Five DC Tourist Sites You Won’t Find In A Guidebook

Any visitor to DC knows all about the city’s monuments and museums and political history. But if it’s not your first time in DC, or you’re just looking to try something a little different, you might want to get off the beaten path. Here are our top five recommendations for DC spots that won’t be in your Frommer’s.

Exorcist Steps

Fans of iconic horror movie The Exorcist, which was partly filmed in Washington DC, will remember the famous scene when the titular Catholic priest is knocked down the stairs of the family home when trying to free the young protagonist. Check out the stairs for yourself by heading off to the real-life filming location in the upper-crust Georgetown neighborhood.

3600 Prospect St NW, Washington, DC 20007, USA

Instagram Wings

Whether you’re all about racking up likes, or just want to snap a few travel pictures you can share with friends up on your return, we recommend checking out the Instagram wings. Launched by artist Colette Miller, the project aimed to paint colorful angel wings across the country. You’ll see several sets of around DC, including several within walking distance of the St. Gregory Hotel. Pose for a picture and wit for the comments to start rolling in.

2015 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036

C&O Canal

Georgetown’s gorgeous C&O canal, which runs through the neighborhood’s backstreets, is a highly underrated place to spend an afternoon. While there’s no water currently in the canal, which dates back to the 19th century, you can still enjoy reading a book and gazing out at the expanse of green space and nature in the former waterway.

Darth Vader Head, National Cathedral

You’ve definitely heard of DC’s National Cathedral, the huge, beautiful, stained-glass-covered building located near Tenleytown. But did you know the cathedral features a Darth Vader gargoyle on one of its towers? The crazy-but-true story dates back to the 1980s, when the Cathedral held a design competition for children, with the Darth Vader submission winning third place. Head off to a gargoyle tour of the Cathedral to spot the super-villain for yourself.

3101 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20016, USA

National Capitol Columns

Back in the 1950s, the U.S. Capitol had its former sandstone columns with new marble ones that could better support the building. You can find those sandstone columns, which date back to the 1800’s, at the National Arboretum, where they’re on display in the middle of a huge, stunning field.

3501 New York Avenue, NE; Washington, D. C. 20002-1958