My Top Five Favorite Places to Visit: Washington, DC, Edition

I recently had occasion to visit Washington, DC, on a research trip. My work-in-progress takes place in Washington and I needed to see first-hand the places where my protagonist works and lives and where she goes to do research. I lived in Washington for a very short time many years ago, and though I remember the experience fondly, my memories of some of the neighborhoods in the capital city aren’t crystal-clear. But my research trip wasn’t all research–I played the role of tourist, too. I got thinking that for my blog post this week, it would be great to share some of my favorite places in and around Washington.

 

Mount Vernon. Located not far from the US capital in Mount Vernon, Virginia, this is the plantation home that belonged to George Washington. My daughter and I visited Mount Vernon in March and both of us loved the experience. I was surprised to learn that Mount Vernon is not a national park. In fact, it is owned by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association of the Union and the organization does a beautiful job of maintaining the buildings and the grounds for visitors. There is a working farm, a beautiful learning center where you can watch a fascinating movie about George and Martha Washington and about the estate in general, a boat landing, the plantation house, outbuildings that are open to visitors, and so much more to see. One of my favorite parts of our visit was looking at the Potomac River from the veranda of the house, which sits on a hill with a majestic view of the river in both directions.

 

 

International Spy Museum. My son and I had occasion to visit the International Spy Museum on a Boy Scout trip to Washington a couple years ago. Hands-down, it was my favorite part of that trip. Ever wanted to know how the KGB assassinated a Soviet dissident in London? Ever wondered how the CIA used to hide cyanide pills? Ever suspected the Romanians of listening in on your conversations? The answers to these mysteries and so many more are in the museum. I highly recommend a visit!

  

Ford’s Theatre. History buffs will know this as the place where President Abraham Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth. Visitors can see the box where President and Mrs. Lincoln were sitting that fateful night; the docents willingly share their extensive knowledge of both the assassination and its immediate aftermath. If you get a chance to visit Ford’s Theatre, make a bonus stop at the Petersen House (it’s right across the street). This is the private home where Lincoln died on the morning of April 15, 1865. You’ll see the important rooms of the house where historical figures came together to pay their respects and to mourn the President’s passing.

  (photos courtesy of Pixabay/Mark Thomas)

Lincoln Memorial. And speaking of Abraham Lincoln, don’t miss a stop at the Lincoln Memorial. At the top of the steps of this building, you’ll find a huge statue of a seated Lincoln as well as gorgeous carvings of text from some of his most memorable speeches, such as the Gettysburg Address. Depending on the route you take to get to the Lincoln Memorial, you might also pass the World War II Memorial, the Reflecting Pool, and/or the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen). From the Lincoln statue, turn around to see the Reflecting Pool and the Washington Monument.

Tudor Place (sorry, no photos of this one). Located above Georgetown, this property is a National Historic Landmark which was once the private home of George Washington’s step-granddaughter Martha and her husband, followed by generations of their family. Visitors can tour the grounds for free and tour the house for a small fee.

There are so many things to see and do in Washington, DC, that you’ll never lack for activities if you get a chance to visit. These are just my favorite places, and I encourage you to find some of  your own!

Until next time,

Amy

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25 comments on “My Top Five Favorite Places to Visit: Washington, DC, Edition

  1. jjspina says:

    What a wonderful post and photos, Amy! Love Washington, DC! There is so much to see and do. A great place to bring the kids to learn the history of USA and its government. I feel the same about the Lincoln Memorial! Going to Arlington Cemetary is an emotion experience too. Also, I enjoyed seeing the Ford Theatre. Will have to go back to see Mt Vernon and the museum. Thank you for sharing your trip. 🤗😘

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    • amreade says:

      Thanks! It’s really an incredible place to take children, and especially teens. Somehow the museums are able to get through to kids in that age group and they do a beautiful job of it. My kids love the Natural History Museum. Glad you dropped by!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Carol Thompson says:

    This article brought back fond memories of my visits to Washington DC and I realize I missed a few places and might want to revisit our capital.

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  3. Sounds like a fun research trip, Amy. DC is one of those places that you need a month to even begin touching on all there is to see. I’m a big fan of all the international food. I haven’t been to Mt. Vernon – next trip. 😀

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    • amreade says:

      Oh- the food. The first Indian restaurant I ever visited was in Washington and I was hooked. I had forgotten that until I read your comment. Thanks for bringing back a nice memory!

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  4. maggie8king says:

    I have to get up there.I’m just 2 hours away! The Ford Theatre and LOC top my list.

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    • amreade says:

      Isn’t it funny how places can be so close and we don’t visit? All the time I lived in Manhattan, I never made it to Ellis Island or the Statue of Liberty. Now I’ll have to go back and see them as a tourist rather than a local. 🙂 The Library of Congress is indeed incredible, too. There were so many places I wanted to include on my list but for the sake of space I left them off. The LOC was one of those.

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  5. I love D.C. And used to travel there a lot many years ago. But, I have not seen several of these places you recommend here. I can’t wait to go there hopefully sooner rather than later. I’ve heard others exclaim about their experience at Mount Vernon as well as at the spy Museum. Fun! And it’s been a while since I’ve even seen the Lincoln Memorial, which always takes away my breath.

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    • amreade says:

      Hi Pam, one of the things I like to do there is pick a neighborhood and just go walking. There’s always something to see and I love the architecture. One thing that I was going to include on my list as #6 was the National Cathedral. I saw the Canadian Brass perform there once. The acoustics are incredible and the building itself is magnificent.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. JL Greger says:

    Have you considered nooks in the Library of Congress. There’s three buildings and certain back hallways could be interesting in a mystery or thriller.

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  7. macjam47 says:

    I love Mt. Vernon! Fabulous and interesting place. I’ve never been to Tudor Place or the Spy Museum but I am adding them to my places to visit the next time we are in DC.

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  8. lindamthorne says:

    I’ve been to Washington D.C. several times and went to many, many of the tourist spots – the Vietnam Memorial, etc. It’s been a very long time, so I enjoyed traveling there with you in this post. Thank you, Amy.

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  9. Oh my, it’s been forever since I have been to D.C., love the pics!

    Have a great week!

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  10. Lelia T says:

    My obsession is all the pieces parts of the Smithsonian 😉

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  11. My husband and and I visited Washington, D.C. this spring. We spent three days seeing the places you mentioned and more, but we need three months to investigate in-depth. Much of that time could be spent in all those free Smithsonian museums. I hadn’t been there since I was 12. It’s a fascinating experience.

    Liked by 1 person

    • amreade says:

      I agree that when you can visit so many incredible places in Washington for free, it could take months to take it all in. All the more reason to go more often, as far as I’m concerned!

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  12. It sounds like you had a great time in Washington while doing research.
    I went there when I was twenty-two as a chaperone on my little sister’s school field trip. It rained the whole time until we got to Mt. Vernon when the sun finally came out. Trust me, you can be glad you didn’t go with thirty sixth graders. Popping balloons, getting sick on the plane. . . . Let’s just say I’ll never forget that trip. LOL

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    • amreade says:

      Oh no! You just gave me another reason to be thankful I only went with two other people, and both of them adults. 🙂 Maybe someday you’ll get back and have a much more relaxing trip–I hope so!

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