By: Carla Olivo, Marine Spouse
Washington D.C. is one of those duty stations unlike any other. You may wonder, “Where is the Pentagon located?” You might be surprised to learn it’s actually located in northern Virginia, not downtown D.C. Instead of googling “Things to do in Washington DC with kids,” check out these once in a lifetime’ things to do.
Things to do in Washington DC with kids (or not)
#1 TAKE A TWILIGHT TOUR OF THE MONUMENTS
Most of your out of town visitors will ask to visit the monuments. There is no city in the world quite like Washington D. C. with its wide variety of dedications. From the enormity of the Lincoln Memorial to the solemnity of the Vietnam Memorial Wall, the monuments are a sight to be seen.
But visiting these symbols of America at twilight is a whole new adventure! Spend an evening exploring these iconic buildings and statues.
#2 HEAR AN ORAL ARGUMENT IN THE SUPREME COURT
Beginning the first Monday in October, the Court hears two one-hour arguments on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, beginning at 10 a.m. Arguments are held in two-week intervals through late April. There are longer breaks over the holidays in December and again in February.
Oral arguments are open to the public. Limited seating means first to come, first seated. Before a session begins, two lines form on the plaza in front of the building. The first line is for those who wish to attend an entire argument. The second line, referred to as the three-minute line, is for those who want to observe the Court in session only briefly. Seating for the first argument begins at 9:30 a.m. Seating for the three-minute line starts at 10 a.m. Some cases attract large crowds, with lines forming before the building opens, so arrive early.
#3 SEE SCANDALOUS HISTORY UP CLOSE
Enjoy a tasty steak dinner at the French-American restaurant, Kingbird in the historic Watergate Hotel. After your meal, head to the roof to enjoy a beautiful 360-degree view of the Potomac River and the DC skyline. The Top of the Gate rooftop bar and lounge are a perfect way to end a romantic evening.
#4 “TOTO, WE’RE NOT IN KANSAS ANYMORE!”
There is a museum on nearly every block downtown. One thing that sets D.C. museums apart is that most are FREE! The National Museum of American History has a collection of miscellaneous Americana to include social, cultural, political, scientific, and military. The actual Star-Spangled Banner, Abe Lincoln’s top hat, Julia Child’s kitchen, Archie Bunker’s chair, inaugural dresses worn by first ladies, and Dorothy’s ruby slippers from the movie “The Wizard of Oz” are some of the more notable items.
#5 THE BREWMASTER’S CASTLE
The Christian Heurich Brewing Company closed down in the 1950 ’s, but the house is more than 100 years old. The elaborate Victorian home, which is a national landmark, features stone arches and a tall tower. A monthly beer tasting called “History and Hops,” where visitors can have a beer while taking tours of the house is one of the regularly scheduled public beer events.
#7 The Space Window
Five years after making history in 1969 as the first men to set foot on the moon, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, and Michael Collins presented the Washington National Cathedral with a small memento. The window that would house the moon rock was a specially commissioned stained glass creation depicting stars and orbiting planets inspired by photos taken from the Apollo 11 mission. The rock, estimated to be around 3.6 billion years old, is encased in a small, air-tight, nitrogen-filled capsule to prevent deterioration. It is placed at the center of a planet in the upper half of the window which is located on the south side of the cathedral.
#8 NATIONAL BUILDING MUSEUM
This museum, housed in a beautiful building on F Street NW, is known for its unique exhibitions. Past exhibits include a Lego display of small-scale, detailed replicas of famous buildings, and a Building Zone area enabling children to construct their own monuments with soft blocks.
#9 VISIT THE WHITE HOUSE
It is literally the most famous house in the country. Believe it or not, with some advance planning, it is open for touring! Requests must be made through a member of Congress and can be submitted up to six months in advance and no less than 21 days before your visit. Self-guided tours are available from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, excluding federal holidays. Tours fill up quickly so submit your tour request as early as possible. Free White House tours are filled on a first-come, first served basis.
#10 Albert Einstein Bronze Statue
It’s not the famed Rocky statue or the Lincoln Memorial, but the Albert Einstein Bronze statue is fun just the same. Located across the street from the National Mall, near the Vietnam Memorial, this beloved statue was unveiled in 1979 to celebrate the 100th birthday of Albert Einstein. Reportedly, if you stand exactly in the middle of the star chart, face Albert, and speak there is a neat echo effect.
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