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City Tours in Washington

Washington is an incredible city worth exploring in depth. For that, nothing better than these tours of the city of Washington, the capital of the United States!

Isabel Catalán

Isabel Catalán

9 min read

City Tours in Washington

The streets of Washington with the Capitol in the background | ©Jorge Alcala

The dream of many travelers is to see the east coast of the United States and visit Washington, the capital of the country. If you want to enjoy an unforgettable stay and get to know the city in depth, I recommend you to take a look at the best tours of Washington DC.

1. Take a complete tour of the main monuments of the city

The White House| ©Jonathan Cutrer
The White House| ©Jonathan Cutrer

Washington is a city with a lot of history and great monuments, which can be immediately appreciated by strolling through its streets.

If it is the first time you travel to the capital of the United States or if you do not have much time in the city, the best way to get in touch with it and see its main tourist attractions is by taking a guided tour of Washington.

Given its size and the large number of places of interest it has, my advice is to take a guided tour of Washington so that a guide will reveal all its secrets while you learn about history and other curiosities.

There are different types of tours in Washington (on foot, by bicycle, by bus, by boat on the Potomac River...) to choose from that will show you emblematic places such as the White House, the Capitol, the National Archives Museum or the different monuments to important American leaders such as Lincoln, Washington and Jefferson, among many others.

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2. Tour Washington lit up at night on a night tour

The Capitol lit up at night| ©John Brighenti
The Capitol lit up at night| ©John Brighenti

Seeing Washington during a night tour is a fantastic experience you have to have.

If in the morning it is a dynamic and surprising city, at night it becomes magical and fascinating. In fact, it is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world because its illuminated monuments look stunning under the moonlight.

A night tour of Washington is a plan that I recommend you do during your first night in the capital. Contemplating how the sky is colored at sunset while the skyline of the city is illuminated little by little is an unforgettable memory.

Accompanied by a guide you will enjoy the beautiful scenery of Washington and its illuminated monuments on a pleasant walk. Washington is a big city and so you don't have to walk from one place to another, usually this kind of night tours are done by riding on comfortable buses.

Once you arrive at the destination you can get off to see the monument up close, walk around and take amazing pictures while the guide tells you its history, it will be one of the most beautiful memories you will take away from your stay!

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3. Ride around Washington on a guided bike tour

Tourist by bike| ©Elvert Barnes
Tourist by bike| ©Elvert Barnes

If you are one of those travelers who love to get to know a city by getting lost in its streets, there is no doubt that one of the best tours of Washington DC you can take is a guided bike tour.

Accompanied by a local guide, you will not only visit the main tourist attractions of the American capital, but you will also do some outdoor sports and get to know Washington in an original and fun way.

In fact, I recommend you to take a guided bike tour if you are traveling with your family because the kids will have a blast pedaling, hiking and doing something different.

Besides, it is a safe activity because the operators usually provide bicycles adapted to the size of the travelers as well as the equipment and helmet for the kids, it will be an experience they will not forget on their vacation!

Daytime:

Taking a guided bike tour during the day is a great way to get the pulse of the city and mingle with its inhabitants, whom you will see going to work, studying or just strolling around.

During the bike tour you will visit various historical sites and make stops along the route to take pictures of the landscape and monuments while listening to the guide explain the history and anecdotes of the places you see. A highly recommended plan!

Night:

When the sun goes down, Washington is transformed. The hustle and bustle of the day gives way to the stillness of the night. Sunset is the ideal time to take a guided bike tour of the city as you will have the opportunity to see the skyline slowly light up and see Washington's main tourist attractions under a special light and away from the crowds that usually surround it during the morning.

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4. Take a cruise for the best views of Washington DC

Discover the beautiful views of the city from the Potomac River.| ©Juha Uitto
Discover the beautiful views of the city from the Potomac River.| ©Juha Uitto

One of the coolest things to do during a vacation in Washington is to take a boat ride on the famous Potomac River.

During the itinerary you will not only see some of the city's most famous landmarks from a completely different perspective, but you will also enjoy a delicious feast with plenty of partying on board.

If you like the idea of having a fun time cruising, enjoying Washington's scenery, good food and a DJ-driven party, don't miss the post City Cruises in Washington DC to discover some of the top cruises that ply the Potomac.

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5. Hop on the Washington DC Sightseeing Bus

City Sightseeing Bus| ©Elvert Barnes
City Sightseeing Bus| ©Elvert Barnes

Exploring Washington on a tour bus is a very practical idea, as you can quickly get to know the most important areas of the city while comfortably seated.

If you do not have much time to see all the monuments on foot or it is the first time you visit Washington, in my opinion it is a good way to get a comprehensive and complete overview of what is the capital of the United States.

In addition, during the tour you can listen to the guide explain the history and curiosities of the sites you see, which gives you the necessary context to learn about the city.

If you want to know in detail everything about the tour buses in Washington, I recommend you to read the post The best tour buses in Washington DC for more information.

Daytime

Washington is a big city full of interesting monuments. The fastest way to explore it is to take a tour bus, which will show you the main tourist attractions by taking any of the routes that cover the different areas of the capital.

In addition, with the Hop-on Hop-off system you can create your own itinerary (getting on and off at the stop of your choice) and use the vehicle as public transportation to move between different parts of the city.

By night

The fascinating thing about Washington DC is that every moment of the day shows you different facets of this beautiful monumental city.

After dark, the monuments slowly light up and the atmosphere of the city changes completely. At night, they glow with a special light and are not usually surrounded by as many tourists as they are in the morning, so the atmosphere is calmer.

Take a seat on the night tour bus tour and relax to enjoy the beautiful scenery that will be unveiled before your eyes during the tour. Seeing the Washington skyline illuminated is a unique and very special experience!

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6. Tour Washington in an electric buggy

Sightseeing Buggys| ©hiroo yamagata
Sightseeing Buggys| ©hiroo yamagata

If you are traveling to Washington with a group of friends, this is one of the best tours you can take to explore the city, since it is designed for small groups of no more than 5 people, you will be sure to have a personalized visit through the streets of Washington with a local guide who will explain in detail all the places of interest you will see.

With an electric buggy tour of Washington you will observe from a completely new perspective the most emblematic historical sites of Washington and the city in general, to take the pulse of the city as a citizen. Sounds great, doesn't it?

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7. Visit Washington on wheels: take a Segway Tour

Tour the city by segway| ©woodleywonderworks
Tour the city by segway| ©woodleywonderworks

Another fun way to get to know Washington is to take a guided Segway tour.

Accompanied by a local guide, during the tour you will have the opportunity to see the main tourist attractions of the U.S. capital in a very original and fun way while listening to its history and curious anecdotes.

You may be a little apprehensive about riding one of these vehicles on the street if you have never taken a Segway tour before, but you don't have to worry because you will receive an extensive training session with the guide to learn how to operate it properly. In addition, the operator of the activity will provide you with the necessary safety equipment so that everything goes great.

If you are looking for a different and original plan to do during your vacation in Washington, I recommend you to take a Segway tour. Especially if you are traveling with your family because the kids will have a great time driving one of these vehicles themselves, although they must be at least 16 years old to do it. They will love it!

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How much does it cost to take a tour in Washington?

Detail of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial| ©Elizabeth Villalta
Detail of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial| ©Elizabeth Villalta

The great thing about tours in Washington is that there are options for all tastes and budgets.

You can find inexpensive activities such as a bicycle or tour bus tour of the city for less than 40 euros or options where for a little more you can take a VIP tour of Washington with access to the Capitol, the National Archives Museum and a small cruise on the Potomac River, which can give you a very complete view of the city.

How long do tours in Washington usually last?

Tidal Basin| ©Andy He
Tidal Basin| ©Andy He

The duration of the tours in Washington is very varied. The shortest tour can last 2 hours while the longest is about 7 hours.

If you have little time to explore the city I recommend choosing a short tour of 2 or 3 hours by buggy, segway, bicycle, cruise or tour bus. You will see the most important places and monuments of the city in a fast, comfortable and fun way.

In case time is not a problem for you and you can explore the city inch by inch to enjoy looking at the landscapes and monuments and take lots of pictures, then I advise you to take a guided walking tour of Washington because you will see the capital in detail.

Is it worth taking a guided tour in Washington, D.C.?

Detail of the Lincoln Memorial| ©Joshua Bedford
Detail of the Lincoln Memorial| ©Joshua Bedford

Absolutely. Washington is a city full of history and tourist attractions. To learn about its origins, its role as the capital of the country throughout history or about the curiosities surrounding its monuments, there is nothing better than taking a guided tour where a professional guide will show you the city in a didactic and entertaining way.

What should I see on a guided tour in Washington?

Thomas Jefferson Memorial| ©Yeon Choi
Thomas Jefferson Memorial| ©Yeon Choi
  • The White House
  • The Capitol
  • The National Mall
  • Abraham Lincoln Memorial
  • Washington Obelisk
  • Martin Luther King Jr Memorial
  • Thomas Jefferson Memorial
  • Arlington National Cemetery
  • The Vietnam and Korean Veterans Memorial
  • The World War II Memorial
  • Library of Congress
  • National Archives Museum
  • Iwo Jima Memorial
  • The Potomac River
  • Constitution Gardens
  • The Tidal Basin in West Potomac Park

Are entrance fees to monuments included in city tours?

Decorating the interior of the Library of Congress| ©Ricardo Gomez Angel
Decorating the interior of the Library of Congress| ©Ricardo Gomez Angel

Depending on the Washington tour you want to take, there are some that will take you inside certain monuments and others where you will mainly see the outside.

In Hellotickets you will be able to compare routes, prices, schedules, availability of tickets and tours in Washington, and we are sure you will find the tour that best suits you!