Getting to know Washington aboard a sightseeing bus is a very practical idea, as you will see the highlights of the city quickly while sitting quietly.
It's a great option if you are visiting the capital of the United States for the first time or if you don't have much time to see all the monuments on foot. Here are the best options!
1. The best tourist bus route during the day
Washington is an exciting place with a lot of history and great monuments. If you haven't visited before, a great way to get a feel for the city is to ride the open-top tour bus.
It's the fastest way to explore Washington in a short time! You can see the main tourist attractions by taking any of the routes that cover the different areas of the capital while the guide explains the sites you are seeing while you travel comfortably seated in an open-top bus with panoramic views.
In addition, with the Hop-on Hop-off system you can create your own itinerary as you wish, getting off at the stop of your choice to explore a particular area of the city at your own pace. If you later wish to continue the tour on the tourist bus, you can always get back on to complete the route on wheels.
You have 1 or 2 day passes to choose from to discover Washington and unlike the regular buses (where you usually buy a ticket only allows you to make a trip where you choose the stop where you get off), on Washington's tour buses you usually pay for the days of use, which gives you the right to use the ticket as much as you want for the time you choose.
The advantage of this system is that you can not only take a tour bus tour to explore the city but also use the vehicle as public transportation to simply move between different points. You will see that, all in all, it is very useful, comfortable and super entertaining!
2. The best overnight tour bus route
Seeing Washington sparkle in the moonlight during a night tour bus tour is an absolutely wonderful experience. If in the morning it is an amazing city, at night it becomes magical and fascinating.
Unlike Hop-on Hop-off tour buses, night tours of Washington are not designed to hop on and off at any part of the route or to be used as a means of transportation to travel between different parts of the city, but to quietly enjoy the views of the illuminated capital while sitting comfortably listening to the guide explain curiosities of the sites you are visiting.
This is a fantastic plan that I recommend you to do during your first night in Washington as a way to get in touch with the city or if you have little time to visit it but do not want to miss the beautiful night scenery of twinkling lights along the Potomac River.
Watching the sun go down and the Washington skyline light up little by little is, without a doubt, an unforgettable experience and an essential plan to do during a trip to the capital of the United States. It will be one of the most beautiful memories you will take away from your stay!
How much does the Washington sightseeing bus cost?
The price of the Washington sightseeing bus tour ticket depends on the number of days you choose as well as the routes included in the pass. That is to say, the fewer days and the fewer routes the ticket includes, the cheaper it will be.
If, on the other hand, the pass lasts several days and includes both the daytime route and the night tour, the price will be a bit higher, as well as if the Washington sightseeing bus tour includes other entertainment such as a water cab ride on the Potomac River or a streetcar tour of Arlington National Cemetery.
How does the Washington sightseeing bus ticket work?
To take the sightseeing bus tour you can select between a standard 1 or 2 day pass for the non-stop route, a 2 day deluxe pass that includes a night tour or a 1 day pass for the night bus tour. It will start counting your usage time from the first time you redeem it.
Is it worth taking the Washington sightseeing bus?
Totally. This is the most practical way to explore Washington if it's your first time there or if you don't have much time for a walking tour of the city. You will discover many places of interest and learn a lot about the capital of the United States by listening to the guide's commentary.
Unlike the regular buses where you buy a ticket that allows you to make a single trip to get around the city and where you choose the stop where you get off, on Washington's tour buses you usually pay for the days of use, which gives you the right to use the ticket as many times as you want during the time you choose. That is, getting on these buses will not only allow you to explore the tourist part of the city but also to use them as transportation to go from one point to another of the city if you need to rest and do not feel like walking.
As for the night bus tours, these are not intended to be used as a means of transportation to get around Washington, but rather to enjoy the illuminated city while comfortably seated.
It is a good option to do during your first night in the city as a first contact with the city or if you do not have much time to visit it on a walking tour but you do not want to miss the night landscape of twinkling lights and the calm and relaxed atmosphere of Washington at sunset.
Tourist bus route and main stops in Washington, D.C
Red Route (Official Tour of the National Mall)
- Stop 1 - L'Enfant Plaza, crosswalk at the corner in front of the Spy Museum
- Stop 2 - Washington Monument West (between Jefferson Dr. and Independence Ave.)
- Stop 3 - FDR and MLK Memorials (closed until July 8, 2021)
- Stop 4 - Lincoln Memorial and South Korean War Memorial
- Stop 5 - Arlington Cemetery
- Stop 6 - Museum of Natural History
- Stop 7 - Downtown & Ford's Theatre
- Stop 8 - The White House & Willard Hotel (outside the Willard Hotel)
- Stop 9 - Air and Space Museum
- Stop 10 - Boat Cruise on the waterfront and Potomac (NE corner of Maine)
Blue Route (American Heroes Shuttle)
- Stop 11 - SE corner of 23rd Street NW and Constitution Ave NW
**Panoramic Night Tour (Thursday to Sunday)
- Stop 1 - L'Enfant Plaza, crosswalk at the corner in front of the Espionage Museum
What will I see from the tour bus in Washington?
Some of the tourist attractions you will see during a Washington sightseeing bus tour are:
- The White House
- The George Washington Monument
- The United States Capitol
- Thomas Jefferson Memorial
- The Air and Space Museum
- Abraham Lincoln Memorial
- Georgetown Historic District
- Arlington National Cemetery
- Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
- The National Mall
- Vietnam Veterans Memorial
- The Korean War Veterans Memorial
- Pentagon City
- The Supreme Court of the United States
- The Library of Congress.
- The Potomac River
- Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial
- Memorial and more.
How long is the tour bus tour?
Normally the Washington sightseeing bus tour usually lasts between 60 and 90 minutes although there are some night tours that can last 2 hours and 30 minutes.
When choosing between the different sightseeing bus tours in Washington my recommendation is that you should consider which areas of the city you would like to visit with their corresponding monuments. This way you will be able to plan in detail all the activities on your agenda that you will do each day and thus determine the time you could spend doing a sightseeing bus tour through the streets of Washington.
For example, if you want to take a sightseeing bus tour to quickly get to know the main tourist attractions of the city, you can choose the daytime sightseeing bus with free stops whose routes usually last between an hour and an hour and a half.
If on the other hand, in your travels one of the things you most enjoy doing is to contemplate the illuminated skyline of the cities and recreate yourself with the views at sunset then my advice is that you opt for a night bus tour as they usually last much longer and you can make the most of the experience.
Which is better, to take the sightseeing bus during the day or at night?
If this is your first time traveling to the capital of the United States, my recommendation is that you purchase a pass that allows you to combine the daytime and nighttime sightseeing bus tour of Washington, as you will have the opportunity not only to see both sides of the city at different times of the day but also to use the bus as a means of transportation to get around.
In case you prefer to visit the city on foot in the morning, then I advise you to book your place on the night tour bus tour to enjoy a quiet moment and the beautiful illuminated scenery. Watching the sky turn colors at sunset and the monuments slowly light up is a very special experience.
In addition, these types of night tours often include some cool extra entertainment such as a streetcar tour of Arlington National Cemetery or a water cab ride on the Potomac River.
How to book a ticket for the Washington sightseeing bus?
You can book your Washington Sightseeing Bus ticket online in advance of your travel date.
At the end of your reservation you will receive a voucher that you can redeem for your pass at any of the stops along the tour bus route. It's that simple!