Spring break is a popular time to visit Washington, DC, whether you live in the D.C. area or are coming from out of town. The city is bustling with fun activities for the whole family and is a great time to get outdoors and see the city's historic landmarks and its famous cherry blossoms. Here are some resources to help you plan for a great spring break in the nation’s capital.
Avoiding the Crowds
Schools around the country schedule their spring breaks during different weeks (Maryland and Virginia schools have their vacations different weeks) which is really helpful in spreading out the crowds visiting popular destinations. The busiest times to visit are when the cherry trees are in peak bloom—the National Cherry Blossom Festival runs from late March through mid-April—and Easter weekend. If you want to avoid crowds, set out early in the morning, visit on a weekday, and plan to seek out some of the lesser-known attractions.
But to get a real taste of D.C., these activities are ideal.
Exploring the National Mall
Your teenage daughter may be disappointed when she finds out there is no shopping at this mall, but, hopefully, the majestic setting and variety of museums on the National Mall will win her over. The long, green lawn stretches from the Capitol Building to the Washington Monument and is bordered by ten Smithsonian museums. If the weather is nice, it is a lovely spot to sit for a picnic lunch, or just walk from one end to the other taking in the history. There is even a carousel for the little kids to enjoy while taking a break.
Taking in a Museum or Two
In addition to the museums on the Mall, there are several others in and around D.C., many of which have special programs for kids. On the National Mall, you will find the National Museum of Natural History, National Air, and Space Museum, and the National Gallery of Art, just to name a few. In other areas of town, you'll find many museums including the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Spy Museum, and Newseum. With over 100 museums across D.C., you may have a tough time deciding which to add to your itinerary.
Checking Out the Monuments and Government Buildings
It wouldn't be a trip to Washington, D.C., without visiting a few of the monuments and buildings that make this city our nation's capital. Must-sees are the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials, the Washington Monument, and the WWII and Vietnam Memorials. And whether you have planned ahead for a scheduled tour, or just want to see it live, the White House and the Capitol Building should be on the list. A trip to the National Archives to see the original documents of the constitution may also be of interest.
Enjoying the Outdoors
The spring in D.C. is a beautiful time of year with warm temperatures and often sunny skies. If you and your family are the outdoorsy types, there are plenty of open-air activities to plan. Choose from visiting the National Zoo, or attending a Washington Nationals baseball game. You can also bike through the city or kayak on the Potomac. A walk through Georgetown is also a pleasant way to spend an afternoon.
Staying in Washington, DC
Looking to stay in the city during spring break? There are a variety of options for every taste and budget, whether you want to stay near the National Mall or Capitol Hill or in Georgetown or near Dupont Circle. There is also a good selection of boutique hotels and bed and breakfasts, as well as inexpensive lodgings.
Eating in Washington, DC
The Washington, D.C., area has a wide variety of restaurants ranging from formal dining, casual or family-friendly restaurants, and sports bars. Maybe you are looking to try some of the best spots in the city, or are determined to dine on the cheap. Or perhaps you are looking to eat near the National Mall. You can also find places to dine al fresco or in historic locales. No matter your criteria, there are more than enough restaurants to choose from.