Cultural Tourism DC Heritage Trails

Everyone knows about the Smithsonian, the White House and shopper-friendly Georgetown, but where can you experience the rich culture of DC neighborhoods and a bit of everyday life?

Cultural Tourism DC, an independent coalition of more than 230 culture, heritage and community organizations, encourages metro-area residents and visitors to explore the authentic culture of the Nation’s capital via “DC Neighborhood Heritage Trails.” Developed by Cultural Tourism DC in conjunction with community groups, who collect neighborhood stories and images, three of these trails are found along the Potomac Heritage Trail route.

A Self-Reliant People: Greater Deanwood Heritage Trail
Discover – or see with new eyes – this traditionally African-American enclave in Far Northeast when you follow A Self-Reliant People: Greater Deanwood Heritage Trail. With its signature, small, wood-frame houses on large lots, Deanwood looks like a country town. The community developed in the 1890s on the site of a tobacco plantation when the city’s big real estate interests and government focused on areas closer to downtown. The Greater Deanwood Heritage Trail can be accessed from the Minnesota Avenue Metro station near Fort Mahan Park and the Fort Circle Parks Trail.

Battleground to Community: Brightwood Heritage Trail
Lace up your walking shoes and experience Brightwood by following the signs on this self-guided DC Neighborhood Heritage Trail. Indulge your inner Civil War buff in one of DC’s early communities, where you will see the site of the only Civil War battle to take place within the District of Columbia. The Brightwood Heritage Trail is near Fort Stevens, accessible from Rock Creek Park just south of Walter Reed Army Medical Center, and intersects the Civil War Defenses of Washington hiking route.

River Farms to Urban Towers: Southwest Heritage Trail
Until the 1950s, Southwest was Washington’s largest working-class waterfront neighborhood. Then, in one of the Nation’s first experiments in “urban renewal,” nearly all of Southwest was razed to build something entirely new. The Southwest Heritage Trail is situated along the PHT bicycling route between the C&O Canal Towpath (near Thompson’s Boathouse) and the Frederick Douglas Bridge, passing north of Fort McNair.

To view the entire suite of Cultural Tourism DC’s Neighborhood Heritage trails, go to Neighborhood Heritage Trails.


Region: Washington D.C.
Activity: Bicycling, Civil War, Hiking, Historic Site

Last updated: April 10, 2015

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Potomac Heritage NST Office
P. O. Box B

Harpers Ferry, WV 25425


(304) 535-4014

Contact Us