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7 Historic Video Shoot Locations in DC

Posted by Ashley Brook on August 27, 2021

In this blog, we will look at some historic video shoot locations in Washington D.C., a city that is over 230 years old. D.C. is a place filled with historical structures, museums, beautiful coffee shops, and unforgettable art galleries. It’s also home to landmarks whose very names are symbolic of everything from liberty to civil rights, to scandal. 

Let’s take a look.

1. National Archives Building

This historic building that was built in 1934 is known for, well, being famous. The National Archives building in Washington D.C. is home to the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and the Constitution. 

In a word, the inside of the building is stunning and a total work of art. The walls of the Rotunda feature paintings from the artist, Barry Faulkner.

As for shooting a video at the National Archives Building, that’s something that might take a little work to get done. But, we do know it’s possible as Nicholas Cage was allowed to be filmed there stealing the Declaration of Independence in the movie, National Treasure.

2. Watergate Hotel

When most people hear the name, “Watergate,” they automatically think “scandal.” That’s because in 1972 five intruders were caught inside the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters. This event led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon.

However, before the Watergate incident, the luxury hotel was always looked at as being a bit scandalous. The uniquely curvy design of the building was one that made people do a double-take. And, many in D.C. weren’t exactly thrilled about the look of the building early on.

The sequel to Wonder Woman had scenes filmed at the Watergate Hotel along with the movie, Absolute Power and others.

The Top of the Gate rooftop bar at the Watergate Hotel provides views that could fit into numerous video shoot projects in Washington, D.C.

From the bar, guests and videographers can look out over the Potomac River, and also have priceless views of the Kennedy Center, the Key and Arlington bridges. D.C. camera crews could also consider some pretty breathtaking b-roll of the D.C. skyline from this location. 

And, on the inside of the hotel, the lighting and interior columns can set a tone that no other D.C. video shoot location is capable of doing. Then, of course, there are the luxury suites, pools, and ceilings that can make any film project a standout.

3. Willard InterContinental 

Refined, luxurious, and well, haunted. All of these words accurately describe the work of art known as the Willard Intercontinental – a hotel with 335 rooms and a D.C. icon.

The hotel masterpiece sits at 1401 Pennsylvania Ave NW in D.C. and has been used by video crews for the films Minority ReportBorn Yesterday, and others.

The Vice-Presidents, James S. Sherman, Thomas R. Marshall, Calvin Coolidge, and Charles Dawes all lived at the Willard Hotel at some point in their careers. And President Ulysses S. Grant is rumored to live at the hotel currently, although it’s only in spirit, as a ghost.

The hotel is loaded with places for video crews to set up and shoot their videos. From the patio seating outside at the Willard’s Cafe du Parc to the lavish halls rich in color with towering columns. And the hotel’s Round Robin Bar could be used in meeting scenes for gangster movies, political dramas, and numerous other projects.

4. Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool

This historic landmark stretches a third of a mile and was created by Henry Bacon. It was completed in 1923 and restructured in 2012. 

Images of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool have made their way onto countless postcards, pictures, and videos of tourists around the world. But, one of the most notable photos is of Dr. Martin Luther King waving to the crowd who gathered to hear his “I Have a Dream” speech on August 28th, 1963.

The movies, Spider-Man: HomecomingCaptain America: The Winter Soldier and Person of Interest all had scenes filmed at the historic location. 

D.C. Camera crews of varying projects could work the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool into multiple video projects depending on the film. It would serve as a nice piece to clearly show viewers location or symbolize some of the biggest historical events of all time.

5. Sidamo Coffee & Tea

Aside from all of the huge historical buildings, hotels, and other landmarks that most Americans are in some way familiar with, there are also quaint little coffee shops like Sidamo Coffee and Tea. The friendly shop sits at 417 H Street, NE, and has a nice homey interior and a beautiful outside garden.

This refreshing little stop could be a great place to discuss plans for an upcoming video shoot and even a great place for camera crews to film footage for a video project – a location that can add more texture to any film.

6. U.S. Capitol

The U.S. Capitol needs no introduction, really. It had to make the list for historic video shoot locations in D.C. because of its iconic status. The list of historical events that have occurred at this location is endless and every generation of Americans since 1793 remembers the Capitol for different reasons. 

The movies, Absolute PowerAdvise and ConsentAir Force OneAll the President’s MenBoratThe American President, and Clear and Present Danger all filmed scenes at the U.S. Capitol.

This is another filming location that video crews could work into a documentary on D.C. or a movie set in Washington. 

7. White House

And here’s another D.C. location that needs no introduction. The White House, which is also one of the most well-known locations in the D.C. area. 

It has always been a part of history and has housed U.S. presidents and first families since 1800. Its first residents were President John Adams and his wife, Abigail.

The movies Abraham LincolnAir Force OneThe American President, and Armageddon, are just a few of the movies that have been filmed at the White House in D.C. 

Production crews could use the White House as a location for a presidential documentary, biography, or historical short.

Recap: Historic Video Shoot Locations in DC

In this blog, we took a look at historical video shoot locations in Washington, D.C. While the White House and Capitol building are well-known tourist attractions and the focal point of many tourist shots, they have also been in front of the lenses of many popular movies.

And while the National Archives Building, Watergate Hotel, and Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool can make great places for camera crews to set up, so can small homey coffee shops with a warm atmosphere and gorgeous gardens, like Sidamo Coffee & Tea.

If your organization is looking to shoot a video in the D.C. area, let’s chat. We can have a professional production team that is familiar with the locations of the city ready to work for you.


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