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DC Itinerary: Major Civil Rights Sites in 1 Day

lincoln memorial statue crowded at night


  • See the sunrise from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, which has 36 columns - one for each state at the time of the president's death
  • Visit the Supreme Court, where many landmark decisions have been reached
  • Grab a chili "half-smoke" at Ben's Chili Bowl on U Street

Day 1


Catch the sunrise from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. A temple of contemplation, the building features 36 columns, one for each state in the Union at the time of Lincoln’s death. Find the plaque that marks the spot where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stood when he addressed a crowd of 250,000 at the March on Washington on Aug. 28, 1963. Walk in the halls of Cedar Hill in Anacostia. Now the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, the house was once the private estate of the famous abolitionist and boasts sweeping views of the Capitol.


After a quick lunch at Big Chair Coffee in Anacostia (located next to the world’s largest chair), take Metro to Capitol Hill and browse the exhibits at the Library of Congress. The world’s largest library houses the papers of Frederick Douglass and educator Booker T. Washington. Pay a visit to the Supreme Court, where many landmark decisions were delivered. You might even catch the court in action.


Once the sun goes down, chill out on U Street. Grab a "half-smoke" at Ben's Chili Bowl - Bill Cosby does when he’s in town. Stop by the African American Civil War Memorial, then settle in for some jazz at Bohemian Caverns or HR-57.