC by Foot offers pay-what-you-want walking tours. While they're not specifically geared to kids, they are popular with families. The Mall tour takes about two hours and covers a mile; the route is stroller-friendly.

Family-friendly DC web resources

  • Kids To Go on Lonely Planet's Thorntree forum.
  • LP Kids on Twitter.
  • Smithsonian Kids for educational games and projects, plus the lowdown on pint-sized activities at the museums.
  • DC Cool Kids for activity guides, insider tips from local youngsters on things to do, and museum info.
  • DC Urban Moms and Dads for active forums to post your pressing DC questions; look for the Travel Discussion and Food & Restaurants threads.

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