Cities make great getaways -- short or long -- for families. They are hubs for direct flights, ample accommodations, top-notch restaurants and iconic, innovative attractions that appeal to all ages. In these cities, children (and parents) will be wide-eyed with amazement. Plus, these cities provide a touch of history, making them both educational and fun. Here, our favorite cities for family vacations, with age-specific attraction recommendations and hotel suggestions.

Written by Amanda Norcross

1. Washington, D.C.

TripAdvisor Rating: TripAdvisor Owl
981 Family Reviews
History books come to life in Washington, D.C., where there are so many fantastic attractions for families -- many of which are free! The Smithsonian Institute offers 19 free museums, including the Air & Space Museum, Museum of Natural History, Museum of American Art and even the National Zoo. The area is also famous for several iconic monuments, such as the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial and the Jefferson Memorial, located around the National Mall. Want to see the White House? Americans can schedule a guided tour through their congressional representative!

Best for Infants and Toddlers (0-2)

National Zoo

Best for Little Kids (3-6)

National Museum of Natural History

Best for Big Kids (7-9)

Monuments by Moonlight

Best for Tweens and Teens (10-13+)

Newseum

Recommended Family Itinerary

Washington, D.C. Weekend Guide

Recommended Family Hotel

Hilton Garden Inn Washington DC Downtown

2. Boston

TripAdvisor Rating: TripAdvisor Owl
1428 Family Reviews
Beantown -- as everyone but locals calls it -- is a small, big city with a healthy dose of old and new. Boston's past remains a fixture of its present, with cobblestone roads that Bostonians have navigated since the 1700s. In this very walkable city, you'll find the country's oldest standing baseball stadium, Fenway Park, shopping and dining in the city's historic and original "mall" at Quincy Market and a beautiful green space at Boston Common. The Freedom Trail is worth a visit in itself, too, with 16 historic sites along its route. Newer buildings house the Children's Museum and New England Aquarium, as well as the Museum of Science, all of which provide kids with hands-on learning opportunities that are also fun and exciting.

Best for Infants and Toddlers (0-2)

Boston Public Garden

Best for Little Kids (3-6)

New England Aquarium

Best for Big Kids (7-9)

Freedom Trail

Best for Tweens and Teens (10-13+)

Fenway Park

Recommended Family Itinerary

Boston Weekend Guide

Recommended Family Hotel

Hotel Commonwealth

3. Seattle

TripAdvisor Rating: TripAdvisor Owl
772 Family Reviews
The family will be sleepy in Seattle -- after a day spent exploring this beautiful city, that is. Visit the famed Space Needle, Seattle Great Wheel and Kerry Park -- all of which provide spectacular views of the city and neighboring Olympic National Park. Be sure to visit the Ballard Locks for a little history, and Pike Place Market for a bite to eat and a "show" -- watch fishmongers toss fish to customers in one of the city's quirkiest traditions. Don't miss the city's beaches, either. Alki Beach and Golden Gardens Park are among the best for families.

Best for Infants and Toddlers (0-2)

Pacific Science Center

Best for Little Kids (3-6)

Ride the Ducks of Seattle

Best for Big Kids (7-9)

Theo Chocolate Factory Tours

Best for Tweens and Teens (10-13+)

Museum of Pop Culture

Recommended Family Itinerary

Seattle Weekend Guide

Recommended Family Hotel

Sheraton Seattle Hotel

4. Las Vegas

TripAdvisor Rating: TripAdvisor Owl
932 Family Reviews
How can a destination whose nickname is Sin City possibly be family-friendly? Easy. Las Vegas offers amusement park thrills, kid-friendly shows, museums and aquariums. Just outside the city, families can explore the Red Rock Canyon and the ghost town of Rhyolite, or hop on a bus tour to see the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon.

Best for Infants and Toddlers (0-2)

Fountains of Bellagio

Best for Little Kids (3-6)

Discovery Children's Museum

Best for Big Kids (7-9)

Adventuredome Theme Park

Best for Tweens and Teens (10-13+)

Stratosphere

Recommended Family Itinerary

Las Vegas Weekend Guide

Recommended Family Hotel

Bellagio Las Vegas

5. San Antonio

TripAdvisor Rating: TripAdvisor Owl
850 Family Reviews
Deep in the heart of Texas is the uber family-friendly city of San Antonio. Although the city itself is large, its downtown River Walk means you can ditch the car and experience the old town, with its vibrant shops and restaurants. Visit The Alamo and other historic missions before a relaxing dinner cruise on the river. Just outside the city awaits more fun at SeaWorld San Antonio, Six Flags Fiesta Texas and Morgan's Wonderland, the world's only amusement park designed for kids with special needs. Visit Texas Hill Country while you're in San Antonio, too -- the area features a series of small towns and outdoor adventures galore.

Best for Infants and Toddlers (0-2)

The DoSeum

Best for Little Kids (3-6)

Natural Bridge Caverns

Best for Big Kids (7-9)

Six Flags Fiesta Texas

Best for Tweens and Teens (10-13+)

Pearl Brewery District

Recommended Family Itinerary

San Antonio Weekend Guide

Recommended Family Hotel

Embassy Suites San Antonio Riverwalk-Downtown

6. Tallahassee, Fla.

TripAdvisor Rating: TripAdvisor Owl
188 Family Reviews
Tallahassee is the capital of Florida and the proud home of Florida State University. But it's also a mecca for family fun, from outdoor adventures (including wildlife sightings) to historic sites. "Tally" also has an amazing array of restaurants (we're looking at you, Lofty Pursuits). Its small size makes it especially perfect for weekend getaways with the kids, too.

Best for Infants and Toddlers (0-2)

Cascades Park

Best for Little Kids (3-6)

Tallahassee Museum

Best for Big Kids (7-9)

Mission San Luis de Apalachee

Best for Tweens and Teens (10-13+)

Harry Smith Outdoors Kayak Tours

Recommended Family Itinerary

Tallahassee Weekend Guide

Recommended Family Hotel

Four Points by Sheraton Tallahassee Downtown

7. San Diego

TripAdvisor Rating: TripAdvisor Owl
797 Family Reviews
In Southern California, San Diego is a must-visit destination for families. It offers near-perfect weather year-round, as well as several iconic attractions and beaches. Visit spots such as Balboa Park, where you'll find beautiful green spaces, museums and the San Diego Zoo. In the downtown area, families can walk through the historic Gaslamp District and visit the Maritime Museum and the USS Midway Museum. Be sure to visit neighboring Carlsbad, home of LEGOLAND California and Carlsbad Beach, as well as Coronado, where you'll enjoy another beautiful beach and a look at the historic Hotel Del Coronado.

Best for Infants and Toddlers (0-2)

La Jolla Cove

Best for Little Kids (3-6)

San Diego Zoo

Best for Big Kids (7-9)

Balboa Park

Best for Tweens and Teens (10-13+)

California Surf Museum

Recommended Family Itinerary

San Diego Weekend Guide

Recommended Family Hotel

Omni San Diego Hotel

8. New York

TripAdvisor Rating: TripAdvisor Owl
1233 Family Reviews
In New York City, you can fill an entire weekend in just a few blocks. Hop aboard the ferry to Ellis Island and Lady Liberty or ride the elevator to the Top of the Rock or One World Observatory for awe-inspiring vistas. Stroll through Central Park before a kid-friendly Broadway show, then grab a slice of pizza from a street vendor or let the kids sample frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity. There's something for everyone in the Big Apple.

Of course, there's no better time to visit New York City than during the winter holidays, with the city's roster of events including the famous Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Radio City Christmas Spectacular with the Rockettes and New Year's Eve in Times Square.

Best for Infants and Toddlers (0-2)

Central Park Zoo

Best for Little Kids (3-6)

American Museum of Natural History

Best for Big Kids (7-9)

Luna Park at Coney Island

Best for Tweens and Teens (10-13+)

New York TV and Movie Tour

Recommended Family Itinerary

New York City Weekend Guide

Recommended Family Hotel

Casablanca Hotel

9. Nashville

TripAdvisor Rating: TripAdvisor Owl
267 Family Reviews
Nashville -- otherwise known as Music City -- is famous for its Grand Ole Opry (and the original one at Ryman Auditorium), the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Historic RCA Studio B, Loretta Lynn's Ranch, the Johnny Cash Museum and so many more music attractions. You can also hear live music just about anywhere -- stroll downtown Nashville and you're bound to hear some tunes! Other stand-outs include the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere and the Cheekwood Estate and Gardens.

Best for Infants and Toddlers (0-2)

Adventure Science Center

Best for Little Kids (3-6)

General Jackson Showboat

Best for Big Kids (7-9)

Grand Ole Opry

Best for Tweens and Teens (10-13+)

Historic RCA Studio B

Recommended Family Itinerary

Nashville Weekend Guide

Recommended Family Hotel

The Hermitage Hotel

10. Chicago

TripAdvisor Rating: TripAdvisor Owl
846 Family Reviews
Chicago's Magnificent Mile and beaches lining the shores of Lake Michigan make it a must-visit for families, as does the famous Navy Pier. Another hit for families is the Museum Campus, which houses the Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum and the Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum. Iconic Wrigley Field calls Chicago home, and kids can catch the World Series-winning Cubs, Stanley Cup-winning Blackhawks Sox, Bulls and Bears in stadiums across this sports-loving city.

Best for Infants and Toddlers (0-2)

Lincoln Park Zoo

Best for Little Kids (3-6)

Navy Pier

Best for Big Kids (7-9)

Skydeck Chicago

Best for Tweens and Teens (10-13+)

Second City

Recommended Family Itinerary

Chicago Weekend Guide

Recommended Family Hotel

Four Seasons Hotel Chicago

1 of 12


Traveling Family with Baby

Your personal family vacation planning starts now

Get expert advice, handpicked recommendations, and tips for your family all year round!