The Top Hidden Gems to Visit on a Charter Bus Trip to Washington, DC

The Top Hidden Gems to Visit on a Charter Bus Trip to Washington, DC
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While Washington, DC, has an abundance of memorials, free museums, and historic sites, frequent visitors here for work, sports events, or school trips may find themselves tiring of the familiar Museum of Natural History and the Washington Monument.

 

That’s where we at DCTrails step in to assist. We’ve curated a list of lesser-known treasures in Washington, DC, that are perfect for group outings. Plus, if you’re seeking a convenient way to navigate the city without the hassles of transit or rideshares, consider booking a charter bus with us!

 

Historic Buildings

 

1. President Lincoln’s Cottage

 

Located within the grounds of the former home for wounded soldiers, now the Armed Forces Retirement Home, lies a historic cottage. This cottage served as a retreat for President Lincoln and his family during the “hot season” from 1862 to 1864.

 

During his stay, Lincoln held meetings with self-emancipated individuals, visited wounded soldiers nearby, and drafted the Emancipation Proclamation. Today, you can bring your school or tour group inside this living piece of history. Explore exhibits like “Wartime Washington,” “Lincoln the Commander-in-Chief,” and “Lincoln’s Toughest Decisions.”

 

2. The Summerhouse

 

Located on the West Front Lawn, adjacent to the Senate side of the U.S. Capitol Building, you’ll discover a red-brick grotto designed by the renowned landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted. Erected just prior to the 20th century, this unique hexagonal structure has stone benches, providing a serene spot to rest and seek shade after exploring the Capitol Building and its surrounding grounds.

 

Accessing the Summerhouse involves passing through an arched doorway adorned with a wrought-iron gate. Inside, a decorative fountain, once a water source for visitors, now serves as an ornamental centerpiece. For an added treat, take a peek through a small window within the summerhouse to glimpse a secluded grotto.

 

Museums

 

1. The National Museum of African Art

 

The National Museum of African Art, often overlooked amidst the Smithsonian museums, is tucked away on the National Mall, requiring a drop-off request from your bus. However, its location offers a serene escape from the bustling crowds at nearby attractions like the Air and Space Museum or the Museum of Natural History.

 

The inside features sculptures, jewelry, pottery, paintings, and religious artifacts spanning medieval to contemporary eras from across the African continent. Rotating exhibits delve into various themes, such as the significance of gold in medieval Saharan Africa, African historical heroes, and contemporary female African artists.

 

2. Anacostia Community Museum

 

While the National Air and Space Museum and the National Museum of American History are undeniably breathtaking, some of the Smithsonian’s less-explored gems truly deserve more recognition. Located in the Anacostia neighborhood, the Anacostia Community Museum holds the distinction of being the first federally funded museum dedicated to a single neighborhood, and like all Smithsonian institutions, it grants free admission.

 

Plan a visit for your class and explore exhibits like “A Right to the City,” which chronicles the neighborhood’s enduring struggle against gentrification by African American and immigrant families. You can also partake in complimentary music, fitness, or cooking presentations.

 

Notably, the Anacostia Community Museum, being one of the few Smithsonian museums outside the National Mall, offers the added convenience of free on-site parking for your luxury charter bus.

 

3. The Mansion on O

 

The Mansion on O Street is anything but ordinary—it’s a blend of a museum, hotel, and event space. With over 100 rooms and 70 hidden doors, this venue has themed spaces with chandeliers, handwritten manuscripts, sculptures, records, paintings, letters, and sports memorabilia.

 

For Beatles enthusiasts, a visit to the John Lennon Room is a must, showcasing a treasure trove of Beatles memorabilia. If civil rights history piques your interest, the Mrs. Rosa Parks Room, once frequented by the civil rights icon from 1994 to 2004, is a great experience.

 

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