D.C. has way more to offer than museums and monuments.
From the garden at Washington National Cathedral to the Technicolor Church, here are our favorite low-key hidden gems in the D.C. area.
Okay, so this isn't technically in D.C. Even so, located north of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, across the Potomac River, is just about the best date night idea there ever was. Nestled a few hundred feet from Reagan’s runway 1/19, this is pretty much the closest you can get to a landing airplane without losing your head. This modest stretch of land makes for a great place to take a rest during your next run along Mt. Vernon Trail. The roar of a 747 will surely be enough to drown out the nagging ache of your tired legs!
This secret garden is often overshadowed by the stunning architecture of its neighbor, the National Cathedral. However, this secluded getaway is actually the most intensely cultivated of all 59-acres that make up the Cathedral Close. Originally intended to be a private enclosure built in the Bishop’s backyard, a larger entrance was eventually built to accommodate the plot’s rapidly growing popularity. To make the most out of your trip, walk through the Bishop’s Garden on a quiet morning!
You’ll find Albert doing a few equations in the southwest corner of the National Academy of Sciences. Standing approximately 12 feet in height, at 4 tons, the bronze figure lounges on a three-step bench of granite holding a paper that highlights the scholar’s three most prominent scientific contributions. The next time you need to make a few breakthroughs of your own, snuggle up next to Albert’s memorial and soak up some of his leftover genius!
Have you ever been tempted to steal something from your hotel room—besides the complimentary soaps? Well, you may want to book a room at the Mansion on O Street. You’ll never be able to fully figure out what the deal is with this place, no matter how many times you visit. While it doesn’t exactly stand out at first glance, you’ll quickly find everything is not as it seems after a trip to this estate. Its unconventional interior design includes a labyrinth of secret doors and hidden passageways that will leave you in need of a trail of breadcrumbs!
For years, the Friendship Baptist Church building in Southwest D.C. lay bland and abandoned. That is, until 2012, when artist Alex “Hense” Brewer turned the entire building into a blank canvas. Now regarded as a space of unhindered artistic expression, there isn’t an inch of the church that hasn’t been dipped in vibrant shades of every color. Even the church’s interior, newly deemed Culture House, features remarkable exhibits created by local artists.
What's your favorite hidden gem in D.C.? Let us know in the comments!