First-Timer's Guide to Washington DC
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From larger-than-life monuments to world-class museums, there’s a lot to experience in Washington DC, and it can be hard for a newcomer to know where to start. To get the most out of your visit, here are our top picks for a first-time visit to America’s capital city.
See Politics at Work
Visit Capitol Hill, where the United States Senate, the House of Representatives, and the Supreme Court are practically neighbors. Go inside for a glimpse of DC power brokers (and some of the city’s finest art and architecture).
Go Museum Hopping
Free admission at the Smithsonian Museums makes it easy to sample a little of everything, and guided tours help find the gems in the collections. The International Spy Museum, the National Gallery of Art, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture also invite exploring.
Meet the Monuments
Some of America’s greatest leaders and most tragic wars are honored in DC monuments, which you can explore by hop-on hop-off bus, bicycle, Segway, trolley, or tour vehicle. For extra drama, take an after-dark tour and see the monuments illuminated.
Cruise the Potomac River
Hitting the water means big views of DC’s many riverside landmarks. Choose between a lunch or dinner cruise on the Potomac, or opt for an amphibious tour that covers the city by both land and water.
Visit Arlington National Cemetery
Gravestones in this United States military cemetery date back to the Civil War, with moving memorials to soldiers, presidents, and astronauts. Options for exploring include hop-on hop-off tours, walking tours, and more.
Explore Mount Vernon
President George Washington lived, farmed, and worked from this Virginia plantation, which is easy day-tripping distance away from DC. Since it’s close to Arlington National Cemetery, consider making a day of it by combining the two popular destinations.
6 Tours and Activities | All Washington DC Tours
Beat the long entrance lines and experience some of the most popular attractions in Washington, DC like an insider on this full-day sightseeing tour. Enjoy priority entry into the United States Capitol, the home of Congress. Then visit the National Archives Building, where the original Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution are on display. In between, see the city’s most famous landmarks and monuments, like the White House, the Lincoln Memorial and more.
Take a hop-on hop-off Washington DC trolley tour to explore the nation’s capital at your own pace. The route encompasses the city’s top attractions, including the White House, Lincoln Memorial, and Arlington National Cemetery (if option is selected). This is the only tour to take you into the Arlington National Cemetery (if option is selected). Just hop off at any stop when you want to explore, and then hop back on the trolley to continue around the city. When booking, select a silver, gold, or platinum pass, depending upon your interests.
Explore the famous monuments and memorials of Washington DC by moonlight on this narrated sightseeing tour. Hop aboard an open-air trolley and enjoy an educational and entertaining history of the nation’s capital while traveling past each point of interest. Take in the stunning views of an illuminated Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, the White House, and many other landmarks. This is a truly unique look at the iconic monuments of Washington DC by night.
Explore the famous monuments and war memorials of Washington, DC on this small-group sightseeing tour. Hop aboard a special eCruiser vehicle and enjoy an educational and entertaining narrated history of our nation’s capital. Get a glimpse of the White House and travel around and through Capitol Hill, the Smithsonian museum complex, plus a plethora of famous memorials and monuments — like the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument — and many other hotspots. This is a great way to see many of DC’s most famous landmarks.
Taking safety measures
Social distancing enforced throughout experience
Guides required to regularly wash hands
Paid stay-at-home policy for staff with symptoms
Mt. Vernon is one of America's most historic and important sights, and this tour takes you right to the heart of the country estate that President George Washington called home. From Washington DC you'll cross the Potomac and enter the state of Virginia, and seemingly travel back in time as you wander the 18th Century mansion's spectacular rooms and gardens. In the comfort of a luxurious, climate controlled coach you'll also visit the boyhood home of General Robert E Lee, as well old town Alexandria where Washington worshiped and dined.
Enjoy delicious cuisine and live entertainment with a view of Washington, DC on this 2.5-3 hour dinner cruise along the Potomac River. On board the elegant Odyssey cruise ship, choose from one of three exquisitely decorated glass atrium dining rooms or head to the open-air observation deck to admire the view. Dine on a delicious 3-course meal, then dance the night away or see the famous sites of the nation’s capital — like the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, Reagan National Airport and much more under a moonlit sky.
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