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Visiting Washington DC During Election Season

By Viator, July 2017

5 65 Reviews | Add your review

Every four years beginning in October, Washington DC starts buzzing with the excitement of the US election season. It’s a historic time to visit America’s capital with plenty to see and do—from inauguration-themed tours to fascinating explorations of presidential history. Read on to learn how to make the best of your time in DC during election season.

While it is certainly a busy time of year in DC, that shouldn’t deter you from planning a visit during election season. All the top attractions remain open throughout the month of November and much of December, and in the days leading up to Election Day, candidates and their staffs are generally out on the campaign trail or voting in their home districts, leaving the capital a rather quiet place to watch the results roll in.

If you’re planning to visit on or around Inauguration Day, it’s best to plan ahead and stay flexible. The swearing-in ceremony itself takes place on the steps of the US Capitol building, and while tickets are free, they are highly coveted and difficult to secure, only available via application through local representatives and senators. If you can’t get your hands on tickets, the National Mall serves as a great place to see the action from afar. The ceremony is followed by a parade along Constitution Avenue, Pennsylvania Avenue, and 17th Street. If you’d like to watch, plan to arrive early; public entrances along the route open at 6:30am for viewers to stake out a spot.

Inauguration Day is also a federal holiday for employees in the DC area, so expect many businesses to be closed, including some city tour operators. Security will be heightened around DC, and the Archives/Navy Memorial Metro station will be closed, so be sure to leave yourself plenty of time to get around.

Tours & Tickets

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Viator VIP: Best of DC Including US Capitol, National Archives Reserved Access, White House and ... 
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Viator VIP: Best of DC Including US Capitol, National Archives Reserved Access, White House and Lincoln Memorial

4.5 star rating: Recommended 692 Reviews

Experience Washington DC’s most sought-after attractions like a true VIP insider. Beat the long lines and enjoy reserved entry to the US Capitol Building for a ...  Read more

Location: Washington D.C., District of Columbia
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $125.00
Capitol Hill and DC Monuments Tour by Electric Cart, Washington DC, Viator VIP Tours
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Capitol Hill and DC Monuments Tour by Electric Cart

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 177 Reviews

See Washington DC’s major sites in a fun, unique way – aboard an electric cart! As you explore Capitol Hill, see famous monuments and landmarks including the ...  Read more

Location: Washington D.C., District of Columbia
Duration: 2 hours (approx.)

From USD $56.00
Washington DC Capital Sites Bike Tour, Washington DC, Historical & Heritage Tours
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Washington DC Capital Sites Bike Tour

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 86 Reviews

The Washington DC Capital Sites Bike Tour is a safe and enjoyable cycling trip of the most popular sights of Washington. Sites you will see include the ...  Read more

Location: Washington D.C., District of Columbia
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

From USD $44.00
2-Day Grand Tour of Washington DC, Washington DC, Bike & Mountain Bike Tours
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2-Day Grand Tour of Washington DC

4.5 star rating: Recommended 91 Reviews

See the most famous landmarks in Washington DC on this 2-day coach and tram tour. Visit top DC attractions including the White House Visitor Center, US ...  Read more

Location: Washington D.C.
Duration: 2 days (approx.)

From USD $135.00
Washington DC Super Saver: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley and Monuments by Moonlight Tour, Washington DC, ... 
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Washington DC Super Saver: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley and Monuments by Moonlight Tour

4.5 star rating: Recommended 68 Reviews

Explore Washington DC at your leisure on a hop-on hop-off trolley and see the city's landmarks illuminated on a guided night tour with this super saver combo. ...  Read more

Location: Washington D.C., District of Columbia
Duration: 3 to 8 hrs

From USD $89.95
$99.95 Save $10.00
Washington by Water Monuments Cruise, Washington DC, Super Savers
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Washington by Water Monuments Cruise

4 star rating: Recommended 21 Reviews

Admire Washington DC's spectacular monuments and memorials from this boat cruise along the Potomac River. See the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, John ...  Read more

Location: Washington D.C., District of Columbia
Duration: 2 hours (approx.)

From USD $29.40
Mount Vernon Half Day Trip, Washington DC, Day Cruises
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Mount Vernon Half Day Trip

4.5 star rating: Recommended 320 Reviews

Take a half-day tour to Mount Vernon – which was the home of George and Martha Washington. Experience life in Washington’s time on this tour and find out how ...  Read more

Location: Washington D.C., District of Columbia
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $105.00
Viator Exclusive: Washington Monument Reserved Admission with DC Landmarks and Memorials Tour, ... 
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Viator Exclusive: Washington Monument Reserved Admission with DC Landmarks and Memorials Tour

4.5 star rating: Recommended 222 Reviews

Take a 4-hour guided tour aboard a comfortable coach to catch highlights including the White House, US Capitol Building, Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Memorial and ...  Read more

Location: Washington D.C., District of Columbia
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

From USD $79.00

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