things to do in dc at night

17 Best Things To Do In Washington DC At Night

There are many great things to do in Washington DC at night. From admiring the beautifully lit historic monuments at the National Mall to taking a fun dinner cruise down the Potomac River, there is something for everyone in Washington DC.

Since I live next door to Washington DC in Maryland, my family and I head over to Washington DC quite often. There is just so much to do in Washington DC, even at night time.

However, the large number of options of things to do in DC can make planning a trip seem a bit overwhelming. Therefore, I have included a list below of the best 17 family-friendly activities for Washington DC at night.

Chinatown DC Crosswalk
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Things To Do In Washington DC At Night

There are so many interesting things to do in Washington DC. As America’s capital, it is full of fantastic museums, historic monuments, beautiful sights, which is in definitely one of the pros of living in Washington, DC.

For some of the top things to do, check out this list of the 17 best family-friendly things to do in Washington DC at night.

things to do in dc at night

17 Best Family-Friendly Washington DC at Night

1. Take the Old Town Trolley Monuments by Night Tour

One of the best things to do in Washington DC at night is to take a ride on a fun, state-of-the-art Trolley with Old Town Trolley Tours. Their nighttime tour, Monuments by Moonlight, is an incredible tour that provides the opportunity to view all of the best historical sights in Washington DC at night. 

Admire the lit-up monuments such as the Lincoln Memorial, the Two Jima Marines Memorial, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, and more all while your guide tells you more about the historical significance and interesting stories about Washington DC.

This tour is a perfect way to see Washington DC at night and is a great family-friendly option.

Tours last for two and a half hours and depart daily at 6:30 pm in the winter (November-March) and at 7:30 pm in the summer (March-November). You can board the tour at Union Station or at The Washington Welcome Center.

Adult tickets are $84.95 and tickets for children between ages 4-12 are $38.95, and those under age 4 are free.

Wall Inscription at Roosevelt Memorial
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2. Experience a Night at the Museum with Smithsonian Nighttime Adventures

Smithsonian nighttime adventure is a special event designed just for kids! During this Night at the Museum-themed event, kids will have the opportunity to join fellow adventurers in exploring one of the world’s most popular museums, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. 

This event is aimed at learning more about Earth’s past, discovering the ocean’s aquatic wonders, blasting off to the moon, visiting pollinators, and seeing mysterious mammals.

Fun-filled activities include participating in games, challenges, creating fun arts and crafts, and more.

The Smithsonian Nighttime Adventures events are run on select days which are listed on the museum website. The event is for kids between the ages of 8-14 years old, and each group of up to 5 kids must have at least one adult chaperone.

The event hours are from 7 pm – 11 pm, and tickets cost $85 per person. 

MLK Memorial
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3. Ride Around on a Washington DC Sights at Night Bike Tour

Washington DC is an exciting place to visit at night, with all of its monuments lit up. A bike tour is a perfect way to experience the National Mall of Washington DC at night.

This is a great option for active families, that are looking to get some good exercise while seeing all of the sights in DC.

This 3-hour bike tour takes you on a guided 4-mile tour to show you the DC highlights such as the White House, the Vietnam War Memorial, Jefferson, Lincoln, and WWII memorials, and more.

The tour includes a bike rental, helmet, reflective safety vest, and a guide. Tours run daily, starting at 6:30 pm. Adult tickets are $54 and children’s tickets are $49.

Korean War Memorial
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4. Watch the Sunset from the Washington Monument

One of the best free things to do in Washington DC at night is to watch the beautiful sunset. One of the best places in Washington DC to get unique sunset views is from the Washington Monument.

Seeing the sunset behind the tall, impressive monument is an incredible experience, and makes for some great photos from DC.

washington monument, things to do in dc at night

5. Ride the Capital Wheel

Enjoy breathtaking views over Washington DC as you ride the Capital Wheel. This popular Ferris wheel takes you up to 180 feet above the Potomac River, which will give you the most incredible views of Washington DC.

This is a fun-filled and exciting evening activity that is perfect for families.

Due to its climate-controlled gondolas, the Capital Wheel is open year-round and provides a comfortable, yet exhilarating Ferris wheel ride. Hours of operation are Monday through Thursday from 4 pm to 10 pm, and Friday through Sunday from 10 am to 10 pm.

Adult admission is $15, and children’s admission is $11.25.

Cherry blossom trees at sunset at East Potomac Park
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6. Take an Evening Electric Cart Tour

Taking an Electric Cart Tour is the perfect way to sit back, relax, and enjoy the sights while your guide explains more about the important Washington DC monuments and tells fascinating stories.

The electric cart is a 7-person, sustainable electric vehicle, making it the perfect way to explore Washington DC at night in a small group.

The 2-hour Moonlight Electric Cart Tour will take you to the highlights of Washington DC, such as Capitol Hill, the White House, and other famous DC landmarks like the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, and WWII, Korean, and Vietnam War memorials.

Tours run daily from 8 pm and start from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. Adult and children’s tickets are both $85.

IMG 6121
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7. Catch a Game at Nationals Park

Nationals Park is the baseball field that is home to the Major League Baseball team in DC, the Washington Nationals. Enjoy a true American pastime in Washington DC by cheering on the baseball team and enjoying a delicious hot dog. Evening games happen throughout the season and are a great way to enjoy DC at night. 

There are also a variety of other events, such as concerts that are held throughout the year at Nationals Park. For more information on upcoming events and home games, make sure to check out their website.

8. Experience the Sights on a Moonlight Tour of Washington DC

If you are looking for a tour that will take you to the famous monuments, but also allows you to stop and admire the sights, this Moonlight Washington DC Tour is a perfect choice.

This 3-hour tour includes pick up and drop off from nearby Washinton DC hotels and then will take you on a 3-hour, guided tour to all the major sites.

One of the best parts about doing an evening tour is that the monuments and sights are much less crowded at night compared to during the daytime. It is also a unique and fun experience to see Washington DC lit up at night.

This tour will take you to places like the US Capitol Building, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, the Pentagon, Arlington Cemetery, and the National Archives. 

This is a perfect option for families with older children that are interested in seeing Washington DC and learning more about the sights. Tours run daily from 7:30 pm. Adult tickets are $62 and children’s tickets are $39.

things to do in dc at night

9. Watch an Outdoor Movie at Sunset Cinema

If you are visiting Washington DC in the summer months, head over to the Transit Pier at The Wharf on Thursday nights to enjoy some delicious popcorn and watch a movie at sunset. 

From Memorial Day to Labor Day, there is a family-friendly movie shown every Thursday at 7:30 pm. Some of the movies shown include Jungle Cruise, Mamma Mia, Forest Gump, A Dogs Purpose, and more.

It is a great way to relax after spending the day in Washington DC, and the best part is that admission is completely free. There are also several food options nearby, making it a great spot to spend a summer evening.

10. Take a Dinner Cruise

Enjoy an evening out on the Potomac River aboard a dinner cruise. A dinner cruise will take you down the picturesque river past sites like the Washington Monument, National Harbor, Old Town Alexandria, and other iconic D.C. sights.

Enjoy a delicious dinner and music, which make for the perfect evening for the whole family.

11. Admire the Holiday Lights at the National Zoo

If you are visiting during the holiday season, make sure to check out the ZooLights Event at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. This family-friendly event includes lots of beautiful light displays that transform the zoo into a winter wonderland.

There is plenty of live music, hot chocolate, and sweet treats to be enjoyed at this magical holiday event.

The ZooLights event runs every weekend from the end of November through the end of December from 5 pm-9 pm. Admission to the event is free, but you need to reserve your spot online ahead of time. There is also a $30 parking fee.

dc zoo

12. Check Out the Marine Corps Sunset Parade

Every Tuesday evening during the summer, the Marine Corps hosts a sunset parade at the National Mall at 7 pm. The parade has been held every summer since 1956 and includes marching to musical numbers. It is an interesting and free experience to go to in Washington DC at night with kids.

13. Solve Puzzles at an Escape Room

Escape rooms are a fun, family-friendly activity that involves solving a series of puzzles to escape the room. There are many different themes of escape rooms, as well as different levels, from beginner to expert.

This type of activity is perfect for older kids and families, as you have to work together to solve the mystery within 60 minutes.

There are several Escape Room locations in Maryland and the Washington DC area, but some highly rated ones to check out include The Escape Game DC, Beat the Bomb DC, and Escape the Room DC.

escape rooms in maryland

14. Immerse in the Art at the ARTECHOUSE DC

The ARTECHOUSE is a unique, immersive art experience. The experience is for 1 hour and will guide you through illuminated rooms that have various themes. This is a cool experience, especially for art enthusiasts. It is also one of our top things to do when you only have 4 days to spend in DC.

The ARTECHOUSE DC is open daily from 10 am until 10 pm. Admission is $25 for adults, $17 for children ages 4-17, and free for children under the age of 4.

15. Enjoy Dinner along the Georgetown Waterfront

The Georgetown Waterfront is located on the Potomac River and is the perfect place to enjoy a nice dinner at one of the many waterfront restaurants. In the summer, it is also a great place to take an evening walk, and enjoy some delicious ice cream or other sweet treats!

16. See a Show at the Historic Ford Theatre

Ford’s Theatre is a historically significant site in Washington DC. The theatre reopened in 1968 and celebrates the life of Abraham Lincoln. Today, you can go on a historical tour of the theatre, or watch one of the plays that are held throughout the year.

17. Experience the Circus at UniverSoul Circus

UniverSoul Circus is an exciting circus-themed show. The show contains a variety of impressive acrobatic performances that are sure to wow you. Shows take place Thursday through Sunday with both daytime and evening performances.

Tickets are $27 for both children and adults.

FAQs on Things to Do in DC at Night

What do people do at night in DC?

There are lots of fun things to do in DC at night. A few great ones include enjoying a bike tour at night, Dinner cruise, DC Monuments and Capitol Hill Tour by Electric Cart and a lot more.

Can you walk around DC at night?

Yes, you can walk around Washington D.C. at night. The city is generally safe for pedestrians, and many popular areas are well-lit and have a noticeable police presence, especially in the tourist and downtown areas.

However like everywhere else, stay safe and be aware of your surroundings.

Can you visit the Washington Monument at night?

No, you cannot visit the Washington Monument at night. The monument is open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm daily, except for July 4 and December 25. The last tour begins at 4:30 pm.

View from African American History Museum 2
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Conclusion: The Best Things to Do in Washington DC at Night

Washington DC has so many things to do at night, including many kid-friendly activities. Kids will love riding the Capital Ferris Wheel or experiencing the Nighttime Adventures at the Smithsonian Museum.

Sports fans can catch a game at the Nationals Park while art enthusiasts can explore the immersive art exhibits of ARTECHOUSE DC.

There are also great family activities like watching an outdoor movie at sunset or solving puzzles in an escape room. Washington DC has so many activities to choose from that there will be something for everyone.

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