Welcome to Washington, D.C.!
The historians and archivists at History Associates call Washington, D.C., home. If you have extra time during or after the SAA’s 82nd Annual Meeting and want to go beyond the usual tourist destinations, we’ve got a few suggestions of some of our favorite “off the beaten path” historic places to visit while you’re here! Be sure to call ahead to just to confirm admission and hours of operation before you go.
You are here!
16th & W Streets NW, Washington, D.C.
Metro: U Street/African-Amer Civil War Memorial/Cardozo station (Green & Yellow Lines) is 0.6 miles from the center of the park.
Beautiful Meridian Hill Park has a long history—overlooking downtown, it was the site of an early 19th century mansion and former home of departing President John Quincy Adams before it was converted into a public park. Visitors can enjoy its Italian design style, many statues, a stunning cascading fountain, and, on Sundays at 3PM, a lively drum circle that has been a local tradition for nearly 50 years.
4155 Linnean Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20008
Metro: Van Ness/UDC station (Red Line) is one mile from the Museum.
This is the former estate of businesswoman and philanthropist Marjorie Merriweather Post, who was also the original owner of Mar-a-Lago resort now owned by Donald Trump. The Hillwood home contains a great collection of fine china, artwork, and Russian artifacts. The gardens are spectacular too. It’s also not overrun like the museums and monuments on the mall, as it’s off the beaten path, but still accessible.
Admission: Adults $18, Children $5 (Closed Mondays)
140 Rock Creek Church Rd NW, Washington, D.C. 20011
Metro: The Georgia Avenue/Petworth Metro station (Green & Yellow Lines) is 0.8 miles downhill from Eagle Gate
Set away from the hubbub of downtown Washington, presidents traveled to this serene cottage to escape the heat—both actual and political. President Abraham Lincoln penned the Emancipation Proclamation here. They offer fantastic guided tours that explore how Lincoln used the space during his frequent visits.
Admission: $15 Adults, $5 Children. Advance purchase is recommended.
Washington Navy Yard, Visitor Entrance is 1022 O Street SE, Washington, D.C. (at 11th & O Streets SE)
Metro: Navy Yard station (Green Line) is 0.9 miles west and the Eastern Market station (Blue/Orange Lines) is 0.9 miles north.
It’s really tucked away and kind of hard to get to, compared to other DC museums, meaning you’ve almost always got the whole place to yourself. They have a lot of really cool ship models, artifacts and displays of naval technology like chronometers, as well as gun turrets you can climb on and take pictures with. They also have a piece of the rudder of the infamous USS Maine!
Admission: Free but with security restrictions – valid photo ID required when entering the Navy Yard where the Museum is located.
1411 W St. SE, Washington, D.C. 20020
Metro: Anacostia station (Green Line) is 0.75 miles from the site.
Douglass wanted his house to be the Black Mount Vernon, and it sits on top of a hill with an amazing view of Washington, the Navy Yard and the river. It’s fully furnished, offers house tours and has a small visitor’s center.
Admission: Free to visit, there is a fee for the house tour.
At 748 Jackson Place NW, Washington D.C. 20006 (just around corner from Lafayette Square)
Metro: Farragut West (Blue/Orange/Silver Lines) is 0.1 mile and Farragut North station (Red Line) is 0.2 miles.
Decatur House is one of the oldest original buildings in DC and now has exhibits on African-American history. A fixture of the president’s neighborhood since 1818, Decatur House has been home to foreign and American dignitaries, secretaries of state, members of Congress, and a vice president, in addition to numerous free and enslaved servants who played a pivotal role in shaping America. It is open for tours, starting at 610 H Street, NW on Mondays at 11:00am, 12:30pm, and 2:00pm
Admission: Free tours on Mondays.
And for something completely different…
2020 O St. NW, Washington D.C. 20036
Metro: Dupont Circle station (Red Line) is 0.1 mile west of the museum. It’s also 0.6 mile walk from the Washington Hilton.
For a very unique experience, try this museum. The Mansion on O is located in a series of five interconnected town houses that includes over 100 rooms and over 70 secret doors. The museum is dedicated to exploring the creative process, particularly in music and art. The collection rotates and changes daily. From the art, to the music, to the surroundings, no visit is ever the same. The galleries are not limited to one genre and exhibits include artist’s letters, animation stills, written manuscripts, and one of the largest “raw and exposed” music collections.
Admission: Self-guided Tours $20, various themed tours also available.