It’s no surprise that filmmakers prefer to use Washington State as a background, with its unique Seattle neighbourhoods, jaw-dropping scenery, and rich forested terrain. Filmmakers use it for a variety of genres, including romance, comedy, and drama, as well as science fiction, horror, and historical thrillers. Many landmarks in Washington DC have served as filming locations, luring film buffs to the US capital. Here are the top 10 movie locations in Washington, DC, if you’re interested in taking a tour of the city’s most film-worthy spots.
It is located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., and has been the home of every US president since John Adams in 1800.
The Executive Residence, the West Wing, the East Wing, the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, and Blair House, a guest residence, are all part of the current White House complex. The site is part of the President’s Park and is a National Heritage Site owned by the National Park Service.
While the landmark is frequently featured in action, science fiction, and political drama films, it has never been used as a filming site in Washington, DC. You can tour the White House during your stay in Washington DC by scheduling a guided tour through your home country’s embassy.
The Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool
On the National Mall, directly east of the Lincoln Memorial and to the east of the Washington Monument, is the reflecting pool, a long and massive rectangular pool. On both sides, it is bordered with strolling trails and shade trees. It reflects the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the Mall’s trees, and/or the broad sky, depending on the viewer’s viewing position.
The reflecting pool at the Lincoln Memorial may be familiar to you from the heartwarming film Forrest Gump (1994). Captain America: The Winter Soldier also features the location (2014).
United States Capitol
It is the meeting location and seat of the legislative branch of the United States federal government. It is located on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., at the eastern extremity of the National Mall.
The first structure was completed in 1800. The building was partially destroyed in the 1814 Washington fire, but it was completely rebuilt five years later. For the bicameral legislature, the structure was subsequently enlarged with the installation of a gigantic dome and additional wings with larger chambers. The Capitol, like the executive and judicial institutions’ main buildings, is neoclassical in design and has a white facade.
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) is an award-winning political drama that has exterior shots of a variety of locations, including the United States Capitol Building.
National Archives Building
The National Archives Building serves as the headquarters of the United States National Archives and Records Administration. It is located at 700 Pennsylvania Avenue, Northwest, Washington, D.C., just north of the National Mall.
Following the release of National Treasure in 2004, the number of visitors to the National Archives Building skyrocketed. The National Archives Museum houses key historical documents such as the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and the United States Constitution.
Members of Congress and political appointees of the executive branch flocked to the Watergate complex, which was one of Washington’s most appealing living areas. It was constructed between 1963 and 1971,
The Democratic National Committee’s headquarters, then on the sixth floor of the Watergate Office Building, was broken into in 1972, and private campaign materials were photographed and telephones were wiretapped. The burglary was discovered to have been authorised by high officials in President Richard Nixon’s administration, who then attempted to cover up their involvement, according to a Senate probe. There were also other crimes discovered. Nixon resigned on August 9, 1974, as a result of the Watergate affair, which was named after the complex.
While watching the 1970s classic All the President’s Men, you can recognise the Watergate Hotel among many other Washington DC monuments. The real-life Watergate affair is the inspiration for the film. The Scandal Room (originally Room 214) in the Watergate complex now houses memorial photos, news stories, and quotes from major individuals, including former US President Richard Nixon.
Georgetown University is a private research university. The school is the oldest Catholic institution of higher education in the United States, having been founded in the Jesuit tradition. Since 1805, the Jesuits have been involved in the academic life of the university, both as scholars and administrators.
Georgetown University is a popular filming site. Its opulent interiors, particularly its 19th-century Healy Hall, are frequently represented in Hollywood films and television series. Father Damien Karras is shown strolling by the Victorian Gothic building in The Exorcist (1973). If you’re a fan of the TV show The West Wing, you’ll recognise Healy Hall from multiple sequences. Many people believe that a young Jesuit who died while working at the clock tower is haunted by the majestic edifice.
Washington Union Station
In Washington, D.C., Washington Union Station is a significant train station, transportation centre, and leisure attraction. It is Amtrak’s headquarters and the railroad’s second-busiest station, with annual ridership of just under 5 million passengers, and the ninth-busiest in terms of overall passengers served in the United States, having opened in 1907.
During World War II, when the station was at its busiest, up to 200,000 passengers went through in a single day. A headhouse wing was built in 1988, and the existing station was restored to become a commercial complex.
Hannibal (2001), Head of State (2003), and Collateral Damage are just a few of the Hollywood films that have included Washington Union Station (2002). Because the lovely carousel from the movie was only a temporary prop for the film, don’t be disappointed if you can’t find it at Washington Union Station.
Stairway on Prospect Street
The Exorcist steps, also known as the “Hitchcock steps,” are a set of concrete stairs in the Georgetown neighbourhood of Washington, D.C. They became well-known after appearing in the 1973 film The Exorcist. The steps were created in 1895 as a lightwell and public right of way during the construction of the adjacent Capital Traction Company Barn for cable cars.
To portray the death of the character Father Damien Karras in The Exorcist, the steps were padded with half-inch-thick (13 mm) rubber.
Mayor Muriel Bowser of the District of Columbia acknowledged the Exorcist steps as a D.C. monument and official tourist destination during a ceremonial Halloween weekend in 2015.
Willard InterContinental Washington
The Willard InterContinental Washington is a premium Beaux-Arts hotel located in the heart of Washington, D.C. Among the hotel’s facilities are numerous exquisite guest rooms, the famed Round Robin Bar, restaurants, the Peacock Alley range of luxury boutiques, and vast function rooms. It is owned by InterContinental Hotels & Resorts. Since 1968, the opulent Willard InterContinental Washington has welcomed numerous US presidents, historical personalities, and international ambassadors. You may recognise the structure from Steven Spielberg’s future thriller Minority Report (2002), which starred Tom Cruise and Max von Sydow and had an attractive Beaux-Arts design. The Willard Room, the hotel kitchen, and the Peacock Alley retail establishments were also used for filming.
The Smithsonian museums
The Smithsonian museums, with its vast collection of items from around the world, are frequently portrayed in films ranging from comedy to science fiction to romance to historical fiction. The National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Castle, and the National Air and Space Museum were among the locations used in Night at the Museum II: Battle of the Smithsonian (2009).
Families may spend the night at these iconic movie locations in Washington DC by purchasing Smithsonian Sleepovers tickets, which include interactive tours, hands-on games, and the opportunity to sleep among the historical artefacts featured in the movie.