A friend just had her new baby this Spring and asked what I would recommend for things to do with babies in DC, Virginia, and Maryland to enjoy on her maternity leave and so this list was born! 💕
My "Baby-Friendly Criteria" for including in this list:
- Restroom close by. All of these things to do with babies in DC have restrooms at or near them.
- Easy, close parking in case you need to run back to your trunk for an emergency diaper change!
- Info on stroller friendly or if a baby-carrier would be easier.
- Quiet nursing/feeding spots.
- I also included info on whether its a good spot for big siblings (ie. is there a fence?!)
Things to Do with Babies in DC:
1) Take a stroll in the Sculpture Garden at the National Gallery of Art
When I think of the perfect spot to take a baby or even newborn, the Sculpture Garden of the National Gallery of Art is at the top of the list! It is beautiful, world-class art and gardens. It is also compact and you wouldn't feel like you are "missing" anything if you needed to leave after a little bit.
⏰ - Open 11 AM to 4 PM Daily.
🚻 - Restrooms are clean and located in the back of the Pavilion Cafe.
🅿️ - On weekdays, I can always find parking on Madison Drive or 7th St. NW. On weekends, you might have to look a little farther for street parking.
Nursing/Feeding Area: Lots of great benches and quiet corners for feeding.
Stroller or Baby Carrier? You could take both! Paved paths are great for strollers.
Good for multiple kids? While the whole Sculpture Garden is fenced, there are at least 3 gates so if you have a running toddler, I would recommend another adult with you to keep track.
2) Picnic (or Photo Shoot!) on the National Mall - Park near WWII Memorial
The National Mall is a wonderful place to enjoy a sunny morning or afternoon with your baby. There is so much space and many benches so a great place to socially distance and play on a picnic mat (We always have a waterproof picnic mat in our trunk! Ours is from Aldi years ago but this one is very similar with 5k 4.5 star reviews.)
🚻 - The key for a successful trip with kiddos is to park in the area around the WWII Memorial off of Independence Ave SW. There are very clean restrooms that are open on Homefront Dr. SW (see map below)
🅿️ - The closest parking would be the Tidal Basin Parking Lot which is just a 5 minute walk from the Memorial. Note: In the spring, this lot can be full or restricted around cherry blossom season. I've had luck finding parking on Jefferson Dr SW in front of the Department of Agriculture and then walking to the Washington Monument and WWII Memorial (and Lincoln!) That would be a 0.6 mile walk to the restroom.
Feeding Area: Lots of benches along the paths. Its been a couple years since I nursed my kids but I loved using a nursing cover like this one which is 100% cotton with an arch so you can see your baby if they get distracted like mine!
Stroller or Baby Carrier? Very stroller friendly with paved paths all along the National Mall.
Good for multiple kids? I think this would be a great place for big siblings as there is tons of space to run and still be in eyesight. It is not fenced in so holding hands, stroller near streets.
3) Experience a Taste of Europe in Georgetown - one of our favorite things to do with our babies in DC!
The magic of Georgetown is that you could visit a hundred times and have a different experience each time! Georgetown feels like Europe to me with so many nationalities, outdoor cafes and great spots to eat. Some highlights are below:
- Baked and Wired for coffee and cupcakes
- Falafel Inc. for easy lunch option (and 5 stars on yelp!)
- Kafe Leopold's for a delicious sit down Austrian brunch
- Levain Bakery for famous NYC cookies (only place I haven't been yet on this list!)
- Waterfront Park for strolling (and Dumbarton Oaks and Tudor Place when they open. Currently closed)
- Embassy of Sweden Children's Room with books, puzzles and games on the Waterfront (not currently open but bookmark for later!)
- C&O Canal Park is a small and lovely oasis.
- And last but most obvious, we love walking around Georgetown University's campus!
⏰ Open all the time!
🚻 - Best bet is to use a restroom at a restaurant. I cannot vouch for the cleanliness of the public restrooms at Waterfront Park.
🅿️ - Lots of street parking in the neighborhoods north of crowded M street. But if you can't find street parking, I recommend the parking garage at 3251 Prospect St. NW. It is usually around $6 per hour but very close to everything.
Feeding Area: Lots of benches at the Canals or Waterfront Park.
Stroller or Baby Carrier? Best bet would be a baby carrier because of the cobblestones, hills and the ability to explore the little gardens without a bulky stroller.
Good for multiple kids? Georgetown would be great for all age kiddos but some managing on the streets, up hills etc.
4) Swing with your Sweetie at the Wharf
The Wharf is a wonderful spot to take out-of-town guests or for a morning stroll. We love the large swings on the boardwalk, grabbing a Blue Bottle coffee and sampling the delicious District Doughnuts!
⏰ - Open all the time! (Anecdotal: The swings fill up by 10 AM on weekends.)
🚻 - Clean, public restrooms are below the fountain in the center of the Wharf.
🅿️ - There is street parking but on a busy weekend morning we couldn't find any in the first pass so we parked at the Parking Garage under the Hyatt House at 725 Wharf St SW.
Feeding Area: Lots of benches and trees for shade along the boardwalk.
Stroller or Baby Carrier? All stroller friendly!
Good for multiple kids? My kids ages 4 and 8 loved the Wharf. I would say the water area does not have a fence so you would need to keep an eye on younger kiddos.
5) Smell the Flowers at the Enid A. Haupt Garden behind the Smithsonian
The Enid A. Haupt Gardens is one of my favorite gardens in DC because it seems like there is always something blooming! March brings the famous Magnolias, April for beautiful Cherry Blossoms, May with Tulips and Roses in the summer. It is a smaller 4 acre plot but a great spot in DC with babies because of the cool shade in the summer and bright colors year round!
⏰ - Open dawn to dusk.
🚻 - Unfortunately, there are no restrooms open at the Gardens right now. There is a chance the Arts and Industries Building next door will have restrooms when it opens in the Fall. Your best bet would be to cross the National Mall and walk 0.4 miles (google maps says 7 minutes) to the Pavilion Cafe of the Sculpture Garden
🅿️ - We've found parking more than once right in front on Independence Ave. on a weekday between the closures of 7:30-9:30 AM and 4-6:30 PM. Weekends can be tougher on popular bloom days but check the L'Enfant Plaza parking garage.
Nursing/Feeding Area: So many quiet corners in the Moon Garden or Fountain Garden with benches galore!
Stroller or Baby Carrier? All paths are paved and stroller friendly.
Good for multiple kids? Great for multiple kids because lots of explore but not a ton of room to roam.
6) Have Fun with Big Siblings at Guy Mason Playground - Glover Park, NW DC
Of all the DC Playgrounds I recommend, I think Guy Mason is the best one for Babies and Toddlers in tow. It has easy parking in a parking lot close to the playground, fenced around the playground area for multiple kiddos and a large sand pit that will keep babies and toddlers entertained for a while!
Bonus! The Vice President's residence is next door so its a quintessential "things to do with babies in DC" experience!
⏰ - The Rec center is open 9 AM to 9 PM on weekdays and 5 PM on Saturdays and Closed Sundays. But I believe the playground is always open.
🚻 - There are restrooms located in the rec center but currently closed to the public. Close by restrooms would be at the many restaurants on Wisconsin Ave. I also like these portable car pottys for younger kiddos.
🅿️ - Free parking LOT at 3600 Calvert St NW DC
Nursing/Feeding Area: Lots of benches near the playground structures. See my video on Instagram here for the lay of the land.
Stroller or Baby Carrier? Very stroller friendly!
Good for multiple kids? Yes, the best!
Things to Do with Babies in Northern Virginia:
*Also check out my 22 Best Playgrounds in Northern Virginia with detailed descriptions of all playgrounds!
1) Take a Quiet Stroll at Dyke Marsh Nature Preserve - 6 miles south of Old Town Alexandria
There are lots of wonderful spots along the 18 miles of the Mount Vernon Trail from Theodore Roosevelt Island (not stroller friendly btw) to Mount Vernon. This nature area is not as busy as others on the trail which makes it a perfect spot to take a walk with your baby.
There is a little beach with views of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge and sailboats in the harbor. It is maybe a 30 minute walk out to a thin peninsula that is beautiful! See the map below to what I mean!
🚻 - 2 sets of permanent restrooms! They have some between the 2 large parking lots in Belle Haven Park and also permanent restrooms at the Marina.
🅿️ - Put into your maps app “Belle Haven Marina.” If you put in the name of the park, google takes you to a random spot on the bike trail that does not have a lot. You can park just before the marina at the "Mt Vernon Trail Parking, google maps link here.
Nursing/Feeding Area: I only remember one or two benches on the actual trail but there are tons of picnic tables in front of the Mt Vernon Trail Parking close to the water!
Stroller or Baby Carrier? Not paved but very pack dirt that would be fine for a stroller if it hadn't rained recently. Baby carrier would be best in all weather. One note, since you can't use bug spray on a baby, I highly recommend a mosquito net for your stroller or baby carrier. This one has almost 4k 4.5 star reviews. I used to keep a mosquito net in our stroller so I would always have it with my babies in DC on a hot summer day.
Good for multiple kids? This would be great for all kids because its one path to keep track of and not a lot of people!
2) Huntley Meadows - (My personal fav of the things to do in DC area with babies!)
Huntley Meadows and its wetlands and boardwalks is one of my family's favorite parks! Don’t miss the overlook just past the main boardwalk loop!
🚻 - Bathrooms are only portable right now but I believe the Nature Center should open soon and will update when that happens!
🅿️ - Tons of parking in the lot at 3701 Lockheed Blvd (Make sure you go to this main entrance as there are other side entrances)
Nursing/Feeding Area: Lots of park benches in the woods and at least 3 that I remember on the boardwalk.
Stroller or Baby Carrier? Strollers are fine on the boardwalk but you do have to walk about 5 minutes on unpaved dirt paths so they could be muddy with the weather. Note: No shade on the boardwalk so have a sun hat ready on hot days! I bought each of my babies these Sunday Afternoon Infant Sun Hats and they lasted 4 years each! I love that they are packable/crushable and have an easy release chinstrap for safety. Also UPF 50+. I purchased at REI but cheaper at Amazon.
Good for multiple kids? I would have another adult with you if you are taking a baby and a toddler as there is not fencing on the boardwalk and the water can be very close sometimes as you can see in the picture.
Things to Do with Babies in Maryland:
1) Go back in time at Glen Echo Park
This park near the Potomac River just over the DC border in Maryland is the delightful Glen Echo Park which is wonderful for babies! It was an amusement park from 1900 to 1968 and many of the Art Deco buildings remain. The playground is behind the historic carousel but the best part for your baby will just be strolling around looking at the bright colors of the buildings and carousel! Check out my Instagram Reel of Glen Echo Park here!
More of the Best Playgrounds in Montgomery and Prince George's Counties. All with restroom and parking info. (Greenbriar would be great for babies but no restroom close by!)
🚻 - Clean and warm permanent restrooms right next to the playground and carousel.
🅿️ - In your maps app, use 5801 Oxford Road Glen Echo, MD 20812 to get directly to the parking lot. (The location might pull up as 7300 MacArthur Blvd but that won’t take you to the parking lot!)
Feeding Area: Lots of benches around the park!
Stroller or Baby Carrier? All paved so stroller-friendly.
Good for multiple kids? Great for kids of all ages. The playground is well contained although no fence. There is astroturf so good for babies to crawl around.
2) Explore for hours at Wheaton Regional Park
Wheaton Regional Park is a destination location in central Montgomery County! It is 'insta-famous' for its Adventure Playground for bigger kids but it has a ton to offer for babies as well. The park includes 11 miles of trails (a lot of them paved) and you can walk from the park to Brookside Gardens. There is also a beautiful 5-acre Pine Lake and dog park and riding stables, if your baby like to look at animals!
🚻 - Restroom near the Adventure Playground is under construction March 2021. There is another restroom further south which you can see on their website but be advised I read it was not as clean. We used one of our 3 fav car pottys here from Amazon.
🅿️ - Park on Shorefield Road as there are multiple parking lots.
Nursing/Feeding Area: Lots of park benches and picnic pavilions.
Stroller or Baby Carrier? Very stroller friendly!
Good for multiple kids? Yes! The adventure playground is epic (Instagram reel of me trying to go down here)
DC Baby Items:
- Recently purchased this for a friend and I had to read it first! Washington, DC ABC's Board Book.
- Cool little unisex onesie of the District
- My favorite UPF 50+ Sun Hats that I've used with both my kids for years.