Tuesday, March 23, 2010

At Home, Going Places

I love to read travel guides, especially about Washington, DC. It's interesting to see what the editors of these books decide is worthwhile visiting and what I may have missed as an in-towner. Each type of guidebook emphasizes different sites depending on their target audience; Let's Go is written with the student or budget traveler in mind while Forbes reviews restaurants and hotels for those seeking 5-star accommodations. I especially appreciate books that suggest itineraries by neighborhood for folks who only have limited time, a day or two, to tour a large and unfamiliar place. Though I have traveled abroad and throughout the U.S., I tend to be a creature of habit when it comes to living in DC and frequent the same restaurants, shops, museums, and parks over and over. A quick look at a guidebook, online or in a library or bookstore, always presents fresh ideas for local adventures to shake up my routine.

As a parent determined to make the most of family life between nap and bedtime, I approach rediscovering the city with my child one neighborhood at a time. This is where guidebooks come in handy again. I borrowed Going Places with Children in Washington, DC by the Green Acres School in Rockville, MD, from my DCPL branch, renewed it, and ultimately put a second hold on it. Copies are also available for purchase from the school website or at local bookstores like Politics and Prose (which has an impressive selection of books and events for children and teens, btw) The first edition was published 50 years ago and has since earned its reputation as the most comprehensive family guidebook to Washington, DC, for both those living in or traveling to the city. The latest addition is illustrated by children at the Green Acres School and features reviews of over 400 destinations in the Washington region tested by teachers, parents and children, including old favorites and new and lesser known places.

Several websites and blogs for and by DC parents have made it to my list of Bookmarks due, in part, to their events calendars. I often check them in the evening after AS has gone to bed to plan our adventure for the next day. Here are a few from my list:
Washington Parent posts events a month in advance to help you schedule ahead.
If you are searching for a fun, hour-long activity to break up your busy day, A Parent in Silver Spring features a calender of events listed hourly.
GoCityKids-DC at lists events by date and location and even provides Google maps to easily find activities in your neighborhood and beyond!
OurKids-Washington, DC lists Special Events and Seasonal activities.
The Washington Post "Going Out Guide" is kid-friendly, too!
Museums and the National Zoo also have events calendars posted on their individual websites.
If I haven't discovered an events calendar on your blog or website yet or if you would like to recommend another one, please let me know!

Throughout the warm weather months, I plan to branch out to different DC neighborhoods and report back about artful, kid-friendly activities on $5 or $10 a day. Is there a place or outing you'd like to know more about or a family-favorite experience that you'd like to share? Submit a comment! Also, please participate in the readers poll on my homepage. Your feedback will help guide future posts. Thank you!


  1. I am so going to check out Going Places with Children in Washington, DC. Sounds like my kind of book! Here are a few calendars that I use (in addition to some that you mentioned)...
    Outside DC:
    I really like blog- very thoughtful posts!

  2. Thanks for the mention! Love your site and commentary on educational, free fun in DC for kids!

  3. Thank you, Jessica!
    Jessica's site, A Parent in Silver Spring, is "a fun free resource for families... served with a side of humor":
    She also writes for DC Urban Moms and Dads:

  4. Thanks, LovingMomme, for the great suggestions!
    Her site, "Go Out and Play!", is a resource for "what to do in Arlington and beyond"!



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