Ok, so spring break is over and everything and everyone is back to our regularly scheduled programming. We had an amazing time in Washington, DC last week and I am excited to share what we did, where we stayed and some tips that may help you when traveling to Washington, DC with kids.

ROADTRIP!

We drove down to DC from New Jersey and the drive was actually really nice and smooth. We got there pretty quickly in about 3 1/2 hours. The kids were great, we sang, we talked, they slept a little. If you are in NJ I definitely recommend driving down with kids. It's a short enough road trip that isn't too exhausting for both parents and little ones. We borrowed the Volvo XC90 and you guys, it was a dream car for a road trip! So smooth, felt so safe and comfortable! What we loved about it most is how gas efficient it was. We drove both ways basically with one full tank of gas, we got gas about an hour before getting home just to be safe but we the tank still had some fuel in it. This (or something similar) will be my next car!

WHERE TO STAY

While there are so many great (and chic!) hotels to stay in DC, we decided to stay at the Hyatt Regency Washington on  Capitol Hill. For a couple of reasons; a) it was affordable and b) it had a nice indoor pool without breaking the bank. I knew the kids would love the pool and boy was I right, I'm so happy we stayed at the Hyatt and the kids definitely enjoyed themselves so much. The room was average nothing crazy but clean - priorities. The room was on the smaller side and pretty basic but I knew we weren't going to spend too much time in the hotel room either way. We booked our hotel on Expedia, as I always do and we paid about $174 per night. 
PARKING

Ok, so here is a big tip that I am really happy to share with you, well because who doesn't like to save money!? Once we got to the hotel, we asked how much the parking would be, when the attendant said $65 a night I almost died. There was no way we were going to spend that much money on parking. I like to spend my money where it's worth. So we asked the front desk if there was a near by lot that we can park in. We knew we wouldn't be using the car and just needed to park it until we left... Bryan at the Hyatt front desk was so nice! He let us know that around the corner to the left of the hotel by the little liquor store, there is a Fox News building public parking lot, it was $22 a night and super safe. Um yes please! so we paid a third of what the parking was at the hotel. The only thing is that you can't park on the first floor as that is reserved for the Fox News anchors. If you need more info on where the lot is, just message me:) 

WHERE TO EAT

Once we got to DC, Dave and I googled places to eat. I definitely wanted to share our favorites because they were so good! I mean there are sooo many places to eat but here are the ones that stood out to us:) When we go back, I'd love to check out other spots but for the purpose of this post and if you are traveling with kids, these 3 spots were super good and affordable. 

1. We, The Pizza - Deeelicious! I had a ham and pineapple slice with garlic wings and Jesus Christ... so good! They also sell beer, so that's a win win when traveling with kids. Gimme all the alcohol please:) 

2. Le Bon Cafe - we found this little cute cafe while looking for breakfast. I love the aesthetic and the food was good. We went for brunch, Dave and the kids had breakfast and I had a chicken caesar salad. It's a super cute spot for pics, which we didn't get to talk because my sour patch kid was v cranky, capital V cranky, that day. Oh and we spent about $25 for the 4 of us #winning! 

3. Cuba Libre - We've been the Cuba Libre in Atlantic City so we knew we had to try the one in DC. I had the vaca frita and Dave had the churrasco, the kids had churrasco as well and it was so good. Loved the beans but loved my sangria the most. If you enjoy Cuban food, definitely stop by Cuba Libre. It's about a 20 minute walk from the White House and about 5 minutes from Park City Center.

GETTING AROUND

Once we parked our car, we didn't drive it again until the day we left. I was super impressed to find electric scooters all around the city. You just pay $1 to start and $0.15 per minute - not bad when you are tired of walking. They have several different scooter companies; Lyft, Uber and others. Lyft worked right on the regular app but for the Uber ones you had to download a new app, which I thought was kind of annoying but not a big deal. One thing I will say is that it's pretty hard to grab one that isn't already in use, but it all depends on the time and day. You can always  check on the map and see how far the next closest available scooter is. Dave and I thought this was the coolest thing.

We walked a LOT. Thankfully we gad gorgeous weather but it was still tiring. Oh and fun fact, that wasn't actually fun all? We forgot our freakin' stroller [insert crying face here] yes, since we swapped cars we completely forget the stroller. So word of advice... pack your stroller! I felt so bad for Emme because she had to walk a lot, even thought Dave and I took turns carrying her, it still sucked! We took Ubers around town and from the Hyatt to the main tourist points, mostly were literally $8, which I thought wasn't bad at all.

WHAT TO DO

Ok so on to the really fun stuff! The week before driving down to DC I went on Google Maps, entered our hotel address and then started mapping out everything we wanted to do. I grabbed a Word Doc listed our "must see" in order of preference and also in order of route... so that we got the most our of our days. And the plan worked so well, even Dave was super impressed with my technique haha. 

Anytime we travel with the kids I refuse to pack our days, because a) I can't take the pressure and b) it's beyond exhausting for all of us. I've heard of people having such crazy schedules on vacation with kids and that is not me. So I don't necessarily "schedule" things, I write out a list of things I think would be fun to see and another list of "if we have time" things at the bottom. It's what works for our family. I am definitely not the type to wake up at 6am on vacation to be out of the hotel by 7am. Nope, it's vacation for Lord's sake, let's have fun and chill, chill hard. Ok, so here is what we did day by day, in the order that we did it because it was along the route:

DAY 1:

Capitol Hill - We could actually see Capitol Hill right from the hotel, it was so mouth dropping gorgeous to me. I loved that this is how Washington, DC welcomed us, it is just so grand and beautiful. Right after we checked in and freshened up we walked to Capitol Hill - it was about a 10 minute walk from the Hyatt. We realized how big it was, once we walked along side of it to get to the other side where you can see the iconic Washington Monument. I am dramatic but to me it was breathtaking. There were a lot of people but it wasn't too crazy. 

Washington Monument - The weather was too perfect and the kids had such an amazing time walking along to the National Mall, I loved that the Washington Monument is so statuesque and such a staple. The kids loved it too! Ben even made some friends and played some soccer right by the carousel. 

Carousel at the National Mall - We found a carousel in the middle of the National Mall and it was perfect. The views were breathtaking. Dave and the kids rode the carousel while I sat on the grass and took it all in. That was one of the many moments I thanked God for the opportunity to share these memories with my kids. It was such  sweet moment seeing the joy in their faces. 

Reflecting Pool - We walked so much but every step was worth it. It felt like everything was right there but nope, there was a lot of walking. The reflecting pool was so serene to me. Such a nice place to go for a jog or bike ride. I loved it so much. The pool and the Lincoln Memorial were my favorites. 

Lincoln Memorial - I can't describe how I felt when we finally got to the Lincoln Memorial. I mean, I was exhausted since that was the last stop but I also felt so accomplished and so fulfilled. The Lincoln Memorial is so grand and it felt so special. I can't explain it but it was a sweet memory I'll never forget. Emme was so tired by that point but Ben thought it was the coolest thing. I think what made it so special to us was that we got there at around 7:30pm and the sun was setting, so the views was insane. It was hard to get good photos because there were so many people. I read it's best to go at dawn. Maybe next time we can do that. Nonetheless, it was a moment I'll always remember. 

 
DAY 2:

Smithsonian Air & Space Museum - First things, first! Museums in DC are free! All 4 of us love museums so we knew we definitely wanted to do at least 1. The Smithsonian Air & Space Museum was first on the list. We loved learning all about the aircrafts and rockets. You guys, people back in the early 1900's were some very courageous people. To imagine the Wright Brothers flying the first airplane while staring at the original one, was insane. And we even got to listen to Neil Armstrong's actual voice message from minutes after he landed on the moon. We learned so much! I loved that Ben will always remember this. Emme is still little but I am hoping it will stay in her heart.

The White House - To be complete honest, I wasn't too excited for the White House. I wanted to see it because I had never been and to be able to say that I've seen it. But I could've done without... then again how can I say I've to DC but never been to the White House? So we went. It is much smaller than we imagined and the outside on Pennsylvania Avenue remind me of a little Times Square... not because of the lights but because of the people. There were protests, very loud music, huge speakers on the middle of the street, it seems dirty and it was just crazy to me. Not impressed but also definitely not what I expected. Even Ben felt the same way, you guys, he's 7.

The Park at City Center - I had researched a little bit about City Center and since it was right by the White House, we walked over and it was so nice! Perfect for shopping, eating and hanging out. I loved the atmosphere and wish I had time for shopping but I definitely recommend you check it out and shop if that's your thing:)

Chinatown - After City Center we walked to Cuba Libre which was literally a block from Chinatown's Friendship Arch. We didn't tour the area but we did get some photos under the arch. I loved showing the kids and teaching them about different cultures and DC neighborhoods.
DAY 3:

Smithsonian Natural History Museum - This museum became very easily my #1 museum I've been to with the kids. And to think I was going to chuck it from the list because I thought "well we've been the one in NYC so it must be the same" Nope, it's not and you have to visit! We loved it and spent so much time there. The dinosaur exhibit was ok and not big at all, I do still think the dinosaurs in NYC are better but the Human Exhibit in this one was insane. Super cool to learn and see all the different eras of humanity. I definitely recommend you go here.

Tidal Basin - So the idea was to catch the cherry blossoms but since we went for Ben's spring break, it was too late. They usually bloom right in the middle of the month and we went a week later. I was a little sad we didn't see the gorgeous pink trees along the Basin but it was still a nice place to visit. We literally drove there on the way home, because I knew the cherry blossoms were no longer in bloom. It was definitely packed and we didn't spend more than 15 minutes there, so I imagine it's crazy busy busy during cherry blossom season. Maybe next year!

Georgetown - we drove through Georgetown on the way home and it was so quaint and pretty to look at, even though we didn't get to experience it much, I still wanted to include here because I definitely think you should visit if you have time. The restaurants seemed so good and it's a perfect little place for walking and hanging out. I hope Dave and I are able to go back without the kids one day to experience DC in a different way too! Georgetown will be at the top of that list;)
If you are still here, thanks for reading, I know this post was long but I wanted to make sure I covered everything. My intention was to be a full guide to DC with kids. and I hope I accomplished that. Thanks so much for reading and joining me on this sweet memory lane.

PS: if you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen I am launching my newsletter! I am both so nervous and excited because I've never done this before but I am excited to start something new this year. If you want to receive my newsletters, all you have to do is signup HERE. I will be hosting  a give away on IG, so follow me there to stay tuned! Sending you love and light!

Xo,
E