If you’re going to be anywhere on a rainy day, Washington, D.C. just might be the perfect pick. The nation’s capitol is a city of monuments, memorials and museums—the Smithsonian Institution alone includes 19 free (and sneakily educational) museums—and the greater metro area offers dozens of activities that keep kids busy, rain or shine. Grab the umbrellas and make a splash with one of these tried-and-true ideas.
What tyke doesn’t like jumping through three basketball courts (that’s 14,000 square feet) full of trampoline, tumbling space? Not many! Flight Trampoline Park is the latest craze in individual fitness for the adult-set and a kick-butt spot for the whole family to get their work-out on while having tons of fun. Open Jump times fill up fast on Fridays and Saturdays; but a fast and easy online reservation system eliminates any on-site sold-out disappointment.
7200 Fullerton Rd. (Springfield, Va)
Get Down(ward Dog)
Sometimes a series of rainy days means extra kid-energy, and a fun yoga class is the perfect place for them to let off steam. Lil Omm, a family-oriented yoga center in Tenleytown, offers drop-in yoga classes for kids ages 3-8. While the kids sing songs, dance and stretch, you can enjoy a few moments of silence to restore your own sense of calm.
4708 Wisconsin Avenue NW (Tenleytown)
Visit a Cool Museum
The nation’s capitol has countless museums, but a favorite for the kiddos is the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian. Head straight to the imagiNATIONS Activity Center on the third level for an interactive space where kids can weave a giant basket, explore snowshoes, sit inside a full-sized tipi, play in an Amazonian stilt house and learn about pueblo adobe houses. Upon entering, kids pick up a “passport book,” and get stamps from different tribal nations at each station. There’s a reading room and a craft room, with super cool rotating art projects (think: a Lakota Star Quilt). When the gang gets hungry, head down to the Mitsitum Café, which the New York Times has called “the best food on the mall.” There, you’ll find fry bread, wild duck, salmon, and buffalo burgers.
Fourth Street and Independence Avenue SW (National Mall)
Let the Creative Juices Flow
All Fired Up, a local, family business with locations in Cleveland Park and Bethesda, is a great place to make art on a rainy day. (Bonus: no clean up for moms and dads!) Kids can paint pottery, create mosaics, or work with ceramic fusions and fused glass. All ages are welcome and walk-ins are encouraged.
Dance, Dance, Dance
You may know Jammin’ Java in Vienna, Virginia (not far from Tyson’s Corner Mall) as a place to enjoy local and independent music with your S.O. and friends at night. But by day, the music club and coffee bar hosts the best in tot rock, including The Great Zucchini, Mister Don, Rochnoceros and Oh Susannah! Jammin’ Java has concerts most days of the week, and is one of the premier places for kids to dance and wiggle the morning away.
See a Show
Adventure Theater MTC, located in Glen Echo Park, offers quality theatre for young audiences in the DC metro area. The pro actors will keep your kids laughing and entertained for the 45-minute shows. The theater is intimate, with approximately 165 general admission seats.
Glen Echo Park
7300 MacArthur Boulevard (Glen Echo, Md)
Open a Book (or 10!)
A trip to Politics & Prose located at upper Connecticut Avenue NW is a great rainy day diversion for the whole family. Little ones love browsing the fabulous selection of books in the sizable kids’ section, and should they find something they can’t live without, you get the satisfaction of supporting an independent bookstore. The Modern Times Coffeehouse, located in the bookstore, can take care of your caffeine fix or feed any little tummies that need snacks.
Get a Caffeine Fix
It doesn’t hurt that the coffee microbrewery Peregrine has received its fair share of accolades—including a “Top 10 Best Boutique Coffee Shop” from Bonappetit. The java is certainly top shelf, but what we love most is that the coffee kiosk is housed inside kid-friendly Union Market, a sprawling artisan market. Grab your pour-over and then mosey over to Co Co. Sala or Trickling Springs Creamery to treat kiddo to a piece of gourmet milk chocolate or a farm fresh ice cream cone.
1309 5th St., NE (Union Market)
Go for a Swim
It hardly matters the season; kids just want to swim. Lucky for us, Woodrow Wilson Aquatic Center in Tenleytown offers an Olympic size indoor lap pool and kiddie pool that is open year round, seven days a week. Kids love the two basketball hoops and large buckets that dump water into the baby pool. The Aquatic Center is free to D.C. residents, but charges non-residents $7 for adults and $4 for kids.
Insider Tip: The Aquatic Center does not accept cash; payment must be made by credit card.
4551 Fort Drive NW (Tenleytown)