We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“A play and a piece of history for $5”
Review of Ford's Theatre

Ford's Theatre
Book In Advance
More Info
and up
Washington DC Essential Hop-On Hop-Off plus Bonus Tour
More Info
and up
Half-Day Grand Tour of Washington DC
More Info
and up
Private Customized Washington DC City Tour by Van
Ranked #22 of 458 things to do in Washington DC
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: 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 Theatre is the premier destination in the nation’s capital to explore and celebrate the life and legacy of Abraham Lincoln. A daytime visit to the Ford’s campus traces the story of Lincoln’s presidency, assassination and legacy. The campus includes the museum, theatre, Petersen House (the house where Lincoln died) and the new Center for Education and Leadership. Tickets are required. Admission is free; advance tickets have a convenience fee.In the evenings and on weekends, Ford’s presents dynamic productions of renowned plays, vibrant musicals, and newly commissioned works that captivate and entertain while examining political and social issues related to Lincoln’s legacy.In the spring and summer, Ford’s produces one-act plays and walking tours exploring Civil War Washington. These immersive experiences provide an authentic glimpse into a singular and transformative moment of America’s past.Throughout the year, Ford’s provides engaging educational programs for students, teachers and life-long learners, using Lincoln’s speeches and legacy to build speech, writing and leadership skills.
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Reviewed April 16, 2012

The visit to the Ford Theatre was my personal highlight during a family tour of Washington. Most people say you can't beat the museums, monuments, and a session of congress for free. Maybe not--we did all three and loved it all--but for $5 more than free, our time in Ford Theatre ties it easily. We saw a fascinating two-man play (each actor playing multiple roles), toured the historic theatre where Lincoln was assassinated, visited the house across the street where a doctor would tend to him before the president would pass the next morning, and then saw a fascinating exhibit on the impact of President Lincoln on the people of his day and today.
The play, "One Destiny" features actors Harry Ford and Harry Hawk; Ford is actually a co-owner of the historic Theatre. The two men relive that fateful night and transport the audience through the events, including the action in the play that is interrupted by one fateful pop sounding from the actual presidential balcony stage left. The balcony is draped with bunting befitting its honored place in history. and the audible firing stills their dialogue and rivets the audience.
This particular play has been performed several years, often in spring and early summer. (In 2012 it will continue from March through June 30). There is also the option of attending a National Park Service ranger talk within the theatre. It's highly informative, though not as dramatic as the 35-minute play. Either one will include a visit to the basement museum full of fascinating artifacts, dioramas, and interactive exhibits of Lincoln's life. For details of what's scheduled when you go, as well as background on Lincoln and the theater, look at www.fordstheatre .org
You can choose either and pay $2.50, or for just $2.50 more you can cross the street to visit the Peterson House where the wounded president lay, mortally wounded. The ranger takes you through the house, supplemented with news clips and factoids about the assassination. The Peterson House exhibit ends with an elevator ride up two floors, where you learn about a grieving nation and the search of the several conspirators, including the assassin who had convinced himself he was saving a nation in killing the president.
Attached to the Peterson House is the Center for Education, which includes four galleries. A three-story (34 feet) high tower of books is the Center's focal point. This book tower totals about 6,800 books, less than half the 15,000 titles written about Lincoln. I heard one parent warn her eleven-year-old not to try to push the books, which lie flat at the top and are within reach from the top on the winding staircase. I wonder if some teens have tried to pull one book from the stack. Doesn't matter. I later learned the tower is made of bent aluminum, with the cover "jackets" printed on by the designers of this wonderful, artful tribute.
The Ford Theatre is a live theater, fully restored, and has premium plays in the evening, such ias the Musical 1776 and seasonal fare like A Christmas Carol. I can imagine this beautiful theatre campus wil be alive with visitors in 2015, when the nation recalls the 150th anniversary of the death of our beloved sixteenth American president.

2  Thank IndyJim49
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a ReviewReviews (3,556)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
  • More languages

3,160 - 3,164 of 3,557 reviews

Reviewed April 16, 2012

I started in the museum and followed into the theater. The presentation was amazing. Also this only cost $5. I learned so many interesting facts about Lincoln, Booth, and the period in time. Next I went across the street to the house where Lincoln died. On the floors above you learn more history about John Wilkes Booth and his escape and capture along with history following the Civil War. This was also included in the theater admission. I wasn't expecting to be as amazed. I was.

Thank 3goldenmom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 16, 2012

we had a wait here but worth it. sat right next to the box. park ranger talk was excellent. go across the street and see the room where they took Lincoln.

Thank ivorypearlcat1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 15, 2012

The theatre has been returned to its original condition. The box where Lincoln was shot is maintained (though you cannot go inside it). Tickets also get you entry to the building across the street where Lincoln actually died. We also got tickets to see 'A Christmas Carol' which was well worth it (have to organise well in advance though)

Thank deirdjames
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 15, 2012

It's awesome and extremely sad to be right at the place where President Lincoln was shot. We took the ranger tour - and that was very helpful. We sat in the theater and he did a short talk and had question/answer period. We were able to walk around and take as many photos as you want.

We then went across the street to the Petersen House to see where he actually died. That takes only minutes to go through.

Extremely glad we visited.

Thank bal1234
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Ford's Theatre also viewed


Been to Ford's Theatre? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing