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Washington, DC

What must I see in D.C. that is off the beaten path?

I have been to D.C. before and went to most of the must see destinations. Anything amazing that I must see? Historical destinations make the top of the list.

7 Answers

top answer by
Connie from Washington, DC

If you have a car there's a few really interesting places in and around DC. President Lincoln Cottage has recently been opened to the public in NW, DC. If you want to continue the Lincoln theme, in suburban Maryland is the Surratt House Museum. The Surratt family, including Mary, was executed in the Lincoln conspiracy. A little further afield in La Plata, Maryland is Dr. Samuel Mudd House. He was imprisoned for treating John Wilkes Booth. Annapolis is nice. There is the National Museum of Crime & Punishment and the Newseum back in DC. Clara Barton National Historic Site is interesting. Take a walk or bike ride along the C&O canal. Manassas National Battlefield Park in Virginia and the Air and Space Museum Annex at Dulles Airport are also worth visiting.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. President Lincoln Cottage (attraction)
  2. Surratt House Museum (attraction)
  3. La Plata (city)
  4. Annapolis (city)
  5. National Museum of Crime & Punishment (attraction)
  6. Newseum (attraction)
  7. Clara Barton National Historic Site (attraction)
  8. Manassas National Battlefield Park (attraction)
  9. Dulles Airport (attraction)
  10. Dr. Samuel Mudd House (attraction)
4 thanks

answered by
peggy from Washington, DC

Too much to do! The United States National Arboretum is off the beaten track and has an incredible Bonsai collection. The Newseum, one ticket is good for 2 days so don't rush through this fascinating museum. Arlington National Cemetery is easy to get to on the Metro. 

Pavilion Café has a new addition, Marc Chagall's 'Orphee'. This glass and tile mosaic is a must see but can be a bit hard to find. When in the garden, face the Cafe and walk to the back right of the Cafe. If you are in DC in the summer there are free Jazz concerts in the garden on Friday nights. Food is available or bring your own but it is VERY crowded. Wine and beer is available too but don't bring your own, security will take it when they search your bag! 

If you haven' walked the entire Tidal Basin you are missing out. As you walk you'll see the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, the MLK Memorial and the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, one of my favorites. This is an incredible walk day or night. Be sure to walk the Mall. Walking from the United States Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial is about 4 miles roundtrip. If that's too much start at the Washington Monument and head to the Lincoln Memorial. If you have never seen the Korean War Memorial, which is next to Lincoln, don't miss it, especially at night. It is a must see. 

There are free concerts every night in the summer along the Mall including on the Capitol steps and a free movie on the Mall once a week. The Embassies open there doors in May and you can enjoy the White House Rose Garden for free one spring and fall weekend each year.  

Go to my Pinterest account, Peggy Robbins, and check out Washington DC Walk Everywhere and My DC Photos to get so many more ideas. Also these sites may help you a monthly event calendar for festival info 

Enjoy and safe travels!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. United States National Arboretum (attraction)
  2. Arlington National Cemetery (attraction)
  3. Pavilion Café (restaurant)
  4. Tidal Basin (attraction)
  5. Thomas Jefferson Memorial (attraction)
  6. MLK Memorial (attraction)
  7. Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial (attraction)
  8. United States Capitol (attraction)
  9. Lincoln Memorial (attraction)
  10. Washington Monument (attraction)
  11. White House Rose Garden (attraction)
3 thanks

answered by
Jessica from Washington, DC

For the best views of DC and perfect picnic spot: Netherlands Carillion in Arlington (Virginia), 100 yards away from the USMC memorial. For food: Union Market in NoMA. Favorite stalls: Takorean and No 1 Sons. Go for a walk in Bloomingdale for the architecture and have lunch at Big Bear Cafe. Take a tour of DC Brau. Head to The Catholic University of America to see the Basilica and then have lunch at Hälsa, the new healthy fast food spot in Brookland or craft beers at Brookland PintThe Phillips Collection for an impressive private collection of art. The sculpture garden at the National Gallery of Art still seems like a hidden gem! Lunch at the National Museum Of The American Indian. Cocktails at The Mayflower Renaissance Washington, DC Hotel. A guided tour of The Pentagon

My blog is currently under maintenance until Sunday but head to under the Washington, DC category. I have lots of posts about my favorite places and restaurants.  

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Arlington (Virginia) (city)
  2. Union Market (attraction)
  3. Big Bear Cafe (attraction)
  4. DC Brau (restaurant)
  5. The Catholic University of America (attraction)
  6. Hälsa (restaurant)
  7. Brookland Pint (restaurant)
  8. The Phillips Collection (attraction)
  9. National Gallery of Art (restaurant)
  10. National Museum Of The American Indian (attraction)
  11. The Mayflower Renaissance Washington, DC Hotel (hotel)
  12. The Pentagon (attraction)
3 thanks

answered by
Marcy from Cincinnati

I always loved the The Phillips Collection. It is close to the The White House and not part of the Smithsonian. A beautiful private collection in an exquisite setting. Also visit theDumbarton Oaks Gardens and museum in Georgetown (Washington DC), best time is during spring flowering.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. The Phillips Collection (attraction)
  2. The White House (attraction)
  3. Dumbarton Oaks Gardens (attraction)
  4. Georgetown (Washington DC) (neighborhood)
2 thanks

answered by
Jessica from Washington, DC

Depending when you are coming check out the Washington Post's events guides ( they usually have some interesting things that are seasonally appropriate.  I love going to all of the festivals that DC hosts. I also follow the Live Chat each Thursday for Going Out Guide ( They really know everything going on in the area! 

2 thanks

answered by
Nars from Boston

Here are my favorite places:


Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial

Library of Congress

Ford's Theatre - Where Abraham Lincoln was assassinated

Here's an easy-to-view list of best of DC attractions:

Have a great trip.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Newseum (attraction)
  2. Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial (attraction)
  3. Library of Congress (attraction)
  4. Ford's Theatre (attraction)
2 thanks

answered first by
Roberta from Los Angeles

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (attraction)
1 thankscomments (1)

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