On April 14, 1865, John Wilkes Booth assassinated Abraham Lincoln in his box seat here. Timed-entry tickets let you see the flag-draped site. They also provide entry to the basement museum (displaying Booth's .44-caliber pistol, his muddy boot etc) and to Petersen House (across the street), where Lincoln died. Arrive early because tickets do run out. Reserve online ($6.25 fee) to ensure admittance.

The play the president and Mrs Lincoln watched was Our American Cousin. Booth knew the farce and knew at what line the audience would laugh most. He shot Lincoln at that moment to muffle the sound. Park Service rangers tell the full story.

The theater still holds performances, and sometimes the venue is closed to the public. It’s always smart to check the schedule before heading out. Ford’s posts it online, or you can call the box office to make sure the site is open.