The capital of the United States of America is a fascinating and incredible place. Steeped in history and yet modern, this city is a crowd-pleaser for both the young and old, citizen and non-citizen. It offers a wide range of accommodations as well, including historic hotels and Airbnb vacation rentals. While Washington DC has a variety of things to do, one of the coolest things about the city is its huge number of free walking tours. So, if you’re visiting for the first time or returning for the hundredth, here are some of the best free tours Washington DC has to offer.
I hope you brought your walking shoes! There’s so much of DC to see, and a lot of it can be seen on foot, so grab a water bottle and join these walking tours for a fun, informative, and (most importantly) free experience!
1. The National Mall Tour
The original and most popular National Mall Tour takes you to visit the memorials on the National Mall from the Washington Monument to Lincoln Memorial. You will even get a view of the White House along the way!
National Mall Tour
Address: 1500 Constitution Ave NW, Washington, DC 20560
Duration: Tour lasts approx. 2 hours. Total walking is just over one mile (or 1.6 km)
Website: National Mall Tour
2. The All In One Tour
This tour is an extension of the National Mall Tour so you cover many of the same sights but you see even more of DC! Additional sights include other monuments like the Martin Luther King Jr Monument and DC’s famed Cherry Blossom Trees.
All In One Tour
Starting Point: SW corner of 15th and Constitution Ave NW
Duration: Tour lasts approx. 4 hours. Total walking is just over two miles (3.8 km). You do stop for refreshments and bathroom breaks half way through
Website: All In One Tour
You might be interested in these Airbnbs!
3. Old Town Alexandria Walking Tour
For a tour that is historic and otherworldly, go and walk the streets George Washington walked!
Old Town Alexandria Walking Tour
Address: 118 N Washington St, Alexandria, VA 22314, but make sure you go to the west side (N. Columbus Street) gate
Duration: Tour lasts approx. 2 hours. Total walking is about 1.5 miles (2.4 km)
Website: Old Town Alexandria Walking Tour
4. Historic Georgetown Tour
This is another historic and beautiful walking tour. Absorb the cities’ colonial charm as you wander around and see where founding fathers laid out the plans for the city of Washington DC.
Historic Georgetown Tour
Address: 900-998 31st St NW, Washington, DC 20007
Duration: Tour lasts approx. 2 hours. Total walking is about 2 miles (3.2 km)
Website: Historic Georgetown Tour
5. Smithsonian Museums Tours
This tour helps you check out some of DC’s best museums! Although it does not go through all of them, which is probably a good thing since there are 19 different Smithsonian Museums, it does go into depth about a couple of the most popular ones including the Air & Space Museum, the Natural History Museum, the American History Museum, and the National Gallery of Art Museum.
Pro tip: The different museum tours have different meeting points, so be sure to check out where your tour guide is meeting to get the best out of each museum.
Smithsonian Museums Tours
Address: Varies according to museum
Duration: 2 hours to highlight 1-2 different Smithsonian Museums
Website: Smithsonian Museums Tours
For a well-rounded and exciting experience of Washington, DC you also have to check out the night tours offered. Packed with fun and interesting themes, they’re something that’s sure to make your DC trip exciting.
6. Lincoln Assassination Tour
For a night of conspiracy, mystery, and drama go back in time with your tour guide to learn about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Although it happened almost 150 years ago, the story is just as real and intriguing. So head on this family-friendly tour to meet the players, walk the along streets, and see the famous buildings where this great drama took place.
Lincoln Assassination Tour
Starting Point: 1600 H St NW, Andrew Jackson Statue in Lafayette Square (North front of the White House)
Duration: Approximately 2 hours. Total distance 1 mile (or 1.6 km)
Website: Lincoln Assassination Tour
7. Washington DC Ghost Tours
Pick any of the 4 available tours for a spoooky treat. Tours include the Ghosts of Georgetown, Haunted Georgetown (Adults Only), the White House Ghost Tours, and White House at Night: Secrets, Scandals, & Legends (Adults Only).
Washington DC Ghost Tours
Address: Varies according to tour
Duration: All approximately 1.5 hours. Total distance ranges from 1 mile (1.6 km) to 1.5 miles (2.4 km)
Website: Washington DC Ghost Tours
8. Secrets and Scandals Tour
One of the most interesting things to do at night is to join the Secrets and Scandals Tour. Learn about the founding fathers’ sordid pasts with this tour with glimpses into colonial murders and affairs.
Secrets and Scandals Tour
Address: 1600 H St NW, Andrew Jackson Statue in Lafayette Park on the north side of the White House
Duration: Approximately 2 hours. Total distance three-quarters of a mile (1.2 km)
Website: Secrets and Scandals Tour
In addition to wandering around sightseeing, you can also catch a food tour and taste some of DC’s finest. While the restaurants and food may not be free, the advice and tour still are!
9. U Street Food & History Tour
Photo is only for illustrative purposes
U Street was once known as “Black Broadway,” and the street remains a storehouse of DC’s African American history. Come ready to taste the variety of local street foods that Guy Fieri drools over!
U Street Food & History Tour
Address: 13th St NW exit of the U Street/Cardoza Metro on the Green/Yellow line
Duration: Tour lasts approx. 2 hours. Total walking is just under one mile (or 1.6 km)
Website: U Street Food & History Tour
10. Georgetown Cupcakes & Desserts Tour
And last, but not least, a tour that is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth! This food tour allows you to visit all the locally famed sweet shops, where you can buy as many treats as your waistline can handle!
Georgetown Cupcakes & Desserts Tour
Address: 1052 Thomas Jefferson St NW
Website: Georgetown Cupcakes & Desserts Tour
DC here we come!
With these 10 tours you’re ready to take DC by storm. Try out some great food, visit the museums, and walk in the footsteps of the founding fathers – and all for free!
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