Thursday 23 November 2017

House of Cards: What filming locations can I visit?

Lights, Camera, Travel!

Kevin Spacey in House of Cards
Kevin Spacey in House of Cards
Capitol Building, Washington DC
Pól Ó Conghaile

Pól Ó Conghaile

Netflix unleashes Series 4 of House of Cards this morning. So what real-life locations can you visit in DC?

With its Machiavellian manoeuvrings and moody time-lapses of the US Capitol, 'House of Cards' could only have been filmed in Washington DC, right?

Erm, wrong. The backdrop to this Netflix original is almost all Baltimore, or the suburb of Joppa, Maryland, to be precise.

What you will see

'House of Cards' sees Kevin Spacey play US Vice-President Frank Underwood (Robin Wright plays his wife, Claire). The couple's 'Washington' townhouse is a fixture of the series, but its actual address is 1609 Park Avenue, Bolton Hill.

Elsewhere, Annapolis's State House doubles for the Capitol, the Baltimore Museum of Art sees a covert rendezvous between Zoe and Frank, and the fictional Washington Herald was hosted in unused office space at the real-life Baltimore Sun.

Several restaurants feature in the series, including Tio Pepe's in Mount Vernon (10 East Franklin Street), where Doug finds Rachel. It opened in 1968.

When Zoe and Frank met in the National Gallery in DC early in the series, they do so in front of a particular painting - 'The Biglin Brothers Racing' by Thomas Eakins. You'll find it in the west building of the gallery.

What you won't see

Freddy's ribs are the only thing that can cause Frank Underwood to roll over and have his tummy tickled, but sadly Freddy's BBQ is fictitious.

Capitol Building, Washington DC
Capitol Building, Washington DC

"Fans of the show drive around DC looking for the barbecue," its location manager has said. It doesn't exist among the House of Cards filming locations.

How can I see the big political hits in DC?

The US State Capitol (visitthecapitol.gov) is open from 8.30am to 4.30pm, Monday through Saturday. It's at the head of the National Mall, which also houses the Smithsonian and Lincoln Memorial.

To visit the White House (whitehouse.gov), home to both President Obama and Underwood, foresign citizens need to contact their embassy in DC for assistance in submitting a request. You can take a virtual tour here, however.

What else was filmed in Baltimore?

Baltimore was also the setting for 'HBO's The Wire' (Hamsterdam was located near Broadway and Gay Streets, and Werner's on 231 E Redwood Street features as a politicians' bar in both shows). There's a very decent online tour taking in 54 locations over 54 miles on Wikitravel here.

Try the crabcakes at Faidley's in Lexington Market, the sustenance for any proper stakeout. "Faidley's? You all right, McNulty."

Other movies shot in Baltimore range from Along came a Spider to Enemy of the State, Twelve Monkeys and, erm... Runaway Bride.

Travel Tips

Baltimore is 60km from Washington DC. American Holidays (americanholidays. com), Sunway (sunway.ie) and Tour America (touramerica.ie) do packages, while Aer Lingus (aerlingus.com) flies direct from Dublin.

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