Washington D.C.

Signature City Washington, D.C.

Gain a deeper understanding of the nation’s capital, uncovering D.C.’s hidden landmarks, iconography, vibrant history and strange legends alongside both historians and local experts.
Rating (5)
Program No. 20744RJ
6 days
Starts at

At a Glance

Go beyond the monuments and memorials to discover the most fascinating aspects of Washington’s rich history and dynamic culture. Learn about the gargoyles perched on the Washington National Cathedral, walk in the footsteps of Lincoln and his assassin at Ford's Theatre and hear tales of D.C.'s most notable and eccentric residents as you wind through the mansions and foreign embassies of Georgetown.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Discover the iconography of the nation’s most treasured monuments, and delve deep into the history of the United States Capitol as you explore the Capitol Rotunda, Statuary Hall and Crypt.
  • Go behind the scenes at the Kennedy Center, learn about the many extraordinary gifts from the governments of more than 60 countries that make this a truly international destination.
  • From famous landmarks to city history, uncover D.C.’s Masonic symbolism with local experts.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
The Lost Symbol
by Dan Brown
In this stunning follow-up to the global phenomenon The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown demonstrates once again why he is the world’s most popular thriller writer. The Lost Symbol is a masterstroke of storytelling--a deadly race through a real-world labyrinth of codes, secrets, and unseen truths . . . all under the watchful eye of Brown’s most terrifying villain to date. Set within the hidden chambers, tunnels, and temples of Washington, D.C., The Lost Symbol accelerates through a startling landscape toward an unthinkable finale. As the story opens, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned unexpectedly to deliver an evening lecture in the U.S. Capitol Building. Within minutes of his arrival, however, the night takes a bizarre turn. A disturbing object--artfully encoded with five symbols--is discovered in the Capitol Building. Langdon recognizes the object as an ancient invitation . . . one meant to usher its recipient into a long-lost world of esoteric wisdom. When Langdon’s beloved mentor, Peter Solomon--a prominent Mason and philanthropist--is brutally kidnapped, Langdon realizes his only hope of saving Peter is to accept this mystical invitation and follow wherever it leads him. Langdon is instantly plunged into a clandestine world of Masonic secrets, hidden history, and never-before-seen locations--all of which seem to be dragging him toward a single, inconceivable truth. As the world discovered in The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, Dan Brown’s novels are brilliant tapestries of veiled histories, arcane symbols, and enigmatic codes. In this new novel, he again challenges readers with an intelligent, lightning-paced story that offers surprises at every turn. The Lost Symbol is exactly what Brown’s fans have been waiting for . . . his most thrilling novel yet.
"They Have Killed Papa Dead!": The Road to Ford's Theatre, Abraham Lincoln's Murder, and the Rage for Vengeance
by Pitch, Anthony
The assassination of Abraham Lincoln is a central drama of the American experience. Its impact is felt to this day, and the basic story is known to all. Anthony Pitch’s thrilling account of the Lincoln conspiracy and its aftermath transcends the mere facts of that awful night during which dashing actor John Wilkes Booth shot Lincoln in the head and would-be assassin Lewis Payne butchered Secretary of State William Seward in the bed of his own home. “They Have Killed Papa Dead!” transports the reader to one of the most breathtaking moments in history, and reveals much that is new about the stories, passions, and times of those who shaped this great tragedy. Virtually every word of Anthony Pitch’s account is based on primary source material: new quotes from previously unpublished diaries, letters and journals – authentic contemporary voices writing with freshness and clarity as eyewitnesses or intimate participants – new images, a new vision and understanding of one of America’s defining moments. With an unwavering fidelity to historical accuracy, Pitch provides new confirmation of threats against the president-elect’s life as he traveled to Washington by train for his first inauguration, and a vivid personal account of John Wilkes Booth being physically restrained from approaching Lincoln at his second inauguration. Perhaps most chillingly, new details come to light about conditions in the special prison where the civilian conspirators accused of participating in the Lincoln assassination endured tortuous conditions in extreme isolation and deprivation, hooded and shackled, before and even during their military trial. Pitch masterfully synthesizes the findings of his prodigious research into a tight, gripping narrative that adds important new insights to our national story.
The Sacred Geometry of Washington, D.C.
by Nicholas R. Mann
The Sacred Geometry of Washington, D.C. shows how a system of number and geometric proportion, employed in the temples and cities of many of the great civilizations of the past, is present in the original design of the United States capital. In 1791, as the immense new Federal City took shape upon the landscape, it had to define and balance the powers of the People, the States, the Judiciary, the Legislature and the President. The architect had to give symbolic form to a new democratic republic. But, over the centuries, imbalances crept into this plan. Nicholas Mann describes this story in fascinating detail and asks: if the symbolism of the capital city is intended to be a true expression of America's heart, its innermost values, what can be done to restore the balance and integrity of its original, visionary principles?
1812: A Nation Emerges
by Sidney Hart & Rachel L. Penman
The War of 1812 completed the struggle for American independence that began in 1776 and propelled a new nation forward. 1812: A Nation Emerges accompanies the National Portrait Gallery exhibition of the same name and features 115 color images, an introduction by one of the exhibition’s curators, and two essays by leading historians. Marking the two-hundredth anniversary of the conflict, this book explores how the United States was transformed and unified by the individuals who took part in that seminal event. It provides an overview of the battles, the negotiations for peace, the aftermath—known as “the era of good feelings”—and the great commercial, industrial, and cultural expansion that followed, which to some marked the birth of the United States as a world power.
The Washington National Cathedral: This Bible in Stone
by Robert E. Kendig
Europeans who visit the Washington National Cathedral find it hard to believe that this Gothic marvel was actually built in the 20th century--and in only 83 years. It was also constructed without a cent of government money. Kendig has recorded and compiled the memories of those who prepared the plans, carved the statues, set the stones, designed the windows, played the music, and raised their prayers.
Not For Tourists Guide to Washington DC
by Jade Floyd
The Not For Tourists Guide to Washington DC is the urban manual to the city that no local, or tourist, should be without. This map-based guidebook divides the city into forty-six mapped neighborhoods. Each map is marked by NFT’s user-friendly icons, which help locate the essential services, transportation, and entertainment venues in the area. Want to know the best place to grab an alfresco cocktail? NFT has you covered. How about exploring little residential suburban pockets far away from the National Mall? We’ve got that, too. The nearest up-and-coming restaurant, farmer’s market, LGBT venue, or football game—whatever you need—NFT puts it at your fingertips. The guide also includes: •A foldout highway map •More than one hundred neighborhood maps •Coverage for nearby universities and Baltimore •Details on parks and outdoor activities •Information on the National Mall and the US Capitol It’s the main weapon in implementing our “No resident left behind!” policy.

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