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10 Off The Beaten Path Things To Do In Washington D.C.

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Washington D.C., the capital of the United States, is home to countless historic monuments and museums. That’s not all it has to offer, though. The capital is full of things to do, ranging from hidden bars to even some outdoor excursions. Here’s 10 such off-the-beaten-path suggestions! 

10 Off The Beaten Path Things To Do In Washington D.C.

1. Explore Catacombs

Here’s one idea for a unique – and somewhat spooky – outing: exploring the Washington D.C. catacombs. The catacombs were actually built by a religious group in the early 1900s with the intention of recreating catacombs overseas. While all but one grave in the catacombs might be fake, they’re still a fun and eerie way to spend an afternoon. 

2. See The Lincoln Book Tower

The Lincoln Memorial is without a doubt the most well-known tribute to the former president, but it’s far from the only one. Head over to Ford’s Theatre Center to see the Lincoln Book Tower, a 34’ tall statue made of books about President Lincoln. 

See The Lincoln Book Tower

3. Enjoy A Meal At Chicken + Whiskey

This restaurant features south American-style comfort food and rotisserie chicken, but it also has a fun twist in addition to the delicious meals. It also features a whiskey bar “hidden” behind a walk-in freezer door.

Chicken and whiskey

4. Stop By Culture House

This art gallery is immediately eye-catching. Its located in a former church, nowadays painted in vibrant colors and stunning patterns. The exhibits inside are no less interesting – the gallery has hosted a variety of art projects ranging from paintings to digital exhibits. Culture House is also available for rental as an event venue and has previously hosted everything from corporate dinners to weddings. 

Stop By Culture House

5. Tivoli’s Astounding Magic Supply

Experience a magical outing and support a good cause by visiting Tivoli’s Astounding Magic Supply. This magic supply store serves as a storefront for 826DC, a nonprofit offering free writing programs to local children. A portion of proceeds from the magic shop goes towards 826DC. 

Tivoli's Astounding Magic Supply

6. Visit The United States Botanical Gardens

The United States Botanical Gardens may sound a little touristy, but it is more than worth a visit. The gardens are home to a huge variety of foliage, from exotic flowers to Bonsai trees. Admission is also free, making this a great option for those looking to add some budget-friendly things to do to their trip. 

Visit The United States Botanical Gardens

7. Kayak The Potomac River

Washington D.C. may bring to mind more museums than outdoor recreation, but it isn’t without any options to offer. One such option is kayaking the Potomac River. This is a pretty beginner-friendly excursion. Even if you don’t have much experience with kayaking, you can rent gear, take lessons, or go on a tour with groups such as Key Bridge Boathouse.

Kayak The Potomac River

8. Stop By Rock Creek Park Horse Center

Kayaking isn’t all there is to do outdoors in the district! Rock Creek Park Horse Center is a fantastic hidden gem in Washington D.C. The only public riding facility in the capitol, Rock Creek Park Horse Center offers trail rides and riding lessons. 

horseback riding

9. Enjoy A Drink At The Gibson

If you’re looking for a place to enjoy a drink, The Gibson won’t disappoint. This speakeasy-inspired bar offers a classic ambiance complete with low lights and jazz music, as well as a wide variety of delicious cocktails. Reservations are recommended, as the bar can get crowded, and can be made online.

 Enjoy A Drink At The Gibson

10. Visit Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens

Take a break from the busy city and enjoy some fresh air with a visit to Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens. These beautiful gardens are home to lush foliage, as well as countless ponds. They’re also a great place to spot local wildlife such as birds and frogs.

Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens

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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling.  Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories


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