Skip to Content

5 Famous Movie Locations You Can Visit in Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C., is one of the most highly recognized cities for movie locations. Hollywood officials have filmed many blockbuster hits there.

Here’s your chance to step through the screen and into a motion picture. So pack your bags and get ready to experience the glitz and glamor of the industry.

Today, we’re diving into famous movie locations in Washington, D.C., and the flicks recorded there. 

Let’s get started!

Close up of the statue of Abraham Lincoln, America's 16th President, at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington DC, where many movies have been filmed
Many movie scenes have been filmed at the Lincoln Memorial, including Forrest Gump

Visiting Movie Locations in Washington D.C.

When it comes to powerful and influential cities, Washington, D.C., is at the top of the list. Famous landmarks make it perfect for the big screen. Over 300 films from various genres have featured iconic sites all over the nation’s capital. Private tours will take you from one place to another and provide behind-the-scenes stories.

You’ll have no problem filling your schedule no matter how long you visit. There are plenty of museums, memorials, and monuments to enjoy here. You can learn about American history, analyze global politics, and explore movie sites. If you ever have the chance, this is one trip worth taking.

#1 The White House

The White House is easily recognizable. It’s been the home of every U.S. President except George Washington. Despite sustaining severe damage during the War of 1812, it was rebuilt by 1817. Until 1901, the White House was only a nickname. Theodore Roosevelt signed the documents to designate it as its official name.

The 1996 hit, Independence Day, featured Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum. Several epic scenes included the White House in its glory. Most notable was the alien spaceship destroying the iconic building. It was an epic shot that helped the motion picture win an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects.

However, Independence Day wasn’t the only flick shot at the White House. Other movies shot at this Washington, D.C., location include The American President, Deep Impact, and In the Line of Fire. As you can see, experiencing the White House is much more than just learning about American history.

Or try this White House instead: Why Do People Visit This Upside Down White House in Wisconsin?

#2 Lincoln Memorial

At the western end of the National Mall sits the Lincoln Memorial. If you look at the right angle, you can capture its image in the Reflecting Pool. This monument honors the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. Not only has it played a significant role in American history but also in films.

One of the most memorable scenes from the 1994’s Forrest Gump occurred here. It’s where Forrest gives a moving anti-Vietnam War speech to the millions of people gathered. Then he reunites with his love, Jenny, as she wades through the Reflecting Pool.

Other notable flicks used this Washington, D.C., movie location for filming. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, A Few Good Men, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier are just a few examples. This is one spot you’ll want to ensure you save time to enjoy.

Speaking of Lincoln, let’s go for a drive: The Lincoln Highway Road Trip Guide.

#3 National Archives Building

The National Archives building houses some of the most important documents in U.S. history. Amongst the more than 15 billion records is the original Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights. Guests can see these documents and walk through various exhibits.

If you’ve ever seen the Nicholas Cage hit National Treasure, you’ll likely remember his trip to the National Archives Museum. 

In the motion picture, Cage plays the character of Ben Gates, a struggling treasure hunter. Gates attends a gala hosted at the museum after learning an enemy will attempt to steal the Declaration of Independence. So to protect the document, Gates steals it first.

Other hits filmed here include Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Head of State, and All the President’s Men. If you enjoyed these entertainment pieces or want to see essential documents, this is the place to visit.

#4 Watergate Hotel

The Watergate Hotel is where one of the most notorious scandals in American history took place. 

The 1972 Watergate Scandal sounds like the plot from a Hollywood blockbuster hit. A group of individuals breaks into the Democratic National Convention’s offices to gather intel and wiretap their phones. However, an investigation uncovered a web of lies, and ultimately President Nixon resigned from his position.

Films like All the President’s Men, Absolute Power, and State of Play used this Washington, D.C., establishment as a movie location. The property may not be a bright spot in American history. However, it’s a great place to record.

Today, visitors can stay in one of the 336 luxurious rooms. Many have marble baths, modern furniture, and fine terry robes. It’s more than 27,000 square feet and offers a variety of spaces for conferences, private dinners, and so much more.

Several movies have filmed at Georgetown University, Washington DC
Georgetown University has seen many movie cameras on its grounds

#5 Georgetown University

Georgetown University is a well-known Ivy League school, acknowledged as the country’s oldest Catholic and Jesuit educational institution. One of the university’s goals is for students to serve society’s most vulnerable members. 

The campus borders the Potomac River and offers plenty of green spaces and historic buildings. The red brick residence halls, student facilities, and academic departments are easily recognizable. And the campus is a beautiful setting in a bustling urban environment. So it’s no wonder it’s been the backdrop for several Hollywood hits.

Perhaps the most notable of these was the 1973 horror flick The Exorcist. There were several shots around campus, but the steps of Healy Hall are the most famous. In addition, St. Elmo’s Fire, The American President, and In the Company of Men used this site during production.

Get those steps in on a walking tour with National Geographic Walking Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C., Movie Locations Won’t Disappoint!

While most people think of Washington, D.C., for its politics, now you can think about its movie locations. You can relive some of your favorite flicks when wandering the city and visiting landmarks. 

If you love motion pictures and plan to explore the Capital, take advantage of these fascinating spots. They can transport you into the world of film and help to ignite your imagination.

Discover the Best Free Camping Across the USA

To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy).

You should give it a try!

As a matter of fact, these free campsites are yours. Every time you pay federal taxes, you’re contributing to these lands.

Become a FREE CAMPING INSIDER and join the 100,000 campers who love to score the best site! 

We’ll send you the 50 Best Free Campsites in the USA (one per state). Access the list by submitting your email below: