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The Smithsonian Tours

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The Smithsonian
With 19 museums, nine research centers, and the National Zoological Park, it's no surprise the Smithsonian Institution is one of the most famous collections of museums in the United States and around the globe. Whether you're a history buff, a science lover, or an art enthusiast, you'll definitely want to spend at least a few hours—or maybe even a few days—in these world-renowned collections.

The Basics
Since 10 of the Smithsonian museums are located on the National Mall, you'll see them on most Segway, bus, bike, and walking tours of Washington, DC, some of which include free time to enter the museums of your choosing. Many visitors get their bearings on a guided city tour and then head back to the Smithsonian Castle, home to the Smithsonian Visitors Center, to pick up free guides and maps before heading to a museum. Great news: all of the museums are free, though be aware you'll need a timed entry pass for the National Museum of African American History and Culture (bookable online and offered with some tours; a small number of same-day walk-up passes are also available on weekdays).

Things to Know Before You Go
  • Cameras are allowed, but leave the selfie sticks and tripods at home, as they're prohibited.
  • Avoid bringing large bags and packages, as they'll be subject to a lengthy search process. Lockers are available for small items at some museums.
  • All museums are wheelchair accessible.
  • You can grab a cup of coffee at the Smithsonian Visitor Center cafe.
  • To avoid crowds when exploring a museum, start on the top floor and move toward the ground floor, rather than starting at the first level.

How to Get to the Smithsonian
All of the museums are easily accessible via public transportation, with most on the National Mall and a few others in convenient downtown DC locations.

When to Get There
The museums are open year round, and each has its own hours. You can expect to have company no matter the season, though the busiest times tend to be weekends, holidays, and during the National Cherry Blossom Festival. To avoid the biggest crowds, start your visit early in the morning on weekends or later in the day on weekdays.

What to See at the Smithsonian
It's impossible to see everything, so do a little research before you go to decide which site is at the top of your list. Is it the Hope Diamond at the National Museum of Natural History? The flight simulators at the National Air and Space Museum? The rare giant pandas at the National Zoo? Or perhaps you have to see the collections at the National Portrait Gallery, the Freer Gallery of Art, the National Museum of the American Indian, the National Museum of American History, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, or the Renwick Gallery. Each has something special, so choose what's most appealing to you.
Address: 1000 Jefferson Drive SW, Washington D.C. 20013, USA
Hours: 10am - 5:30pm daily. Closed Dec 25
Admission: Free
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25 Tours & Activities to Experience

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Museum Tickets & Passes

Smithsonian American Art Small Group Adventure

Discover the artistic side of America’s capital on a 2-hour tour of the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery and American Art Museum. Learn about America’s artists as you observe one of the largest art collections in the world. View some of the country’s most important works of art and get insider tips from your guide on other things to do while you’re in Washington, D.C.
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  • 2 hours
From  
USD40.00
From  
USD40.00
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  • 2 hours

Hop-on Hop-off Tours

Washington DC Hop-On Hop-Off Trolley + Arlington Nat'l Cemetery, Water Taxi Upgrade

Take a hop-on hop-off Washington DC trolley tour to explore the nation’s capital at your own pace. The route encompasses the city’s top attractions, including the White House, Lincoln Memorial, and Arlington National Cemetery (if option is selected). This is the only tour to take you into the Arlington National Cemetery (if option is selected). Just hop off at any stop when you want to explore, and then hop back on the trolley to continue around the city. When booking, select a silver, gold or platinum pass, depending upon your interests.
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  • 2 to 48 hours
From  
USD49.00
From  
USD49.00
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  • 2 to 48 hours

Bike & Mountain Bike Tours

Washington DC Monuments Bike Tour

See the historical sights of Washington DC with an up-close view of significant monuments on a 3-hour bike tour by comfortable cruiser. Ride an easy route over flat terrain from the National Mall to the Potomac Tidal Basin and view DC landmarks including the Washington Monument, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Lincoln Memorial and Jefferson Memorial as you explore the attractions with a knowledgeable guide. Snack and bottled water included.
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  • 3 hours
From  
USD44.00
From  
USD44.00
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  • 3 hours

Hop-on Hop-off Tours

Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour of Washington DC: Monuments, Landmarks and Memorials

Explore the most popular sites in Washington, DC on this hop-on hop-off bus tour. Visit many of the top attractions in the nation’s capital — like the White House, Washington Monument, the National Mall, historic Georgetown, Arlington National Cemetery and more. Select a 1- or 2-day pass, for access to three separate routes and get to know the city in custom fashion, with live and recorded narration.
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  • 60 to 105 minutes
From  
USD49.00
From  
USD49.00
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  • 60 to 105 minutes

Segway Tours

Washington DC Segway Tour

Embark on a trip through America’s past and present on this fascinating Segway tour of the Nation’s Capital. Glide past the city’s most iconic landmarks, monuments, and memorials. Along the way, enjoy fascinating narration that includes stories and information about each stop you’ll visit. This is a fun and unique way to see this historical city.
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  • 3 hours
From  
USD74.99
From  
USD74.99
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  • 3 hours

Super Savers

Washington DC Super Saver: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley + Monuments by Moonlight Tour

Explore the best of Washington, DC on this narrated, hop-on hop-off trolley tour. Visit more than 100 points of interest among DC’s top attractions — like the White House, the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument, to name just a few. Depending upon your interest, select a silver, gold or platinum pass, then board at any of the 17 stops and get to know the nation’s capital in customized fashion, with live onboard commentary from a professional tour conductor. A guided, 2.5-hour, moonlight trolley tour to the same landmark locations, illuminated for the evening, is also included.
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  • 3 to 8 hours
From  
USD85.00
From  
USD85.00
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  • 3 to 8 hours

Half-day Tours

Half-Day Grand Tour of Washington DC

Get a panoramic look at Washington DC on this sightseeing tour that provides a comprehensive introduction to the United States capital and its historical and cultural landmarks. Listen to live narration as you see dozens of attractions, such as Lincoln Memorial, Iwo Jima Memorial, the outside of the White House, Washington Monument and the National Mall, the Watergate building, Arlington National Cemetery and the Smithsonian buildings.
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  • 4 hours
From  
USD49.00
From  
USD49.00
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  • 4 hours

Private Sightseeing Tours

Washington DC Private Tour with Spanish or Portuguese Option

Explore the famous sites of Washington DC on this private, 4-hour tour. Choose from a morning or afternoon departure, then climb aboard a luxury vehicle and enjoy an educational and entertaining account of the US nation’s capital with a private guide. Travel around and through the plethora of famous war memorials and monuments. See the White House, the United States Capitol, the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument and many other landmark locations. From DC’s residential neighborhoods to Arlington, Virginia and back, experience this comprehensive tour of the city. Hotel pickup/drop-off included.
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  • 4 hours
From  
USD360.50
From  
USD360.50
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  • 4 hours

Segway Tours

Sites by Segway In Washington DC

Experience Washington DC like never before on this guided small-group Segway tour. Learn about this history of the nation’s capital, and one of the most popular destinations in the US, while gliding around the city. See iconic landmarks like the United States Capitol, the National Mall, the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument and many more — a perfect overview of the city for first-time visitors or anyone wanting to see the sites. Guided Segway training plus bottled water and snacks are included. Dress in weather-appropriate clothes with flat, closed-toed shoes.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
From  
USD64.00
From  
USD64.00
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes

Full-day Tours

Washington DC Legend Daytime Comprehensive Tour

Explore the most famous monuments and war memorials of Washington, DC on this comprehensive, guided, full-day sightseeing tour. Climb aboard a mini bus with a small group and enjoy an educational and entertaining narrated history of the US capital. Travel around and through the plethora of famous memorials and monuments, with stunning views of the United States Capitol, the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, the White House, Arlington Cemetery, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial and many other landmark locations. Hotel pickup and drop-off included.
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  • 7 hours
From  
USD75.00
From  
USD75.00
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  • 7 hours

Hop-on Hop-off Tours

Washington DC Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour and Attractions Pass

This hop-on hop-off Washington DC bus tour includes three different loops with live commentary plus a night bus tour and admission to up to five total attractions. Use your 48-hour pass to explore memorials and monuments such as the US Capitol, Vietnam Veterans Memorial and Lincoln Memorial. Choose entry to attractions including the International Spy Museum and Madame Tussauds, or select a full-day bike rental.
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  • 90 to 120 minutes
From  
USD69.00
From  
USD69.00
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  • 90 to 120 minutes

Private Day Trips

LIKELY TO SELL OUT

Private Washington DC Day Trip from New York

Visit Washington, D.C., on a private, full-day trip from New York City with a chauffeured minivan that accommodates up to six passengers. Enjoy the ride in comfort and style, then spend a day exploring the capital’s most important sites. See the United States Capitol and the moving tombs of the Arlington National Cemetery, then continue to the White House and Presidential memorials. Visit the museums and monuments that line the National Mall before returning to New York.
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  • 15 hours
From  
USD1,099.00
From  
USD1,099.00
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  • 15 hours

Day Trips

New York to Washington DC Day Trip by Rail

Explore the America’s most historic landmarks and museums on a full-day trip to Washington D.C. from New York City. Start with a scenic journey by rail, then enjoy a 2-course lunch at the Hard Rock Café upon arrival in Washington.  Board a double-decker bus for a sightseeing tour of the city, and enjoy the freedom to hop-on and hop-off so you can explore the sights that interest you most. Visit D.C.’s marble memorials, moving cemeteries and government buildings at your own pace, then board an evening train back to NYC.
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  • 16 hours
From  
USD329.00
From  
USD329.00
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  • 16 hours

Night Tours

Total DC Evening Tour: American Art & Monuments by Night

Explore Washington D.C.’s monuments and notable art galleries on this 5-hour evening tour. Start at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery to learn about some of the country’s most important works of art. Then hop in an all-electric Red Roadster and watch the city’s monuments, such as the White House, the Washington Monument, and the Lincoln Memorial, come alive as the sun sets.
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  • 5 hours
From  
USD109.00
From  
USD109.00
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  • 5 hours

Bike & Mountain Bike Tours

Daytime DC Bike Tour

See Washington, DC's highlights via bicycle on this 3-hour bike tour. Listen to your guide's narrative about the history and politics that make America's capital run while visiting the city's most important sites. A moderate level of fitness is required, use of bike and helmet are included.
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  • 3 hours
From  
USD42.00
From  
USD42.00
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  • 3 hours

Cultural Tours

Total DC Evening Tour: Art & Cocktails

Historical secrets come to light during an evening of art and cocktails in Washington DC. At the Smithsonian American Art Museum and adjacent National Portrait Gallery, your guide highlights little-known artists and historical secrets often unheard by visitors. Afterwards, discover the remnants of Prohibition-era Washington at hidden bars and speakeasies, where snacks and one cocktail are on the house.
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  • 5 hours
From  
USD134.00
From  
USD134.00
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  • 5 hours

Cultural Tours

Washington DC After Dark

There's a certain magic to Washington DC that can only be experienced at night. It's a time when the powerful Lincoln Memorial is bathed in a soft white light, and the Washington Monument, Capitol, and White House appear even more grandiose. Along with a knowledgeable local guide, take a tour of Washington DC well after the sun has gone down, and feel the buzz, magic, and pulse of America's capital by night.
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  • 4 hours
From  
USD49.00
From  
USD49.00
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  • 4 hours

Pedicab Tours

Washington DC National Mall and Museums Pedicab Tour

Explore Washington DC's must-see sights on a fun pedicab ride. Your informative guide will pedal you past some of the capital city's must-see sights. See the U.S. Capitol, the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument at the National Mall. Pass by the Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Chinatown, the National Archives Building and the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum. Play some trivia games with your guide and small group of fellow travelers for the chance to win a prize.
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  • 40 minutes
From  
USD97.99
From  
USD97.99
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  • 40 minutes

Private Sightseeing Tours

Private Customized DC Sights Biking Tour

Experience Washington, DC’s landmarks, museums, and monuments on a three-hour private cycling tour. Your expert guide knows the best bike routes to insure a great day out, and combines historical insights about top DC spots with plenty of opportunities to stop and explore along the way. See the White House, Smithsonian Museums, Lincoln Memorial and more. This tour is ideal for any fitness or experience level and offers visitors a way to see the sights in a relaxed, personalized way. Bike rentals can be arranged at an additional cost.
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  • 3 hours
From  
USD499.00
From  
USD499.00
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  • 3 hours

Pedicab Tours

Washington DC Wine-Tasting Tour by Pedicab

Sip a variety of top-notch, international wines or liquors at Central Wines, a classy wine, beer and spirits shop in the lively Penn Quarter District (or take your tastings to go), and then sit back and enjoy your pedicab ride. Your driver-guide pedals you through Chinatown and the Federal Triangle, as well as past key sights such as the National Portrait Gallery, the Friendship Arch and Ford Theatre. This small-group tour is limited to 9 people or fewer.
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  • 1 hour
From  
USD108.99
From  
USD108.99
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  • 1 hour

Cultural Tours

Total DC Tour: American Art & DC Unveiled

Experience Washington DC history and American art on day tour in an open electric vehicle. Avoid the crowds and get under the city’s skin with a local guide. Learn abut the founding of the nation’s capital, get the stories behind famous monuments, and spend time inside some of the Smithsonian museums with curated tours. You will also get tips on how to best explore the city on your own when the tour ends. Ideal for visitors who are short on time, but want to see the tops sights and get meaningful insights.
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  • 5 hours
From  
USD102.00
From  
USD102.00
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  • 5 hours

Day Trips

New York to Washington DC Day Trip by Air

Explore Washington D.C.’s highlights with a full day trip from New York City by air, and make the most of your time in America’s capital city. See the region from the air during the 1-hour flight, then touch down for a hop-on, hop-off bus tour from historic Union Station. Experience DC at your own pace; visit the National Archives and the Smithsonian, pause for a two-course lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe, then continue to the moving Arlington Cemetery and presidential monuments before boarding your return flight to NYC.
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  • 16 hours
From  
USD629.00
From  
USD629.00
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  • 16 hours

Private Sightseeing Tours

Expert Led Private Tour of the National Mall in DC

Stretching from the Potomac to the Capitol and home to many monuments, the Mall is an exceptional place from which to understand Washington and its central role in the America. On this tour, we'll visit the major monuments and discuss the significance of what has been called America's front yard. We begin in the shadow of the Capitol, where we appreciate the full sweep of the Mall ahead of us. Here we will delve into the story of DC's development, from the plan of L'Enfant through to Daniel Burnham to create a city symbolic of America and the idealism of its government. With this path, we will use these plans to draw parallels between DC and the urban planning of other great world capitals. With this under our belt, we'll move down the Mall and walk its length from the reflecting pool in front of the Capitol all the way to the Lincoln Monument. Along the way we'll discuss some of the major moments, where the landscape serves as a reminder of the U.S., history, and national identity.
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  • 3 hours
From  
USD60.00
From  
USD60.00
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  • 3 hours

Cultural Tours

Castle to Capitol: Museums of the National Mall Walking Tour

Take a stroll along America’s ‘front yard’ during this guided, small-group walking tour of the museums of the National Mall in Washington, DC. Go on a walk on the east side of the National Mall, between the United States Capitol Building and the Washington Monument, with a historian guide, and learn about the design and stories behind each museum. This tour also includes admission to the Smithsonian Castle.
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  • 2 hours
From  
USD40.00
From  
USD40.00
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  • 2 hours


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