Since my in-laws live in DC, I’ve visited the city numerous times. Each time we visit, they always have the best restaurants and activities planned for us. If you’re interested in my trip reports from our previous visits, check them out here:
This past April, I was in DC for a work trip and took a day off to explore a bit. As I’m writing this post, I realize we had an extremely history-filled weekend. But I think both activities that we did are extremely family-friendly with activities that will keep even your most bored teenager interested and occupied.
X and I spent a Friday afternoon at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, also known as the Udvar-Hazy. The Udvar-Hazy is a Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum annex that’s located in Washington Dulles International Airport. It contains over 169 aircraft and 152 large space artifacts and is home to notable exhibits like the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, a Concorde and the space shuttle Discovery.
For me, the best aircrafts were the older, simpler ones because it’s truly humbling and amazing to see how far we have come in terms of technological advancements. We easily spent about 3-4 hours meandering underneath all the hovering planes.
Later that weekend, we made the 2 hour drive down to Colonial Williamsburg, a large open-air museum that includes several hundred restored or re-created buildings from the 1700s, when the city was the capital of Colonial Virginia. The entire former town is open year-round and offers a very unique look into what life would’ve looked like back in colonial times. All the workers in the different trade houses are super knowledgeable about their craft and are very willing to answer any questions that you may have.
For example, did you know that back in the old days, they made pairs of shoes uniform and they would eventually mold to your left and right feet? Or that spices were mostly reserved for illnesses and not for cooking?
Some of the most notable structures are the former Capitol, which was rebuilt to mimic the first version of the Virginia Capitol building before it burned down. They run daily tours through the building and you can really learn a lot from the tour guides.
Another highlight is the Governor’s Palace, which very much reminded me of some palaces we saw in Europe.
When you’re done walking through all the houses and exploring the town, head over to Colonial Williamsburg’s Merchants Square, which houses over 40 specialty stores & restaurants. If the restaurants inside the museum are too full, Merchants Square is a solid spot to take a break and grab some food.