Looking for a resolution that won’t feel like a resolution? Why not vow to try something new–a festival, show, or super cool site–with your family this year. We’ve made things even easier with this list of DMV must-do’s for 2017.

Photo: Spy Museum

1. Put Your Espinoge Skills to the Test at Spy Fest: A Kidspy Family Festival
Find out if you can beat a lie-detector test or defeat a ninja. Your mini-spies will assume the role of secret agent for a day that includes mini-missions and activities. They’ll learn tips and tricks to analyze handwriting, signatures and other documents. January 27th at the International Spy Museum.

2. Check Out the ‘Explore! With the National Portrait Gallery’ Installations
The National Portrait Gallery opened its first-ever space dedicated to children, where kids will be able to experiment with portraiture, trace each other’s silhouettes, strike poses for a video art piece and play with expression and emotion with illustrated blocks. Great for kids 18 months to 8 years old.

3. Get to Know the D.C. Theater Scene
From Arena Stage, to Wolly Mammoth, Folger and Ford’s, D.C. is home to some great plays and musicals, with a decidedly lower price tag than big time performances in New York. Rent (National Theatre), Chicago (Kennedy Center), and Ragtime (Ford’s) are just a few coming to a stage near you in 2017.

14752366568_2da5272025_zPhoto: John Sonderman via Flickr

4. Ride the Capital Wheel at National Harbor
You and the kids will soar 180 feet above the Potomac River waterfront for incomparable views of the National Cathedral, Washington Monument, and the City of Alexandria.

5. Take the Kids on a Scavenger Hunt in Old Town
Your little adventurers will love this self-guided tour through the brick-lined streets of Old Town. All you have to do is buy a map at the Christmas Attic at 125 S. Union Street and get started. Perfect, inexpensive and educational family fun!

6. Catch a Flick at the Environmental Film Festival
The festival is a platform for more than 250 directors to showcase their cinematic works on the struggles of planet earth and its inhabitants. The festival takes place March 14-26 at various locations.

7. Visit the new National Museum of African American History & Culture
You might have to jump through a lot of hoops to get an entry pass, but it’s worth it. The Smithsonian’s latest and greatest addition takes you on an unforgettable journey through the history and culture of the African American experience.

7685517832_bd6999daaa_zPhoto: mustharshid via Flickr

8. Fly Your Kite in the DC Blossom Kite Festival
These nothing like the sight of 3,000 Cherry Blossom trees to help let go of winter and usher in the spring season. Add to that a sky full of colorful kites and you have one breathtaking scene.

9. Check out the National Gallery of Art expansion
A $69 million renovation gives us two new galleries and a new rooftop terrace. One gallery houses the works of Alexander Calder and the other a rotating selection of Mark Rothko paintings. A must see!

10. Celebrate the Written and Spoken Word at the Bethesda Literary Festival
Turn off the iphones and ipads for a weekend in April to enjoy one of the many literary events scheduled across the city with fiction writers, memoirists, journalists, and children’s book authors. Your little J. K. Rowling in training can even enter her masterpiece in the Youth Writing Contest.

11. Get Up Close and Personal with Jetliners at Gravelly Point Park
Pick a grassy patch at this small park off the GW Parkway; then lie down, look up and get ready to feel the ground shake and hear engines roar as planes about to land at the nearby Ronald Regan airport zoom uncomfortably close overhead.

2811505465_b233b27100_z-1Photo: clio1789 via Flickr

12. Ascend the Spanish Steps
Tucked amongst Magnolia flowers and eastern red cedar trees, many locals swear it’s the most romantic spot in the city. You’ll find this Rome-inspired cobblestone stairway at S and 22nd streets in the quiet, urban enclave of Kaloroma. Lift your spirits along with your heart rate as you climb to the top for granite lion head fountain and a nice view of Embassy Row.

13. Dare to Sniff the Corpse Flower at Botanic Gardens
You’ve heard all about it, but have you actually smelled it? If you haven’t visited the mall’s most overlooked gem, the United States Botanic Gardens, make 2017 the year you experience its collections of shockingly gorgeous roses, orchids and ferns. Then, make a stop at the infamous Amorphophallus Titanum, the large and strangely-shaped “corpseflower,” known to stink of rotting flesh.

14. Check out the Mansion on O Street
Anything but your typical row house, the Mansion on O Street is actually four row houses opened into each other, and it will wow you as well as your kids with its eccentric interior that includes hundreds of hidden doorways and secret passages.

15. Feast on the City’s Food Scene
If you and your family are like the rest of us, you’ve fallen into a comfortable food routine, eating the same few meals at the same few restaurants over and over again. Now is the time to remind yourself that D.C. is a fantastic food city with new restaurants opening every day with top notch chefs. Make 2017 the year you take your taste buds on a field trip through the city. Be sure to venture into every popular dining ‘hood from Georgetown, to U Street, Little Ethiopia (aka Adam’s Morgan), Barracks Row (aka Capitol Hill) and Old Town Alexandria. You can use it as a way to teach the kids about different cultures and feast on a plethora of mouthwatering dishes. 

16. See the City from a Duck Boat
When you live in the area, it’s easy to take certain things for granted. A tour is always a great way to learn something new… but when there’s water involved it’s even better! You’ll see DC from a new vantage point. These tours are very kid friendly and usually involve duck whistles. What could be better??

17. Ride a Carousel with your Preschooler.
Some of the tried and true rides can be found at Wheaton Regional, National Harbor, and Glen Echo.

What is one thing you will definitely be doing with your kids in D.C. this year? Tell us in the comments below.

–Jamy Bond