Off the Beaten Path Attractions in Washington, DC

Off the Beaten Path Attractions in Washington, DC

Washington, D.C. is well-known for its abundant statues and monuments. However, sometimes going where everyone goes seems just too mundane. And when attractions are explicitly geared to tourists, you may get lost in a sea of commercialism. However, Washington, DC offers some of the most exciting experiences. If you venture off the beaten path, here are some sights and experiences you may find. 

DC Punk Walking Tour

Yes, a walking tour that chronicles the history of DC’s underground punk scene! The walking tour goes for 2.5 hours and tours the neighborhoods of Mount Pleasant, Adams Morgan, and Columbia Heights. Your guide can show you which of these District locations were teeming with the activism and alternative sensibilities of the 1980s and 1990s. You can also hear a boombox blasting music from the past blast as details of the punk scene and entertaining information are shared. 

The National Museum of Women in the Arts

This museum that is frequently overlooked on tourist guides has a collection of over 4,500 pieces by female artists, including Mary Cassat and Frida Kahlo. According to Cohen and Cohen, a Washington DC Law firm, It is the only museum in the world dedicated to acknowledging the achievements of female artists. It is housed in a beautiful renaissance-style revival building, maintains its own library, and exhibits many historical pieces of artwork.

The Underground Railroad Trail 

This attraction provides a personal perspective on it was like to be a runaway slave. It is located in Sandy Springs, Maryland, which is just outside DC proper.  The experience provides a two-mile self-guided tour showing visitors the many dangers runaway slaves faced on their risky paths to freedom. From April to October, a guide can show you the way. At other times of the year, you can pick up a map and hike the trail. The Underground Railroad Trail is a free and educational experience for both children and adults.

The History on Foot Tour

This walking tour starts at Ford’s Theater, where history buffs can contemplate that fateful night on April 14, 1865, when President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. Your tour guide assumes the identity of an investigator, in full period costume. You are guided to follow the escape route John Wilkes Booth took, as well. You’ll also have an opportunity to view other significant Civil Wars sights related to Honest Abe along the way until the trail ends in Lafayette Square next to the White House. 

Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens

Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens are right across the river from Washington, D.C. As part of Anacostia Park, It covers 700 acres of Anacostia Park and is home to gardens with vibrant aquatic plant life. The attraction includes the Gardens, Kenilworth Marsh, and recreational facilities.  

The Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens is devoted to the propagation and display of aquatic plants and is the only National Park Service site that does so. Started as the hobby of Civil War veteran, the Gardens were operated for many years as a commercial water garden. Then, the Gardens were purchased by the Federal Government in 1938. 

In summer months, you can see the Garden’s water features teeming with beautiful water lilies and lotuses. In the winter months, you can stroll the boardwalk above the marshlands while bird and wildlife spotting. Indeed, the picturesque beauty of these wetlands can be enjoyed year-round.