When it comes to indoor activities Washington DC has a lot of options. Some DC indoor activities are more kid friendly than others. In this list, we break down what indoor activities in DC are best for kids and which ones are best for adults. 

Indoor Things To Do In DC: Kid Friendly

Washington DC offers a variety of indoor activities that are perfect for children of all ages. From museums with hands-on exhibits to exciting play areas, there’s something to entertain and educate kids at every stage. An added bonus is that some of the best things for your kids to do in the DMV area are free things!

Immersive Experiences At The Rhode Island Center

The Rhode Island Center is located at 524 Rhode Island Ave NE, Washington, DC near Union Market and Ivy City. It is home to several immersive pop up art exhibits. Here are some of the exhibits that have been hosted in the past:

  • Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience: This exhibit offers a 360-degree digital projection of Vincent Van Gogh’s masterpieces. This virtual reality experience spans over 23,900 square feet and features two-story projections, allowing visitors to be surrounded by the vibrant colors and intricate details of Van Gogh’s works. The experience includes interactive elements and a VR component, making it suitable for all ages.
  • Monet: The Immersive Experience: Similar to the Van Gogh exhibit, this immersive display features Claude Monet’s iconic paintings projected onto large surfaces. The exhibit uses 4K digital mapping and dynamic visuals to bring Monet’s art to life, offering visitors a chance to walk through and experience the beauty of his work in a new and interactive way.

This is a family friendly activity and also a great evening activity. It is best to use google search for “rhode island center DC” to see what the most current exhibits are. Ticket timings and prices are also available online.

National Air And Space Museum In Downtown DC

The National Air and Space Museum is a great option for kids who love exploring the universe. This museum features interactive exhibits and massive displays of aircraft and spacecraft. Children can engage with the latest technology in the How Things Fly exhibit or watch a thrilling IMAX movie about space exploration. 

The museum itself has free entry, but you will need a timed entry ticket which you can find online. Certain special exhibits or movies usually have paid tickets within the museum. It’s part of the Smithsonian Museums, ensuring a rich educational experience for the whole family.

Udvar-Hazy Center In Northern Virginia

The Udvar-Hazy Center is near Dulles Airport and it is an extension of the National Air And Space Museum. This massive center is located inside a hanger and houses original aircrafts that were used in the past. There is also a large space learning center which has the actual Discovery Shuttle which was the space rocket that was flown into space. 

This fun indoor activity has free entry and there is no reservation required. This makes it easy to visit last minute when compared to its downtown DC counterpart. Parking is $15 per vehicle so carpool when you can. The museum itself has free entry. 

Kids Pizza Making Class

Many restaurants in the DC area have pizza making classes for kids. Here are some of the places that have previously had classes. Be sure to check their website for up to date timings and information. 

  • Santa Monica Summer House – Bethesda, MD: Santa Monica Summer House in Bethesda offers kids’ pizza-making classes as part of their family-friendly events. These classes typically allow children to get hands-on experience in creating their own pizzas, from rolling out the dough to adding their favorite toppings.
  • Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap – Alexandria, VA: Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap in Alexandria also offers kids’ pizza-making classes, which are a big hit among families. These classes are designed to be engaging and educational, allowing children to create their own pizzas using Lena’s signature wood-fired ovens.
  • Pizzeria Paradiso – Various Locations: Pizzeria Paradiso offers kids’ pizza-making workshops at their various locations. These classes are designed to teach kids the basics of pizza making in a fun and interactive way.
  • Ciro’s New York Pizza – Centreville, VA: Ciro’s New York Pizza hosts kids’ pizza-making parties, perfect for birthdays or special occasions.

These pizza-making classes provide a great opportunity for kids to learn about cooking in a fun and engaging way, while also enjoying a delicious meal they’ve made themselves.

Imaginations Activity Center At The National Museum Of The American Indian

The imagiNATIONS Activity Center at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., is a fun place for kids aged 10 and under. It has many interactive activities like basket weaving, building igloos with foam blocks, arts and crafts, and snowshoe walking. There are also exhibits that show the innovations and contributions of Indigenous peoples. Located at 4th St SW, the center is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 AM to 4:30 PM. It’s great for children in grades Pre-K to 4 and is a fun and educational spot for families.


Artechouse DC brings art and technology together in a captivating way. The massive walls of Artechouse DC with its interactive displays allows children to engage with the latest digital art creations. 

Imaginative play is encouraged as kids interact with installations that respond to movement and touch. This experience is unique in the United States and provides an innovative way for kids to enjoy art and technology seamlessly. If you visit in the afternoon there is even a bar for adults to enjoy interactive cocktails.

U.S. Botanic Garden

Experience the great outdoors while being indoors at the US Botanical Garden. This free museum features several different climate-controlled environments to showcase a wide variety of plant species from around the world. The main types of climates represented are:

  • Tropical Rainforest: This section simulates the warm, humid conditions of a tropical rainforest, featuring lush vegetation, large trees, and a variety of tropical plants.
  • Desert: This area replicates the arid conditions of desert climates, showcasing cacti, succulents, and other drought-resistant plants.
  • Mediterranean: This section mimics the mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers of Mediterranean regions, featuring plants like olive trees, lavender, and other species adapted to this climate.
  • Subtropical: This area features plants from regions with hot, humid summers and mild winters, displaying a variety of flowering plants, shrubs, and trees.
  • Temperate: The temperate section represents the moderate climates found in many parts of the world, with a diverse range of plant species that experience distinct seasonal changes.

These climate zones allow the U.S. Botanic Garden to provide visitors with a comprehensive view of plant life from various parts of the world.

Rock Creek Nature Center

Rock Creek Nature Center in DC includes indoor facilities to enjoy during bad weather like rainy days or extreme heat. It is controlled by the National Park Service. 

The center features exhibits, live animals, and educational displays that focus on the natural history of the Rock Creek Park area. It also has a planetarium, which offers shows about astronomy and space. The indoor space provides a great opportunity to learn about nature and the environment, making it a perfect destination for a rainy day or any time you want to explore indoors.

Spin Washington DC

SPIN Washington DC is a lively ping pong social club located at 1332 F Street NW in Downtown DC. It features 14 ping pong tables, a full bar, a shareable menu, and private rooms. SPIN is designed to encourage social connections through ping pong, welcoming people of all ages and backgrounds. 

Kids are allowed at SPIN until 9:00 p.m. each day, making it a great spot for family fun. The club offers a variety of food options, like sliders and pizzas, catering to different tastes. SPIN also hosts various events, from casual gatherings to corporate parties, providing a unique and engaging experience for all.

For more details, visit their official website.

Red Panda Art Studio in Maryland

Located in Northern Virginia, Red Panda Art Studio offers a cozy space where young children can create and explore their artistic side. The studio provides materials for various art projects, encouraging kids to use their imagination. This is a perfect spot for birthday parties or just a day of indoor fun. Activities are designed to cater to children of all ages, making it a great family-friendly venue.

National Museum Of Natural History

The National Museum of Natural History is another gem in the heart of the nation’s capital. This Smithsonian museum is perfect for kids with its hands-on exhibits and vast collections. Highlights include the Hall of Dinosaurs, where kids can see massive dinosaur skeletons, and the Insect Zoo, where they can learn about creepy crawlies up close. The interactive displays make it an educational experience that kids love.

Take a picture in front of the elephant in the room.

The Butterfly Pavilion at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC, offers a serene and enchanting indoor garden experience. Located within this renowned museum, the pavilion is adorned with lush plants and flowers, creating a natural habitat for hundreds of live butterflies from around the world. You can walk among free-flying butterflies and have a chance to see these delicate creatures up close. It is one of the most immersive experiences DC has to offer. 

Admire the Ocean Hall’s Whale

It is an ideal activity for families, children, and nature enthusiasts. While admission to the museum is free, there is an admission fee for the this exhibit most days of the week. 

National Postal Museum

The National Postal Museum is a fantastic destination for older children, tweens and teens. Located near Union Station, this Smithsonian Institution museum has interactive exhibits and large collections of stamps and postal artifacts. Admission is free like many of the other free museums in Washington DC

Kids can explore vintage mail vehicles, airmail planes, and a reconstructed railway mail car. Adults accompanying children can learn more about the history of mail delivery in the United States. For the youngest children in your group, the National Postal Museum has hands-on activities such as designing stamps and experiencing what it’s like to sort mail in a busy post office. 

Indoor Playgrounds DC

Indoor playgrounds are amazing when the weather is not ideal for outdoor play. Although not technically in DC, there are several indoor playgrounds for your kids to burn off energy in the suburbs surrounding DC. These enormous playgrounds have a variety of play areas, including climbing structures, slides, and tunnels. Many of them also host birthday parties so be sure to check out each one individually to know their specific offerings as well as pricing. 

  • Scramble: Located in Alexandria and Falls Church, VA, Scramble is a massive indoor play center with areas divided by age. And, if you want to enjoy a glass of wine while your children run around, there is an onsite café. Check out their bookstore as well before you leave which has tons of board books and age appropriate reading material for your kids. 
  • Jolly Yolly Kids: Located in the Montgomery Mall in Maryland, this playground has an open play area as well as slides and climbing structures. For hosting parties and events there is also a separate hangout area. 
  • Me Land: With locations in Frederick and Gaithersburg, MD, Me Land offers an indoor playground with slides, a ball pit, a tot zone, and a big kid zone. It provides a fun and safe environment for kids to play and explore.

Children’s Museum

The Children’s Museum in Washington DC provides an engaging environment tailored for kids. Packed with hands-on exhibits, this museum encourages learning through play. Key attractions include water play areas, a grocery store simulation, and various educational games. It’s a place where children can explore different subjects while having a great time.

Indoor Games For Ages 5 To 15

Whether it’s mini golf or an escape room, there are plenty of indoor activities in the DMV area for older children to enjoy.

Indoor Mini Golf

  • Monster Mini Golf:  7351 Assateague Dr, Jessup, MD. This location has a18-hole glow-in-the-dark mini golf course with a monster theme, arcade games, and party rooms.
  • Mini Golf at The Mall in Columbia: 10300 Little Patuxent Pkwy, Columbia, MD. This is a 18-hole indoor mini golf course located inside the mall.
  • Glowgolf:  This business has multiple locations including Potomac Mills in Woodbridge, VA. As the name suggests this is a glow-in-the-dark mini golf with an 18-hole course, plus an arcade and a laser maze.

Escape Room

There are several escape room type games across the DMV area. Here are some of the popular ones. 

  1. Escape Room Live DC: 2300 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, D.C.
  2. Escape the Room DC: 409 7th St NW, Washington, D.C.
  3. Big Escape Rooms: 8120 Fenton St, Silver Spring, MD
  4. A Game of Rooms Rockville: 12107 Nebel St, Rockville, MD
  5. Breakout Games – Columbia: 8661 Robert Fulton Dr, Suite 110, Columbia, MD
  6. Escape Room Arlington: 2301 Columbia Pike, Arlington, VA
  7. Escape Room Fairfax: 3949 University Dr, Fairfax, VA
  8. Escape Room Ashburn: 42882 Truro Parish Dr #210, Ashburn, VA
  9. Escapology Escape Rooms Alexandria: 7001-A Manchester Blvd, Suite 201, Alexandria, VA

Tour The US Capitol (Best for Tweens and Teens)

For older kids, touring the United States Capitol can be both fascinating and educational. Although best suited for tweens and teens, younger kids may enjoy it as well. The tour includes visits to the historic legislative chambers and impressive rotundas. Interactive exhibits at the Capitol Visitor Center help explain the inner workings of the U.S. government, making it a worthwhile visit.

Skyzone Trampoline Park

Sky Zone Trampoline Park has a few locations in the DC metro area. High-energy children will have so much fun doing this.

The park features numerous trampolines, foam pits, and dodgeball courts, providing endless indoor fun. It’s a great place for kids to burn off energy and enjoy physical activity in a safe environment. Skyzone also offers spaces for birthday parties and special events, ensuring a memorable experience.

  • Sky Zone Timonium: 23 W Aylesbury Rd, Timonium, MD 21093
  • Sky Zone Columbia: 7175 Oakland Mills Rd, Columbia, MD 21046
  • Sky Zone Gaithersburg: 15813 Gaither Dr, Gaithersburg, MD 20877
  • Sky Zone Sterling: 45999 Regal Plz, Sterling, VA 20165
  • Sky Zone Manassas: 7807 Sudley Rd, Manassas, VA 20109

National Building Museum

The National Building Museum offers a unique blend of architecture, design, and play, making it a great destination for kids. The museum’s interactive exhibits and play spaces, such as the Building Zone, are designed to engage young minds in the art of building and design. 

Kids can enjoy activities like constructing their own buildings or exploring the museum’s giant play structures. It’s both educational and fun, providing a stimulating environment for children to learn and play.

Ford’s Theatre And Petersen House

If your tween or teen has studied American history, Ford’s Theatre is a national historic landmark worth visiting. In April of 1865, President Lincoln was watching a performance of the play Our American Cousin when he was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth. 

Many people falsely believe that this is also where the this American President died, but that is not true. After being shot, he was taken across the street to Peterson House. Abraham Lincoln died there the next morning after being shot.

You can visit the theatre as well as Peterson House. Check out tickets and tour details on their website. This is a fairly quick activity requiring only 1 to 2 hours in total so plan to visit some nearby sites as well. 

Madame Tussauds Wax Museum

Young children, tweens and teens may enjoy paying a visit to their favorite celebrities (like Taylor Swift) at Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in downtown DC. It is located right in the heart of DC walking distance from both Ford’s Theatre and the Musuem Of Illusions. You can easily visit the 3 of these together with young ones. 

Capital One Arena

Capital One Arena hosts several events throughout the year. Usually these are sporting events or live music performances. Check their website to buy tickets for games and concerts.

Kennedy Center

The Kennedy Center in Washington DC is one of the busiest performing arts houses in the world. There are so many things to do here and many are kid friendly. You can see what current events and performances are taking place by visiting their website

Boardwalk Bar And Arcade At The Wharf

​Boardwalk Bar And Arcade is fun for both adults and kids. You can enjoy happy hour and food while your kids play classic arcade games inside this massive two story waterfront restaurant. Check out their menu and timings on their website

Movement Gyms

​Rock climbing is actually a great activity for both adults and kids. If you have an active young one, check out Movement Gyms. There is a location in Rockville Maryland which also has good restaurants to dine at after you expend your energy.

Indoor Things To Do In DC: Adult Activities

Washington DC boasts a variety of indoor activities perfect for adults. These activities range from immersive cultural experiences at renowned galleries to vibrant nightlife scenes with unique bars and entertainment venues.

National Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery offers a rich collection of art with over 23,000 works. It is home to portraits of Presidents, notable public figures, and historical icons. Whether interested in history or art, visitors can admire the gallery’s famous exhibitions and temporary displays. A highlight is the American Presidents exhibit, featuring portraits and stories behind America’s leaders. Additionally, rotating exhibits often introduce new perspectives and contemporary works.

Enjoy DC Speakeasies

Washington DC’s speakeasies provide a unique blend of history and nightlife. Hidden behind unmarked doors or disguised as other businesses, these bars recreate the Prohibition-era vibe. Locations like The Gibson and Dram & Grain offer crafted cocktails and intimate settings. You can expect creative drink menus and an exclusive atmospheres. It’s an experience that makes for a perfect evening out, especially if you are a cocktail enthusiast.

Phillips Collection

The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., is a great place for anyone who loves art. It has many famous pieces, like Renoir’s “Luncheon of the Boating Party” and van Gogh’s “The Road Menders.” You can also see works by Cézanne, Kandinsky, and O’Keeffe. The museum includes not just paintings but also sculptures and mixed media art, making it an interesting place to explore different styles and periods.

The Phillips Collection is in the Dupont Circle neighborhood. For parking, you can use nearby garages like the Colonial Parking Garage at 1616 P Street NW, PMI Parking Garage at 1333 New Hampshire Avenue NW, and Central Parking at 1625 Massachusetts Avenue NW. Street parking can be limited. The Dupont Circle Metro station (Red Line) is also close by.

For food and drink, you can visit Tryst at the Phillips café inside the museum. They offer coffee, pastries, sandwiches, and salads. While the museum doesn’t serve wine, they sometimes have special events with wine and other drinks. Check their event calendar for details.

Eat And Drink At Union Market

On a rainy day, Union Market in Washington, D.C., is a great spot to enjoy a variety of food and drinks indoors. Especially if it is your first time in DC, this place is a must visit. 

Start with a warm drink from Peregrine Espresso or a sweet treat from District Doughnut.

For lunch, try a lobster roll from Red Apron Butcher. TaKorean has a tasty mix of Korean BBQ and Mexican-style tacos.

For dinner, enjoy Neapolitan-style pizza at Stellina Pizzeria or farm-to-table Mediterranean dishes at Bidwell.

End your meal with a sweet arepa from Arepa Zone or a treat from The Creamery. Union Market’s cozy indoor space makes it the perfect place to spend a rainy day.

Bar Hop On 14th Street

14th Street in DC is a lively area full of bars and eateries. It’s ideal for bar hopping with a diverse scene that includes everything from chic wine bars to energetic dance spots. When the weather is poor, you can easily pop in and out of these places without having to walk too far which is why it is included in our top rainy day activities for adults in DC. 

If you are looking for happy hour on 14th street there are plenty of great options from Barcelona Wine Bar to Salazar. Try some awesome French cuisine at Le Diplomate or check out Michelin rated Bresca for dinner. The awesome restaurants on 14th street are probably the best part about this area of Washington DC. 

Head To Tysons Corner In Virginia

There are so many great things about Tysons Corner. There’s great shopping, entertainment, fun happy hour specials as well as a variety of dining options. 

For luxury designer shopping head to Tyson’s Galleria. There is a second mall nearby called Tysons Corner Center which also has a huge selection of stores and dining options. 

As one of the largest shopping centers on the East Coast, it features high-end retailers like Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s, as well as various dining venues. It’s a great spot for both leisure shopping and serious retail therapy. Indoor entertainment options like the AMC Tysons Corner 16 movie theater as well as a bowling alley make it a full-day destination.

National Gallery of Art

The National Gallery of Art is another must-visit for art lovers. It includes two buildings: the West Building with classical art and the East Building with modern and contemporary works. Highlights include intricate European paintings and the famous Van Gogh pieces. If the weather improves, you can also take a walk around the outdoor Sculpture Garden, which is a beautiful space with rotating installations. Free admission makes this a perfect option for a culturally enriching day in DC.

National Museum Of American History

The National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., has many cool artifacts that tell the story of the United States. You can see the original Star-Spangled Banner, the flag that inspired the national anthem, which shows American strength and pride. The museum also has the Greensboro lunch counter, where a peaceful protest for civil rights took place and helped change the country.

Movie fans will enjoy seeing Dorothy’s ruby slippers from “The Wizard of Oz” and Michael Jackson’s famous hat from his “Billie Jean” performance. These pieces of pop culture history are exciting for anyone who loves entertainment.

History lovers will appreciate George Washington’s uniform and the small desk Thomas Jefferson used to write the Declaration of Independence. The museum also has Abraham Lincoln’s top hat, which he wore during many important events.

For those interested in cooking, Julia Child’s kitchen is on display, showing how this famous chef worked. With such a diverse collection, the museum is a great place for adults and anyone interested in learning about the nation’s past.

Sip And Paint – Various Locations

There are a few places that offer painting classes while enjoying a drink. 

  • Muse Paintbar: This venue is located in National Harbor, Maryland. You can check their website for class timings as well as the paintings they will be doing. 
  • Sip And Paint DC: Sip and paint is a pop up that hosts events at various locations. They also do private parties so you can bring them to your home. 
  • Pinot’s Palette: This sip and paint experience is located in Ellicott City. 
  • Paint This: This does not necessarily have a sipping option, but they focus on ceramics and canvas work.

Be sure to check out each website for the most up to date information on specifics. In some cases, kids above a certain age may be allowed to participate in the painting part as well. 

Indoor Activities Washington DC: Summary

When a great weekend is ruined by bad weather, there are many indoor activities Washington DC has to offer. From the educational and interactive exhibits at the Air and Space Museum and the National Museum of Natural History to the artistic and immersive experiences at Artechouse and the National Portrait Gallery, there is no shortage of options to keep both kids and adults entertained. 

For families, kid-friendly activities like indoor playgrounds and kid friendly museums. Adults can check out art galleries, speakeasies, sip and paint experiences as well as and amazing restaurants. With so much to see and do, Washington, DC provides an exciting and diverse array of indoor activities that ensure a memorable experience for everyone.

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