1. Frederick Douglass’ Cedar Hill
Cedar Hill was the home of the famous social reformer, writer, speaker and abolitionist, Frederick Douglass. The home is dedicated as a museum to him and visitors can tour the house, learn about Douglass’ life and legacy and explore the grounds.
2. Old Post Office Pavilion
The Old Post Office Pavilion is right between the White House and the US Capitol and was originally built in 1899. Today the building has been modernized with shops and dining but the site is still a fascinating look at DC’s history! Don’t miss a tour of the Clock Tower for incredible views of the city.
3. Octagon House
The elegant Octagon House was built between 1798 and 1800. It is one of the most architecturally impressive buildings in the district. At the Octagon House, you can learn about the history of the who lived in the home over the years. It’s also rumored to be one of the most haunted buildings in DC!
4. Old Stone House
The Old Stone House is the oldest standing building in DC, standing in the same spot since it was built in 1765. Visitors can enjoy a great look at Revolutionary War-era architecture and what life was like in DC in the 1700s.
5. Lincoln’s Cottage
Also known as the Soldier’s Home, This historic building was built in the 1800s and used to be the summer house of President Abraham Lincoln. In fact, he drafted the Emancipation Proclamation while staying here. You can visit Lincoln’s Cottage to learn about war time in DC and what Lincoln was like as the President during the Civil War.
6. Woodrow Wilson House
Woodrow Wilson is one of the few Presidents to remain living in DC after his presidency and until his death. The home gives a glimpse into the private life of President Wilson and his family during and after his presidency.
7. Carnegie Library
The Carnegie Library was donated to Washington DC by entrepreneur Andrew Carnegie. This gorgeous building was a library for many years but has since been turned into an event space.
8. Mary McLeod Bethune House
Mary McLeod Bethune was an educator and political leader who founded the National Council of Negro Women and was president of the National Association of Colored Women. The building was once her home and also the headquarters of the National Council of Negro Women. Visitors are welcome to tour the home and learn about Mary McLeod Bethune and the history of women’s and civil right in the United States.
9. White-Meyer House
This historic home was designed by John Russell Pope in 1917. Many famous Washingtonians visited and dined at White-Meyer House including President Warren Harding, Eleanor Roosevelt, President John F. Kennedy, President Lyndon B. Johnson and Robert Kennedy.
10. Blair House
The Blair House is also known as the President’s Guest House as it is mostly used to host visiting dignitaries and guests of the White House. It was built in 1824 and while visitors cannot visit inside, it is a must-see when you are in downtown DC.
11. St. John’s Church
Located across Lafayette Square, this gorgeous church is known as "The President’s Church" as almost every president since Franklin Roosevelt has attended services here. The bell in the steeple weighs nearly 1,000 pounds and was cast by Paul Revere’s son.
12. Arlington House
Located right across the bridge in Arlington, this former mansion was once the home of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. You can learn about the famous general and his family. You can also view original objects and heirlooms from the Lee and Custis families.
13. The Petersen House
The Petersen House is also known as the "House Where Lincoln" died. It is a lesser known attraction across the street from Ford’s Theater that was once the home of William and Anna Petersen. The rooms of the house are finished in period pieces from 1865 and offers exhibits about the immediate aftermath of Lincoln’s death.