A variety of organizations offer self-guided tours via a downloadable map and brochure or an app. All on this list are free. Many locations cited on the tours may be temporarily closed, but their architecture is still worth a stop.
Neighborhood Heritage Trails: Cultural Tourism DC has 17 walking tours in neighborhoods including Anacostia, Barracks Row, Brightwood, Deanwood, H Street NE, LeDroit Park and Tenleytown. Look for markers with information about historical residences and events.
African American Heritage Trail: Cultural Tourism DC developed a trail with more than 200 sites that have relevance in African American history and the role of African Americans in shaping the District, such as Benjamin Banneker’s survey of the city.
Cleveland Park: The Cleveland Park Historical Society created a map identifying buildings with architectural and historical interest, from the 18th-century Rosedale farmhouse to a 1960 I.M. Pei home.
Dupont Circle: Examples of architecture in the Queen Anne, Richardsonian Romanesque, Beaux-Arts, Italianate and Edwardian styles can be found on this tour, which includes residences, museums and commercial buildings.
Georgetown: Spanning churches, gardens and Georgetown University, this tour makes a loop around Georgetown with tidbits about famous residents and where important occasions took place.
Annapolis: Historical homes, the oldest state capitol building still in use, churches and monuments are all part of this tour of Annapolis.
Frederick: Some of the buildings on this tour are from the first half of the 19th century, when downtown Frederick was centered on Market and Patrick streets. The tour includes residences, churches and arts venues.
Alexandria: Old Town’s historical buildings include residences, museums, art spaces and restaurants.
Leesburg: Three tours are available on this app: Highlights of Historical Leesburg, Leesburg’s African American History and Loudoun County Foreign War Memorials. Each tour includes audio narration, historical photos and maps.