Washington, D.C. might not be the city that never sleeps, but once the sun goes down, it certainly transforms into a beautiful scene of moonlit monuments and exciting activities. If you’ve got night owls in your brood and you’re looking for after-dark entertainment, we’ve got you covered. From ghost tours to ice skating to sunset parades, there’s plenty of ways to tucker out the kids and ensure a good night’s sleep.
Photo: Paul Arps via Flickr
See the Monuments by Moonlight
If you’ve never seen the D.C. monuments at night, you are missing out on a beautiful display of history through the moonlit glow of the US Capitol, Jefferson Memorial; Vietnam, Korean and WWII memorials; the White House, Washington Monument and Arlington Cemetery. There are a variety of ways to enjoy the sights and sounds of our magnificent city by moonlight. You can take an open air Trolley Tour with a professional guide, or take a D.C. Cruise on the Potomac, or you can take your own self-guided tour. Any way you choose to do it, you won’t be disappointed.
The National Mall
Ice Skating at the National Gallery Sculpture Garden
If you and your night owl need something to do during the months of November to March, then take advantage of the ice skating rink located in the center of the National Gallery Sculpture Garden on the mall. It’s open until 9 p.m. during the week and 11 p.m. on weekends. A two-hour session runs $8.50 for adults and $7.50 for children under 12. You can take lessons too. And there’s a small café that serves hot chocolate and sandwiches.
Constitution Ave. between 3rd and 9th st.
Cost: $8.50; $7.50/kids under 12
Jazz in the Garden
If it’s summer and you can’t ice skate in the Sculpture Garden, you can still go there at night and enjoy free jazz music. Every Friday from Memorial Day to Labor Day, the Sculpture Garden comes alive with the sounds of jazzy tunes, 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The free concerts feature locally and nationally acclaimed musicians performing a wide variety of musical genres, including blues fusion, Brazilian jazz, salsa, eclectic cabaret and more. Musicians perform in front of the Pavilion Café, next to the grand fountain and reflecting pool with eight jets that shoot water 20 feet into the air.
National Gallery Sculpture Garden
Along Constitution Ave. between 7th and 9th streets NW
Sunset Parade at Iwo Jima
Another summertime evening activity for you and your night owl is the Sunset Parade on the Parade Deck of the Iwo Jima memorial. Bring a blanket and a picnic and enjoy an hour-long performance, featuring the U.S. Drum and Bugle Corps and the Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon. The performance runs every Tuesday evening at 7 p.m. from May 31st to August 9th.
Iwo Jima Memorial at Arlington Cemetery (Arlington, Va)
Shear Madness at the Kennedy Center Lab Theater
This kid-friendly interactive murder mystery has been playing at the Kennedy Center’s lab theater for 20 years, which tells you something about its popularity. Set today in the Shear Madness hair saloon, this hilarious comedy is a crowd-pleasing whodunit. The audience decides how the plot will unfold. Kids love it!
2700 F St, NW
The Scariest Tour in the World
Some say D.C. is the most haunted city in the world. You can find out for yourself on this scary ghost tour full of scandalous tales, haunted places and mysterious apparitions. There’s one about a demon cat, a miserly ghost, a scholarly spook and a presidential phantom. The tales and legends are mixed with human interest and historical fact to make it entertaining for all ages.
Cost: $20; $15/kids
237 Pennsylvania Ave., SE
What’s your favorite sun-down activity to do with your kids? Tell us in the comments.