Decatur House
Decatur House
4.5
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
About
Right across from the White House, this is one of the oldest surviving homes in Washington DC and was designed by Benjamin Henry Latrobe.
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The area
Address
Neighborhood: Upper Northwest
How to get there
  • Farragut West • 2 min walk
  • Farragut North • 4 min walk
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

4.5
40 reviews
Excellent
22
Very good
12
Average
6
Poor
0
Terrible
0

J D
Sterling, VA173 contributions
Mar 2020
This less-familiar historical site is across from Lafayette Square in D.C. and close to a church, both of which are famous for well-known leaders of our country. Blair House is visible from one of its windows and it is quite near the White House. The Decaturs lived in this house for a little over a year before Decatur, a naval hero, was killed in a duel. Thereafter, it was leased to many other families and finally turned over to the White House Historical Society more recently. It is located on a corner and pedestrians could walk right by it and not realize that it's a good place to visit. Parking is difficult to find. The Smithsonian metro stop is the closest transportation, I believe. Visitors must purchase a timed ticket and are led around the house and the attached slave and staff quarters by a docent. There is a very good gift store also on site, as well as original brickwork and beams, flooring, photos of past residents, beautiful Asian art, and lovely objects and furniture to appreciate. Restrooms are also included inside the building and snacks can be purchased nearby and eaten in Lafayette Square. It is a good place to visit and it's a walk back in history for a few hours.
Written March 4, 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.

noke
Ontario5 contributions
Do NOT miss this place! It is down the street from the White House, across the street and over from the Church of the Presidents (if that's the exact name). The tour cost about 5 bucks. There was just myself and another couple in this tour. The young woman who did the tour was knowledgable, and very very gratious. I had injured my hand before the tour and they had gotten bandages for me and antiseptic. They give you all the history regarding Stephan Decatur and his very interesting death from a dual. As well as some of the history of the slaves who worked there, including one woman who bought her freedom and grew and sold her own vegetables to help buy the children from the Decatur House.
Written May 9, 2008
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.

Taylor B
Chicago, IL8,751 contributions
Sep 2016 • Couples
In the rush to see the U.S Capitol, White House, Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial and the many museums and historical sites along the National Mall, the Decatur House is usually overlooked. But one of the oldest surviving houses in Washington, D.C., is only a short walk across Lafayette Square from the White House. Significantly, it is one of only three remaining houses in the country designed by neoclassical architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe. Located at 748 Jackson Place Northwest, at the southwest corner of Jackson Place and H Street, Decatur House was built for and named after its first occupant, naval hero Stephen Decatur. Built in 1818, it now serves as a house museum and the National Center for White House History, managed by the White House Historical Association. Today, visitors can view the lower floor, which is kept in the style of the early 19th century, while the upper floor shows more modern renovations of the early 20th century. It was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1960 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1966.
Written May 5, 2017
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.

vmp1806
Philadelphia, PA6 contributions
Jul 2011
This house should be as popular as any other monumental Washington, D.C. attraction. Built in 1818 by Benjamin Henry Latrobe (who also designed St John' s church in Lafayette Square) the house has seen everyone from visiting dignitaries to presidents. This building has survived from not only its significance but also the careful preservation from its owners to become the first and last residential building on Lafayette Square.
The house has three unique eras that each brought something new to the house. The first is the 1818-1836 era in which Commodore Stephen Decatur (whose glorious naval triumphs are too many to write here) and his wife Susan resided here. The first floor is meant to show the time of their occupation in the house from the pair's Gilbert Stuart portraits hanging up to the original 1818 flooring in the entryway. The second era is 1836-1861 in which John Gadsby and his wife lived here and built the slave quarters in the back of the house. (Yes, slave quarters steps from the White House.) The last true era is in which the Beale family lived here from 1872 to 1956 and the second floor shows every bit of the family's influence on the house. Altogether, these three unique eras are preserved in one house.
When visiting, a fee is not required, but a donation is gladly accepted. Parking is very, very limited since the house is very close to the White House. The house can only be accessed through a guided tour but these are always led by informative, patient guides who are open for questions. The entrance and gift shop have elevators but the house has limited wheelchair access. The house is currently closed with no foreseeable opening for renovations (on January 1st, 2012 it will be a year since its closing.)
Written November 28, 2011
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.

Chinapjs
Washington DC, DC3,786 contributions
Mar 2018 • Couples
This charming early 1800's house has been lovingly restored. Full of period furniture and paintings and decorations. Surprisingly it is not normally very crowded. Perhaps because people think its official/government. It does have a nice gift shop too.
Written March 12, 2018
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.

skdphe
Fairfax Station, VA40 contributions
Apr 2013 • Family
Our fourth graders go to the Decatur House each year. They learn about the Civil War from knowledgeable and kind staff. Then they get to put on a play (that is filmed by the staff) about the Emancipation Proclamation. The kids even get to dress up! It is a great time for all. The house itself is beautiful and is definitely worth the visit if you're near the White House.
Written August 14, 2013
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.

749melaniel
Washington, DC13 contributions
Aug 2019 • Family
Decatur House is located on the northeast side of Lafayette Square near the White House. It was the site of many high end parties, gatherings, celebrations, and receptions in the inner circles of DC social life. But when Commodore Decatur died in a duel, his wife could not maintain the lavish lifestyle she knew. She rented it out to visiting dignitaries and it houses today the White House Historical Association and it’s fine gift shop. Check out books about the artworks found in the White House, fine porcelain, and toy stuffed animals representing White House pets. Get the White House Christmas ornament.
Written August 6, 2019
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.

FPAdventurer
Miami, FL351 contributions
Apr 2019 • Business
If you have seen all the monuments, museums and capital hill then it is a nice historic house to visit. It is the closest house to the White House and was built in 1818.
Written May 8, 2019
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.

Maggi713
Baltimore, MD12,069 contributions
Dec 2018 • Couples
We were invited to a Member Holiday Party for the White House Historical Association to be held in the historic Decatur House. What a beautiful setting for a holiday party! The house was decorated to the hilt. We were treated to light refreshments and holiday songs being played by a pianist.

Decatur House sits right on Jackson Place on Lafayette Square – down the street from The White House. It is named after its first owner and occupant, Stephen Decatur. The house was designed by the father of American architecture, Benjamin Henry Latrobe and was completed in 1818 making it one of the oldest surviving homes in DC.

Today, the home is the David M. Rubenstein National Center for White House History. It houses historical documentation, supports research efforts, and provides education programs related to the study and history of the White House. The first floor showcases the living room and dining room.

As an added bonus to the evening, we were given a tour of the slave quarters by Stephanie, who was a wealth of information on the history of the home. The Decatur’s did not own slaves, the slaves belonged to John Gadsby, the second owner of Decatur House. We were shown the second floor. On the first floor wing, you can see where the slaves lived and worked. It runs along the H street side and now serves as the exhibit gallery and gift shop.
Written December 22, 2018
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.

hcmjkm
Houston, TX767 contributions
Dec 2017 • Business
Decatur House is a charming place and very uncrowded compared with all the huge tourist spots all around. So it makes a great addition to a trip that adds a cozy and historical dimension to a visit to our Capitol. It is of course right on the beaten path, across the street from the White House in Lafayette Square, so easy to get to.

I especially recommend the little gift shop there, accessible from the street even if you don’t your Decatur House. It has a lot of nice White House and President-themed gifts which you won’t see in all the other gift shops around town. And that’s a relief - you will start to see all the same 50 top gifts over and over again in town.

Final tip- they have top notch fancy clean bathrooms here; again, accessible from gift shop even if you don’t take the tour. Hope you find this tip helpful!!
Written December 7, 2017
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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