Weird Things to Do in Washington DC

Something that I’ve truly found joy in since COVID has been exploring the local places that can be found practically in my own back yard. When we were forced indoors and unable to travel in 2020 and into 2021, I, instead, took advantage of locating places near home that I never would have checked out otherwise. This is a strategy I’ve been attempting to apply to my everyday life now, too. When I have a free day, why not find a place nearby that I would love to explore and check it out? We can easily get the experience of travel in our own back yard, and it’s silly that by nature we tend to neglect the places near us. So, when I found myself in Washington DC this past month, I specifically wanted to put together a trip of bizarre and strange places in DC, having realized that I have only been to the mainstream monuments and places in the DC area (I mean, really, who doesn’t LOVE the Smithsonian’s. I could spend all day there and regularly have in my past). So, without further ado, here are a couple of uniquely weird finds I discovered on my recent adventure into Washington DC.

The Mansion on O Street

The Mansion on O Street is like nothing I have done before. It was bizarre, fun, mysterious, and wonderful. You can make a reservation for the night or just pay a small fee for a tour in the daytime. This wild structure spans 5 townhouses connected together as one large mansion, and they are all interconnected with hidden doors of varying shapes and sizes, each leading to another vibrantly exciting corridor of the house. Rosa Parks had a room at the Mansion where she lived for many years, and you can explore to find her room. There is a hidden wine cellar and Elvis room, a hidden Halloween corridor, a fashion alley, a cabin, and a variety of wildly eccentric and exciting places. There are 70 hidden doors (and hundreds of rooms) you can discover, some as tiny as a little peephole. While I can say that my door-finding game is pretty strong, there were still several I know that I missed out on.

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O Street Mansion

What makes the mansion even more unique, aside from the fact that you can stay in some of the rooms, is the fact that it also works like a uniquely bizarre thrift store. There are items, clothing, and furniture spread throughout that are all for sale, so long as they are not a part of the house structure itself (like the toilets). So, you can get a unique vintage shopping experience out of your exploration. I can’t recommend this place enough, as it’s perfect for those who love vintage, who love the bizarre, and for those who frankly just love opening doors and exploring the unknown. And, of course, for those who love puzzles, too. If you’re into the strange, you can’t miss out on the Mansion on O Street.

The Catacombs of DC

Did you know that DC has Catacombs? How about the fact that these catacombs were designed to be a replica of the ones found in Rome? Well, you do now! In DC, there is a Franciscan Monastery known as the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America that offers free daily tours. The chapel itself is breathtakingly beautiful and worth the visit to see alone. With shining surfaces painted in a pseudo gold and a dispenser of holy water for any who want to take some to go (no, really… it has a dispenser of holy water), this beautiful church is worth the visit. However, with a guided tour, you are given access to the areas below the church which wind down and around in a way that mimics the catacombs of the Franciscan Monastery in Rome. The only difference is that here, there are no dead bodies in the catacombs, except for one of a small child enshrined for everyone to remember to pray for the children. It was supposedly built back in the day for people who were unable to take the trip to Rome, so they, too, could appreciate the holy catacombs.

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The tour takes you through the winding catacombs and into the Purgatory room, which is adorned with beautiful mosaics all over the walls, mosaics that show death and resurrection. I will honestly say that I was entranced by the skeleton mosaics.

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The tour is relatively quick, very informative, and most definitely worth a visit since it takes you down under the chapel into the replicated catacombs. And it’s all in Washington, DC. Who knew?

My list of weird things in Washington is still growing, but those two places alone can constitute a relatively full day of weird in DC. I’ll be sure to keep you posted for more, but for now, I hope you give the O Street Mansion and the Catacombs of DC a visit on your next adventure into the historic capital.

Malorie Mackey

Malorie Mackey is an actress, published author, and adventurer. Malorie grew up in Richmond, Virginia where she loved sports, the outdoors, animals, and all forms of art. She took to acting at a young age, so it was no surprise when she decided to go to college for theatre. While in college, Malorie studied body movement with the DAH Theatre in Belgrade, Serbia, voice in Herefordshire, England with Frankie Armstrong, and the business of theatre in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Malorie moved from the East Coast to Los Angeles after receiving her BFA in Theatre Performance from Virginia Commonwealth University. Upon arriving in LA, Malorie participated in the Miss California USA 2011 Pageant where she won the “Friend’s Choice” Award (by popular vote) and received a beautiful award for it. While living on the West Coast, Malorie accumulated over 40 acting credits working on a variety of television shows, web series, and indie films, such as the sci-fi movie “Dracano,” the Biography Channel show “My Haunted House,” the tv pilot “Model Citizen” with Angie Everhart, and the award-winning indie film “Amelia 2.0.” Throughout her experiences, Malorie found a love for travel and adventure, having journeyed to over a dozen countries experiencing unique locations. From the lush jungles of the Sierra Madre mountain range to the Arctic Circle in Finnish Lapland, Malorie began adventuring and writing about her unique travels. These travel excerpts can be found on VIVA GLAM Magazine, in Malorie’s Adventure Blog, in Malorie’s adventure show: “Weird World Adventures” and in the works for her full-length travel book. In 2022, Malorie was thrilled to become a member of the Explorer’s Club through her work on scientific travel. Her experiences volunteering on archaeological and anthropological expeditions as well as with animal conservation allowed her entry into the exclusive club. Since then, Malorie has focused more on scientific travel. Malorie’s show “Weird World Adventures” releases on Amazon Prime Video in the Spring of 2024! Stay tuned as Malorie brings the strangest wonders of the world to you!

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