38 commanding things to do in Washington D.C. with teenagers

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Washington, D.C., with teenagers? Are you out of your mind? I know what you’re thinking—why would I want to spend my vacation with moody, screen-addicted teens? But hear me out—there’s a reason why Washington, D.C., is a fantastic destination for families with teenagers.

The short answer is history, museums, food, and fun. Keep reading to discover why exploring the capital with your teens can be an exciting, educational, and unforgettable experience.

Table Of Contents
  1. Know before you go. Our top Washington D.C. travel tips
  2. Things to do in Washington DC with teenagers
  3. Free things to do in Washington with teens
  4. Annual events in Washington DC that teens will love
  5. Day trips from Washington D.C. with teens
  6. Fun restaurants in Washington DC for teens
  7. Frequently asked questions about Washington, DC

Know before you go. Our top Washington D.C. travel tips

Travelling to D.C. with teens can be an enriching experience for the whole family, and it is one of the top family destinations in the USA. Did you know Washington, D.C., isn’t a state or a city? It’s a federal district that was formed in 1790.

There are so many things to do in the Federal District of Washington, and having information on the best place to stay, how to get around, which currency to use, and more is extremely important. Below, you will find some information for planning a hassle-free family vacation in Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States of America.

Where to stay in Washington D.C. with teenagers

Great vacations with teens start with some great vacation planning. When you are planning a trip to North America with teens you’ll never be short of options for your family accommodation in Washington DC.

In the city, there is a range of hotels, apartments, and hostels for families on holiday. On your family trip to the National Capital Region, you will be sure to find something to fit families and groups on every budget.

If you’re not keen on any of our picks below or have specific needs for your teen travel holidays, we recommend using Hotels.com and Trip Advisor to find the best prices for your family vacation to Washington, DC.

Washington apartment alternative for your stay

If you prefer a home away from home-style accommodation on your trip with teenagers in Washington, then an apartment is the best choice for your family vacation. There are so many options for singles, families, and budget-friendly options in the capital.

You can search VRBO for holiday apartments, or if you’re looking for something a bit more fancy, maybe with an amazing view or a swimming pool, then The Plum Guide will help you find the perfect apartment for teens on your Washington trip with family.

Getting to Washington D.C

Washington is one of the best family destinations in North America for family travel with teens. The capital of the United States is connected by highways, long-distance buses, trains, and planes, all of which bring people daily to the city. This makes Washington DC one of the easiest family travel destinations in the USA.

A view of the capital building from the street leading up to it
The United States Capitol building in Washington, D.C.
  • You can fly into Washington Reagan National Airport, a major airport on the Potomac River just 3 miles south of downtown Washington, D.C. American Airlines, Republic Airways, PSA Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Delta, United, JetBlue, and WestJet all fly nonstop to Washington Ronald Reagan. Book your flights to Washington with Skyscanner.
    • If your flights have a long stopover or you want to relax before your trip, you should consider getting a lounge pass with a Priority Pass. Priority Pass has access to airport lounges all over the world. Search now for your lounge pass
      • You can book an airport transfer straight to your hotel door.
  • You can catch a train to Washington. Amtrak is the most popular and convenient way to travel to Washington, DC. Acela Express is a high-speed train that connects Washington, DC, to Boston, New York City, and other cities in the Northeast. Book your train tickets with Omio.
  • DC can be reached directly from 67 cities and indirectly anywhere in the USA. Flixbus tickets are available at great prices. Bus travel with teens in America can add so many wonderful experiences for teens on vacation. Book your bus tickets today with Flixbus.
  • If you want to follow your own schedule and make trips out of the city, then car hire is a great option for teens in DC. Hiring a car allows you the freedom to stop and start where you like.
  • Maybe you want to make a trip cross-country? An RV is a great way to travel to the capital with teens.

How to get around the city

Washington DC has a well-developed public transportation system, which includes buses, subways, and trains. Here are some options for using public transportation during your vacation with teens.

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) operates the Metro, a subway system connecting DC with Maryland and Virginia. The Metro operates from 5:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. on weekdays and from 7:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. on weekends. You can purchase fare cards or use your contactless credit or debit card to pay for Metro rides. Bus:

Metrobus is another public transportation option in DC. There are several routes throughout the city, and you can use the same fare card as the Metro. The buses operate from early morning until late at night.

The DC Circulator is a bus system that operates on specific routes around the city. It costs $1 per ride, and several routes cover popular tourist areas.

There are plenty of taxi companies operating in the D.C. area and ride-sharing apps like Lyft and Uber are very popular.

Weather in Washington

Washington DC has a humid subtropical climate, which means it has hot and humid summers and mild winters. In Spring (March-May), the average temperature ranges from 50°F to 70°F (10°C to 21°C) with occasional rainfall. In Summer (June-August) the average temperature ranges from 70°F to 90°F (21°C to 32°C) with high humidity and occasional thunderstorms.

The Fall (September-November) brings average temperature ranges from 50°F to 70°F (10°C to 21°C) with less humidity and occasional rainfall. Winter (December-February) average temperatures range from 30°F to 50°F (-1°C to 10°C) with occasional snowfall.

Seasonal essentials for travel to Washington, DC

Washington for international visitors

International travel to the capital requires a bit more thought. You will need travel insurance in the USA. Medical care is not cheap, and if you want good quality care, it will cost you a fortune if you don’t have travel insurance.

The official currency of The USA is the US dollar. If you use your bank account from home, you will be stung with high transaction fees, while your mobile phone calls will all be charged at an international rate. These are just some of the things you need to think about.

  • For international travellers, travel insurance is a must. Get a quote through Insurance Masters, and don’t go home with a huge bill for medical expenses
  • Do you need a visa to visit Washington? The United States of America may require you to have a visa or an ETA (Electronic travel authorisation) to enter the country. You can check and buy these documents at iVisa
  • Load a Revolut Travel Money card with US dollars for your visit and save on transaction fees
  • Make phone calls with an international sim card that you can buy before leaving home or buy a voucher for a virtual e-sim for your mobile phone
  • A 4G pocket Wi-Fi modem is essential for accessing the internet. You can rent a pocket modem that you can pick up at the airport or your hotel alternatively buy a pocket modem that you can use on all future trips with your phone, tablet or computer
  • Make sure you grab a VPN for your trip. VPN Proxy Master has plans available from one month to one year to help keep your data safe from hackers and malware while travelling.

Where can I go in DC if my teenager is ill?

There are several hospitals in Washington DC with emergency departments, including MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, MedStar Washington Hospital Center and the Children’s National Hospital.

Additionally, there are several urgent care clinics and 24-hour clinics in the area, such as CVS MinuteClinic, Urgent Care Center of Arlington, and MedStar PromptCare.

We cannot stress enough, please have MEDICAL INSURANCE for any holiday to the USA.

Travel accessories for teenagers

For teenagers, travelling can be a fun and exciting experience. However, there are a few things that they need to take into account in order to make the trip as comfortable and safe as possible. One of these is ensuring that they have the necessary travel accessories

The Washington, DC Sightseeing Day Pass

Are you planning a family trip to Washington, DC and want to see all the major attractions without breaking the bank? Look no further than the Washington, DC, Sightseeing Day Pass!

With this pass, you’ll access 15 incredible landmarks and monuments around the city, including the iconic Lincoln Memorial, the impressive National Museum of American History, and the awe-inspiring Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. Plus, you’ll save on admission fees compared to buying tickets separately.

This pass is perfect for families touring DC with kids. So don’t miss out on this incredible deal – grab your Washington, DC Sightseeing Day Pass today and prepare for an unforgettable family adventure in the nation’s capital!

Things to do in Washington DC with teenagers

Travelling with teenagers can be a unique and rewarding experience. Teenagers often have their interests and preferences regarding travel, making it important to plan a vacation that caters to their needs.

This article offers plenty of options to keep teenagers engaged and entertained while on vacation.

2 teenage girls in Washington Dc getting their pictures taken
Two teens getting their picture taken in front of the reflecting pool in Washington DC.

Arthouse Immersive Art Experience

Artechouse is an innovative art space in Washington, DC, that uses technology to create immersive, interactive exhibits. The space is dedicated to showcasing new forms of art that combine digital technology, science, and interactive experiences.

Teenagers would likely enjoy Artechouse because the exhibits offer a unique and engaging way to experience art. Many of the exhibits are interactive, allowing visitors to become a part of the art.

This type of experience can particularly appeal to teenagers, who are often drawn to interactive and immersive experiences.

Additionally, technology in the exhibits can make them feel cutting-edge and exciting, which may be particularly appealing to tech-savvy teenagers. Grab your tickets today.

Smithsonian – best Museum in DC for teens

There are actually several Smithsonian museums in Washington, D.C. In fact, the Smithsonian Institution is a group of museums and research centres that cover a wide range of subjects, from art and history to science and technology. Some of the best Smithsonian museums for teenagers include:

National Air and Space Museum – This museum has a large collection of aircraft and spacecraft, including the Wright brothers’ plane and the Apollo 11 command module.

a father and daughter at the air and space museum in Washington, d.c with teenagers
A family on holiday in Washington D.C

National Museum of American History – This museum showcases the history of the United States through exhibits on topics such as the American Revolution, the Civil War, and the Civil Rights Movement.

National Museum of Natural HistoryThis museum has exhibits on everything from dinosaurs to gems and minerals to live insects and animals.

National Museum of African-American History and Culture – This museum tells the story of African-American history and culture in the United States through interactive exhibits and multimedia displays.

National Portrait Gallery – This museum has a collection of portraits of important figures in American history, from presidents to celebrities.

Overall, in my experience, each museum offers a unique experience, so it’s worth considering your teenagers’ interests when deciding which museums to visit.

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Play Laser Tag at ShadowLand Laser Adventures

Laser tag is a popular indoor game enjoyed by people of all ages. It is a fun and challenging activity that can be enjoyed in both competitive and non-competitive settings. In Laser tag, players can play as part of a team or play by themselves and try to outsmart their opponents by tagging them with lasers.

Laser Tag is a gentile no-contact version of paintball, In DC you can play laser tag at Shadowland Laser Adventures. At Shadowlands the adventures are played on a huge, multi-level course, complete with fog, speciality lighting and music.

National Mall – Washington DC attractions for teenagers

The National Mall in Washington, DC, is the ultimate destination for history buffs, nature lovers, and anyone seeking a fun day out with family or friends. This expansive park stretches from the Capitol Building to the Lincoln Memorial and is home to iconic monuments, memorials, and museums.

people wandering around the National Mall at Washington, DC

Take a stroll through the gardens of the Smithsonian Castle, marvel at the Washington Monument’s towering obelisk, or pay your respects at the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial.

With plenty of green space for picnics and games, the National Mall is the perfect place to soak up some sunshine and experience the best of American history and culture.

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Being the capital of the USA and home to many foreign Embassies, the city has seen its fair share of spy activity in its long history. This interactive museum will be hot with the whole family, and as well as learning about spies you will become and spy and try your hand at stealing secrets and code-breaking.

International Spy Museum – Cool stuff in Washington DC

You will find stories from the American Revolution to 21st-century cyber warfare, you can see real artefacts from Cold War spies and more. This Museum is sure to be a hit.

Watching sports in DC

Washington, DC is a sports lover’s paradise with a range of professional teams to choose from. If you’re looking for ice hockey action, the Capitals are the team to watch, with their fast-paced and exciting games at the Capital One Arena.

a crowd at a football game in Washington dc
Fun outdoor activities for teenagers in Washington DC

For basketball fans, the Wizards play at the same venue, offering up high-scoring and high-flying thrills. If you’re more into baseball, check out the Nationals at Nationals Park, where you can soak up some sun and enjoy a cold drink while watching America’s pastime.

For fans of the NFL, the Washington Commanders play at FedEx Field, while soccer fans can catch DC United matches at Audi Field. With top-notch facilities and passionate fans, these teams are sure to provide an unforgettable sporting experience.

The Capital Wheel

Much like many other cities, Washington DC has its own version of a big wheel for tourists. The Capital Wheel is a giant Ferris wheel that takes you on a thrilling ride high above the city.

Ferris Wheel in Washington Dc by the water
The Capital Wheel is popular with teenagers in Washington D.C.

It’s over 180 feet tall and has 42 fully enclosed, climate-controlled gondolas that can hold up to 8 people each. As you ascend to the top, you’ll get a breathtaking view of the National Mall, the Potomac River, and the surrounding area.

On a clear day, you can see up to 16 miles away! You can also see some of D.C.’s most iconic landmarks, like the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Capitol Building. Grab your ticket to ride today

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Amusement Arcades

Amusement arcades offer a variety of entertainment options for teenagers as a great way to spend a few hours having fun. They can play the newest video games or indulge in some classic pinball machines of the past.

a teenage girl playing games at a amusement arcade
Best teen-friendly activities in Washington DC

Some of the more modern arcades will have Laser Tag, bumper cars and indoor mini golf as options. Arcades are popular because they offer things to do that are fun and affordable to do, most arcades have food and beverage options for you.

In DC head to Penn Social which is a two-story location spanning a 10,000-square-foot space that offers a large collection of games. The Boardwalk Bar and Arcade feature a range of games from Iron Man Pinball to Big Buck Hunter and Pacman. A great family venue where parents can grab a drink while kids have some fun.

Museum of the Bible

Straight off the bat, this may not be for everyone, but for those who have an interest in the Christian faith, the Museum of the Bible may be interesting.

With 7 floors of interactive and informative displays, this museum tells the stories of Noah’s ark, the burning bush, Passover and more. You can see rare and fascinating artefacts spanning the history of the Christian faith. Book your exclusive early admission entry tickets today.

Why not book a combo ticket with entry to both The Museum of the Bible and the African American Tour and save some money on entries

Scavenger Hunt

Are you looking for a fun and exciting activity to do with your teenage kids in Washington DC? Look no further than the Wacky Washington DC Scavenger Hunt! This adventure will take you and your family on a thrilling scavenger hunt throughout the city, exploring some of its most iconic landmarks and hidden gems.

a father and teenage son walking around Washington D.C on a scavenger hunt
Father and Son in D.C on a Scavenger Hunt

The Wacky Washington DC Scavenger Hunt covers all the must-see spots in DC, from the Washington Monument to the National Mall. The whole experience is designed to be kid-friendly and engaging, so your teens will have a blast every step of the way.

So, if you’re looking for fun teenage things to do in Washington DC, book the Scavenger Hunt at the National Zoo! Now get ready for an adventure you won’t forget!

There are a number of different scavenger hints and exploration games you can do in DC. Why not try The National Mall Exploration Game, Scavenger Hunt Adventure by Operation City Quest and Washington DC Museums Scavenger Hunt.

Epic Evening e-Scooter Tour

Looking for a fun and exciting way to explore Washington, DC, with your teens? Look no further than the Epic Evening e-Scooter Tour! This tour is the perfect way to see all the sights and sounds of the city uniquely and thrillingly.

Hop on an e-scooter and zoom around DC, taking in all the iconic landmarks and monuments. You’ll see the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, and the White House! The best part? This tour takes place in the evening, meaning you’ll see all the monuments lit up in all their glory.

So why not book the Epic Evening e-Scooter Tour today and add some excitement to your list of things to do in Washington DC with your teens?

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Underground Donut Tour

Have you ever heard of a donut tour? Well, in Washington, D.C., you can experience just that! This exciting tour takes you to some of the city’s most historic doughnut shops, where you’ll get to taste a variety of delicious donuts while learning about the rich history behind each one.

a teen eating a  donut on a food tour in Washington DC
Washington DC tours for families with teenagers

Not only will you get to indulge in some of the best doughnuts in town, but you’ll also get to see parts of the city that are off the beaten path. This is a great way to spend quality time with your loved ones while learning about the rich history and culture of Washington D.C. So, what are you waiting for?

Book your tickets now and join the fun-filled Underground Donut Tour in Washington D.C. for an unforgettable family experience!

DC fun places for teenagers -Indoor Skydiving

Indoor skydiving is a new trend that is catching on with teenagers. It is a safe way to experience the thrill of skydiving and the feeling of free fall in a vertical wind tunnel.

The powerful fans create an upward flow of air that allows you to float mid-air, just like you would during a real skydive. This makes it a fun and challenging activity perfect for teenagers who want to try something new and exciting.

The indoor skydiving facility in the capital offers packages that include training, gear rental, and multiple flights. For more information, visit IFLY Indoor Skydiving.

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Family fun adventures on a Segway Tour

How do you make the best vacations for teenagers? Segway! There is nothing more fun than zipping around a city on a Segway, and for teens, this has to be one of the best things to do in DC with teens. A Segway tour is a great opportunity to have fun and learn about the city.

people enjoying a segway tour in Washington DC on a sunny day
Fun outdoor activities for teenagers in Washington, DC

Segway tours are for the whole family, you will be given instructions and a short amount of practice time before you set off on your adventures in Washington DC and see the National Mall, Lincoln Memorial, and Washington Monument with teenagers. Book your Segway tour today.

Indoor Rock Climbing

Indoor rock climbing can be found in most major cities, and many offer classes to teach beginners the basics of wall climbing or free climbing for more advanced. Once you have learned the basics, you can start exploring different routes on the wall.

a teenage girl climbing a verticle indoor wall
Washington DC sports and recreation for teenagers

Indoor rock climbing is a great experience for teens looking for something to do in Washington, D.C. when it’s raining. Movement Crystal City has a number of inverted slopes, bouldering walls, and cave arches.

The staff will show you how to tie our knots and encourage you to climb the climbing walls successfully.

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Hop-on hop-off bus

The hop-on hop-off bus is always popular with family travellers. A sightseeing bus tour in the city is a great way to give you an overview of the city.

the hop on hop off bus touring around the city of washington dc

The bus route takes you to all the Washington attractions so that you can see everything from the White House, the Washington Monument, and the National Mall.

This tour bus allows you to get out and visit all the top attractions and hop back on the next bus when it appears. Book your tickets today.

Why not book a combo ticket with entry to both The Museum of the Bible + The Hop on Hop off bus tour and save some money on entries

Mini Golf

Mini golf is a classic family-friendly activity that people of all ages have enjoyed for generations. It offers a fun and engaging way to spend time outdoors and can be a great bonding experience for families and teenagers on vacation.

The Mini golf courses in DC feature creative and challenging holes that require skill and strategy, making it an entertaining and rewarding activity for everyone involved. There is no shortage of choice for mini golf, you can head to East Potomac Mini Golf, Swingers Crazy Golf or The Pottery.

Walking Tours in Washington

A walking tour can be a fantastic way for families to explore a new city or destination while on vacation. A walking tour allows families to immerse themselves in the local culture and history of a place, providing a fun and educational experience for both kids and adults

Some of the best walking tours in the capital include:

Ghost tour

Ghost story tours are a popular tourist attraction in many parts of the world. They are usually conducted by a guide who tells stories in an engaging manner about the ghosts and legends of the area.

The tour guides often dress up in period costumes to add to the atmosphere. The tours usually take place at night, when it is dark and spooky to set the atmosphere, Teens love these sorts of tours as they put an interesting spin on the history of the location

In Washington, you can go on the Ghosts of DC Walking Tour, The Ghosts of Georgetown Walking Tour and DC Ghosts By US Ghost Adventures

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Things to do in Washington with teenage girls – High Tea

High Tea started out as a quintessentially British thing. This afternoon tea tradition involves savoury sandwiches, cakes, pastries, and of course, tea. For mothers and daughters, it’s a cherished ritual that often brings them closer together.

If you’re looking for something to do in Washington with teenage girls, then you should experience high tea firsthand, there are plenty of places to go. But be warned – it can be quite addictive! Once you’ve had a taste of those delicious treats, you’ll likely want to indulge again and again. 

You will find the best High Tea, and afternoon teas in Washington at St Regis, King Bird at the Watergate Hotel and The Tavern at Henley Park.

Washington Monument

The Washington Monument is one of the most iconic landmarks in Washington, DC. It was designed by Robert Mills in 1836 and took over 36 years to complete due to lack of funding and the Civil War.

a teenage girl in Washington jumping with the Washington monument in the background
Exploring the city and seeing the sites is always fun for teens

The obelisk shape was chosen to reflect the ancient Egyptian architecture that George Washington admired. Visitors can take an elevator or climb the stairs to the top for breathtaking views of the city, including the National Mall, the White House, and the Lincoln Memorial.

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Lincoln Memorial

The Lincoln Memorial is a majestic monument in Washington, D.C. that honours Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States. It features a giant statue of Lincoln sitting in contemplation, surrounded by 36 columns representing the 36 states in the Union at the time of Lincoln’s death.

crowds of tourist flockinh around the Abraham Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C
Visiting historic sites in D.C

The walls of the memorial are inscribed with some of Lincoln’s most famous speeches, including the Gettysburg Address. Visitors can also take in panoramic views of the National Mall, the Washington Monument, and the Capitol Building.

The memorial serves as a symbol of Lincoln’s leadership and the unity he sought to achieve during his presidency. The two best times to visit are early morning before the crowds so that you get Lincoln sitting above you, and then return for floodlight at night. They’re very different and magical experiences you will not forget.

Jefferson Memorial

The Jefferson Memorial is a beautiful and historic monument located in Washington D.C., dedicated to one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, Thomas Jefferson. It’s situated on the banks of the Tidal Basin and is one of the most popular attractions in the city.

The monument was designed by John Russell Pope and was completed in 1943, in honor of the 200th anniversary of Thomas Jefferson’s birth. The centrepiece of the memorial is a bronze statue of Jefferson, which stands 19 feet tall and weighs over five tons. He is depicted with a contemplative expression, holding a book in his hand.

The Jefferson Memorial is not only a stunning work of architecture and art, but it’s also a symbol of the values that Thomas Jefferson stood for. It’s a place where visitors can reflect on the importance of freedom, democracy, and the pursuit of happiness

The most Instagrammable shots in Washington

The best family vacations for teens always incorporate something they love. Social media is important and teenagers can use Instagram to stay connected with friends, share their interests, and express themselves creatively.

We recommend visiting Blagden Alley, The Friendship Archway in Chinatown and The Lincoln Memorial for the best Instagram shots in DC for teens.

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Professional photoshoot

As our kids get older, we spend less and less time with them making family travel memories. One excellent way to capture some of these important family vacations with teenagers moments is to hire a professional photographer for a few hours to make some lifelong memories for you on your family vacation with teens.

The photographer will supply everything, your family just needs to provide the smiles for your Washington with teenagers photoshoot. Book an unforgettable family travel memory today and secure your family travel photo shoot.

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Street Art in Washington DC 

Street art is found throughout the world, but it is especially prevalent in major cities. Cities are home to a wealth of street art, from graffiti on building walls to pieces painted on lanes and bridges.

Street art provides a unique aesthetic for these places, with topics including current events, pop culture, portraits and more. Street art is a very popular free thing to do in the capital and attracts tourists and teenagers alike.

Some of the most popular street art in Washington DC are The Madams Organ mural on the side of the Madam’s Organ Blues Bar, Mural Un Pueblo Sin Murales on the side wall of Kogibow Bakery and The Columbia Heights neighbourhood is full of street art

Ten Pin Bowling with teenagers

If you’re looking for a bit of fun, friendly family competition on your vacation with kids, then 10-pin bowling might be just the family activity in Washington for you and your teen travellers.

You can go 10-pin bowling at a number of different locations in the city centre. 10-pin bowling has to be one of the best family-friendly things to do with teenagers. 

Young Woman Selecting Bowling Ball

Most bowling alleys these days are more entertainment centres featuring amusement, food and drink options. You will find some of the best bowling locations below.

  • Pinstripes – 1064 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20007, United States
  • AMF Marlow Heights – 4717 St Barnabas Rd, Temple Hills, MD 20748, United States

Axe Throwing for older teens

Axe Throwing is a new phenomenon that is sweeping around the world. DC is home to a number of venues in the district of Columbia. No experience is required, as the staff will run you through the safety precautions before giving tips and hints on how best to throw an axe.

If you are looking for unique experiences for teenagers then axe throwing could be it Axe Throwing is one of the awesome Washington DC teen activities to do on your family vacation. Book an axe throwing in Washington DC with teens.

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Bike riding

Teenager vacations need to be action-packed! Bike riding is a popular family activity when travelling with teenagers. It is a great way to explore a new city with teenagers on vacation.

Hotting the streets of the city on a bike

Bike tours in Washington not only allow for some fitness and exercise but also makes sightseeing more fun and adventurous. Bike tours are a great option for families looking to explore the city together.

Most bike tours offer a knowledgeable guide who can provide interesting facts and history about the city’s landmarks and neighbourhoods. Why not see the famous monuments in a different way and join a night bike tour?

If you are travelling on a budget bike rental options are available in most cities, including e-bikes these days, it’s a convenient and affordable way to add some excitement to your family vacation.

a banner image for an app showing a map an globe and travellers on a plane

Family holidays in Washington – Going to the cinema

Great vacations with teens have a mix of everything! Watching a movie is popular with teenagers anywhere in the world. Going to the cinema in DC with teenagers is a great evening activity. You will find state-of-the-art screens and sound for you to watch the latest blockbusters in cinemas.

In Washington, you will find multiplex, Imax, 3d and speciality cinemas showing art-house and indie films. A cinema is one of the best places to visit in DC at night with teens, You can use this Trip Advisor guide to the best cinemas in the city.

Escape rooms – things to do in DC for teens

Escape rooms are adventure games where players must solve puzzles and riddles in order to escape a themed room within a set time limit. They have become a popular form of family-friendly entertainment in Washington, offering a unique and immersive experience for families and teens

Escape rooms may consist of a large, single room, or span multiple rooms. Players are given a set time limit to unveil the secret plot which is hidden within the rooms. If your travelling teen likes this stuff, an escape room experience in Washington with teenagers is definitely one of the top things to do.

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Going to the gym for young adults

Fitness is very important to a lot of teenagers these days, and being on a family vacation in Washington, DC is no reason to miss a session. Working out is a big part of a healthy lifestyle.

Just because one is travelling, that does not mean you need to stop working out. In DC Washington you can go to a number of Gyms that sell passes ranging from a day to a week and a month. 

Shopping with teens in Washington DC

Shopping with teenagers can be an exciting and challenging experience while on vacation. Teenagers often have their own unique tastes and preferences when it comes to fashion and entertainment, making it important to find shopping destinations that cater to their interests. 

Teens love shopping

On the other hand, shopping can also be an opportunity to bond with teenagers and explore the local culture through fashion and retail. Whether it’s exploring high-end boutiques or browsing through vintage markets, there are plenty of options to keep teenagers engaged and entertained while shopping during a vacation.

There are many shopping malls, markets, and local boutiques to choose from. One popular shopping destination is Georgetown, a historic neighbourhood known for its charming streets and high-end shops. Here you’ll find stores like Anthropologie, J.Crew, and Ralph Lauren.

Another great shopping area is the CityCenterDC, which boasts a mix of luxury and contemporary brands like Louis Vuitton, Dior, and Zara. For more affordable options, check out the Tanger Outlets at National Harbor, which features a wide range of designer and brand-name stores.

If you’re interested in local designers, the Eastern Market is a must-visit. This open-air market features handmade crafts, artisanal food, and unique clothing and accessories from local vendors. You can also check out the Made in DC store, which features products exclusively made by DC-based designers and artisans.

Overall, Washington DC has something for every kind of shopper, whether you’re looking for high-end boutiques or local treasures.

Free things to do in Washington with teens

The city offers, some of the best free things to do with your teenage family members. These free DC activities are perfect for keeping everyone happy and entertained without having to spend any money.

There are also plenty of affordable restaurants and shops where you can shop for souvenirs without breaking the bank. Some of our recommendations for free activities in Washington DC for families are as follows.

  • Smithsonian’s National Zoo (must reserve a free pass online)
  • Check out the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail
  • U.S. National Arboretum

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Annual events in Washington DC that teens will love

Washington, DC, is a city with a lot of exciting events and activities that can appeal to teenagers. Here are some annual events that are particularly popular with teens

National Cherry Blossom Festival: This festival takes place in the spring and celebrates the blooming of the cherry blossom trees around the Tidal Basin. The festival features a variety of events, including parades, concerts, and cultural demonstrations.

cherry blossoms in bloom in Washington dc

Smithsonian Folklife Festival: This festival, held on the National Mall in the summer, celebrates the diverse cultures and traditions of people from around the world. The festival includes live music, dance performances, and traditional crafts and food.

Fourth of July Fireworks: The Fourth of July is a big holiday in DC, with a huge fireworks display on the National Mall that draws thousands of people each year. It’s a great way to celebrate Independence Day and enjoy a beautiful evening with the family.

National Book Festival: This festival, held in the fall, is a celebration of books and reading. It features talks and book signings by popular authors, as well as family-friendly activities and entertainment.

These are just a few of the many events held in Washington, DC, throughout the year. Depending on your interests, there are plenty of other options to explore!

Day trips from Washington D.C. with teens

While staying in the city with teenagers on your family holiday, a day trip to see a bit more of the surrounding area is recommended. There are some fun trips for teenagers and families from Washington, DC, to make out of the city.

The best vacations for teenagers usually include at least one day trip from Washington D.C. Below, we have a couple of day trip recommendations for families travelling with teenagers. There are also so many more things to do on your vacation with teenagers when you add a day trip from DC

New York City

Hop on the train and get ready to explore the city that never sleeps! This day trip by rail from Washington DC to New York City is perfect for families looking for an exciting adventure.

New York makes a great day trip from Washington D.C with teenagers

With the convenience of train travel, you’ll have more time to experience all the must-see sights of the Big Apple. From the dazzling lights of Times Square to the iconic Statue of Liberty, there’s no shortage of things to do and see in New York City.

Make the most of your trip by planning your New York itinerary and activities ahead of time and be sure to check out the top family-friendly attractions in New York City.

Related post: 56 totally sensational things to do in New York with teenagers

George Washington’s Mount Vernon & Old Alexandria half-day guided tour from DC

This half-day guided tour from Washington, D.C., explores the historic sights and landmarks of Old Alexandria and George Washington’s Mount Vernon.

Learn about the fascinating history of the area as you visit the home of America’s first president and take a stroll through the charming streets of Old Alexandria. With a knowledgeable guide to lead the way, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the people and events that shaped our nation’s past.

This tour is a must-do for anyone interested in American history and culture.

Fun restaurants in Washington DC for teens

Vacationing with teens absolutely needs to include a brilliant meal to remember the family holiday. Family travel with teenagers is a wonderful thing, and bonding over a meal at the end of the day or even during it is a great way to connect with your teen travellers. Having a meal with family is one of the top things to do in Washington, DC, with teenagers.

  • Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken: As the name suggests, this restaurant serves up delicious doughnuts and fried chicken. Kids will love the fun space-themed decor and the creative flavours of the doughnuts, such as maple bacon and PB&J. Teenagers in Washington DC will love this place.
  • Buca di Beppo: This Italian restaurant is known for its family-style dining and large portions. The restaurant has a whimsical, circus-themed decor that kids will enjoy. Be sure to try the famous spaghetti and meatballs!
  • Founding Farmers: This farm-to-table restaurant has a rustic, American-themed decor and serves up classic comfort food like mac and cheese and chicken and waffles. Kids will love the homemade biscuits and the build-your-own sundae bar.
  • Pinstripes: This restaurant is a combination of a bistro and a bowling alley, making it a fun spot for kids of all ages. The menu includes classic American dishes like burgers and pizza, and there’s also an extensive kids’ menu.
  • Farmers & Distillers: Another farm-to-table restaurant, Farmers & Distillers has a modern, industrial decor and serves up American comfort food with a twist. Kids will love the made-to-order doughnuts and the fun train that runs around the restaurant.

Street food in Washington, DC

Street food is a popular way to eat in many parts of the world. It’s a quick and easy way to get some delicious local food without having to go to a full restaurant. Street food can be found in many different styles and options.

a street food van at night in EWashington dc
Washington DC nightlife for teens, try some street food

Some of the most well-known street foods include tacos in Mexico, Zapiekanka in Poland, Dan Dan noodles in China, and Shawarma in Middle Eastern countries. Street food in DC often has its origins in the cultural history of people who have immigrated to the USA in the past. Some of the most popular street foods include:

  • Half-Smoke: This is a type of sausage that is unique to DC. It’s made with beef and pork and is usually served on a bun with chilli sauce and onions.
  • Ben’s Chili Bowl: This is a famous restaurant in DC that serves half-smokes as well as other chilli dishes, burgers, and fries.
  • Mambo Sauce: This is a sweet and tangy sauce that is often served with fried chicken wings or fries. It’s a DC staple and can be found at many street vendors.

Hassle-free travel: The best reversible clothing for teen travel holidays

Frequently asked questions about Washington, DC

There are so many frequently asked questions about the capital of the United States, especially from families travelling with teenagers. 

Washington, DC, is one of the best family city breaks in the USA and one of the best places to vacation with teenagers. There are so many things to consider when you are planning your family vacation to DC.

Here is a list of some of the most frequently asked questions to help you make your family vacation to Washington, DC, easy and hassle-free.

Is Washington, DC, safe to visit for families?

Washington, D.C., is generally very safe to visit, especially if you stick to the highly trafficked tourist areas

How do I call the Police in Washington, DC

You can dial 911 for all emergencies

Is tipping required in DC?

Tipping is expected in the USA. Tipping 15-20% of a total bill is a good place to start.

Can I drink tap water in Washington DC?

According to the EPA, Washington, DC’s tap water is considered safe to drink, but there have been reported issues, such as lead due to old pipes and leeching and the more recent problem of microplastics. We recommend you buy a filtered water bottle to do activities for teenagers in DC.

What type of power sockets are used in the USA?

For the USA, there are two associated plug types, types A and B. Plug type A is the plug that has two flat parallel pins, and plug type B is the plug that has two flat parallel pins and a grounding pin. Buy your power adaptor here today

Where are the best places to stay in Washington DC for teenagers

At the top of the article, we suggested some accommodation choices for your holiday in Washington with the kids. If you are looking for a wider variety of choices for your family stay, please find below an interactive map to find the perfect stay for your vacation.

Are you looking to book flights, hotels, apartments, tours, airport transfers, travel insurance and more for your vacation with young adults? Are you just not sure what travel companies you can trust to book your family travel online?

We have a family travel resource page that is full of companies that we personally use, trust and book through for all our family vacation trips from a weekend away to long-term travel with older children around the world. Click here to search our travel resources page.

We hope this article from us here at Wyld Family Travel inspires you to visit DC with teenagers. There are so many fun things to do in DC with teenagers that will entertain you for your family’s whole stay in the city.

Travelling with young adults has just as many issues as travelling with young children. Choosing the best teenage vacation destinations can be so time-consuming. Planning a family holiday with teenagers and tweens can be stressful, and finding the best travel tips is essential. Use our Travel with Teenagers Destination Guides from all over the world for your next family vacation inspiration to make your family vacations with teens epic.

For more amazing ideas on where to holiday in the USA, click our United States Destination Guide page for more brilliant inspiration.


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