Our family is happy to be back from an amazing week in Washington, D.C. Traveling with a 7 month old is not an easy feat but to ensure our trip went smoothly, I did a ton of research in advance. It wasn’t perfect and it was definitely hard work but we still had a blast! Today, I’m sharing a few tips for a great visit to Washington, D.C. with a baby!
Surviving the Long D.C. Walks with a Baby
Visiting D.C. is all about walking – walking the National Mall, walking inside museums, walking tours, walking to the bus stop…you get the idea. This should not discourage you from visiting Washington, D.C. with a baby. Prior to our trip, I traded in my Baby Tula wearable carrier for a Lille Baby Complete carrier which allowed our baby to face outward at museums and tours. He absolutely loved getting to see all the exhibits and the tours. We took both our Snap-N-Go stroller and baby carrier everywhere but the White House and switched between the two throughout the day.
If you are planning to tour the White House, they DO NOT allow strollers or diaper bags but they have no problem with baby wearing.
Where to Stay: Hyatt House on the Wharf
Booking a suite at the Hyatt House on the Wharf allowed our baby to catch up on some zzz’s while we relaxed from a long day in the other room. The Hyatt House offers hotel suites with full kitchens that include a fridge, stove top, microwave, and dishwasher and fully stocked kitchen with cups, plates, pots, etc. There is a Safeway less than a mile away and a CVS right around the corner. If you are interested in saving some money, you could buy groceries and cook dinner and then eat dinner out on the peer overlooking the Potomac.
The Wharf was a great place to stay thanks to the abundance of restaurants, gorgeous view of the Potomac and easy access to the free Southwest Shuttle which runs every few minutes just in front of the CVS and can drop you off at the National Mall within a 5-10 minute ride. Between the Southwest Shuttle and the DC Circulator buses, we only needed an Uber for transportation to and from the airport, which was a huge money saver!
A Side Note About Hotel Cribs (Because This Stressed Me Out)
A lot of hotels mix the term crib with pack-n-play which moms will agree are not the same thing. When traveling with a baby, knowing what type of “crib” the hotel will provide allows you to plan to bring a fitted sheet meant for the bed. So call ahead and ask!
Where to Eat
One disadvantage to the The Wharf was the noise. With several bars and outdoor venues it can get pretty loud so don’t forget to pack your sound machine! We packed our Hatch Rest sound machine and the noise from our hotel was not an issue, however, I will admit the restaurants on the Wharf at dinner were crazy loud in the evenings. I honestly regretted not going to the grocery store on the first day and getting food to make that we could just picnic with or eat in the hotel room. There are plenty of open seating areas on the Wharf to eat outside.
That being said, the food served at the Wharf restaurants was amazing. I highly recommend the Wood Grilled Half Chicken, Naam Jim Mayonnaise at Kaliwa, if you are feeling asian. We ventured to Kaliwa early Monday evening and the noise level was not bad at all. Evidence below of our incredibly happy child slobbering on their lovely red velvet sofa. Sorry/not sorry!
If you’re craving Mexican food, Mi Vida serves an amazing skirt steak salad called Ensalada Con Cotija. If you’re going for dinner, you might be able to call ahead and reserve a table on the upstairs patio which was very quiet.
For dessert, head over to Milk for their tasty cake truffles or try out the Smores food truck on the peer at the Wharf where you can roast your own smores over a fire pit on the Wharf.
Visiting the White House and the Capitol Building with a Baby
I requested our White House and Capitol Tours at the beginning of August for an end of September trip. Originally, our White House tour was rejected but then we received an updated approval a week before our trip. Don’t be discouraged if you are initially rejected. Things could change!
As mentioned before, strollers and carseats are not accepted at the White House so a wearable carrier is a must for visiting Washington, D.C. with a baby. The Capitol allows strollers but there are portions of the tour that do not have elevators and you will have to carry your stroller up the steps. In general, make sure to read all of the policies and restrictions about both tours before going. You’ll be happy when you are prepared!
Even with the Southwest Shuttle to the National Mall, the White House was still a good 30 minute hike away from our bus stop. If you leave early enough from your hotel (which we did not), you could take the Southwest Shuttle and then the DC Circulator for a much shorter walk. Regardless, the White House tour was totally worth it! Everyone was incredibly friendly!
Getting Around D.C.
Again, don’t spend a ton of money on Uber rides when you can use the free shuttles that circulate constantly. You can get a DC Circulator map online or ask a bus driver for a map. Also, the drivers are rated by their customers and rewarded for their helpfulness so if you have questions about your stop, don’t hesitate to ask them.
Our Favorite Tours/Museums in Priority Order
- The White House Tour
- The Museum of the Bible – They have the Dead Sea Scrolls and the most interactive museum exhibits!
- The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History – Especially the mummy and animal exhibits
- Lincoln Memorial
- George Washington’s Mt. Vernon – We rented a car for this.
- The National Archives – Get here early!
- The Washington Memorial
- The Capitol Tour – While we had a staff guided tour for this, we didn’t get to go into any galleries so this was kind of disappointing.
Things I Recommend Skipping..
We also took a water taxi to Alexandria which, honestly, we could have skipped. To us, it wasn’t anything spectacular and waiting for the boats was a bit stressful with a baby.