Here's how you can get presidential in the District.
As you know, the President of the United States lives in Washington, DC. Now that the obvious has been stated, you should also know that the nation’s capital has many ways to engage with presidential history besides a White House tour. We’ve detailed several attractions to visit that will give you a taste of the presidency in the nation's capital. Enjoy!
‘America’s Presidents’ at the National Portrait Gallery
Explore the portraits of all U.S. presidents in America’s Presidents, a permanent exhibition at this free Smithsonian museum. The National Portrait Gallery is the only place outside of the White House that is home to official portraits of every Commander-in-Chief. Among the highlights: Gilbert Stuart’s “Lansdowne” portrait of George Washington, the famous “cracked plate” photograph of Abraham Lincoln, sculptures of Presidents Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Richard Nixon and George H.W. Bush by noted caricaturist Pat Oliphant. Free timed-entry passes are required.
Journey to President Lincoln’s Cottage
The historic President Lincoln’s Cottage in Petworth is where the Great Emancipator drafted the Emancipation Proclamation. Though just three miles from the White House, the abode was considered a retreat, and served as Abraham Lincoln’s second home and temporary office. The cottage also sheltered the 16th President during the Civil War. Guests can enjoy self-guided tours throughout the Cottage and Visitor Education Center, in addition to outdoor space and experiences offered. Be sure to pre-purchase your tickets online and follow all safety guidelines.
Take a trip to George Washington’s Mount Vernon
The former estate of America’s first president is nestled beautifully alongside the Potomac River, featuring jaw-dropping views and an expanse that can fill a day with exploration. Mount Vernon sports an iconic mansion, outbuildings, a working blacksmith shop, a farm and a distillery and gristmill that operates from April through October. The estate frequently hosts events and also displays exhibits. Before visiting Mount Vernon, be sure to familiarize yourself with their safety measures and protocols.
Discover presidential monuments and memorials
DC’s National Mall is filled with tributes to past presidents, marvels of architecture that are essential to understanding our country’s history. Stand next to Abraham Lincoln inside the Lincoln Memorial and glance up at the magnificent Washington Monument. Presidential tributes go beyond the Mall, though: Take a short walk to West Potomac Park to admire the beauty of the Jefferson Memorial along the Tidal Basin, then hang with Franklin Delano at the FDR Memorial. Theodore Roosevelt Island makes for an awesome day trip. And don't miss the newest presidential memorial, the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial, designed by famed architect Frank Gehry.