Entertained kids = happy parents.
That’s the general formula. From free art classes, to bike rides along the historic C&O Canal and cupcakes at every turn, DC’s oldest neighborhood is full of youthful fun.
Cuddle with Cats
Purrrfect (pun-intended) for kids who desperately want a pet but don’t have one at home, Crumbs & Whiskers Cat Café offers 15- ($9) and 70-minute ($22) sessions to hang out with adorable rescue cats while enjoying macarons and lemonade (coffee for the adults). The minimum age is 7, and children under 13 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Take an Art Class
Every Friday from 6 pm – 8 pm, Paper Source offers Kids Creative Studios for kids ages 7+, who can explore and create their own art and cards using a variety of materials. The class is also available as a private event for five or more kids—a unique birthday party idea. Additional classes include a four-week Art of Lettering program to help elementary school students learn cursive through craft projects.
Anna Banana Arts and Crafts also teaches kids ages 2-8 about the likes of Monet, Matisse and Pollock by exploring pastels, watercolors, paint and charcoal through season crafts, in classes ranging from printmaking to photography and sculpture.
Throw a Pot
Finally, something the little ones are encouraged to toss around! Every summer, Hinckley Pottery hosts Camp Mud, with week-long sessions ($250 per half day session; $550 for a full day) for kids ages 9-14 who want an introduction in working with clay. Students will learn how to throw on the potter’s wheel, plus the fundamentals of trimming and glazing their pots. Year-round, $45 try-it classes are open to adults and children alike, offering 2.5 hours to see what it’s like behind the potter’s wheel.
Practice Your French
The last weekend in April, the Georgetown Business Improvement District hosts the annual Georgetown French Market in Book Hill. The family-friendly, free event includes an open-air market, plus face painting, a caricature artist, roaming street performers, photo booth, kids’ games, food trucks, and more.
Treat Them to Something Sweet
One of DC’s best ice cream shops, Thomas Sweet’s classic, old-timey shop is a favorite among kids, who have their pick of ice cream sandwiches, soft serve, or hand-dipped ice cream, plus an assortment of fudge. Or skip the ice cream and try Georgetown Cupcake, Baked & Wired, and Sprinkles for your very own cupcake tour.
Reached the sugar point of no return? Many Georgetown restaurants also cater to kids—from Le Pain Quotidien’s kids menu, to free games at Via Umbria, and pizza dough to play with at Il Canale.
Have a Tea Party
Lady Camellia’s quaint and cozy tea room offers a children’s menu for kids under 10. For $18, each child gets half a pot of tea or a glass of milk, lemonade, orange juice or sparkling water, plus two tea sandwiches (think glorified PB&J and grilled cheese). For extra $4 dollars, they’ll get pastries and a scone or croissant, too.
Step Back in Time
A National Historic Landmark, Tudor Place’s historic house and garden offers weekly Tudor Tots programming tailored to inspire creativity and stimulate the senses. Toddler-approved activities are based on a weekly theme—from bugs, to citizenship and trucks—and include songs, crafts, stories and movement. Parents or caregivers must remain with the children at all times. Throughout the year, seasonal activities include a trick-or-treat party, Gingerbreadpalooza, and a holiday teen tea.
Make a day of it and soak in even more history with a free visit to the Old Stone House—built in 1765, and DC’s oldest standing building. If the kids get restless, they can run around in the garden out back.
Learn at the Library
The Georgetown branch of the DC Public Library offers an unbelievable variety of free children’s programming nearly every day of the week. Highlights include story time for babies from the comfort of their parent’s laps; board game days; family-friendly movie screenings; Lego building; pajama story time, process-oriented art projects; and music and movement classes.
In addition to several elementary school options, Georgetown offers plenty of formal learning opportunities for those even younger—from Little Folks Preschool, to Grace Montessori Preschool, Holy Trinity, St. John’s Episcopal Preschool, and Children’s House of Washington. Looking for a more casual play date? Check out Intown Playgroup, and Blue Igloo Playgroup.
Take a Spin on the Ice
Washington Harbour Ice Rink, DC’s largest outdoor ice skating rink, caters to kids with Cartoon Skate Saturdays from 10 am – 12 pm, mid-November through February. Children are $9, plus $6 skate rentals. Learn to Skate classes are available for those 3 and up, Saturday mornings and Wednesday evenings throughout the winter. For a decidedly cool birthday, party packages are also available.
Bike Along the Water
Located next to the C&O Canal towpath, Big Wheel Bikes rents kid’s bikes for $5 an hour (3-hour minimum), or $25 for the day—helmet included. Explore Georgetown’s one-mile section of the C&O Canal and beyond, or head one block south to the Georgetown Waterfront and ride along the scenic Capital Crescent Trail.
Paddle the Potomac
You’re never too young to get your sea legs—or, in this case, river legs. Bring the kids to Key Bridge Boathouse or Thompson Boat Center and rent kayaks, paddleboards, or canoes by the hour or day. Those ages 15 and under must have an adult present on the water, and a signed agreement form. Tours and classes are also available.
Walk the Plank
Ahoy, lads and lasses! Come aboard Boomerang’s Pirate Ship for a Family Fun Treasure Hunt cruise along the Potomac. Search the waterways for stolen treasure, and man the water cannons to keep the bad guys away during a fierce water battle. From treasure chests, to face painting, pirate games, refreshments, music, dancing, and limbo, it doesn’t get more fun than this. Bonus: Adult beverages for sale.
Explore Georgetown Waterfront Park
With unbeatable views of the Potomac River, Key Bridge, and The Kennedy Center, Georgetown Waterfront Park is the perfect place to play, picnic, and feed the ducks on the waterfront steps. Running through the large fountain is a summertime favorite, and the nearby labyrinth provides a little more calm. Those with night owls in tow can also enjoy free outdoor summer movies in the park at Georgetown Sunset Cinema, hosted by the Georgetown BID.
Go For a Garden Walk
Tucked away atop the highest part of Georgetown, Dumbarton Oaks’ 27-acre garden feels nothing short of magical. Explore the fountain terrace, rose garden, orangery greenhouse, and wisteria-covered arbor—among other areas—through a series of trails, while transporting your kids to an urban oasis right here in Georgetown. Children ages 2-12 are $5.
Georgetown Waterfront Park isn’t the only place to play. Rose, Montrose and Volta Parks’ public green spaces include playgrounds, a tot lot, tennis courts, baseball fields, gardens, and a pool at Volta—plus seasonal neighborhood events like free family concerts every summer (Volta) and a weekly farmer’s market (Rose).
Bowl for a Bargain
Every weekday morning from 11 am – 1 pm, Pinstripes offers Kids Club Bowling for just $6 per hour, per kid (shoe rental included). Better yet, parents bowl free. The deal is limited to four kids (12 & under) per adult. Afterward, grab lunch in the restaurant.
Escape the Madness
When it feels like fun but encourages critical thinking and problem-solving skills, that’s a parenting win. Book one of Escape Room Live’s themed rooms—from The Pirate’s Curse to Cabin in the Woods—and search for clues to work together and solve the mystery, escaping in the nick of time. Children ages 5-13 must be accompanied by one participating adult per every four children; teens ages 14-17 can participate on their own with a signed waiver. Birthday parties can also be booked here—complete with a special message hidden inside the escape room!
Dress to Impresss
On your way to the charming Book Hill section of upper Wisconsin Avenue, stop by Little Birdies Boutique for upscale children’s clothing, shoes and accessories from newborn up to size 10. The independent store takes a southern approach to children’s wear, offering nostalgic traditional clothing mixed in with fun, playful styles. It’s also a great place for a baby shower or birthday party gift.
The GAP, J. Crew, H&M, Patagonia, Vineyard Vines, Dr. Martens, Lily Pulitzer, Monica & Andy, Nike, TJ Maxx, Urban Outfitters, and Vans also offer clothes, shoes, and accessories for the little ones.
Go Toy Shopping
As dedicated toy stores become harder and harder to find, Wisconsin Avenue’s Tugooh Toys is fostering children’s creativity and imagination as a destination for eco-friendly and educational toys, games, books, and more. From Legos to L.O.L Dolls, they’ve got it all.