Washington: Exploring the US Capital In This 5-Day Itinerary

Author: Nidhi

Washington, DC is a city full of history, culture, and excitement, making it the perfect destination for a family vacation. This 5-day itinerary is designed to give you and your family a taste of everything the city has to offer, from the iconic monuments and memorials to the fascinating museums and delicious food scene. Get ready for a fun-filled adventure that will leave you with lasting memories.

A tour at a glance

Tour Price

Our private tours typically range from $500 - $1000 per person/per night depending on chosen hotels and room categories, vehicles used, types of tours, flight cost, time of year and other factors. Make an inquiry for a customized trip quote.

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Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival and National Mall Exploration

Arrive in Washington, DC, and meet your private guide who will transfer you to your hotel. Start your trip by exploring the National Mall, the heart of the city, and visit iconic monuments like the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. For lunch, grab a bite at the food trucks lining the Mall. In the afternoon, head to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum for interactive exhibits and activities. Have dinner at a premium restaurant before retiring to your comfy hotel.

Day 2: Museums and Monuments

Begin the day by visiting world-renowned Smithsonian museums, such as the National Museum of Natural History or the National Museum of American History. For lunch, head to Union Market, a vibrant food hall with something for everyone. After lunch, visit the United States Capitol and take a tour of the historic building. In the evening, enjoy the sunset at the Jefferson Memorial and then head to Chinatown for dinner.

Day 3: Georgetown and the Potomac River

Explore the charming neighborhood of Georgetown, known for its historic rowhouses and trendy boutiques. Take a stroll along the Potomac River and rent a paddleboat for a fun family activity. For lunch, try the delicious burgers at Good Stuff Eatery or the famous Georgetown Cupcakes. In the evening, head to the Kennedy Center for a family-friendly performance or take a nighttime monument tour. For dinner, try the classic American fare at The Tombs.

Day 4: Smithsonian's National Zoo and National Cathedral

Visit the Smithsonian's National Zoo and see animals from all over the world, including giant pandas and elephants. For lunch, try the delicious Ethiopian cuisine at Ethiopic or the classic American fare at Duke's Grocery. Afterward, visit the stunning National Cathedral and take a tour of the historic landmark. In the evening, head to Dupont Circle for dinner at the family-friendly Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe.

Day 5: Arlington Cemetery and Departure

Take a morning visit to the Arlington National Cemetery to pay tribute to the brave men and women who have served our country. For lunch, try the delicious Mediterranean cuisine at Cava or the classic American fare at Ted's Bulletin. Afterward, squeeze in some last-minute souvenir shopping before your departure.


Tips on Travelling with Family to DC

Traveling with family can be exciting and fun, but it can also be challenging. Here are some tips to make your trip to DC a smooth and enjoyable one:


  • Plan ahead and book your accommodations and activities in advance.
  • Take advantage of public transportation, such as the Metro, to get around the city easily.
  • Pack snacks and water to keep everyone energized during the day.
  • Allow for some downtime and flexibility in your schedule to avoid burnout and ensure everyone has fun.

Best Time to Visit DC

The best time to visit DC is during the spring (March to May) and fall (September to November) seasons. The weather is mild, and the city is less crowded compared to the summer months when the temperature can soar and the tourist influx increases. You'll also get to experience the famous cherry blossoms in full bloom during the spring.


Best Dishes to Try in DC

DC is known for its diverse culinary scene, so don't miss out on trying some of the best dishes the city has to offer. Here are some must-try dishes:


  • Half-smoke sausage at Ben's Chili Bowl
  • Maryland-style crab cakes at the Fish Market
  • Ethiopian injera and stews at Ethiopic Restaurant
  • Southern-style fried chicken and waffles at Founding Farmers
  • A classic Georgetown cupcake at Georgetown Cupcake.

Best Full-Day Tours From Washingon, DC

Washington, DC is a great base for exploring the surrounding areas and there are many amazing destinations to discover just a short drive away. Whether you're interested in history, nature, or culture, there's something for everyone. Here are some full-day tours from Washington, DC that you may want to consider:


  • Gettysburg Day Trip: Visit the historic town of Gettysburg, where the Civil War's most famous battle was fought. See the battlefield and learn about the battle's significance in American history.
  • Mount Vernon and Old Town Alexandria Tour: Visit George Washington's historic home, Mount Vernon, and explore the charming colonial town of Old Town Alexandria, with its cobblestone streets and historic architecture.
  • Shenandoah National Park Tour: Escape the city and explore the natural beauty of the Shenandoah National Park. Take a scenic drive on Skyline Drive, hike to waterfalls, and see stunning vistas.
  • Annapolis and Chesapeake Bay Tour: Discover the quaint and charming city of Annapolis, the capital of Maryland, and explore the Chesapeake Bay area, known for its seafood and picturesque landscapes.
  • Baltimore Day Trip: Visit Baltimore, Maryland's largest city, and explore its rich history and vibrant culture. See the Inner Harbor, visit the National Aquarium, and explore the city's many museums and galleries.

These full-day tours from Washington, DC are a great way to explore the surrounding areas and experience all that the region has to offer.




Can I customize this itinerary according to my family's preferences?

Yes, this itinerary can be customized according to your family's interests and preferences. You can add or remove activities and sights based on your preferences.


What is the best way to get around Washington, DC?

The best way to get around Washington, DC is by public transport, which includes the Metro subway and bus systems. Taxis and ride-sharing services are also available.


Are the suggested restaurants in this itinerary family-friendly?

Yes, all the restaurants suggested in this itinerary are family-friendly and offer a variety of options to accommodate different tastes and dietary restrictions.


What should I pack for this trip?

It is recommended to pack comfortable walking shoes, weather-appropriate clothing, sunscreen, a refillable water bottle, and a camera or smartphone for capturing memories.


Do I need to purchase tickets for the attractions in advance?

When you book your family adventure with Leisure, you can rest assured that all tickets for the attractions on the itinerary are included in the cost. However, if you want to squeeze in some additional sights or have flexibility in your schedule, it's a good idea to buy tickets for certain popular attractions, like the White House and Capitol tours, in advance. This will not only save you time standing in long lines but also ensure that you don't miss out on anything during your trip.


Are meals included in full-day tours or do we need to bring our own food?

Meals are typically not included in full-day tours, but some tours may offer the option to purchase meals or provide recommendations for nearby restaurants. It's best to check with your tour operator beforehand to know what to expect.

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