10 Best Free Tours In Washington, DC

best free tours in washington dc
Elena
Elena 
Updated

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. 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.

Walking tours:

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

National Mall, Washington, D.C. (20100325-DSC01310)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Matti Blume used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

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

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, Washington, D.C.
Source: Photo by Flickr user Tony Fischer used under CC BY 2.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

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

3. Old Town Alexandria Walking Tour

Old Town Alexandria, Virginia
Source: Photo by Flickr user Ken Lund used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

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

Georgetown, Washington, D.C. HDR
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Kristopher Anderson used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

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

Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History (7508870948)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Alex Proimos used under CC BY 2.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

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

Night 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

Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC in 2012
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Another Believer used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

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 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

Washington DC Night Evening
Source: Pixabay

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

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

Hamilton-burr-duel
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Illustrator not i... used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

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

Food tours:

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

Ben's Chili Bowl, U St NW
Source: Photo by Flickr user David used under CC BY 2.0

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 soul 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

Cupcakes Dessert Frosting
Source: Pixabay

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

And last, but not least, a tour that is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth! Here you will 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!

Washington D.C.
Source: Pixabay

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!

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Elena Aguirre is a travel writer with Trip101 and a student at UC Berkeley. In the past she has worked on technical, marketing, and creative writing. Favorite pastimes include traveling (of...Read more

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