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The U.S. National Archives

The U.S. National Archives: Our most recommended tours and activities

Washington DC: Night Under the Stars Bus & Walking Tour

1. Washington DC: Night Under the Stars Bus & Walking Tour

See the city of Washington lit up with the dreamy glow of the stars on this exclusive 3-hour night guided night bus/walking tour. As you travel in comfort through the streets of DC and walk through its most important sights, hear the tales of its fascinating history from your knowledgeable live guide. From the Capitol to the White House and Lincoln Memorial and most everything in between, you'll experience Washington lit up at its nighttime best — with the beautiful structures and reflections of light on the water for which this beautiful city is known.  The memorials and monuments you will get off the bus with your tour guide include: • U.S. Capitol ( Exterior photo stop only) • White House ( Exterior photo stop only) • Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial • Korean Memorial • Lincoln Memorial • Vietnam Memorial • World War II Memorial

Washington DC Must See Sights Half-Day Tour

2. Washington DC Must See Sights Half-Day Tour

Washington D.C. showcases some of the most majestic monuments and memorials in America. With so much to see this sightseeing bus tour makes for a great orientation option, especially for those with little time. Tailored to offer you a historic journey through the rich heritage of the United States, the tour is a quick and efficient way to learn the history of the capital. Ride past the essential monuments, museums, and attractions to relive the history of America on a 3-hour tour. You will stop at the following memorials and monuments on your tour to take pictures: • U. S. Capitol (exterior only and a photo stop only) • White House (exterior only and a photo stop only) • World War II Memorial • Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial • Korean Memorial • Vietnam Memorial • Vietnam Women's Memorial • Lincoln Memorial (tour ends at this memorial)

Washington, DC: National Archives - Guided Museum Tour

3. Washington, DC: National Archives - Guided Museum Tour

Your local English speaking guide will not only be an expert on the archives, but will also share a mix of historical & political information, background stories and surprising details with you. Tour highlights: • The National Archives Rotunda to learn about the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution while standing in front of the perfectly-preserved documents from the 17th and 18th centuries • The Bill of Rights and the Federalist Papers featuring the signatures of world-famous statesmen like Alexander Hamilton • The Public Vaults Exhibits, where letters written by presidents including George Washington and John F. Kennedy are on display • The Emancipation Proclamation, which helped end slavery in the 19th century • A citation issued to civil rights activist Rosa Parks, illustrates how long these racial issues lasted • In the Rubenstein Gallery, examine even older documents like the Magna Carta of 1297 With over half a million artifacts at the National Archives, you’ll be thankful to your passionate, and engaging guide for navigating you, bringing a personal touch to each tour, adding own favorite anecdotes and tips along the way.

Washington DC: Full-Day Tour of Washington DC Monuments

4. Washington DC: Full-Day Tour of Washington DC Monuments

Hop onboard a climate-controlled bus that will take you around Washington D.C. — perfect for first-time visitors or those who want to make the most of their day. Throughout the tour, your guide will enlighten you about what life in D.C. is like now and in its exciting historic past. Enjoy photo stops at the U.S. Capitol and White House. Explore the World War II Memorial, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam War Memorial, and more. From the bus or boat, see the National Archives, the National Mall, numerous Smithsonian Museums, the Jefferson Memorial, the Pentagon, the Kennedy Center and so much more.  Break up your day with a lunch stop at the DC Wharf or Georgetown in the colder months, or the Potomac River Cruise in the warmer months.

Washington DC: Guided Landmarks Bus Tour & National Archives

5. 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.

DC: Monuments Tour with Optional Arlington National Cemetery

6. DC: Monuments Tour with Optional Arlington National Cemetery

Make the most of your visit to Washington, DC with this morning tour. Take in the most important and iconic monuments of the nation's capital.  If you are pressed for time, you can book the option without the morning visit to Arlington National Cemetery. Enjoy a 3-hour comprehensive tour of the city's most important monuments, meeting the tour guide in downtown Washington DC. Your journey ends around 1:00 PM at the Lincoln Memorial, which is convenient to reach the National Mall, Georgetown, Foggy Bottom, the Kennedy Center, and more. If you choose the Arlington National Cemetery option, your morning will start with a 90 minute walk through this solemn site with an expert guide. in the cemetery, you will have the opportunity to visit John F. Kennedy's grave and see the Eternal Flame lit by Jackie Kennedy over 50 years ago. Then you will continue along to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers and witness the Changing of the Guard, a long-running ceremony.  Once done with your Arlington Tour, you will be picked up and taken to Downtown Washington, DC to start the next portion of your tour. You will visit many of the top sights of the city including the White House and Lincoln Memorial, with an air-conditioned coach bus to take you from one sight to the next. See the entire National Mall from the bus, learning about Washington and its history, then step out at select locations for a guided walk through the memorials. On this 5-hour tour you will see all of DC's most important sites and understand their significance.

Washington DC: Madams of DC Private Walking Tour

7. Washington DC: Madams of DC Private Walking Tour

Discover how Pennsylvania Avenue became the most notorious red light district of Washington, DC, on a walking tour. Know about the area from your guide while visiting iconic sights like the National Museum of the American Indian and many more. You will pass by the Willard Intercontinental with several stops along Pennsylvania Avenue, the main thoroughfare around which DC's red light district arose. Hear about the ramshackle boarding houses of Murder Bay to glamorous pleasure houses such as Mary Ann Hall's establishment that used to stand on the site of the current American Indian History Museum. Stroll through the streets and learn about the unprecedented rise in prostitution during and after the civil war. Finally, end your tour at the National Museum of the American Indian, the former site of the city's most notorious 19th-century brothel. 

National Archives Building & Capitol Hill: Guided Combo Tour

8. National Archives Building & Capitol Hill: Guided Combo Tour

This 5-hour combination tour starts with the National Archives, the neoclassical building considered a temple to American history. Your local English speaking guide will not only be an expert on the archives, but will also share a mix of historical & political information, background stories and surprising details with you. Visit the National Archives Rotunda to learn about the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution while reading the perfectly-preserved documents from the 17th and 18th centuries. You will also see the Bill of Rights and the Federalist Papers featuring the signatures of world-famous statesmen like Alexander Hamilton. Discover the Public Vaults Exhibits, where letters written by presidents including George Washington and John F. Kennedy are on display. Have a look at the Emancipation Proclamation, which helped end slavery in the 19th century. Study a citation issued to civil rights activist Rosa Parks and examine even older documents like the Magna Carta of 1297 in the Rubenstein Gallery. After a break, the tour explores Capitol Hill on foot - the epicenter of activity in Washington DC. Your knowledgeable local guide will show the exteriors of the Supreme Court, the Capitol building and the Library of Congress as well as the interior of the Main Reading Room. In addition, admire the Statue of Freedom and the Thomas Jefferson library with a real Gutenberg Bible. You can also learn about the judicial system at the Museum of the Supreme Court and maybe get a peek inside the actual courtroom.

Other Sightseeing Options in The U.S. National Archives

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What people are saying about The U.S. National Archives

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 681 reviews

The bus tour is a wonderful way to orient yourselves to the city. You will see a number of here wrenching memorials that maKe you question why have we not lived up to the ideals of our forefathers. We lost some very great people who would be disappointed by the lack of progress we have made.

Fabulous trip. Our guide Tyrone and driver Chris couldn’t have done any more. They were fantastic and had great fun too. What a great way to see the city and learn so much history as well. This trip is a must for first timers or whether you have been before. Highly recommend. First class!

David and Chris made an excellent team. David's incredible knowledge of Washing DC made this one of our best experiences in D.C. They even brought granola bars and bottled water for everyone.

Loved the tour, the guide they were very friendly and new the area well. parking is hard to find but there is an under ground parking a short walk from the bus.

It was a beautiful night with amazing historical value.