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Historic Alleyways in Washington, DC

Off the Mall Tours

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* Tour is held select Sundays - Check website for exact dates.

The Alleyways of DC served a distinct purpose as a city planning feature, but they also provided a hidden safe space where escaped enslaved people and the poor could find inexpensive housing and live their lives away from prying eyes. While city officials condemned life in the alleyways as dangerous, dirty and diseased, they were in fact a place where communities sustained each other and provided security. This fascinating tour takes you through the Blagden Alley/Naylor Court historic district near the Convention Center.

Groupon Customer Reviews

Relevant Reviews
Rating of 5 out of 5 stars
November 2, 2022
Don't miss this incredible tour!! I had no idea what it would be going into it, figured it would be looking at some street art in alleyways. It is WAY MORE than that. Katie has done an outstanding amount of historical research to educate us about the communities that lived in D.C. alleyways – at one point about 1/5 of the population of the city! The tour was incredibly engaging the entire time. I learned so much and have told many people about it. One of the best tours I've ever been on in my life!!
Rating of 5 out of 5 stars
October 31, 2022
Katie was an EXCELLENT tour guide. She tailored the tour to our group, the environment, and our questions and reactions. We wandered and chatted as we walked along the most beautiful alleyways I have ever been in. Katie was well-researched and shared a narrative that had us all hooked. I can honestly say that I mourned the rise and fall of an entire culture/civilization that I hadn't even been aware of until the tour. Are you a DC local? This tour is a must. Are you a tourist who wants something more than the same 12 photos we all take? Do this tour.
Rating of 5 out of 5 stars
October 9, 2022
What a great way to learn about DC beyond the obvious! Katie knows the ins and outs of what makes DC such a fascinating city. The Historic Alleyways tour was eye-opening in how the city started and grew. This is a perfect way to explore and gain a historical perspective on the city's cultural shifts over time. Katie's tour would be the best way to start a first-time visit to DC, but it is also valuable for residents who may not be aware of the city's hidden gems. As a resident, I look forward to taking all of Katie's tours. I see DC in a new light and with an appreciation for its path to the present day. Katie has an effortless, knowledgeable style, answered questions, and set the perfect tone and pace for the tour. Highly recommend.
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This is a typical itinerary for this product

Stop At: Blanche K. Bruce House, 909 M St NW, Washington, DC 20001, USA

Blanche K. Bruce was the first African American to serve a full term as Senator, and rose to his position during the Reconstruction era after the Civil War. The tour starts as the location of his residence while he was serving his Senatorial term.

Duration: 10 minutes

Stop At: Blagden Alley Northwest, Blagden Alley NW, Washington, DC 20001, USA

Blagden Alley is one of DC's most well-preserved historic alleyways. Once the subject of a study of DC alleyways, it is now the site of art galleries, hidden-away restaurants and coffee shops.

Duration: 30 minutes

Stop At: La Colombe Coffee Roasters, 924 Blagden Alley NW, Washington, DC 20001, USA

The tour makes a pit stop at this popular coffee spot.

Duration: 15 minutes

Stop At: D.C. Alley Museum, Blagden Alley NW, Washington, DC 20001, USA

Beginning in 2015, a series of works were commissioned by artists with a history in the Shaw neighborhood and in Blagden Alley — They created a stunning display of new works painted directly on the garage doors of several buildings in Bladgen Alley.

Duration: 5 minutes

Stop At: Naylor Court Northwest, Naylor Ct NW, Washington, DC 20001, USA

Naylor Court is a former site of alleyway stables, and later old fashioned garages. It is a part of the Blagden Alley - Naylor Court Historic District.

Duration: 30 minutes

Additional Information

  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Stroller accessible
  • Service animals allowed
  • Near public transportation
  • Transportation is wheelchair accessible
  • Surfaces are wheelchair accessible
  • Most travelers can participate
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund
  • This experience requires a minimum number of travelers. If it’s canceled because the minimum isn’t met, you’ll be offered a different date/experience or a full refund
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 20 travelers
  • Face masks required for travelers in public areas
  • Face masks required for guides in public areas
  • Face masks provided for travelers
  • Hand sanitizer available to travelers and staff
  • Social distancing enforced throughout experience
  • Guides required to regularly wash hands
  • Up to 2 hours of a unique walking tour experience by a knowledgeable guide.

  • Coffee and/or Tea
  • Entry/Admission - La Colombe Coffee Roasters

90 to 120 minutes

Return Details
Returns to original departure point

Voucher Info
You can present either a paper or an electronic voucher for this activity.

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Fine Print

For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.

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