The 16 Best Team Building Activities in Washington, D.C.

| Team Building
The 16 Best Team Building Activities in Washington D.C. FEATURED IMAGE
Are you in search of team building activities in Washington, D.C.? Look no further! We’ve compiled 16 of the best options for you and your workgroup.

If you’re looking for a great way to engage with your colleagues in the nation’s capital, our list of 16 team building activities in Washington, D.C., was curated just for you.

From viewing historic monuments to kayaking, scavenger hunts, and beyond, this list covers the full spectrum of things you can do in the city.

Without further ado, let’s dive into our recommendations!

1. National Mall Scavenger Hunt

Whether you’re a local or a visitor, a scavenger hunt is a top-tier team building activity in Washington D.C.

We’d recommend hosting your hunt at the National Mall, where your team can explore iconic landmarks while completing fun challenges.

Create a list of items and landmarks to find, such as:

  • Taking a selfie with the Lincoln Memorial
  • Spotting a specific quote on the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial
  • Identifying a unique plant in the U.S. Botanic Garden

Here’s how we’d advise you to map this out.

Start your hunt at the Washington Monument, where you can marvel at its height and snap a group photo. From there, head towards the Reflecting Pool and catch the majestic view of the Lincoln Memorial.

Encourage your team to share interesting facts or historical trivia at each stop. End your scavenger hunt with a picnic on the National Mall, where you can discuss your favorite moments and celebrate your teamwork.

Additionally, make a stop at the Smithsonian Castle to find the original cornerstone, or visit the WWII Memorial to locate the Freedom Wall and its 4,048 gold stars.

2. Wild Goose Chase

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If you want to partake in a scavenger hunt where all the stops and challenges are mapped out for you, then Wild Goose Chase is your ideal team building activity in Washington, D.C.

In this scavenger hunt activity, your team can get out of the office and explore Boston in a whole new way.

Together, your team will need to think outside the box, bond as a group, and venture outside into the community in order to complete a series of fun and unique photo and video challenges.

You’ll need to tackle a list of challenges, including:

  • Snap a photo of your team standing next to a large public clock that reads EXACTLY 22 minutes past the hour
  • Search for a business that is open 24 hours 7 days a week and snap a photo of a team member with the sign showing the business’ hours
  • Snap a photo of a teammate next to a vehicle that has an “antique” or “collectible” license plate
  • Head to a nearby playground and take a photo of your entire team balanced on a seesaw. Here’s the catch: everyone’s feet must be off the ground while balanced!
  • Find a hopscotch course or use a piece of chalk to create your own on a sidewalk. Record a 5-second video of a teammate hopping and completing it
  • Stage a martial arts battle with another team in a nearby park. Record a 5-second video of both teams facing each other (with plenty of space between you) and doing the famous crane kick

The team with the most points when time runs out will be named the winners!

3. Smithsonian Museum Day

the smithsonian museum for a team building activity in washington dc

If you want to do a quintessential team building activity in Washington, D.C., spend a day exploring the Smithsonian museums with your team.

Divide into smaller groups and assign each group a different museum, such as the National Air and Space Museum, the National Museum of American History, or the National Museum of Natural History. Encourage each group to spend a few hours exploring and taking notes on interesting exhibits.

Afterward, regroup at a central location like the National Mall, and have each group share highlights from their museum visit.

For example, the Air and Space group might talk about the Wright Brothers’ plane, while the Natural History group could discuss the Hope Diamond.

Finish the day with a group photo in front of the iconic Smithsonian Castle. Additional museum options include the Hirshhorn Museum for modern art enthusiasts or the National Museum of African American History and Culture for a profound historical experience.

4. Georgetown Food Tour

Does your team love a good feast? Then a food tour is a delicious team building activity in Washington, D.C.

Organize a culinary adventure in Georgetown by creating a food tour of the neighborhood’s best eateries.

Start your tour at Baked & Wired for some of DC’s most beloved cupcakes.

Next, head to Georgetown Cupcake, another fan favorite, for a taste test comparison. Continue to Dean & DeLuca for gourmet snacks and coffee.

For lunch, consider a visit to Martin’s Tavern, a historic restaurant where John F. Kennedy proposed to Jackie.

Afterward, stroll along the C&O Canal and stop by Farmers Fishers Bakers for a refreshing drink. Encourage team members to try different dishes and share their thoughts, fostering a sense of community and shared experiences.

End your tour with a visit to the waterfront for a relaxing view of the Potomac River. Other notable stops could include the Pie Sisters for delicious pies or Pizzeria Paradiso for mouth-watering wood-fired pizzas.

5. Potomac River Kayaking

potomac river as a venue for kayak team building in washington dc

Experience the great outdoors with a kayaking adventure on the Potomac River. Rent kayaks from Thompson Boat Center or Key Bridge Boathouse and paddle down the river as a team. Before you begin, ensure everyone is equipped with life jackets and understands basic paddling techniques.

As you navigate the waters, take in the stunning views of the Georgetown waterfront, Roosevelt Island, and the Kennedy Center.

Consider stopping at Theodore Roosevelt Island for a picnic and a short hike around the island’s trails. This activity requires teamwork and communication, providing a refreshing way to bond outside the office.

For an added challenge, paddle all the way to Fletcher’s Cove and explore the nearby trails, or navigate the waters near the Three Sisters Islands for a unique perspective of the city.

6. Capitol Hill Walking Tour

Host a team building activity in Washington, D.C. that explores the heart of American politics with a walking tour of Capitol Hill.

We recommend starting at the U.S. Capitol, where you can admire the impressive architecture and take a guided tour to learn about the legislative process.

Next, you should visit the Library of Congress, one of the world’s largest libraries, and marvel at the beautiful interiors and vast collection of books.

From there, continue to the Supreme Court, where you can discuss landmark cases and the role of the judiciary.

Have each team member prepare a short presentation on the significance of each landmark, fostering public speaking and knowledge sharing.

Then, wrap up your tour at the nearby Eastern Market, where you can enjoy a meal together and explore local vendors. Don’t miss the chance to see the historic Folger Shakespeare Library, home to the world’s largest Shakespeare collection, or the U.S. Botanic Garden, which offers a serene escape with its diverse plant collections.

7. Trivia Night at a Local Pub

Looking for a team building activity in Washington, D.C. that’s fun, lighthearted, and social?

Then you can’t go wrong by spicing up your team’s evening with a trivia night at one of DC’s local pubs. Many establishments, like Biergarten Haus and The Big Hunt, host weekly trivia nights, or you can create your own trivia game tailored to your team’s interests.

Given the context of the city, we’d advise that you focus on topics like local history, pop culture, or company-specific facts.

Divide into teams and compete for fun prizes, such as gift cards or an extra vacation day.

Looking for more ideas for where to go? A few popular local trivia venues include Nellie’s Sports Bar for a lively atmosphere or Penn Social for a mix of trivia and other games.

8. Themed Potluck Picnic

Organize a themed potluck picnic at one of DC’s beautiful parks, such as Rock Creek Park or Meridian Hill Park.

Choose a theme, such as international cuisine or favorite childhood dishes, and have each team member bring a dish that fits the theme. It’s a good idea to provide picnic blankets, utensils, and drinks to ensure everyone is comfortable.

While you’re there, share stories about the dishes and enjoy a relaxing afternoon outdoors.

It’s always a great idea to organize lawn games like frisbee, cornhole, or a friendly game of soccer to add some fun activities to the mix.

For an added twist, host a dessert competition or a DIY sandwich station to keep things interesting.

9. Random Acts of Kindness

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Feel like getting out and spreading some kindness throughout Washington, D.C.? We recommend it! Doing good in the world is good for you. In fact, it actually builds team morale.

Random Acts of Kindness fuses the scavenger hunt concept with a philanthropic twist. This team building activity gets teams racing against one another to try and complete as many good deeds as possible before time runs out.

10. Cherry Blossom Festival Visit

If you’re in DC during the Cherry Blossom Festival, plan a team outing to see the beautiful blossoms around the Tidal Basin. Encourage team members to bring their cameras and take part in a photography contest, with categories like “Best Blossom Shot” or “Most Creative Photo.”

Walk around the Tidal Basin, visiting the Jefferson Memorial, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, and the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial along the way.

If you want an extra unique perspective, rent paddleboats to view the blossoms from the water or participate in the Blossom Kite Festival for some added fun.

11. Historic Alexandria Day Trip

Take a short trip to Old Town Alexandria for a day of history and exploration.

Looking for a good place to start? We’d suggest the Torpedo Factory Art Center, where you can view and purchase artwork from local artists. Stroll along the cobblestone streets of King Street, visiting unique shops and historic sites like Gadsby’s Tavern Museum.

Then, plan a group lunch at one of the charming restaurants along King Street, such as The Warehouse or Virtue Feed & Grain.

After lunch, take a waterfront walk along the Potomac River, or hop on the King Street Trolley for a scenic tour of the area.

This day trip offers a mix of history, shopping, and dining, making for a well-rounded team-building experience.

Be sure to check out the Spite House, the narrowest house in the U.S., or take a ghost tour for some local lore and thrills.

12. Clue Murder Mystery

a team of four colleagues at a table reviewing case files during a clue murder mystery team building activity in washington dc

Engage your inner detectives with this Sherlock-inspired game. This indoor team building activity in Washington, D.C. encourages your team to work together to solve a mystery using clues, case files, logic, and lots of discussions.

This game is the perfect way to problem-solve and learn about each teammate’s unique way of thinking and processing information. Plus, it’s filled with mystery, so it’s guaranteed to be a lot of fun for teams that are brainy, like a bit of competition, and love socializing.

13. Embassy Row Cultural Tour

Are you and your team interested in a culture experience? Then we’d suggest that you explore the diverse cultures represented along Embassy Row.

You can begin your tour at Dupont Circle and make your way along Massachusetts Avenue, where you can see the embassies of various countries.

While you might not be able to enter all the embassies, many offer cultural events or open houses.

Pro tip: research in advance to find out if any embassies are hosting events or tours.

To create some additional engagement, encourage team members to learn about the countries represented and share interesting facts.

If you’ve got time, visit the Phillips Collection, America’s first museum of modern art, or stop by the Islamic Center of Washington for its beautiful architecture and educational exhibits.

14. Outdoor Movie Night at The Wharf

a photo of the washington dc wharf at sunset

Check out the outdoor movie screenings at The Wharf.

Bring blankets, snacks, and enjoy a film under the stars with your team. You’ll probably want to arrive early to secure a good spot and explore The Wharf’s many dining options for a pre-movie meal.

While you’re there, you and your colleagues can enjoy the scenic waterfront views and vibrant atmosphere as you relax and watch a movie together.

Want to make sure everyone’s well-fed before the show begins? You can organize a pre-movie dinner at Mi Vida for Mexican cuisine or The Grill for seafood specialties.

Don’t forget to grab dessert from the famous Milk Bar!

14. DC Street Art Tour

Discover the vibrant street art scene in Washington DC with your team on a self-guided tour of the city’s most captivating murals and graffiti.

While there are a ton of options to choose from, here’s a list of highlights to narrow your search:

  • Ben’s Chili Bowl Mural (Shaw): Start your tour in the historic Shaw neighborhood at Ben’s Chili Bowl. The mural on the side of this iconic eatery features portraits of famous figures like Prince, Muhammad Ali, and Barack Obama. Take time to appreciate the vibrant colors and powerful imagery, and snap some group photos with these larger-than-life legends.
  • “Love” Mural (U Street): Head over to U Street and find the “Love” mural by artist Lisa Marie Thalhammer. Located at the intersection of 14th and U Streets NW, this colorful mural spells out the word “Love” in bold letters and has become a popular spot for photos. Discuss what love means to your team and how it can be represented in different forms of art.
  • “Greetings from DC” Mural (Ivy City): Continue your tour in Ivy City, where you’ll find the “Greetings from DC” mural by artist Victor Ving. This postcard-style mural, located at 1515 New York Avenue NE, showcases iconic DC landmarks and symbols. Encourage team members to share their favorite parts of the city and why they love working in DC.
  • “Mural of Time” (14th Street): Explore the “Mural of Time” at the intersection of 14th and U Streets NW. This mural takes you through the history of the U Street Corridor, depicting scenes from different eras and significant moments in the neighborhood’s development. Use this mural as a conversation starter about the importance of history and progress within your team.
  • “Pow! Wow! DC” Murals (NoMa): Visit the NoMa (North of Massachusetts Avenue) neighborhood, where the annual Pow! Wow! DC festival brings together artists from around the world to create stunning murals. Wander through the area and discover various murals on buildings and walls, each with its own unique style and story. Discuss the diversity of artistic expression and how different perspectives can enhance creativity in your team.
  • Blind Whino (Southwest Waterfront): Finally, make your way to the Southwest Waterfront to see the Blind Whino, a former church turned art and event space. The building itself is covered in vibrant street art, making it a visual feast for art lovers. Take a moment to explore the surrounding area, which often features rotating murals and installations.

Throughout your tour, encourage team members to share their interpretations of the art and discuss how it inspires them. Consider stopping by local cafes or bars along the way to rest and chat about your favorite pieces.

15. Botanical Gardens Exploration

Visit the United States Botanic Garden and explore the diverse plant collections with your team. Plan a plant identification challenge or a photo scavenger hunt within the gardens. Encourage team members to find and photograph specific plants, such as the corpse flower, orchids, or rare ferns.

Take time to appreciate the different themed gardens, like the National Garden, which showcases native plants, or the Conservatory, home to exotic plants from around the world.

This serene environment provides a calming backdrop for team interactions, encouraging mindfulness and appreciation for nature’s beauty.

End your visit with a group photo in front of the picturesque garden landscapes. Be sure to spend time in the butterfly garden or the medicinal plant garden for some fascinating insights into plant uses.

16. Monuments and Memorials Walk

a group of people standing at the pool in washington dc

Plan a leisurely walking tour of Washington, D.C.’s famous monuments and memorials.

Begin your journey at the Lincoln Memorial, where you can reflect on Lincoln’s legacy and take in the serene view of the Reflecting Pool. Next, visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and encourage team members to find names of soldiers they might know or look up the stories behind some of the names.

Continue to the World War II Memorial, where you can discuss the significance of the different states and territories represented.

Make your way to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and spend a few moments reading and discussing the powerful quotes etched into the stone.

Then, for the last stop of your tour, head to the nearby Jefferson Memorial, where you can sit by the Tidal Basin and reflect on the day’s experiences.

Washington, D.C. is one of the most culturally significant cities in the United States, and it also provides an abundant array of team building opportunities.

By exploring the city’s rich history, vibrant culture, and scenic landscapes together, you can foster a sense of camaraderie and collaboration that will benefit your team both inside and outside the workplace.

We hope these ideas inspire you to plan your next team-building event in the nation’s capital. Remember, the key to successful team building is participation and enthusiasm, so dive in and make the most of your time together in Washington D.C.!

Learn more about team building activities in Washington, D.C.  

If you’ve got questions about how to facilitate unforgettable team building activities in Washington, D.C., reach out to an Employee Engagement Consultant.   

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