Originally part of the White House grounds, 7-acre (2.8-hectare) Lafayette Square has a storied past. It has been used as a graveyard, a racetrack, and a zoo, and is often the sight of political protests and demonstrations. Today it’s an ideal place for people-watching and for up-close views of the White House.
Because of its historical significance and central location, a variety of Washington DC tours include Lafayette Square, with guides shedding light on different aspects of the park’s history. Hop-on hop-off tours stop here as well.
Things to Know Before You Go
Lafayette Square is a lovely park for all visitors to DC, especially those seeking great views of the White House.
The park is free to enter.
Lafayette Square is accessible to wheelchairs and strollers.
How to Get There
Lafayette Square is located directly across from the White House at Pennsylvania Avenue and 16th Street NW. It is easily accessible from the National Mall and all of DC by bus, Metrorail, or foot. Driving is not recommended, as parking in the area is very restricted.
When to Get There
Lafayette Square is open year-round. The best times to visit DC are spring and fall, when temperatures are generally mild. Tourists descend on the nation’s capital in the summer and crowds can be overwhelming. Washington DC can experience extreme temperatures in the summer and winter; check the forecast and dress accordingly.
Off the Record
For an authentically Washington DC experience, find your way to Off the Record, a hidden bar in the basement of the Hay Adams Hotel just off of Lafayette Square. Known as a local watering hole for politicos, keep your eyes peeled for politicians, journalists, and everyone in between. The low-lit, subterranean cocktail bar feels swanky with red leather sofas, mahogany tables, and walls full of juicy Washington secrets.
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