What do a bonsai museum, cherry blossoms, and the National Herb Garden have in common? Visitors can find all three and much more at the fabulous U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, D.C. A true gem in the city, this 446 acre facility less than 15 minutes from the U.S. Capitol was established by Congress in 1927 as a facility to conduct research for the U.S. Department of Agriculture while also providing public education programs and serving as a public garden. While slightly off the main tourist path, the National Arboretum still draws over half a million visitors per year, and if you visit, you will understand why. It’s an easy drive from downtown DC, and there’s plenty of free parking in several lots found throughout the Arboretum. So here’s my 6 reasons to add a visit to the National Arboretum to your DC bucket list.
Did you know that the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC is often ranked as one of the top 20 museums in the world? In addition to this fabulous museum, the art scene in DC constantly amazes me, with world class art and cutting edge exhibits found on the National Mall and beyond. As part of of my resolution to “explore local” in 2018, I’m looking forward to spending more time visiting these national treasures. With free admission, it’s easy to pop in and out every few months and enjoy the latest exhibits, not to mention the unique shopping opportunities found in the museum gift shops. So come along as we take a walk through some of the free art museums that call DC home.
One thing I love about the US is that you can find unique cities from coast to coast. Each has its own charm, ranging from history, museums and local foods, to unique parks and playgrounds. Our family road trips have always included spending time in cities big and small combined with visiting attractions and National Parks. It’s an awesome opportunity to explore activities that you might not find in your home town. For this post, I reached out to family travel bloggers near and far to come up with a list of their top 3 things to do in cities around the United States. From coast to coast you’ll find many family friendly ideas, each linked to a more detailed post. Hope your favorite city is on the list!
This post was updated January, 2017.
Washington, DC is a wonderful place to visit, and we are fortunate to live in the suburbs of this popular city. How many other towns can boast about such an amazing collection of galleries and museums with no admission fees? Over the years, we’ve learned about animals, airplanes, American Indians and art by visiting many of the Smithsonian museums. But we’ve also had the chance to enjoy some of the other unique museum offerings in DC. Here are 6 favorites, popular with both tourists and locals.
As I put the finishing touches on this blog post, I hear the weatherman say that is going to be close to 70 degrees this weekend! All the more reason you should consider visiting DC during the colder months. Most tourists, as well as locals, tend to visit between March and October. But December and January are often wonderful times to see some of the more popular attractions like the National Archives Museum and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum because the crowds are much smaller (excluding the week between Christmas and New Year’s). With that said, the weather is never predictable, with 70 degrees temperatures one week and snow the next, so be prepared. You should always check before you go for any closings or late openings due to weather. Besides staying warm in all the free museums, here are five fantastic reasons to head to DC during the colder months.
*This post was updated January 2017.
Visiting the Nation’s Capital is a wonderful opportunity to see history come to life, spend time in amazing free museums, and enjoy the view of the monuments that make the city so special. There is so much to see and do, but if often can be overwhelming for the first time visitor. For this reason, I decided to focus this blog post solely on tips and tricks to help make the most of a visit to DC. You can read my Guide to Visiting Washington DC page for recommendations and information on favorite museums, walking tours, food and other must-see attractions . And be sure to let me know if you have any other helpful tips to add to the list.
Boston is one of my favorite family-friendly cities to visit for several reasons: there are tons of things to do with kids, the food is delicious, and it’s easy to get around on foot. I also have family connections in the city, so when we visit we tend to enjoy more of the local flavor. If you have ever vacationed in Boston, you probably went to places like the New England Aquarium and the Museum of Science, along with walking the Freedom Trail, riding the Swan Boats and visiting Faneuil Hall. So what’s next you ask? Here are five suggestions for other fun things to do in and around Boston.
Amidst the dozens of museums in DC, you’ll find the National Geographic Museum quietly tucked away on 17th and M Street, NW. The museum hosts a wide array of traveling exhibits and live events, and when I heard an advertisement on the radio for Indiana Jones and the Adventure of Archaeology, I knew I had to take my family and go. I was excited to see how National Geographic would bring to life the popular movie series, so we headed into DC one recent afternoon. For all you Hollywood fans, explorers and adventurers, here are several reasons to check out this unique exhibit, and unleash your inner Indiana Jones.
Summer is in full swing and as the days get hotter, it’s a wonderful time to visit what I consider to be some of DC’s most interesting attractions. As a bonus, they are all inside, so its perfect for those dog days of summer. Although the city is filled with the fabulous and free Smithsonian complex of museums, I think these three gems are worth the price of admission.
As I was writing this article, I was feeling pretty good thinking about the number and types of museums that our family has visited over the years. These include places like the small town Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum in Winchester, Virginia, (a family favorite which recently expanded), to the amazing free Smithsonian Museums in DC. In recent years, we have branched out to visit the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville (home of the Grand Ole Opry for over 30 years), the Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge, and the EMP in Seattle (see photo).