Summer in D.C. means two things: humidity and tourists. The
most visited national landmarks in Washington see millions of tourists each year.
But the White House, the Jefferson Memorial, and the Washington Monument aren't all that the district has to offer. Unleash your inner D.C. history geek with these lesser known monuments and historical sites.
President Lincoln's Summer Cottage at the Solider's Home From June to November, President Abraham Lincoln would live three miles away from the White House at this small cottage. It was here that he worked on the Emancipation Proclamation. According to the National Park Service, Lincoln visited the cottage up until the day before his death. The cottage opened to the public just seven years ago, in early 2008. (Ron Cogswell/Flickr)
Ben's Chili Bowl Ben's Chili Bowl served as an important community hub during the turbulent period following Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination. The restaraunt was one of the only buildings on U street to survive the 1968 riots. Its website claims that it "was not uncommon" to see celebrities such as Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, and Ella Fitzgerald dining at Ben's. It was not uncommon to see suchluminaries as Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, CabCalloway, Nat King Cole, Redd Foxx, Dick Gregory, Martin LutherKing Jr., Donny Hathaway, Roy Ayers or Bill Cosby at "The Bowl." (Mandel NganAFP/Getty Images)
Folger Shakespeare Library Located just a block from the U.S. Capitol, Folger Shakespeare Library claims to hold "the world's largest collection of materials relating to Shakespeare and his works." The collection includes 82 copies of the First Folio, published in 1632. (Wikimedia Commons)
National Building Museum The National Building Museum, formerly known as the Pension Building, has hosted inaugural balls since 1885. According to the building's website, the Great Hall is nearly 15 stories high. (Phil Roeder/Flickr)
National Arboretum Maintained by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Arboretum's stated mission is "to enhance the economic, environmental, and aesthetic value of ornamental and landscape plants through long-term, multi-disciplinary research, conservation of genetic resources, and interpretative gardens and exhibits." Pictured are the Capitol columns, originally built for and used at the U.S. Capitol, which now stand in a meadow. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)
Martin's Tavern President John F. Kennedy lived just two blocks from Martin's Tavern in Georgetown while serving in Congress. The "Kennedy Booth" or the "Proposal Booth" is reportedly where he asked then-girlfriend Jacqueline to marry him in 1953. (Martins Tavern)
Howard Theater Howard Theater, which opened in 1910, hosted some of the 20th century's most prominent names, including Booker T. Washington, Billie Holliday, and Louis Armstrong. "When the nation was deeply divided by segregation, The Howard Theatre provided a place where color barriers blurred and music unified," its website reads. The theater was recently renovated and reopened in 2012. (Ron Cogswell/Flickr)
Congressional Cemetery According to the National Park Service, the Congressional Cemetery is the final resting place of 2 vice presidents, 16 senators, and 68 members of the House. Henry Clay, John Philip Souza, and J. Edgar Hoover were also laid to rest there. (Smallbones/Wikimedia Commons)
Sewall-Belmont House and Museum The Sewall-Belmont house has been owned by the National Women's Party since 1929. Today, it is is home to the Florence Bayard Hilles Feminist Library, which opened in 1943. (Wikimedia Commons)
Peirce Mill in Rock Creek Park Peirce Mill, once owned by the Peirce family, was built in the early 1800s. It is the last existing mill in the D.C. The National Park Service operates the mill on "special occasions." (ep_jhu/Flickr)
We want to hear what you think about this article.
Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Caroline Mimbs Nyce
is a senior associate editor at
News and updates from the editors of