Decatur House Tours
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Decatur House was the first private residence built near the White House. Designed by Benjamin Henry Latrobe, who also planned parts of the Capitol, the building has a storied past as home to foreign and American dignitaries and enslaved people. The museum tells the stories of its former residents and, through them, of a young America.
The Decatur House showcases architectural styles of the time with a mix of federal and Victorian influences. The museum’s collection includes furnishings from the early 1800s and impeccably kept records of the various characters who lived within the house’s walls, including the many enslaved individuals who lived in the building’s slave quarters—a rare remaining physical reminder that slaves were kept within sight of the White House.
Visit the Decatur House, along with other Washington DC monuments, independently via a hop-on hop-off trolley tour. Alternatively, experience the spookier side of the capital in a haunted house walking tour.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Decatur House is ideal for history and architecture buffs.
- The museum is free to enter, but a donation is suggested.
- The White House Historical Association leads free tours of Decatur House on Mondays. Check the website for up-to-date times.
- Check the weather forecast and be prepared with appropriate clothing for heat or cold, and wear good walking shoes.
- Parts of the house are accessible to wheelchair users.
How to Get There
Decatur House is located in NW Washington DC, one block north of the White House, on Lafayette Square. It can be reached by both the Farragut West (Orange and Blue lines) and Farragut North (Red Line) metro stations. Driving is not recommended, as parking is extremely limited in this area.
When to Go
Decatur House is open for tours year-round, though sometimes only on Mondays. Check the website for current opening hours and tour times. Washington DC can have extreme temperatures; aim for a springtime or autumn visit for comfortable weather and lovely foliage around the city.
The Little-Known Story of Charlotte Dupuy
Enslaved at Decatur House by then Secretary of State Henry Clay, Charlotte Dupuy sued for her freedom in 1829 in an unusual legal case. Her story, which is detailed in the museum’s collection, sheds light on the plight of American slaves in the 1800s.
Address: 748 Jackson Place NW, Washington D.C. 20006, USA
3 Tours and Activities to Experience Decatur House
Explore the best of Washington, DC on this narrated, hop-on hop-off trolley tour. Visit more than 100 points of interest among DC’s top attractions—like the White House, the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument, to name just a few. Depending upon your interest, select a silver, gold, or platinum pass, then board at any of the stops and get to know the nation’s capital in customized fashion, with live onboard commentary from a professional tour conductor. A guided moonlight trolley tour to the same landmark locations, illuminated for the evening, is also included.
Self-guided Tours & Rentals
Let’s Roam is the #1 app-led scavenger hunt company. Walk to all the best landmarks and hidden gems, answering trivia questions and solving challenges. Work with your team or compete against them, as you learn new facts and create memorable experiences. Let’s Roam Scavenger Hunts are great as an everyday activity, or for bachelorette parties, birthday parties, corporate team building events and more! Each player chooses an interactive role, with challenges varying by person.
Ghost & Vampire Tours
Washington DC is one of America's most famously historic cities, but aside from the political happenings around town and the legendary memorials, there's a haunted side to Washington DC that too often goes untold. During this two hour Washington DC haunted house walking tour, join a local guide and actor for a journey around the nation's capital that explores the paranormal. Hear the tales of death and tragedy that circle Lafayette Square, and finish the tour in front of the White House with a spooky, scary, and haunted sense of the capital's turbulent past.
Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What's the best way to experience Decatur House?
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