5 Things To Do With the Kids in DC

From annual events including the Cherry Blossom Festival to some events that only the locals know about, such as the Bethesda Literary Festival, here are my 5 picks for family-friendly things to do this spring in Washington, DC.

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I’m always shocked by the number of cool things there are to do in my hometown of Washington, DC. When spring hits, the list of activities to do with the kids grows from 10 to 20 (or more). Many see DC as a political power city and not always as an exciting place to raise kids, but children of the powerful lot have to play somewhere, and boy, do they!

While reading the latest issue of one of my favorite magazines, Washingtonian Mom, I was reminded of how many wonderful activities and festivals pop up around town when spring has finally sprung in the nation’s capital. From annual events including the Cherry Blossom Festival to some events that only the locals know about, such as the Bethesda Literary Festival, here are my 5 picks for family-friendly things to do this spring in Washington, DC.

national cherry blossom festival, kite festival, washington, dc

national cherry blossom festival, kite festival, washington, dc

Photo by: The Washington Post/Getty Images

The Washington Post/Getty Images

If you’ve seen the annual hot-air balloon festival in New Mexico, then you'll be able to picture how beautiful it is when hundreds of kites take to the sky above the National Mall on a beautiful, sunny (fingers crossed) day in March. Kids young and old, along with their families, bring their homemade or store-bought kites, lunches and blankets and make a day of it on the mall. It’s one of the prettiest sights you’ll see in DC, next to the cherry blossoms.

national symphony orchestra, teddy bear concert, imagination duo, washinton, dc

national symphony orchestra, teddy bear concert, imagination duo, washinton, dc

Photo by: Eileen Brady

Eileen Brady

When it comes to music, my children enjoy it all, but there is something about classical music that captivates them and keeps them calm! Take the kids to the Kennedy Center on April 11 or 12 to hear children’s favorites played by National Symphony Orchestra violinist Glenn Donnellan and his wife, Jan Chong.

bethesda literary festival, nayana macmillan, maryland

bethesda literary festival, nayana macmillan, maryland

Photo by: Bethesda Urban Partnership, Inc.

Bethesda Urban Partnership, Inc.

Less than 20 minutes from the heart of DC is Bethesda, MD, a suburb of the metropolitan area. On April 17-19, bring your bookworms (or soon-to-be bookworms) to meet some of their favorite authors. Also, enjoy a round of story times offered throughout the festival. Learn more at bethesda.org.

4. National Cathedral Flower Mart (May 1-2)
national cathedral flower mart, washington, dc, spring

national cathedral flower mart, washington, dc, spring

Photo by: S Pakhrin , via Flickr

S Pakhrin , via Flickr

Take the entire family outside to enjoy the fresh smell of the marigolds, petunias and roses that are for sale at the National Cathedral’s Flower Mart. The kids will easily be distracted by the climbing wall, moon bounce and more.

smithsonian national zoo, kids farm, alpacas, washington, dc

smithsonian national zoo, kids farm, alpacas, washington, dc

Photo by: Smithsonian National Zoo

Smithsonian National Zoo

The National Zoo has an adorable red barn that serves as its petting zoo. As soon as the cold, cloudy days of winter have gone, hogs, alpacas, goats, donkeys and more will make will make their way outside to bask in the "oohs”"and "awws" from children. The animals will be out for the entire spring and summer, but in April, almost every day features something new for the kids to enjoy besides the animals, such as story time on Tuesdays and live music on Thursdays. More information can be found at nationalzoo.si.edu. There is no entrance fee to the National Zoo.

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