There are so many educational and fun things to do in Washington, D.C. with kids, and it’s hard to know which ones to see first. Here are my recommendations for the top five must-see attractions for your first visit to Washington, D.C.

1. THE WHITE HOUSE

Although tickets for a public tour are extremely difficult to obtain, seeing this recognizable and impactful building is the first thing most kids want to do in Washington, D.C. Even at a young age, kids seem to understand the importance of the building and what it represents. If you are hoping to take a tour, you will need to contact your local member of Congress four to six months in advance requesting tickets to a timed tour. For more details, visit www.whitehouse.gov.

If you don’t make it inside the White House but you would still like a great photo opportunity, stop into White House Gifts, a gift store across the street from the White House at Pennsylvania Avenue and 15th Street. Here, with a minimum purchase of $10, you can take your picture in an authentic-looking White House Oval Office and standing behind a look-alike of the White House podium. It makes a fun souvenir for the family!

2. WASHINGTON MONUMENT

The Washington Monument is a very recognizable memorial that my kids associated with Washington, D.C. and seeing it in person was impressive. It’s the tallest structure in the city and there are stunning views from the observation deck near the top. To get inside and go to the to the observation deck you will need timed tickets which you can reserve in advance or pick up early on the day of your visit at the Washington Memorial Visitors Center.

3. SMITHSONIAN NATIONAL AIR AND SPACE MUSEUM

With 10 million visitors a year, the National Air and Space Museum is the most popular museum in Washington, D.C. and it’s definitely an interesting choice for kids. Highlights include an Apollo command center, the Wright Brothers exhibit, and the original Spirit of St. Louis plane that flew around the world. Kids also get a kick out of touching a piece of moon rock.

4. SMITHSONIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY

One of the highlights at the Museum of Natural History is studying the dinosaurs. During 2014 they are part of the exhibits The Rex Room and The Last American Dinosaurs. Other interesting exhibits include The Evolving Universe and Sant Ocean Hall. Hands-on areas kids will find interesting include the Butterfly Pavilion and Forensics Lab. The Hope Diamond is also on display here in Gems and Diamonds.

5. LINCOLN MEMORIAL

The Lincoln Memorial is a great spot to visit with kids because most school kids recognize President Lincoln and understand his accomplishments. The size of the Lincoln statue is also worth seeing and it was unlike any statue my kids had seen before. Finally, besides seeing Lincoln’s statue and reading his speeches at the memorial, you can also stand in the spot where Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous “I have a dream” speech.

There are so many great memorials, museums and attractions to see in our capital city, and these are just a few suggestions for the best things to do in Washington, D.C. on your first trip. We enjoyed our stay at Capital Hilton, and if you are like us, you will want to come back for more visits down the road and see even more sights!

This article was originally published by Hilton Mom Voyage.

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