Are you – like the rest of the world – suffering from crippling withdrawal from the hit Netflix series House of Cards? The Machiavellian drama is the epitome of addictive TV, and what better way to fight an addiction than to feed it even more? We suggest doing so by hitting up Washington, D.C., where the show is set – but not where the show is filmed.
Contrary to popular belief, House of Cards is almost entirely filmed around 40 miles away from D.C. in Baltimore, Maryland. In fact, very few films or TV series are actually filmed within D.C.’s city limits. There’s a number of reasons for this. Firstly, shooting in the city is seriously expensive. As it’s the cradle of power for the United States, it’s largely inhabited by wealthy people, hence the high cost of living and the high cost of filming. Secondly – and more importantly – filming in a city that hosts such important people comes with a crazy amount of red tape. Filmmakers have to jump through hoops to stay in line with security protocols.
While no House of Cards tour would be complete without hitting up D.C., we also suggest filling your BUCKiTDREAM planner with locations from Baltimore too in order to stave off your HoC cravings. Be wary, BUCKiTDREAMER – don’t let the tangible power of D.C. get to your head, because we all know “proximity to power deludes some into thinking they wield it.”
Call into Claire and Frank’s House One of the most iconic locations in House of Cards has to be Claire and Frank’s stunning townhouse in the Washington suburbs. Like most of the rest of the show, the house is actually in Baltimore – 1609 Park Avenue in the Bolton Hill neighborhood, to be exact! Frank Underwood is not the only U.S. president to call this neighborhood his home; former president Woodrow Wilson also resided here for a time.
Visit the Seat of Power on Capitol Hill Capitol Hill has been the setting for many an integral scene throughout the seasons of House of Cards, so it’s a must-visit when you’re hitting up D.C. If you’re an American citizen, the best way to organize a visit to Capitol Hill is to contact your local representative in order to get them to give you a guided tour – you’ll be surprised by how quickly they’ll say yes (anything for a vote!). If you’re not an American citizen, you can still tour Capitol Hill by making a reservation through their online portal here. On your tour you’ll see the stunning building that houses Congress, the Crypt, the Rotunda, and the National Statuary Hall.
Do Your Own Walking Tour of D.C. Landmarks Washington is nicely walkable and, in fact, is best seen on foot to take in the beauty and majesty of the place. Have a look at the exterior of the White House (you’ll be really surprised by its setting!), then check out the activity on the mall before moving on to the district’s most spectacular memorials – Lincoln, Jefferson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Martin Luther King. If you feel like indulging your inner Frank Underwood, have a chat with them while you’re there! Though walking is a great way to see D.C., it’s important to keep the weather in mind when you’re visiting. Winter in the capital can be bitterly cold, while summer can be scorching hot. We suggest visiting around April so you can take in the beauty of the season’s cherry blossoms in a nice, temperate climate.
Take in Some Fine Art at the National Gallery The National Gallery of Art in Washington houses some of the most spectacular art in the country. Though every masterpiece is worth checking out while you’re here, make it your mission to stop in front of Thomas Eakins’s painting The Biglin Brothers Racing. It is in front of this painting that Frank Underwood meets Zoe Barnes in the first series, a meeting that would prove to be unwittingly deadly for poor Zoe.
Devour Some Freddy’s-Style Barbecue We hate to break it to you, BUCKiTDREAMer, but Freddy’s BBQ is in fact a made-up barbecue joint that amounts to little more than an abandoned building in Baltimore. However, that’s not to say that D.C. doesn’t have its fair share of excellent barbecue places for you to get your fill of fine, smoked meat. Our number one pick for D.C. BBQ is Hill Country on 7th Street. Farber and his staff seriously know how to whip up some top-quality meat. If you’re feeling traditional, you can do no better than ordering the buttery, melt-in-your-mouth, needs-to-be-tasted-to-be-believed barbecue ribs. If you’re looking for something a bit more modern, you’ll be happy to know that Hill Country has embraced the pulled pork craze with both arms. You could actually order anything from the Hill Country menu and it would be the best barbecue you’ve ever tasted (sorry, Freddy!).
We hope you’re ready to channel your inner Frank or Claire Underwood. All you need now is some cunning, some backstabbing, and some of that famous, endless charm. Make sure to share all of your conniving adventures across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, hashtagging #BUCKiTDREAM to inspire other BUCKiTDREAMers to follow their dreams all the way to Capitol Hill.