222 Cool and Unusual Things to Do in Washington, D.C. - Atlas Obscura
The Atlas Obscura Guide To

Washington, D.C.

222 Cool, Hidden, and Unusual Things to Do in Washington, D.C.

Unusual Attractions in Washington, D.C.

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Upcoming Washington, D.C. Experiences

Unique Food & Drink in Washington, D.C.

9 Places in D.C. That You're Probably Never Allowed to Go

The District of Columbia is home to a number of places that you need to flash the right ID to access. From restricted rooftops to government storage facilities and underground tunnels, the city is filled with places that are off-limits to the average visitor. What’s more, many of them are hidden within popular tourist destinations and densely populated neighborhoods—so you might catch a glimpse of them, but never get any closer. These are a few of our favorite restricted spots in D.C., and the stories behind them. As the pandemic continues, we hope this virtual trip helps you explore America’s wonders. If you do choose to venture out, please follow all guidelines, maintain social distance, and wear a mask.

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Workers assess the exterior of the Washington Monument after an earthquake in 2011.

Explore Washington, D.C.

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Stories About Washington, D.C.

Barack Obama at the Resolute Desk in 2011.

The Secrets of the White House Reflect Its History of Constancy and Change

A sturdy desk, an empty pool, and—maybe—secret passages.
djassi daCosta johnson prepares food for loved ones.

The Museum Treating Home Cooking as Fine Art

Cook your way through the "Reclamation" exhibition of crowd-sourced recipes, remedies, and magic.
Just a few of the hundreds of thousands who attended the 1963 March on Washington.

For Sale: Papers From the Planning of the 1963 March on Washington

They tell a ground-level story of how peaceful movements lead to social change, and how much remains to be done.

Washington, D.C., and the Quest for a Perfectly Square City

It all goes back to a rather literal reading of some rather vague instructions in the Constitution.
Specimens in the "wet archive" were known primarily by number.

The Saga of Midori Naka

How and why the harvested body parts of atomic bomb victims spent decades abroad before being returned to Hiroshima.
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Lists Featuring Washington, D.C.