Washington, DC is a stunning city, especially if it is your first time visiting, and there are countless ways to view the District and its sites. This review will provide you with a round-up of the seven best guided tours in the area. These tours include walking tours, bus tours, boat tours and a bike tour.
- Washington DC Sightseeing
Washington DC Sightseeing offers some of the most interesting walking tours around with a knowledgeable, yet entertaining guide by the name of Anthony Pitch. Pitch has been featured on CSPAN and will regale you with anecdotes of when Lincoln was shot; heroic duals and will trace the path of the British invasion on the White House. The Burning of Washington 1814 is the signature walking tour and well worth the time and money. Tours are generally two hours in length and cost $15 per person.
- Spies of Washington Tour
Washington has always been a center of intrigue and espionage and Carol Bessette, a retired Intelligence Officer for the Air Force, is ready to spellbound you with her knowledge. Interested in Russian espionage? Try the North by NorthWest Tour where the Russian Embassy serves as a backdrop to a tale right out of a Tom Clancy novel. Other spy tours include Georgetown and Capitol Hill. Tours are $12 a person and you can either check the online schedule of tours to learn when they are offered or contact Ms. Bessette direct.
Phone: (703) 569-1875
- City Running Tours
City Running Tours is fairly new to the area, but they are already finding their legs and a following. DC is a great place to run and City Running Tours offers customized and existing running tours with guides who are knowledgeable about the city and able to keep whatever pace you feel comfortable with as you jog about the District. Run past monuments, embassies, through the National Zoo or through the historic neighborhoods of DC. The choice is yours. Tours are $60 per person for the first six miles and tickets can be purchased online.
Phone: (877) 415-0058 or (646) 216-9989
- Old Town Trolley Tour
Old Town Trolley Tours are one of the best ways to get a broad overview of the city. There are three different lines—green, red, and orange—that make loops around the city. You can transfer between lines to get to different points of interest—think train station, but on a much smaller scale—where you can get off at certain stops and transfer to another line. On this tour you will see many of the monuments, the White House, the Capitol, Georgetown, and Arlington National Cemetery to name a few of the highlights.
The trolleys operate daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 a.m. and by purchasing a ticket online for $28.80 if you are an adult and $14.40 if you are between four and twelve years of age, you can ride the trolley all day. Tickets are also easy to get around town. Just about every hotel sells them (check with the concierge). If you ride for the full narrated tour, it will take two hours.
Phone: (800) 868-7482
Other Contact Information
- Tour Mobile
The Tour Mobile is another great touring option to see the city. It is less expensive than the Old Town Trolley, but covers less ground. There are approximately 24 stops (which can be fewer if a site is closed) on this tour and it is the only tour that offers a riding tour of Arlington National Cemetery. There are several different tour options and pricing can range from as little as $7 per person to tour Arlington National Cemetery or $25 for the American Heritage Tour which gives you on and off access all day. You may want to note that while the mobiles are heated, they are not air conditioned.
Address: Tourmobile Sightseeing, 1000 Ohio Drive, SW,Washington, DC 20024
Phone: (888) 868-7707 or (202) 554–5100
- Bike the Sites
Biking is a wonderful way to see the city’s sites and Bike the Sites offers many different touring options including daily and seasonal tours. Tours tend to last about three hours and the cost for adults is $40; children are $30. This price includes a comfort mountain bike—there’s a $5 discount if you use your own bike, helmet, and bottled water. Snacks are included on most tours. It is best to check the company’s touring schedules and then book your reservations online as they do close down during the winter holiday. All tours start downtown at the Old Post Office Pavilion at 1100 Pennsylvania Ave. NW (Metro: Federal Triangle, on the Blue and Orange Line).
Phone: (202) 842-BIKE
- DC Ducks
This is truly a unique way to see the city--riding aboard an original WW II DUKW. This is an amphibious vehicle that can travel on land and in the water. The tour lasts for approximately 90 minutes and will take you through the city of Washington DC before diving into the Potomac River. The tour is narrated for the full 90 minutes and covers the mall, museums, monuments and a scenic ride up the Potomac. Tours happen every hour on the hour beginning at 10am to 4pm. Closed Fall and Winter Season (November to mid-March), Last day for tour-October 27, 2007. Closed Sunday of Memorial Day (May 27), 4th of July. Reservations are not accepted.
Address: Union Station, Washington D.C. 20018
Phone: (800) 213-2474