Ford's Theatre
Ford's Theatre
4.5
About
The site of the April 14, 1865, assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, Ford's Theatre is a working theatre, historical monument, world-class museum and learning center. The theatre produces musicals and plays reflecting the unique, diverse character of American life. With its inspiring theatrical productions, live historic interpretation, and rich collection of artifacts, Ford’s is the premier destination in the nation’s capital to explore and celebrate the life and legacy of Abraham Lincoln. A daytime visit can include the museum, theatre, Petersen House (the house where Lincoln died) and Aftermath Exhibits at the Center for Education and Leadership. Advance tickets are required (convenience fee). From September to May, Ford’s presents evening and matinee productions of renowned plays, vibrant musicals, and newly commissioned works that captivate and entertain while examining political and social issues related to Lincoln’s life and legacy.
Duration: 1-2 hours
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The area
Address
Neighborhood: Downtown
How to get there
  • Metro Center • 4 min walk
  • Gallery Place • 5 min walk
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See what travelers are saying
  • Jessica K
    Tarpon Springs, Florida455 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Ford’s Theater
    Although free to visit, one must get a ticket to visit. The main theatre is not original, but a recreation. They have you sit and listen to a very entertaining presentation of the history of the assassination before going across the street to the building where President Lincoln died. There are several narrow stair cases and steps. The building where Lincoln died has a really good little museum of the assassination, man hunt, and aftermath.
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written June 25, 2023
  • Bob C
    Middletown, New Jersey22 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great History lesson
    What a wonderful experience. I found the theater experience and the Park Ranger that did the narration facinating. The Gift Shop is a bit underwhelming but the tour which included the Museum,the Theater and the Peterson House across the street is top notch. Plan on spending 2-3 hours on this experience.
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written July 1, 2023
  • Pat
    3 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great added stop in DC
    On our last day, before leaving for the airport, we fit in a visit to the Ford theater and museum and were glad we did! It was an interesting for the whole family. We had a short wait in line before being admitted. Once in, the museum is easy to follow (it does take reading, so perhaps choose guides options for smaller children) to learn the history and politics of the period, and about Abraham Lincoln, his assassinator and assassination. The presentation and Q&A were good too!
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written July 2, 2023
  • Tom K
    Dowell, Maryland32 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Awesome tour of American history.
    The whole tour is put on by the National Park Service and was done very well. The tour begins self guided in the museum in the basement for about 30 minutes. Then proceeds to the theater where a NPS ranger gives a 15 minute presentation on the history of the theater and events leading to the assassination. The tour concludes by proceeding across the street to the Peterson house which is where Lincoln actually died. A must do tour. There is no cost.
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written July 10, 2023
  • phvi2617
    Anaheim, California580 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Historic and engaging
    Unfortunately, the basement museum was closed the day of our visit due to flooding, but we thoroughly enjoyed visiting the historic theater. The gentleman who gave the ranger talk was very engaging, and I learned a lot about the events and people surrounding Lincoln's assassination. We did not visit the Petersen House due to big crowds, but listening to the talk in the theater was well worth the visit.
    Visited June 2023
    Written July 19, 2023
  • Cara
    Toledo, Ohio27 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Don’t Forget Your National Park Passport Book!
    We booked a morning tour and were pleasantly surprised at how much we all loved Ford’s Theater. Everyone in our group (ages 12-40+) gave it 5-stars! We spent time exploring the basement and looking at the artifacts. I would encourage you to spend the extra money and get the audio tour. We all felt it enhanced our time here. Definitely plan to sit in on the Ranger talk (about 25 minutes). You will sit in the theater during the presentation and we all learned interesting facts we didn’t know previously. When this tour is over, you can walk across the street to the Peterson House where Lincoln died. Definitely add this to your list of things to do in D.C.
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written July 23, 2023
  • Mechele A
    Noblesville, Indiana431 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Well worth the time and money.
    WOW - never, ever thought I'd be at this place. Fascinating place in history. Worth the cost and the gift shop had some great gift ideas for relatively decent prices. This is what I'd consider a DO NOT MISS visit but then again, I'm a history buff.
    Visited September 2022
    Traveled with friends
    Written July 23, 2023
  • David H
    Bury, United Kingdom1,634 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    A piece of history
    The online bookings were full, so I turned up early in the morning and joined the queue for same day tickets. I was fortunate to obtain a theatre tour for later the same afternoon. Queues for the tour started early, but once the queue was moving we moved swiftly down to the museum where we were left to view the items on display. At this point it got very warm in the unventilated area with scores of visitors waiting to proceed. Eventually the door was opened and we were able to go up to the theatre. It is well maintained - a typically laid out theatre - and of course the highlight for all was to see the box where Lincoln was assassinated.
    Visited April 2023
    Written July 27, 2023
  • flo220
    New York City, New York349 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Very interesting (free) tour
    After learning about the Lincoln Assassination many years ago I finally got to see the inside of Ford's Theatre. Advance reservations are recommended but we were lucky that we could just line up and get a ticket to enter. After an interesting historical exhibit you are brought into the theater by a park ranger and given a tour of it. Definitely worth a visit.
    Visited August 2022
    Traveled with family
    Written July 27, 2023
  • Josh G
    Portland, Indiana978 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    A really historic spot!
    A really cool place to visit! It is truly a moment that changed the direction of history, and they have a great set up for you to experience it. The Good: They are very informative people. Good freedom to move around the museum Great coverage of Lincoln's history A great collection of items related to the assassination (they actually have John Wilkes Booth's pistol in the museum.) A beautiful revamping of the theater. Not So Good: They really complicate the ticket process. You can buy tickets online in advance, but not the day of. It really led to some confusion. There are a ton of tour options making it confusing as to what you are actually getting.
    Thank you for your feedback! We are so happy to hear you enjoyed your time at Ford's Theatre. To clarify our ticketing process, we do offer a select number of day-of tickets, but they are available first come, first served. We encourage people to purchase in advance to guarantee their preferred time-slot, but are more than happy to provide day-of tickets as available.
    Written July 31, 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written July 29, 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles4,413 reviews
Excellent
2,958
Very good
1,085
Average
271
Poor
72
Terrible
27

Sita Pfalz
2 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2021
My family and I attended "A Christmas Carol" nearly every year, with the exception of 2020, and this year's performance (December 23, 2021) was beyond awful.

There were many issues related to the performance. In previous years, the performance would go into great depth detailing the story. They tried to condense the entire play into one sitting, forcing every scene. They raised the prices for tickets for a shorter play and didn't even collect donations for the local food banks they usually supported.

They cut short on the songs which were directly used in Charles Dickens's story. This was a bare-bones skeleton of "A Christmas Carol".

There were very few props/stage effects included, with the fairy of Christmas Past walking downstairs, Scrooge's "bed" was in a victorian chair, and the only stage decoration was a vinyl green chair.

They had people take their COVID tests outside, but they didn't actually check the results from the test, just waiving them in without checking.

Don't even get me started on how understaffed the cast was. They went from over 30 devoted to <10 actors. Every child in the play was 'substituted' by a high-pitched adult. The most blatant example is how Tiny Tim, a very important character to Scrooge's story, is a tall gentleman with a beard larger than the actor who played his father.

Suffice to say, my family and I didn't enjoy the play, and we won't be attending another performance at Ford's Theater anytime soon.
Written December 27, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

mike1046
103 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Couples
You can get your tickets in advance on the website, you have to pay a $3.50 processing fee, or take your chances and get them free when you arrive, we recommend getting them in advance and paying the fee that way you can see what you want at the time you want. Make sure you read carefully some tickets don't include the theater just the museum and the Petersen house. Entry starts every 30 min, line up outside main door (arrive at least 10-15 min early if you don't want to be at the end of the long line), it's all self-guided, spend as much time as you want in the museum, theater and Petersen house. There is bathrooms and a gift shop inside the main entrance that you can access at any time prior to the tour, and a parking garage directly next-door. Also remember this is still an active theater, so some dates will have performances and you will not be able to access the theater at certain times.
Written March 20, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

MrGaucho1987
Santa Barbara, CA953 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2021
If you have any appreciation for President Lincoln and the history of the Civil War do not miss this massive hunk of US history. The tour features a guided walk through Lincoln’s life (an audio guide for $5) followed by a walk through the theater. The tour is not rushed. I must admit that I found the tour of Lincoln’s life a bit underwhelming. If you want an amazing museum experience do not miss Churchill's war rooms in London. The overview of Churchil's life is one of the best museum experiences I’ve ever had. This did not hold a candle to the War Rooms. The tour areas is at times crowded and dark. But those nits aside this is still a must-see experience. If you have only a day or two in DC you can miss this. But don't miss it on deeper explorations of Washington.
Written January 12, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Lori B
Riverview, FL239 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2021
My husband and I were lucky enough to be in DC for a quick getaway and bought tickets to “A Christmas Carol”. Wonderful performance in a historic setting. Highly recommend seeing a production at the theatre which entitles you to the musuem an hour before the performance.
Written December 23, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

CookseyMom
Prosper, TX264 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
My husband, kids (ages 14, 12, 10) all thought this was one of the highlights of our DC trip. You learn a lot about the United States in that period, and of course, Abraham Lincoln and his assassination. The Park Ranger who did the interpretive presentation in the theater itself was great and really brought the story of that evening to life. Highly recommend!
Written July 3, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thanks for making Ford's part of your D.C. visit!
Written October 29, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Bergmom
Duluth, Minnesota480 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2022 • Family
We were not able to get tickets ahead of time (sold out) so we arrived when the box office opened (on a Saturday at 8:30am) and easily got two tickets- no fee, just a donation. Self guided tour started at 9am and I couldn’t believe how much had changed from when I was here 15 years ago! The museum under the theater was much improved, containing many artifacts, although some of the lighting was almost too dim to read the placards. A super knowledgeable ranger was on hand in the theater itself to answer questions as well. You can climb the stairs in which Lincoln walked up and was carried down that fateful night and you can even go in to Baptist alley where Wilkes Booth exited the back of the stage when he ran away. Be sure to check out the Peterson boarding house across the street too!
Written May 21, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Bertram S
Wyoming, MI998 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2021
This was a fun little museum in the basement of the Ford Theatre where Lincoln was shot. It did a really good job of talking through his inauguration, his involvement in the Civil War, his family, entertainments, and people who planned to assassinate him. The movies were particularly insightful. A wand explaining everything is available, but there’s a lot of information already written up so they weren’t really necessary. The last thing to go through is the theatre where Lincoln was fatally shot. It’s still used for shows today. Unfortunately we didn’t have a chance to go through some exhibits: they announced that we only had 30 minutes left at a certain point, so we went through the theatre before the building closed. They have a really great gift shop – we bought quite a bit there.
Written July 22, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you for your feedback! We're glad you enjoyed your visit and sorry you didn't get a chance to see everything. As part of our COVID safety plan, we were allowing only 45 minutes on site in order to ensure patrons move through the site promptly and to provide time for cleaning between visits. We hope you’ll visit us again when we are able to allow visitors more time.
Written August 24, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Alan F
1 contribution
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2022 • Friends
Beware!! We purchased advance tickets for our family of 4 via the Ford's Theater web site. Paid $3/each or $12 for a reserved time to tour the theater and the Peterson house across the street. Big mistake.

We arrived 20 minutes early, only to be told by the US Park Service officer the theater was unavailable due to a matinee show. WTF?? Asked to see the box office and was denied access. Waited on the phone to talk to the box office for an extended period and no one answered. The park service attendant said no refunds.

We went across the street to the Peterson House and were ushered inside and the Park Service person didn't ask for a ticket. He handed us one with an earlier time without asking us anything.

This is a ripoff. No indication on the ticket or web site that we would be charged $12 for a free tour and not get the benefit. Avoid.
Written April 15, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

sloomis31
Bristol, WI1,031 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2021
We bought our timed tickets the day they went on sale online (and they sold out fast). It slowly stopped raining so our wait outside on the street was tolerable. We then proceeded inside and down into the basement museum. You are supposed to walk in chronological order among the displays, movies, and signage, but it was difficult given the crowd in our group and social distancing. That being said it was interesting to learn about Lincoln and the times in which he lived. Then it was upstairs to see the actual box where it all happened. You lean in to see the box through a plastic panel and read a little drawing outlining where everyone was sitting. Then we spoke to a park ranger who showed us some photos and talked about how they closed the theatre for decades after the assassination. All in all a fascinating if not sobering visit back in time.
Written August 28, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ruud1
Dublin, Ireland1,289 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
Really transported back in to this time and era,Excellent array of artefacts and the history behind them,Make sure theatre is open as part of your ticket.
Really interesting and then across the street to Pearson house where Lincoln passed away is a haunting experience Imo.
Excellent value that you walk around yourself at your leisure.
Written January 20, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Ford's Theatre - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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