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"The Lost Symbol" Tourism

Top DC tourist sites ruined by Dan Brown

Sep 18, 2009

First he came for Rome, and no one was particularly worried. Then he came for Paris, and only the French were upset. But now Dan Brown's latest book The Lost Symbol has set its sights on Washington D.C., and the normally tourist-clogged city will soon have to contend with book-toting thriller nerds who missed the fact that Nicolas Cage already found the secret Freemason treasures, and they're in New York.

Haven't bothered to read The Lost Symbol yet, you lazy so-and-so? David Plotz of Slate called it "awesomely wrong about what makes [Washington D.C.] compelling."

Here's a guide of sites in the book to avoid on your next trip to the Beltway:

· The U.S. Capitol

We totally called this one back in July from taking a gander at the cover, but like the Louvre in The Da Vinci Code, this is where the chase begins: "Symbologist" Robert Langdon is called to make a special speech, only to realize it was a set-up when he finds his inviter's severed hand on the floor. Bad souvenir!

· House of the Temple

Home of the Freemasons in D.C., this philanthropy headquarters and library is open for tours Monday through Thursday -- and closed for lurid rites Langdon gets drawn into after-hours. On the other hand, if you're a giant nerd, you can be an intern there! (1733 16th St. at S St.)

· Washington National Cathedral

Two Washington Post reporters who traced the route Robert Langdon takes, with spoilers, were alarmed to discover at this Episcopal church, the last resting place for national figures such as Helen Keller and former President Woodrow Wilson, that Brown got his locations almost exactly right -- in other words, he did some research. Of course, the trouble with seeing a city the Brown way isn't that he's inaccurate; it's that he's ridiculous. Let the George Washington statue donated by the Freemasons lead you incorrectly to a global conspiracy! (Corner of Massachusetts and Wisconsin Aves.)

Top DC tourist sites ruined by Dan Brown
House of the Temple, Washington D.C. / Image via


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