City Guide Attractions: Washington, DC
July 27, 2012 1:00 pm ET
While Washington, DC doesn’t have the Hollywood walk of fame, or the Grand Canyon, it does have hundreds of attractions that make it an engaging city. DC’s small 69 square mile foot print houses thousands of statues, memorials, and museums but once you abandon your traditional question of the mall, and you stop the adventuresome treks of the Library of Congress the city comes alive.
In the third installment of our City Guides (City Guide to Shopping, City Guide to Food), GM Northeast will help you get the fast track on DC’s best attractions. Here’s an inside look at an itinerary that will give you an inside look at the real Washington DC.
Cloak and Dagger DC- Washington, DC is the most surveyed city in the country with over 10 different police departments, a long list of private organizations both foreign and domestic, and the heads of all three intelligence agencies, the city is covered; some say the walls have ears. This weekend spend your day on an intelligence tour of Washington, DC. Here are a few museums that are the road less traveled; they will take you off the beaten path of paintings and fossils.
Your first stop on the tour of Washington’s history of danger and intrigue takes us to the most notorious theater in the country. Step through the doors of Ford’s Theater and experience the moment when John Wilkes Booth screamed “Sic semper tyranis” as he dove from the auditoriums Presidential box after assassinating Abraham Lincoln. Now owned and operated by the US Parks Service, the theater has been authentically restored and houses a brand new museum. Get lost in a museum filled with firsthand accounts, incredible artifacts including Booth’s Derringer pistol. Experience Booth’s dastardly plan and the simultaneous assassination attempts scattered around the District and the learn about the Union’s pursuit of the outlaws and follow them on a fierce pursuit and eventual trial.
While the J. Edgar Hoover building offers exciting and interactive tours that display the Bureau’s rich history of law enforcement, it’s currently closed for renovations. Instead, make your next stop at Washington, DC’s newest addition, the Newseum. After you’re finished looking at today’s headline papers from across the world enter the museum and pass below the hovering news-copter that’s strung in the 7 floor rotunda. Fittingly travel to the bowels of the museum where you will be immersed in Bureau culture on loan while the J Edgar. Hoover building is under renovations. Witness their most exciting “collars” and a few gems that are temporary instillations; the exhibition will take you from the Bureau’s inception straight through the 21st century. Witness the remains of the Waco disaster, or peer into the secluded cabin that Ted Kaczynski masterminded the Unabomber explosions as your read about law enforcement’s pursuit. For a little levity stand in front of a green screen and imagine that you’re Sam Champion on the front lines of a major storm and take home the footage as a souvenir.
Your next stop on your day of mystery and danger is to the International Spy Museum in China Town where you will see how the process has evolved from the antiquated style of pursuit that you will have seen at both Ford’s Theater and the Newseum to the cloak and dagger imagery that captures our imagination on the silver screen. At this museum you’ll get all of your background on DC’s history in the intelligence game. Develop an alias, become a human lie detector, or simply learn about the various agencies, explore what the museum has to offer.
Finally end your day at the Country’s most interactive law enforcement museum, the Museum of Crime and Punishment. Now that you’ve seen the intelligence agencies and their pursuit in the media it’s only fitting that you experience the exciting conclusion. The museum will put you on the front lines of the investigative process seeing how a case goes from the arresting agencies into the prison system. But just like the other museums this is an interactive tour for the whole family! Experience the medical examiners table, or for the squeamish crack a safe and work a finger print scanner. This museum will be the fitting conclusion to a day fit with danger.
But those museums are just the tip of the iceberg; DC is full of sites that have a rich history of espionage. Now a Five Guy’s in Georgetown, the restaurant was formerly the famous Au Pied De Cochon, a notorious spot where KGB double agent Vitaly Yurchencko slipped out of a bathroom window and defected back to the Soviet Union during the cold war. Take a trip down famed embassy row but don’t blink or you’ll miss a small placard on the sidewalk where the Chilean secret service assassinated defector Orlando Letelier and assistant Ronni Moffitt with a car bomb. If you’re looking to take an exciting tour of these and many more local cloak and dagger locations take Grayline’s Spy City Tour.
Got other great espionage attractions in DC? Leave them in the comment section below!
Featured photo by Emory Allen.