Summers in DC are hot, hot, hot and sometimes the local playground just doesn’t have enough shade to make outdoor play comfortable. If and your crew want to stay cool while you burn off some energy and let the creative juices flow, these indoor activities—from music venues where you can (literally) shake it out to a trampoline park where you can have bounce it out—will entertain, engage and educate your kiddos in a climate controlled environment. Read on for the best indoor activities and indoor play spaces near Washington, DC.
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.
Insider tip: If you want to add some bounce action to your home gym, we like this trampoline for at-home play.
COVID-19 Update: Flight Fit "n' Fun is currently phasing out wellness checks at their entrance. Masks may be required indoors.
7200 Fullerton Rd.
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.
Insider tip: If you're missing the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian, check out National Geographic's Encyclopedia on American Indian history and culture here.
Editor's note: You must reserve your timed ticket entry prior to arriving here. Masks are required indoors for all guests 2 & up. The cafe is temporarily closed.
Fourth Street and Independence Ave. SW
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.
Insider tip: You can order kits to paint pieces from the comfort of your home, too. We like this one.
Editor's note: You can now paint in-person; All Fired Up accommodates up to six guests at a time.
4923 Elm St.
3413 Connecticut Ave.
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.
227 Maple Ave. E
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.
COVID-19 Update: The Theater is currently closed, but you can stay connected with a virtual performances.
Glen Echo Park
7300 MacArthur Blvd.
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.
5015 Connecticut Ave. NW
70 District Sq. SW
1270 5th Street NE
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.
Insider tip: To avoid a wait, be sure to use the pre-order app.
1309 5th St. NE
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.The Aquatic Center does not accept cash; payment must be made by credit card.
4551 Fort Drive NW
—Ayren Jackson-Cannady and Meghan Yudes Meyers
featurd photo: iStock