Things to Do

President Lincoln’s Cottage

Get a look at Lincoln's private life through his Northwest getaway.

Photograph by Flickr user Payton Chung

Why you might roll your eyes:

As historic attractions go, this one seems pretty minor- a house that was Abraham Lincoln’s version of Camp David.

Why you’ll love it:

Lincoln’s Cottage may be the single most fascinating look at a President’s life in Washington. The hilltop cottage offered a breezy escape from summer heat as well as some privacy- although citizens still showed up there asking to see the President. (In at least one instance, Lincoln greeted the petitioner in slippers and bathrobe.) The restored rooms are mostly sparsely furnished; video screens, piped-in “historical voices,” and knowledgeable tour guides paint a picture of the First Family’s time here. You can imagine the great man: reading poetry and the Bible, mourning the death of his son Willie, gathering his thoughts to draft the Emancipation Proclamation, and setting off on horseback most mornings for his 3½-mile “commute” to the White House- often alone, when he slipped past his guards.

Admission is $15 for adults, $5 ages 6 through 12; reservations recommended. 140 Rock Creek Church Rd., NW; 202-829-0436.

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