Avalon Movie Theatre
5612 Connecticut, Avenue , NW
The Avalon is the oldest operating movie theater in D.C. The theater has undergone several transformations since it first opened eighty years ago. The building continues to showcase some of the most interesting architecture and design from the first half of the 20th century. Closed by Loews Cineplex in 2001, the community has come together to restore and reopen the theater in its full glory. Avalon programming includes independent, foreign, and documentary films, classics, and the best commercial films. The theater hosts film festivals, special events, and shows for children.
Hains Point, East Potomac Park , SW
At the tip of East Potomac Park in Hains Point, where the Anacostia and Potomac rivers meet, an angry giant struggles to emerge from the earth. “The Awakening” is the largest and most dramatic of the sculptures of J. Seward Johnson, Jr. The 70-foot aluminum monster is partially buried. You can see his gnarly bearded face, and parts of his arms and legs. Busloads full of tourists come to climb on the giant’s face and hands, and he doesn’t look happy about it. It's great to visit the sculpture when having a bad day. The giant is always having a worse one. Look past the giant to see the confluence of the two rivers, or across the river at National Airport or the hills of southern Maryland. It invariably cheers you up.
Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
400 Michigan Avenue , NE
The Basilica is the patronal church for the United States. It is the largest Catholic Church in the country, and among the largest in the world. Its neo-byzantine architecture is amazing, both outside and in. From the exterior, the tile dome of the Basilica is visible from distant parts of the city. On the interior, there are many beautiful tile mosaics. One of the more interesting spots in the Basilica is the underground Crypt Church, designed in the style of Roman catacombs.
7064 Eastern Avenue , NW
The Cady-Lee is a fully restored 19th-century home on the National Register of Historic Places. This magnificent 1887 Queen Anne Victorian was designed by the prominent turn-of-the-19th-century architect Leon Dessez. Fully restored between 2000 and 2001 by Frances Phipps, a Takoma Park resident and award-winning restoration expert, the 3-story Cady-Lee has 22 rooms, 50 windows, 7 gables and a turreted sleeping porch.
Chinatown Friendship Gate
H Street and 7th Street , NW
This gate is the most beautiful component of DC's Chinatown. The Friendship gate was a gift to the District from Beijing, our sister city, and is the largest single-span Chinese gate in the world. In the traditional style of the Qing Dynasty, the bright series of pagoda roofs are intricately carved sculptures.
1801 E Street , SE
In 1807, a group of private citizens established a cemetery on a piece of land near the Anacostia River with a panoramic view of the city. The cemetery became a popular final resting place for congressmembers and their families and eventually earned the name Congressional Cemetery. Today, you can stroll through the grounds and see tombstones engraved with recognizable names like Henry Clay and John C. Calhoun. When the weather is nice, you can also see still-living DC residents walking their dogs and picnicing.
22nd and Constitution Avenue , NW
The Einstein Memorial is a giant bronze-stucco sculpture outside the National Academy of Sciences of Crazy Al sitting down, clad casually, in sandals. Rumor is, Einstein only agreed to a posthumous memorial if it was accessible to visitors. So you're encouraged to jump up on his lap for a picture (or perhaps that was just the dirty old man in him). Below him, the universe is mapped out on the ground, and if you stand in the middle of it and talk at Al, your voice will bounce off of him and echo back at you. You'll look pretty silly in the process, but that's half the fun.
1400 Quincy St , NE
The Mount Saint Sepulchre, the Holy Land of America includes a beautiful church, catacombs, and gardens. The forty acres of gardens are known for their rose gardens. In addition, replicas of shrines from the Holy Land - Jordan, Israel, Egypt, and Syria - can be found throughout the garden. An herb garden by the friary entrance is composed of herbs found in Biblical references. For a rare treat, take a tour of the catacombs.
Grief by Augustus Saint-Gaudens
Rock Creek Church Road & Webster Street , NW
This stunning Augustus Saint-Gaudens sculpture is the centerpiece to Henry Adams' memorial to his wife Marian. A cloaked woman rests with her hand gently touching her chin below closed eyes. The sculpture reveals a sorrow reflecting that of real-life Marian. Created in 1891, this is just one of many provocative sculptures found throughout the beautiful Rock Creek Church Cemetery, which is among the oldest cemeteries in the city.
511 10th Street , NW
There's no gum allowed in Ford's Theatre, so hundreds of visitors have stuck their chewed up wads on an unfortunate elm outside the theatre. As colorful as it is icky, the gum tree is certainly worth marveling at in person.
Old Stone House
3051 M Street , NW
Built in 1765, the Old Stone House is the oldest building in DC. The house is the main reason to visit, but it has the added attraction of a museum focused on colonial life. The yard is also open to everyone interested in a quiet place to relax in the heart of Georgetown. The Old Stone House is maintained and run by the National Park Service.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help
1600 Morris Road , SE
Our Lady of Perpetual Help boasts the best view of DC. Atop a hill east of the Anacostia River, this church overlooks pretty much the entire city. Monuments throughout the city emerge from a landscape of office buildings, parks, and homes that comprise our community. The church is adjacent to Fort Stanton, one of DC's many Civil War forts maintained by the National Park Service.
22nd and S Streets , NW
The Spanish Steps sit quietly in the residential neighborhood of Kalorama. These elegant steps are lined with respectful landscaping and capped by a small lion-head fountain. The steps were built in 1911 but fell into disrepair until their restoration by several area groups in 1999. These steps now provide a relaxing moment for pedestrians to catch their breath in relative seclusion near busy Dupont Circle.
7th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue , NW
The last remaining Temperance
Monument in the US stands as a lovely and graceful reminder of a failed social movement. Erected by Dr. Henry Daniel Cogswell, the fountain (topped by a stork) was built to encourage people to drink water rather than going to one of the nearby saloons to slake their thirst. Dr. Cogswell built similar monuments in Boston, Buffalo, Rochester, San Francisco, and Pawtucket -- all since torn down. The one in downtown DC remains as an interesting stop just off the Mall.
Union Temple Baptist Church
1225 W Street , SE
Aside from its religious importance, Union Temple includes some impressive artwork. Above the pulpit, stands a large mural of Jesus with fourteen civil rights leaders (including Frederick Douglass, whose home is just up the street). The church includes a focus on African roots: "Employing the Afro-centric perspective, UTBC has a particular and peculiar responsibility to our situation as African-Americans in the United States of America." Reverend Willie Wilson has established himself as a highly respected leader in DC and among church groups across the country. For an extra treat, try some of the baked goods (especially the butternut squash pie) on sale outside after Sunday services.
Uptown Movie Theater
3426 Connecticut Ave , NW
The Uptown is unquestionably the best place to see a movie in the city. It doesn't have stadium seating, student discounts, or a 21+ theater, and it doesn't need any other perks either. The beauty of the Uptown is its architecture and size. It opened in 1936 (with the screen added thirty years later) and still feels like an old time theater. Its huge (curved) screen is perfect for showing action movies. Uptown exploits its strength and always shows movies that are made for a really big screen. While many people prefer to sit on the first floor, the best view is really from the front of the balcony.
World's Biggest Chair
Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue and V St. , SE
In 1959, the Curtis Brothers, a thriving local furniture store, decided to celebrate and advertise their business by monumentalizing their product. They built a spectacle worth visiting: a 19 foot, 4,600 pound chair. That's a lot of chair. Despite the closing of Curtis Bros., the huge chair has remained an Anacostia landmark. Unfortunately, the real thing has been too weather-beaten to remain, and it is replaced by a metal replica. While still impressively large, it's not quite the same. (If you want to have a fun with a big chair that's small enough for you to actually climb up to the seat, check out the chair at Ellington High School on Resevoir Rd, NW in Georgetown.)