Everyone knows D.C. is teeming with exciting treasures at their world-renowned museums and monuments but what about the treasures hiding just beyond the public’s eye? Your family will discover the secret halls of fun with these must-visit venues and attractions.
The Mansion on O Street
The O Street Mansion is located near Dupont Circle and was founded in 1980 on Valentine’s Day by H.H. Leonards-Spero. This house claims to have “over 100 rooms and 70 secret doors” spread throughout its four floors. This is made possible because the mansion originally existed as four row houses that have since been converted into a single multi-purpose space. The O Street Mansion is open for daily tours from 11-3 p.m. Online reservations are required. omansion.com
Catacombs of Washington, D.C.
Located underneath the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America, this web of subterranean passages was built by the monks so locals could experience the early Christian burial sites of ancient Rome without the costly expense of travel. Tours are currently paused due to covid, but the gardens remain open daily from 9am-5pm and the event venue, St. Francis Hall is open for rentals in accordance with city guidelines. myfranciscan.org
National Capitol Columns
In the National Arboretum in northeast Washington, D.C. lies the original sandstone columns that held up the Capitol Building since 1828. They were replaced in 1958 to make way for newer marble columns (still there today) and in 1984 moved to their current open-air resting place. Explore the beautiful (and still structurally sound) Corinthian columns and discover why they were displaced. Open 8am – 5pm daily. usna.usda.gov
National Bonsai Museum
The museum, located on the grounds of the National Arboretum, was founded in 1976 when the Japanese people gifted then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger with 53 bonsai trees to commemorate the U.S. bicentennial. There are now over 150 living specimens on display, including one that dates back to 1625, and even survived the atomic bombing in Hiroshima in 1945. Open daily from 10am – 4pm. bonsai-nbf.org
International Spy Museum
Since 2002, the International Spy Museum has housed the largest collection of its kind, ranging from tools you’d find in a James Bond flick to the very practical instruments used by real-world agents. Be sure to check out the hour-long interactive spy adventure where you get to play the spy! Open 7 days a week in L’Enfant Plaza. spymuseum.org
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