For graduation weekend, loved ones of all ages will come to the District to help you celebrate.
Planning an itinerary that entertains rowdy siblings, while making sure your grandparents won’t be aching the whole day can be difficult. But from unique museums to nostalgic restaurants, there are plenty of places throughout the city that offer experiences for the whole family.
Dumbarton Oaks Museum & Garden
This garden sanctuary features spots for siblings to get lost while exploring, and for elders to relax and admire the natural space.
Known for its impressive artifacts from the fourth to 15th centuries and beautiful gardens, Dumbarton Oaks Museum & Garden provides an aesthetic and educational experience for the family. Older guests will take a walk down memory lane while examining the postcards and pamphlets displayed as part of Printed Ephemera: Three Centuries of Broadsides and Other Printed Ephemera. The family history nerd will be psyched by the Mayan and Andean artifacts on display at the museum’s Philip Johnson Pavilion.
While some family members enjoy peeking around inside, others can head to the gardens on the property, which open at 2 p.m. The expansive 27-acre garden contains lush terraces, with ponds and fountains for kids to explore. On Wednesday, Thursday, Friday or Saturday at 2:10 p.m., 30-minute docent-led tours around the gardens provide an introduction to the design and development of this unique greenspace.
Relaxing by the Ellipse fountain and walking along the Pebble Garden will be sure to bring a calm over the family chaos.
1703 32nd St. NW. Museum admission free. Garden admission $10 for adults, $8 for 60+ and military (with ID) and $5 for children ages 2 to 12.
If graduation has you freaking out about being a real adult, unleash your inner-child and visit HalfSmoke – a restaurant in the Shaw neighborhood that warns you “Don’t grow up, it’s a trap!” with a glowing neon sign.
The restaurant’s decadence targets anyone with a sweet tooth by serving craft cocktails ($9) and super milkshakes ($10), along with sprinkled carnival funnel cake ($4). Signature items include the Briggs & Co. HalfSmoke sausage on a bun ($9) and the Tahini Beach falafel ($9) for the sibling who is on a health kick. They serve all-day brunch on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays with free bottomless mimosas for an hour when you purchase one of the $20 entrées, which are named after millennial jokes, like the Netflix and Chill mac-n-cheese.
Before your meal, play foosball or Cards Against Humanity against siblings, or face grandma head-to-head in Jenga, Connect Four or Trouble. Parents will love the odes to years past when their meal is served in a vintage lunch box and the bill comes in an old VHS case. After eating, playing games and snapping a picture in the free photo booth, you and your family can reminisce on family memories brought up by the nostalgia-inducing experience.
651 Florida Ave. NW. Open Monday through Thursday from 4 to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 to 2 a.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
The National Building Museum
In Chinatown, alongside restaurants and tourist favorites like the International Spy Museum, visit one of the museums that often gets missed. The National Building Museum is known for its own architecture and collection of blueprints of D.C. and U.S. buildings.
In case the kids and adults need to split up for some alone time after a few days of constantly being together, The National Building Museum’s different exhibits are geared toward different age groups.
Its two newest exhibits deal with untold narratives of U.S. history, which are sure to impress older family members. Secret Cities, which opened this month, shows the planning and design that went into the atomic test fields of the Manhattan Project. Evicted, which opened last month, deals with the stark realities among different demographics as they face displacement and evictions.
For the young innovators, the Building Zone offers building blocks and costumes for children ages 2 to 6. The Play Work Build exhibit encourages all visitors – young and old – to use their imaginations and build walls and buildings with foam blocks. Upon entering the Great Hall, with its awe-inspiring vaulted ceilings and some of the world’s highest columns, all the family drama will shrink into bliss.
401 F St. NW. Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $10 for adults and $7 for seniors, students (with ID) and children ages 3 to 17.