Best Tours in Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C. offers tours for every type of tourist


With so much to see and do in the nation's capital, you may find it hard to get to check everything off your list while you're there. That's why many visitors choose guided tours where you walk, ride—or even float—to experience some of the top attractions in Washington, D.C.

On Foot

Independent, licensed guides use humor and story-telling on their “pay what you like” DC by Foot tours. If you’re a foodie, take a walking tour to sample a variety of local cuisines. The company also offers traditional excursions to the National Mall and Arlington Cemetery, as well as scandal and ghost tours. Washington Walks specializes in tours of lesser-known spots like Theodore Roosevelt Island and Embassy Row. The company also offers guided walking tours during the Cherry Blossom Festival and explores haunted buildings. If you're visiting in the off-season, Walk of the Town operates year-round and doesn’t require advance reservations. Their Monumental sTOURies Tour hits the high spots on the National Mall. Walk of the Town does not charge a fee, but accepts tips.

By Bus

If you prefer riding to walking, Gray Line, the granddaddy of Washington tour operators, will take you to the monuments and beyond to Mount Vernon or Monticello. Grey Line operates a loop line with stops at 23 landmarks. Ask the kids if they’d like to tour the city on a double-decker bus, and the answer will likely be a cheerful "yes!" City Sights DC takes you on bright red buses that loop through monumental Washington to the National Cathedral and Arlington Cemetery. Purchase a two-day pass to get the most bang for your buck—it includes a night tour and admission to a handful of sites.

Hop On, Hop Off

Hop-on, hop-off tours give you the luxury of choosing how much time to spend at each Washington, D.C. attraction and to bypass those you’re not interested in. Old Town Trolley Tours operates three trolley loop routes—one circles the Mall, another crosses the Potomac River to Arlington National Cemetery, and the third goes uptown to the National Cathedral. There’s no additional charge for getting back on the trolley once you’ve bought your ticket. OnBoard Sightseeing Tours are a bit different—the tour guide hops off the bus with you rather than leaving you on your own. Set sail on their DC It All Tour with a one-hour boat ride on the Potomac from late March to the end of October.

By Bike or Segway

Combine history and some exercise with Fat Bike Tours. They offer day and moonlight bike rides, in addition to bus, walking tours. Want to zip through Washington on a Segway? Book a guided day or evening tour with Bike and Roll or City Segway Tours. After effortlessly gliding through the sights, rent bikes and pedal your way to George Washington’s home at Mount Vernon.

From the Water

Hop on an amphibious DC Ducks tour where you’ll see all the sites from both land and water. Tours begin at Union Station and include the major Mall monuments before splashing into the Potomac for a thrilling view of D.C. from the river. Keep in mind that the ducks don’t float in the off-season when they offer land-only tours.

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