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Potomac River

Potomac River: Our most recommended tours and activities

National Harbor: Capital Wheel Entry Ticket

1. National Harbor: Capital Wheel Entry Ticket

The Capital Wheel is located just minutes from downtown Washington DC, at the National Harbor. Relax inside a fully enclosed, climate-controlled gondola with family and friends as you soar 180-feet above the Potomac River. With each gradual rotation, experience a bird’s eye view of the Washington Monument, Capitol Rotunda, Masonic Temple of Alexandria, and much more. Every spin offers a unique way to take in the sights. Admire a breathtaking sunset or capture a photo in front of the dancing light show that illuminates The Capital Wheel every evening. The National Harbor is the perfect one-stop destination offering great restaurants, shops, hotels, and outdoor fun. You can enjoy a drink from the Flight Deck located directly under The Capital Wheel while you unwind by the water’s edge.

Washington DC:Gourmet Brunch or Dinner Cruise on the Odyssey

2. Washington DC:Gourmet Brunch or Dinner Cruise on the Odyssey

Cruise on the Potomac River and see the sights of Washington DC from a luxury boat, The Odyssey. Get a keepsake photo taken by the ship's photographer, then embark on an elegant dining cruise along the Washington DC shoreline. After being seated at your private table, enjoy a brunch or 3-course dinner, with meals prepared fresh daily by your onboard executive chef. Menu items are subject to change. After your meal, relax on any of the 3 climate-controlled decks as you watch the monuments glide by. Sample Brunch MenuEarly Riser:Breakfast pastries Scottish smoked salmonScrambled eggsBreakfast meats Breakfast potatoes French toast Late Risers:Caesar salad Greek salad Sun-dried tomato pasta saladBaked orecchiette pastaBirria-style chicken Chesapeake Bay rockfish Hand-carved tri-tip steak Kid's station Dessert: Individual dessertsIn-season fruit Sample Dinner Menu Starters (choice of one): Caesar salad Lobster soup Main Course (choice of one): Jumbo forest mushroom ravioli Oven-roasted frenched chicken breast with rosemary and thyme Broiled salmon filet Braised beef short rib Pan-seared fresh Pacific cod Desserts (choice of one): New York-style cheesecake Triple chocolate mud pie Duo of sorbet Freshly cut fruit Odyssey signature warm butter cake

Washington DC: Buffet Lunch or Dinner Cruise on the Spirit

3. Washington DC: Buffet Lunch or Dinner Cruise on the Spirit

See the sights of Washington DC from onboard the Spirit of Washington with a lunch or dinner cruise on the Potomac River. Enjoy a buffet dining experience as you sail, and delight in panoramic views. Board your vessel and receive a personal greeting. Have your photo taken by the ship's photographer to capture the memory before being seated at your private table. Once there, gorge on your lunch or dinner buffet consisting of creative entrees prepared fresh daily and listen to the onboard music. After your meal, visit any of the three climate-controlled decks as you glide by the sights. LUNCH/DINNER BUFFET SAMPLE MENU SALADS FIELD GREEN SALAD (G*)(VG)Tomatoes | Cucumbers | Carrots | Ranch Dressing | Balsamic Dressing KALE QUINOA SALAD (G*)(VG)(V)Quinoa | Roasted Red Pepper | Spinach | Lemon Oregano Vinaigrette GREEN GODDESS PASTA SALAD (V)Sweet Peas | White Beans | Scallions MAIN HONEY SESAME CHICKEN (G*)Scallions | Fresno Chillies OVEN ROASTED WHITEFISH (G*)Spicy Tomato | White Bean Ragu BAKED ZITI PASTA (V)Aged Reggiano Parmesan Cheese | Mozzarella Cheese | Spinach Cream Sauce ROOT VEGETABLE FRICASSEE (G*)(VG)(V)Idaho Potatoes | Broccoli | Grape Tomatoes | Gremolata | Cauliflower Coconut Cream Sauce COMPLEMENTSROASTED BROCCOLI (G*)(VG)(V)Toasted Garlic | Chili Flakes GARLIC MASHED POTATOES (G*)(V)Idaho Potatoes | Roasted Garlic DESSERTSIGNATURE DESSERT STATION (V)Cakes | Brownies | Seasonal Fruit | *May Contain Nuts *Menus subject to change

From Washington DC: Mount Vernon & Old Town Alexandria Tour

4. From Washington DC: Mount Vernon & Old Town Alexandria Tour

Discover the historic Old Town Alexandria on a guided day trip from Washington. Ride along the Potomac River and visit the Mount Vernon Estate, the former residence of George Washington. Enjoy pickup in a luxurious, climate-controlled vehicle while your guide explains the significance of some of the city’s most recognizable monuments. A short drive brings you to the candy-colored architecture of Alexandria, where you can take a tour of some monuments notable to the former president – including the Masonic Temple and Christ Church. Arguably the birthplace of the city itself, George Washington’s former estate is located just 13 miles from the capital’s center. Then, go for an in-depth foray through the mansion, with entrance tickets to the grounds and gardens included. Interactive, historic reenactments bring the founding father’s story to life, while a guided tour of the building helps shine a light on his fascinating story. Next, you'll ride along the Potomac River and visit the Mount Vernon Estate - one of the Washington, DC, area’s premier sightseeing attractions. Explore historic Mount Vernon – from the mansion’s interior where President Washington resided to his beloved gardens, and final resting place.  Take some time for lunch at the Mt Vernon Food Court if you like, then learn more about George Washington’s life and legacy in both the Museum and Education Center – home to more than 700 original objects (including his false teeth) and 25 theaters and galleries. There is even a multi-media theater where it actually snows. After shopping for unique gifts at the Mt Vernon Shops, you will be entertained by your guide as you return back to Washington DC.

Washington DC: Monuments by Moonlight Electric Vehicle Tour

5. Washington DC: Monuments by Moonlight Electric Vehicle Tour

Test your night photography skills and see some jaw-dropping views while learning the history of the United States on this monuments tour at night. Hop into the electric-powered vehicle and learn about the monuments illuminated at night with your guide. Start at National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, before heading towards the Smithsonian complex. Your guide will regale you with the story behind the amazing museums at the largest museum complex in the world. Drive past two of the city's most famous monuments, the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial. Afterward, wander through the Franklin D Roosevelt and Martin Luthe King memorials and enjoy a stroll along the serene Tidal Basin at sunset.  Continue past the World War I and World War II Memorials before arriving at the Lincoln Memorial. Here, be amazed by the views of the Potomac River and the National Mall sparkling in the dark.  Be entertained by stories of the city’s history, statues, and famous buildings on your way to the White House. Take a monument here to capture what is possibly the most iconic American landmark, known worldwide.  Your tour will end by exploring Capitol Hill. Home to the world-famous dome of the United States Capitol, plus the United States Supreme Court Building and the Library of Congress. 

Washington DC: 6-Hour Sightseeing Tour

6. Washington DC: 6-Hour Sightseeing Tour

Washington D.C. has so many monuments that sightseeing can be bewildering. But on this guided sightseeing bus tour, tour guides will take you up close and personal to treasured monuments while expert drivers navigate Washington traffic. Explore history and learn important facts with your guide throughout the tour, and have a chance to get off at each of the following stops to take pictures and get a closer look: • U.S. Capitol (exterior only) • White House (exterior only) • Martin Luther King, Jr Memorial • Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial • Korean Memorial • Vietnam Memorial • Vietnam Women's Memorial • World War II Memorial • The Iwo Jima Memorial (The Marine Corp Memorial) • Potomac River Cruise (included from March 25–October 15. When boat does not operate, the Jefferson Memorial will be added as a stop.) • Lincoln Memorial

Washington, DC: Old Town Hop-On Hop-Off Trolley City Tour

7. Washington, DC: Old Town Hop-On Hop-Off Trolley City Tour

Named "Washington's Best Tour" by the Washingtonian Magazine and one of the top 10 hop-on hop-off tours in the world by Forbes, the Old Town Trolley offers the most comprehensive tour of the nation's capital. Relax while expert tour guides help you discover the beauty and majesty of Washington, D.C. This popular tour covers Washington's major attractions such as the Lincoln Memorial, the White House, the museums of the Smithsonian Institution, and Vietnam Veteran's Memorial. Expert guides share colorful anecdotes, humorous stories and well-researched historical information. Upgrade to include a trolley tour of Arlington National Cemetery, an enduring tribute to those who’ve dedicated their lives to defending the nation. You’ll be transported to some of the most notable graves and memorials. DC City Tour Trolley stops: 1. 1001 E. St. NW: Washington Welcome Center/Ford's Theatre/Peterson House 2. 1401 Pennsylvania Ave: The White House/The White House Visitor Center/WWI Memorial 3. 701 Constitution Ave NW: National Archives (West/East Gallery of the NGA, Navy Memorial) 4. 400 New Jersey Ave NW: Japanese American Memorial/Hyatt Regency 5. 50 Massachusetts Ave NE: Union Station and the Smithsonian Postal Museum 6. 1st St. NE: US Capitol (Botanic Gardens, Supreme Court and Library of Congress) 7. 600 Independence Ave SW: Air/Space Museum, Museum of the American Indian/Eisenhower Memorial 8. Maine Ave SW at 9th St. SW: The Wharf 9. 700 L'Enfant Plaza SW: International Spy Museum 10. 1398 Independence Ave SW: Washington Monument, Smithsonian Museums and Castle, Holocaust Memorial Museum 11. 16 E Basin Dr SW: Jefferson Memorial/George Mason Memorial 12. 1964 Independence Ave SW: Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial/Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial 13. 2 Lincoln Memorial Cir. NW: Lincoln Memorial/Vietnam Veterans Memorial/Korean War Veterans Memorial/World War II Memorial 14. 1400 Constitution Ave NW: National Museum of American History/National Museum of African American History & Culture/National Museum of Natural History 15. 800 F St. NW: National Portrait Gallery/American Art Museum (temp closed for Holiday Market) Arlington Cemetery Trolley stops: • Arlington National Cemetery • President John F. Kennedy Gravesite • US Coast Guard Memorial • John J. Pershing • The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier • Arlington House • US Marine Corps War Memorial Iwo Jima • Arlington Niche Wall Columbarium Courts

Washington, DC: Full-Day Tour with a Scenic River Cruise

8. Washington, DC: Full-Day Tour with a Scenic River Cruise

Discover all the delights of Washington DC with this day-tour around the city, hitting hotspots such as the White House, the U.S. Capitol Building, and the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. Board your glamourous, climate-controlled, panoramic bus at the U.S. Navy Memorial. Head to all the major highlights of regular sightseeing tours and enjoy a lunch break and an opportunity to travel through the Tidal Basin. Learn about some of the most fascinating landmarks in the USA, including the White House, U.S. Capitol Building, and National Archives, plus breathtaking memorials of Thomas Jefferson and Franklin Roosevelt. After lunch, summer brings the opportunity for a boat ride through Georgetown and the DC Waterfront. In winter, this Washington bus tour culminates with a visit to the Pentagon and several more fascinating war memorials. During your tour learn from your live tour guide who hops off the bus with you to ensure you receive an intimate and personalized experience of each attraction.  Your guide will educate you on the important details of each monument. From March through September, take in the fresh air on a scenic 1-hour cruise along the Potomac River. The full itinerary of this tour includes: • Jefferson Memorial • U.S. Capitol Building • FDR Memorial • World War II Memorial • Iwo Jima Memorial • Vietnam Memorial • Martin Luther King Memorial • Lincoln Memorial • White House • Korean War Memorial

Washington DC: Guided Landmarks Bus Tour & National Archives

9. Washington DC: Guided Landmarks Bus Tour & National Archives

Tour around the presidential highlights of the nation's capital, Washington, DC by luxury tour bus. Check out every memorial of the National Mall as you voyage around the city. Hop on and off as you please to visit the most important landmarks, and hear the important history from your guide.  This excursion begins with an in-depth look at some of the city’s most poignant sights and sounds. Admire the grand exteriors of the White House, the war memorials, and the U.S. Capitol Building. In summer, enjoy a leisurely boat cruise after lunch, taking in the Potomac and Georgetown Waterfront. Meanwhile, winter brings a scenic bus tour through Virginia in the afternoon, taking in The Pentagon, Air Force Memorial, Iwo Jima Marine Corps Memorial, and Arlington National Cemetery along the way.  Enjoy a fascinating look at the interior of the National Archives as the final attraction of the tour.

Washington DC: Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Tour & Boat Cruise

10. Washington DC: Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Tour & Boat Cruise

Enjoy a full day of exploring with your 24-hour hop-on hop-off bus ticket. From the open-top double decker, you’ll see amazing views of the White House, Capitol Hill, Jefferson Memorial, and more. Learn about the city’s most magnificent landmarks with expert digital commentary. Hop off at The Wharf to enjoy your roundtrip Potomac River cruise onboard the city water taxi. You can cruise along the water to see the John F. Kennedy Center, the Washington Monument, Arlington Memorial Bridge, and more before hopping back on the bus to continue your day. Your ticket gives you access to the city loop, giving you the freedom to hop off and explore at your own pace. Big Bus Washington DC is the authorized interpretive transportation services concessioner of the National Park Service and National Mall & Memorial Parks giving you the closest access to meaningful monuments and memorials. Your ticket also includes 1-hour bike rental, so you can get off the tourist trail and discover more of the city.

Available activities

  • Entry tickets
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  • Water activities
  • Hop-on hop-off tours
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What people are saying about Potomac River

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 1,771 reviews

The boat was very beautiful and our server was so accommodating and friendly. It was a great experience, though there was some trouble with the tickets and the scanner that they had so I had to walk a few yards to the ticket office and have it printed out. If you come with both the digital and printed you should be fine though.

This was a lovely tour. The guide, Terri, was extremely knowledgeable and gave us even more than we expected. The driver was excellent and we felt very safe. The Alexandria portion of the tour was delightful and much better than expected. All in all, a very good day!

Booked this tour as a last minute tour since it was our last day in DC. Tour did not disappoint! Tour guide was awesome and very knowledgeable!

The sites are beautiful. The cars to sit in are luxurious. The ride is smooth and relaxing. The staff are efficient and helpful.

I rather wanted to have real soul food than broccoli or green pasta you need to fix the menus