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The Atlas Obscura Guide To Washington, D.C.
269 Cool, Hidden, and Unusual Things to Do in Washington, D.C.
Updated February 12, 2024
Thereʼs no better way to experience the history of the United States than through the hidden wonders of the capital. From the more unusual inclusions in the Smithsonianʼs collection to Americaʼs very own catacombs, we can help you get beneath the American project.
Unusual Attractions in Washington, D.C.
Cool Places to Eat & Drink in Washington, D.C.
Plan Your Trip
Unforgettable Experiences Nearby
Atlas Obscura Itineraries
The Explorer's Guide to U Street Corridor
The U Street Corridor is an epicenter of art and African American heritage in Washington, DC. Once known as “Black Broadway,” U Street was the center of Black culture in America. (It’s where Duke Ellington was born!) Though the neighborhood struggled in the years following the 1968 riots, it’s as vibrant as ever today. Start your day on U Street at a mural honoring Black Americans from Harriet Tubman to Dave Chapelle, and end at a beloved Ethiopian restaurant where you might be lucky enough to catch some live music and dancing. Along the way you’ll grab a drink, uncover forgotten history, and stand inside theaters where everyone from Ella Fitzgerald to Nirvana have performed.
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Stories About Washington, D.C.
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The Prohibition-Era Effort To Make Mocktails Fun
Lists Featuring Washington, D.C.
Novus Ordo Seclorum: 14 Places to Unearth Masonic Secrets
Your best bets for gaining insight into the real history of Freemasonry.
Including Zedekiah's Cave, Masonic Lodge of the Andaz Hotel, and House of the Temple
6 Secrets of the Washington Monument
Lightning rods, hidden hatches, and more.
Including Washington Monument Marble Stripe, Washington Monument Access Hatch, and Washington Monument Lightning Rod
When Stairs and Slides Are Hiding in Plain Sight
Play real-life Chutes and Ladders at these obscure thruways.
Including Secret Tiled Staircase, Esmeralda Slide Park, and Howe Street Stairs