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Duration: 2 hours and 30 minutes


Discover the hidden history of Washington D.C.'s most infamous madams on this walking tour exploring the city's red-light districts and notorious characters. Hear the stories of these women who operated brothels and built empires in a world dominated by men.

Explore the notorious red-light district of Pennsylvania Avenue during the Civil War
Hear the unique stories of the prostitutes who rose to infamy and prosperity during the war
Discover the historical significance of this area on a one-of-a-kind walking tour
Take a break halfway through the tour with a stop at a local bar


When do I choose a date?

After purchase, you can request your preferred dates and times by following the instructions in the email you receive. If it's a gift, the recipient will also get an email with booking instructions.

Offered multiple days a month

Practical information

Any restrictions to participate?

  • Age: 14+
  • Physical limitations: Must be able to be on their feet for at least 2 hours. Not recommended for people with back problems.

Who can you accommodate for?

  • Individuals with disabilities: Wheelchair accessible 
  • Languages: English
  • Pets: Service animals are allowed

What to expect on the day of the experience?

  • Duration: 2.5 hours. Tour/experience may go slightly longer based on participant engagement throughout the tour/experience.
  • What’s included: Admission to the tour
  • Who will be present: You will have a guide with you at all times as well as up to 20 total participants. This experience will be cancelled if the minimum participant requirement is not met.
  • Spectators: No spectators are allowed, everyone must have a ticket/reservation.
  • Photo/ video: Photos are encouraged!

How to prepare?

  • Weather dependency: This experience is weather dependent
  • Arrival: Plan to arrive at the meeting spot a few minutes in advance
  • Parking: There is street and private parking near all meeting points
  • What to wear: Clothing appropriate for the weather, good walking shoes
  • Restrooms/ lockers/ changing rooms: No changing rooms, but there will be bathroom breaks during the tour.

Full description

Off the Mall Tours is a unique walking tour company that brings a fresh perspective to the history of the nation's capital. After one of our tours, our guests are delighted with their newfound understanding of the multi-layered and multi-cultural heritage of the "shining city on the hill." To really understand Washington, you need to "get Off the Mall!"

The Madams of DC Walking tour takes you on a journey down Pennsylvania Avenue, one of DC's more notorious red light districts during the Civil War. The arrival of thousands of soldiers coming to the capital to train also meant a huge increase in prostitutes, and some of these women rose to a level of prosperity and infamy that would never be seen again. Learn their story on this unique walking tour! The tour also makes a half way stop at a local bar.

This is a typical itinerary for this tour

Pass By: Freedom Plaza, 1455 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington DC, DC 20004-1008

Where Freedom Plaza is now once used to be the notorious neighborhood known as Murder Bay. As we walk through this spacious open area currently used for festivals and music events, you'll hear all about the taverns, gambling houses, and brothels popular with Northern Arm soldiers that used to stand there.

Stop At: Waldorf Astoria Washington DC, 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20004, USA

On the block where the Trump International Hotel, formerly the Old Postal Office building, currently stands, was the 11th Street strip, a subsection of the Red Light district on Pennsylvania Avenue where the Military Provost Guard harassed and arrested some of the raucous Madams in the neighborhood.

Duration: 15 minutes

Stop At: The National Archives Museum, 700 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington DC, DC 20408-0001

Continuing in our journey through time, you'll learn about the lives of prostitutes in Civil War DC and the part they played in society, as we pass by the former site of the largest central urban Market in DC.

Duration: 10 minutes

Stop At: IOOF Temple Building, 419 7th St NW, Washington, DC 20004, USA

We'll stop for a drink at Hill Country BBQ (*cost of beverage not included), across the street from the International Order of Odd Fellows Temple. The IOOF supported the arts, and the art of having a good time. It was common to see the higher class working girls walking into a grand party hosted by the Odd Fellows, on the arm of an Army Officer. Scandalous!

Duration: 20 minutes

Stop At: National Gallery of Art, Constitution Ave NW 6th Street and Constitution Avenue NW, Washington DC, DC 20002

The former site of Marble Alley, where two of DC's highest paid Madams had a vicious rivalry.

Duration: 10 minutes

Stop At: National Museum of the American Indian, 4th St SW Independence Ave SW, Washington DC, DC 20560

An archeological dig discovered the remains of DC most notorious, and yet charitable, Madams. The tour ends at this, the most glamorous of DC's Civil War-era pleasure houses.

Duration: 10 minutes

Returns, exchanges and cancellation

Unused Experience Vouchers can be returned within 30 days for a full refund to the original purchaser, no questions asked.

If you have any unused Experience Vouchers, you can exchange them for anything else in our marketplace, no matter when. If you choose an experience that's more expensive, you'll need to pay the difference, but if you choose one that costs less, you'll receive a credit towards your next booking.

No refunds are allowed once the experience is booked, but you can reschedule up to 24 hours before your experience, for a date within a year of the original booking. To reschedule, contact the experience provider directly. No-shows or rescheduling less than 24 hours in advance means losing the value of your experience.

Duration: 2 hours and 30 minutes
Regular price $106
$106 Regular price Sale price
You save $-106

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Here's what others have to say!



Based on 0 reviews

Wesley B

I highly recommend this informative and entertaining account of the Madams of DC. It sheds light on the entrepreneurial spirit of these women in the 1860s and is a real treat to learn about.

Paul W

Katie is an amazing tour guide and historian. Her research skills allowed her to provide a unique perspective on the history of our nation's capital. The information she shared was completely fascinating and her delivery was excellent. We loved every minute of the tour!

Kevin K

Our guide was incredibly knowledgeable and informative. She clearly has conducted extensive research on the topic and her expertise was evident throughout the discussion.