Unconventional things to do in Washington DC

unconventional things to do in washington dc

Unconventional things to do in Washington DC


There is a lot to do in DC other than Lincoln Memorial, Washington monument and Smithsonian troves. These places are quite the conventional places to do but there are also unconventional things to do in Washington DC. The National Capital of DC can be quite an exploration per square mile which is at the convergence of the Potomac and Anacostia and apart from statesmanship and politics. Washington DC comes with a variety of options for a traveler to explore but these choices are obvious as no one tells about unconventional things to do in Washington DC. There is an intangible attribute to DC that does not dissipate with time. These intangibles of DC should be contributed to unconventional things to do in Washington DC. Washington has got both history and modernity. The walkable offbeat DC resonates with the deepest part of your souls. History blends seamlessly with modernity in DC. Washington DC State tree of Scarlet Oak or Fagaceae Quercus coccinea with its autumn color is a common sight in here. New York Avenue will have you in its clutches with some of the best hotspots as you pass by.

Washington is the only place where sound travels faster than light. – C. V. R. Thompson

The Ultra preppy Georgetown on the Washington uptown district is the wealthiest neighbourhood from marketplace along M street, the University, Residential neighbourhood and waterfront. Georgetown is all about being self-indulgent in some designer retail therapy. High street fashion is one of the topmost things to indulge in unconventional things to do in Washington DC.

The Zero Milestone is supposedly the beginning of all things in DC. Bohemian Caverns on the Black Broadway of U street is a jazz club that hosted the greats with the likes of Duke Ellington. The portrait monument in Rotunda of Capitol building are marble busts symbolic of woman’s suffrage for its late arrival in US and the undone space is supposedly for the yet to become probable first woman US President. While the USA waits for a woman President in the coming breaking the stereotypes, sexism and gender inequality this place has to be included in unconventional things to do in Washington DC.

Temperance Fountain is neo classical fountain symbolic of the temperance movement oddly placed monument of social ideals of much maligned Teetotalism. Treasury Department Cash Vault is where US Government originally kept its treasure. Riggs Bank which is also coined as the Bank of Presidents has also got quite the intrigue and history. It is a sublime feeling to hold the most important office of the most powerful nation of the world and hence this place definitely plays the ploy in unconventional things to do in Washington DC.

tudor place Washington dc travel dejavu                                                                           Image Credits : Tudorplace org

Tudor place is a federal style mansion on Georgetown Heights is a structure from 1816 by Martha Washington with the views of the Potomac is a National Historic Landmark. Arlington House is by one of the descendants of Martha Washington is popular for Arlington National Cemetery.

Washington National Cathedral houses crypts, marble vaults and Helen Keller’s ashes. Gargoyles and grotesques are a treat to the eyes with the likes of Darth Vader and Moon rocks in the stained glass windows. Abe Lincoln Church of Christ is a Presbyterian church on New York Ave has been one of the most frequented churches by the US Presidents and is much more beyond its face value. It is quite a mystery if Abraham Lincoln was baptized for the remission of sins but he lived and died a member of the church of the Christ and holds the top spot in the unconventional things to do in Washington DC. 

Old Post office Pavilion and Clock Tower on Pennsylvania Avenue NW are a delight to watch. Luray Caverns with cathedral sized chambers and towering stone formations features world’s only stalacpipe organ of calcite. The Dream Lake, Titania’s Veil and the Double Columns are the main attractions.

old post office pavilion washington travel dejavu                                                                                 Image Credits : Wikipedia

A Capitol River Cruise lets you cruise past the capital with the sights of US Capitol, Watergate, Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, Roosevelt Island and Kennedy Centre. These cruises let you discover the most spectacular views of Washington from the Potomac River and so it a must do in the unconventional things to do in Washington DC. 

In the Washington Monument the replica of the same and lightning rod are hidden gems. The Potomac Park Flood Levee is a barrier designed to protect the White House. This project is a part of risk management plan to ensure downtown Washington DC is protected from Potomac River flooding and is quite an interesting place to watch out for in the unconventional things to do in Washington DC.

The Smithsonian Aviation Museum is the state of the art facility for Aviation lovers. The Model B flight simulator is a dekko. The National Building Museum can be quite quirky with frequent exhibits of replicas of made out of Legos and soft blocks for tykes and quite a retreat for architectural lovers on F Street NW to know about unrealized proposals of noteworthy architectural ventures and urban design developments.

The Boat Dock of Tidal Basin offers paddle boat tours as you get the glimpses of the Jefferson Memorial. The United States Botanic Garden in the National Mall will have you take a preview of the most bizarre flora such as Amorphophallus titanium or Corpse flower.

newseum washington dc travel dejavu                                                                           Image Credits : Newseum org

Newseum in Pennsylvania Avenue is set in a glass and silver structure and chronicles the rise of Multimedia and worldwide news dissemination especially by internet with state of the art theatre and 4D theatre. The exhibits of Pulitzer prize winning gallery is a must see and others include the piece of Berlin Wall outside Germany, Vietnam War and 9/11 attacks.

Eastern Market in the Capitol is the ultimate liveliest destination for running errands and shopping for artisanal produce in the farmer’s market.

Rock Creek Park with hiking trails, bridle paths and paved roads is great for spending an entire day with Fort Stevens at its vicinity. The Central thoroughfare of the Beach Drive and the district’s only public riding stable are worthy add-ons. The Zoological Park on Connecticut Avenue can be quite a trip with snow tubing and a treat of mulled cider, roasted nuts and eggnog in the venue.

rocks creek park washington dc travel dejavu                                                                              Image Credits : RootsRated

The National Archives houses national iconography, historical gravitas, original tapes, documents and maps known as the Charters of Freedom. The original copies of Magna Carta and Public Vaults are on permanent display.

Maine Avenue is the DC waterfront houses the Lobsterman statue and can be quite a walk to the Maine Fish market. The capital of Maryland Annapolis is great for sailing along the Chesapeake Bay. It is a diagonal avenue connecting to Independence Avenue and is famously known as the Fish Wharf or simply the Wharf and is a great hotspot for unconventional things to do in Washington DC.

The Embassy tour on Massachusetts Avenue is dubbed as the Embassy Row as you get conversant with the missions that are generally off limits but the historic mansions open their doors on the annual Passport DC International Drive as you sample lamb chops and Shiraz alongside. It makes for a major diagonal transverse road and is the historic district between the White House and Capitol and is a great place to be if you are exploring unconventional things to do in Washington DC. The Anderson House is a mansion which happens to be the headquarters of the Society of the Cincinnati with gilded ballrooms and chandeliers and is not entry barred. The perfect view of Embassy Row can be enjoyed from the staircase of the Spanish steps.

national arboretum washington dc travel dejavu                                                                            Image Credits : Wikipedia

National Arboretum up New York Avenue is a nature’s haven replete with bonsai and koi ponds and an absolute must visit. The more than nine mile of paths will take you to a walk in the woods past glades and meadows and Corinthian pillars and sandstone columns will set your mood for the day. The sugar maple and Giant Sequoia is a frequent thing to watch here while the State Tree Grove is worth a surprise.

Grab your free wine and free breakfast at the Hillyer Art Space and the quaint boutique hotels of Hay Adams and Willard just five blocks from the White House handing out homemade granola and freshly bake scones with cream respectively. Old Ebbitt Grill with the offerings of crab cakes can be quite a soiree with the likes of American Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Cleveland and Grant grabbing their bite. The National Museum of American Indian dishes out Native American cuisines and cookies such as buffalo burgers with green chilies and salmon glazed in maple and juniper. DC Mad dog is a must eat. The classic mainstays include DC half-smoke and soul food at Florida Avenue Grill. Ben’s Chili Bowl on U street is the chili dog giant since 1958.

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Streetcar Barn is the streetcar network of Washington before Metro. Torpedo Factory on Alexandria waterfront on Kings Street with the pier and broad walk is the complex for the art lovers.

Library of Congress is called the national library is the world’s largest in Beaux Arts Style and is much more than a Gutenberg Bible and bibilographies. The nexus of knowledge in Main Reading Room and Great hall can be quite intriguing. The Coolidge Auditorium and Whittall Pavilion transport you to a different world with various concert series and string quartet performances. The floor-to-ceiling windows and vistas are bound to steal your mind. Carnegie library happens to be the first central library of DC. 

liberary of congress washington dc travel dejavu                                                                              Image Credits : Photoburst net

The George Washington National Masonic Memorial in Alexandria near the King Street metro station is a tall pointed tower structure is exemplary. The George Washington Estate of Mount Vernon in Virginia in Alexandria is an engrossing restored mansion with views if Potomac, farm gardens, smoke house, barn and stables.

Temperance fountain across from the Archives metro station by a turreted building which was the Apex Liquor store in the Penn Ave is peculiar and unique. The Depression Breadline statue and Franklin Delano Roosevelt statue in the FDR Memorial are absolutely eponymous.

Lincoln Cottage is the site of the creation of emancipation Proclamation. The Emancipation Memorial in the Lincoln Park stands quite as a contrast to the backdrop. This country getaway also takes you through the context of the wars in American History.

international spy museum washington dc travel dejavu                                                                           Image Credits : Time Magazine

International Spy Museum is the one stop espionage destination with international spy artefacts such as concealed radio transmitters and receivers, .22 caliber bullets, shooting cigars, miniature cameras, the Enigma Cipher machine and interactive displays. It has also got World War II artefacts such as archival OSS and C-130 training films.

Washington Coliseum is the arena where the Beatles played their first concert in the US.

The National Museum of American History is all about being Americana with the most American thing you can ever imagine. The peculiarly atypical collections of underrated gems include Dorothy’s slippers from “the Wizard of OZ”, dresses worn by first ladies at their husband’s inaugurations, Vassar telescope, Abe Lincoln’s top hat, Julia Child’s kitchen, Archie bunker’s chair, Star – Spangled Banner and John Bull Locomotive.

Tregaron Estate between Cleveland and Woodley Park is a Neo-Georgian estate with the only country house.

Meridian Hill Park that is in the Neo Classicist design forms a longitudinal meridian for DC is quite a getaway with waterfalls, neoclassical staircases and formal gardens and with the mighty statue of Joan of Arc. Do catch up on Drum Circle performances.

great falls national park travel dejavu                                                                            Image Credits : Tripadvisor

Great Falls Park in Virginia is the 800 acre park most suitable place for hiking, cycling, rafting, rock climbing, horse riding, kayaking, birding and fishing.

Key Bridge Boathouse in Georgetown is a scenic getaway with sights of Teddy Roosevelt Island, Watergate, Lincoln Memorial and the Kennedy Center. A twilight tour of the Potomac is a must do. The world’s oldest working elevator in Indiana Avenue is in the Penn Quarter. The Boy Scout Commemorative Memorial on the Ellipse near the White House is symbolic of virtues. The Smithsonian Renwick Art Gallery at Pennsylvania Avenue is worth visiting. Blair House with plaques is quite intriguing.

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Lincoln Cottage near North Capitol Street is at a high elevation where President Lincoln wrote Emancipation Proclamation is ephemeral.

Kennedy Center is quite an industrious place to be in with the Hall of States, Hall of Nations, theaters, open air terrace and concert halls.

Georgetown cupcakes will have you take you for a spin with its cupcakes in porked peanut butter and porked chocolate as you dig your teeth in the candied bacon. The red velvet, bubble gum and chocolate ganache will steal your heart.

Dumbarton Oaks Gardens washington dc travel-dejavu                                                                                  Image Credits : Trevor

Dumbarton Oaks Gardens on Tidal Basin lined with blooms of cherry and magnolia blossoms on 10 acres with a red brick museum and both terraced formal and informal gardens is retreat in the hustle. Art Sculpture Garden tree lined with dogwood and artworks hosts Jazz concerts on for jazz aficionados and a glass of homemade sangria to wash down. Bartholdi Park and National Garden are just another wonders of flora thriving in Washington Climate. The Millennium stage of Kennedy Center’s Grand Foyer is a popular jazz hotspot.

Screenings are hosted at the National Mall at the Screen on the Green. Theodore Roosevelt Memorial and Theodore Roosevelt Island is an honor to President Teddy’s legacy.

National Air and Space Museum is all about vintage flying and planetarium replete with model planes and rocket ships. Arlington Cemetery and Neo Gothic behemoth of National Cathedral are stirring in a good way. The Einstein statue on the Academy ground is worth catching up and being scientific with the virtuoso. Cypress trees on the Lafayette Square are the leftovers of 100,000 year old fossils.

washington dc white house travel dejavu                                                                               Image Credits : trollytours

A self-guided tour to the White House will have you get your sked planned six months in advance. The Public art of the Fridge is all about street art and graffiti in the alley in Capitol Hill. Smithsonian Castle houses the Englishman James Smithsonian crypt and is all about his bequests.

Get into SoHo style shopping in the warehouses and boutiques at U St. Corridor. Franciscan Monastery in Brookland houses the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is replete with chapel niches and a haven for peace.

Gravelly Point Park beside Reagan National Airport gives the exclusive glimpse of Washington skyline and jetliners near to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport off the runway.

The National Museum of Natural History is replete with few and far between collections such as Cursed Hope Diamond, whale skulls, giant squid, Tyrannosaurus Rex, Giant Sequoia tree, fossilized pollen and Moon Rocks.

Potomac Park Mini Park is the oldest operated mini golf course. The Yards Park in Riverfront neighbourhood is the little piece of relaxation with the bath and River Street Gardens and Nationals Park to its proximity.

Theodore Roosevelt Island Wilderness Preserve houses footbridge in the Potomac River with a car and bike free isle away from the mainland. Potomac National Harbor waterfront has a great vista to catch up with a nature walk and cut off.

SW Neighborhood, Dupont Circle mansion, Crispus Attucks Park in Bloomingdale, Palace of Wonders, Brewmaster’s castle, Summer House in US Capitol building, Titanic Memorial, Museum of Menstruation, Palisades Park, Glass Forest, Drug Enforcement Agency in Pentagon with display of psychedelic supplements, Forest Hills Neighborhood, Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens and Q Street House on Logan Circle, National Capitol Columns, Fort Reno Park, Watergate steps, Church of Two Worlds are a range of secret hideouts to escape the crowd.

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  1. I never knew this side of Washington DC! Thank you for a highly informative and well curated post! I would love to visit The National Museum of American History and explore the intriguing American history first hand!

  2. I have to confess I akwya think Washington is a bit lacking in things to do but I’m starting to think I clearly missed a ton of stuff. If only I had been reading blogs when I visited

  3. I must say that before reading this post I haven’t really thought about visiting Washington D.C. It seems beautiful and clean. I would love to check out the national museum of American history is

  4. Holy cow! There’s a ton of stuff there to do that I missed. The Library of Congress is one of my favorite things to do in D.C. along with the Botanical Gardens. I want to go to Teddy Roosevelt Island! Isn’t the old post office + tower where Trump’s new hotel is?

  5. I am pretty close to DC and has stopped thinking of it as a destination to visit because we only ever go to the topic places. This list makes me reconsider that decision. Even if I don’t decide to go into Newseum, I would like to see the building itself. The library is actually one I would be really interested in visiting. Again, for the structure and design haha

  6. So many great places in Washington DC I really love the National Library. I do not know why but I have an obsession with libraries and this one is spectacular. I love this list that deviates from the norm. A few of these I have not visited yet and will add to my itinerary next time I am in DC. Great list!

  7. The Newseum, the Aviation Museum, and the Museum of American History are at the top of my list! Living on the eastern seaboard, Washington DC was a frequent school trip destination but I’ve only come to appreciate its grandeur in my later years. I need to see those ruby slippers for myself!

  8. I have only been to Washington DC once and it’s been over 10 years, so I need to make another visit. This post is so fun and such a great way to explore the other side of DC. I really really want to visit the International Spy Museum. Being able to see the actual shooting cigars and concealed radio transmitters sounds awesome. And being a huge history buff seeing artifacts from WWII is my kinda museum 🙂

  9. Sandy N Vyjay : July 14, 2017 at 6:49 am

    Have not been to Washington DC, but having read voluminously about the place, I can say that this is indeed a fresh perspective of the place. I would love to take a Capitol River Cruise and take in the sights of the city. The Smithsonian Museum is another place I am very eager to see and explore.

  10. Thank you for bringing all of us around Washington DC . I didn’t know that it owns a lot of rare scene to explore and see. The International Spy Museum looks like really an amazing place to amble around. The National Library is also look interesting. Thank you so much for sharing all these great place with us. I truly appreciate it so much.

  11. What a great post, having gone to school in the DC area I can attest to these places as being great choices to visit once you’ve exhausted the “standard” tourist spots. Thank you for sharing and proving that there are a wealth of activities to do in DC!

  12. I never knew how much there really was to do in Washington! This was very informative and I’ll definitely come back to it when I visit the city, especially to read about seeing the Library of Congress!

  13. oh i love this list! sometimes it’s hard to find things to do other than the main touristy bits. i will be bookmarking this for sure when i go back to DC!

  14. O! Hey! I live in the area and even I haven’t done so much on this list. I have been meaning to visit the Arboretum for so long. I better make that happen soon. Thanks for the post!

    ❥ tanvii.com

  15. I love posts like these with alternative things to do! My votes are for Tudor Place and Meridian Hill Park. I’ll have to put these on my list for a future Washington Trip!

  16. My sister lives in DC so we visit there a lot. I’ll have to check out some of the things on this list that I haven’t done yet!

  17. I never knew there were so many things to do in DC! One of the museums I love is the National Geographic Museum. Next time I’m there I need to check out the Newseum, I love the glass.

  18. Great post! I’ve never been to Washington DC so I have a lot of catching up to do! I really need to make my way to our nation’s capital.

  19. Though I have been to DC many times, I have only visited your typical must do places such as the Washington Monument and was completely unaware of all these beautiful places that you mentioned. I am particularly interested to visit Rock Creek Park now.

  20. Thanks for sharing a comprehensive guide on other great things to do in DC! My mom and I are planning to head there in a few weeks before the semester starts so the places you pointed out here will be in our itinerary!

  21. I used to live in DC while going to graduate school, and I used to love Rock Creek Park! I was also within walking distance (though it was a long walk) to Georgetown. It’s such a gorgeous city full of history and interesting architecture. Love seeing the mix of things to do on your list! Thanks for sharing!

  22. We went for the first time last year. There is so much to see, do and experience!!

  23. I always see people posting about the Lincoln Memorial and Washington monument and never knew there was so much more to Washington. Definitely adding the Dumbarton Oaks Gardens to my list for when I do visit. These are such lovely suggestions and love that they’re so diverse too. Thanks for sharing!

  24. These all look like awesome stops! I need to go to these next time I’m in Washington.

  25. The library of Congress is just STUNNING! IMMEDIATELY just added to my bucket list. Dumbarton Gardens look so serene and like the perfect place to spend an afternoon. I also had no idea there was such thing as an international spy museum LOL so cool.

  26. The library of Congress is just STUNNING! IMMEDIATELY just added to my bucket list. Dumbarton Gardens look so serene and like the perfect place to spend an afternoon. I also had no idea there was such thing as an international spy museum LOL so cool. I can’t wait to check some of these out during my next DC trip.

  27. Thanks for the tips- I love going somewhere and getting off the tourist track. I am overdue a visit to DC because I’m living right on the border in Canada!

  28. I’m headed to Washington DC in the next few months so this is the perfect article to help me find inspiration. I had come across a list of new American museums to look out for and your just reminded me of the International Spy Museum and The National Museum of American History. I’m super excited to see Julia Child’s kitchen!

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