If you follow along on our adventures, then you already know that we love to explore the outdoors and hike around National Parks. But, we also enjoy changing it up sometimes and venturing to the city with our boys. Below are 5 fun cities to explore with kids!
Washington, DC was the first big city we traveled to with our kids. It was such a great “starter city” for our family. Not only is it extremely walkable, there’s so much to do. And the best part is, there are several free activities around the city to enjoy!
We’ve traveled to DC in September, November, and March. We got lucky on all of our trips and had gorgeous weather each time. DC is stunning in the fall, but just as beautiful in the spring with the cherry blossoms in bloom!
My favorite visit was our trip over our Thanksgiving break in November. The city was not crowded at all, which made it easy to explore the museums and we didn’t have to wait long for dining at restaurants. The only downside is that we were not able to tour the White House because it is closed this week for Christmas decorating.
Washington, DC Must Dos:
- Tour the White House (free)
- Explore Monuments & Memorials both Day & Night (free)
- Tour the Capital Building (free)
- Explore the Smithsonian Museums (free)
- Check out the National Archives Museum (free)
- Day Trip to George Washington’s Mount Vernon
- Arlington National Cemetery
- Tour Ford’s Theatre & the Petersen House
- Go inside the Washington Monument
- Eat breakfast at Lincoln’s Waffle Shop
- Eat lunch at Old Ebbitt Grill
- Eat dinner at Founding Farmers DC
Be prepared for a lot of walking. We clocked an average of ten miles per day when we were there! Our boys were only five and nine on our first visit and were tired, but made it just fine! We did use a taxi to get from the airport to our hotel. There are also several taxis that stay around the National Mall area, mostly near the Lincoln Memorial. We jumped in a few of those when the boys were too tired to make the walk back to the hotel for the night.
Our most memorable moments of our trips to DC were going inside the White House, watching President Trump leave the White House on Marine One, seeing George Washington’s actual teeth on display at Mount Vernon, and seeing the original United States’ flag & the Declaration of Independence!
Click here for my tips on securing a White House tour.
Click here for my complete Washington DC guide.
New York City
New York City is an amazing destination for just about anyone! I’ve traveled to the Big Apple with my boys twice now and honestly, we can’t wait to go back!
We’ve visited NYC in June and in November. Summertime can get pretty hot, but we’re from Texas, so we’re used to it. Our first day in the city on our November visit was extremely cold, but the rest of the days felt really nice.
I loved both visits, but there’s something really special about traveling to this city before Christmas! We enjoyed the Christmas décor so much. So, I have to say that our trip over Thanksgiving break in November was my favorite. I highly recommend visiting this week if you can! We got to see the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and experience all of the Christmas spirit at the same time!
New York City Must Dos:
- Visit the Statue of Liberty & Museum
- Watch a Broadway Show
- Go to Times Square
- 9/11 Memorial & Museum (free on Monday afternoons)
- Explore Central Park (free)
- Ride the Staten Island Ferry (free)
- Walk across the Brooklynn Bridge
- Visit the American Museum of Natural History
- Explore the Museum of Modern Art
- Go Shopping
- Visit Chinatown
- Visit Little Italy
- Go inside the Empire State Building
- Visit the Top of the Rock
- Eat at Ellen’s Stardust Diner
- Get dessert at Serendipity
You should also prepare to walk a lot in this city, too! Besides walking, we also used the subway system to navigate around the city. It’s definitely true, you’ll never be able to do everything on your list in one visit, so don’t over plan activities and pack in too much each day. We picked one major activity per day that was a must do/must see and it worked out well for us!
Of course, there are different activities based on the season you’re traveling. Some of our favorite New York City memories are riding the subway for the first time, going inside the Statue of Liberty, watching the Macy’s parade balloons being inflated, watching Elton John perform in the street in front of Saks, and finally seeing Naked Cowboy in Times Square!
Click here for my NYC summer guide with kids.
Click here for my NYC Thanksgiving guide.
We were so pleasantly surprised with our first ever visit to Philly! This city is fun, historical, and full of many different activities to explore. And it’s so easy to maneuver, which made it even better for me since I was there with my boys, without Jereme.
We visited Philadelphia in late June and were only there for three days. The weather was fantastic! It was in the low 80s while back home in Texas it was already pushing 100 degrees.
I loved that we were comfortable to walk around the city from morning until evening! I feel like we left the city with more early American knowledge than ever before. The old buildings and historical sites, basically everywhere in Philadelphia, have me yearning for another visit!
Philadelphia Must Dos:
- Take the Double Decker Bus Tour
- Visit Independence Hall
- See the Liberty Bell
- Visit the Ben Franklin Museum
- Explore the Franklin Institute
- See Ben Franklin’s Grave
- Walk down Elfreth’s Alley
- Explore Franklin Square
- Tour the Betsy Ross House
- Take a Ghost Tour around Philly
- Walk to New Jersey over the Ben Franklin Bridge
- Play in the Swann Memorial Fountain
- Eat a Philly Cheesesteak
- Eat at a The Reading Terminal
Be prepared to walk a lot in this city, too. Again, it’s very easy to maneuver, but we clocked in eight to ten miles each day exploring. The boys were a little older, one was almost seven and the other was ten during our visit.
My favorite moments in Philadelphia were seeing the room that our Founding Fathers developed the ideas for our country in person, watching early American time period re-enactments, seeing an actual ghost on our Philly ghost tour, and watching my boys get excited to learn so much about Benjamin Franklin! We had an absolute blast and I hope we are able to return again soon with Jereme!
Click here for my complete guide to visiting Philadelphia with kids.
We road tripped to Chicago a few years ago on a total whim when we realized it wouldn’t take us that much longer to drive to than our yearly trips to Colorado. Since that first trip, I’ve traveled back another four times!
Most of my trips to the Windy City have been in the summertime, only once did I visit in the fall. We love being outside, so walking around Chicago was something that my family enjoyed. In the spring and early summer, the weather is gorgeous, and I still can’t get over the flowers that are blooming virtually everywhere!
My favorite trip was our first summer visit. We packed in so much and had a wonderful time together. Plus, I had previous students that had recently moved to the city from Texas, so they showed us all around!
Chicago Must Dos:
- Walk along the Chicago Riverwalk
- Take an Architectural Boat Tour
- Take photos in front of the Bean
- Visit the Navy Pier
- Explore the Shedd Aquarium
- Visit the Field Museum
- Spend the day at the Adler Planetarium
- Visit the Art Institute of Chicago
- Brave the Skydeck
- Catch a game at Wrigley Field
- Shop at Magnificent Mile
- Eat breakfast at Lou Mitchell’s
- Eat lunch at Portillo’s
- Eat pizza at Gino’s East
- Have desserts at JoJo’s Milk Bar
- Drive by the Home Alone House
Even though we had our car with us since we road tripped, we walked just about everywhere. We left our car at the hotel the whole entire time. We clocked an average of ten miles each day that we were here. We did brave the bus one time, but otherwise we enjoyed walking.
My favorite memories in Chicago are seeing Payton Manning filming on the Chicago River, eating delicious food the entire time, exploring the aquarium with my boys, and of course, seeing the house that Home Alone was filmed at!
Click here for my complete guide to visiting Chicago with kids.
If you live near the Dallas area, or you want to visit Texas, this recommendation is for you! I’ve lived near Dallas my whole entire life, but never really visited as a tourist until last summer. My best friend and I took our boys for a few nights, and we truly had a blast!
We visited in July, and true to Texas, it was HOT. But, that’s not anything we’re not used to. We planned mostly indoor activities and booked a nice hotel with a rooftop pool.
I wouldn’t really call Dallas a walkable city, we needed our car for most of the places we decided to visit. But, it’s not nearly as crowded as the other cities mentioned above and we never had any issues finding places to park. If you’re visiting from out of town, I do suggest renting a car!
Dallas Must Dos:
- Explore the Perot Museum
- Cool off at Klyde Warren Park
- Check out the Dallas World Aquarium
- Visit the Dallas Museum of Art
- Spend the day at the Dallas Arboretum
- Go to the Reunion’s Tower GeO-Deck at night!
- Explore the West End
- Visit the Dallas Zoo
- Check out the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza
- Visit the Holocaust Museum
- Explore the George W. Bush Presidential Library
- Dallas Dining Options (too many to list)
Even though Dallas is close to home, we still had such a great time on our “staycation!” We didn’t even get to do everything on our list, but fun was had by all. My favorite Dallas memories are visiting the George W. Bush Presidential Library, going inside the Reunion Tower and up to the GeO-Deck, lounging by the rooftop pool, and not having to drive too far on our road trip here from home!
Click here for my complete guide for visiting Dallas with kids.
No matter which city you plan to visit, a fun time is guaranteed! My boys both agreed that New York City is their favorite city of the five. Mine is Philadelphia! Be sure to check back soon to see what we’re up to next. And don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions!