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10 Best Walking Tours in Washington D.C.

Washington, D.C., is a family destination offering much to do and see. Regardless of the number of days you are in D.C. or the number of times you have visited the destination, there is always something new to explore. These are the best walking tours in Washington, D.C., to make the most of your visit.

The best feature of Washington D.C. is walkability. It has significant sites and the most famous attractions on the National Mall.

The city has some unique walking tours. There are day and night tours, food tours, self-guided tours, and more. It helps to plan and book a time well to make the most of the destination.

Best Walking Tours in Washington, D.C.

1. D.C. By Foot

Woman Staring at Washington, DC Capitol Building

If you check out D.C. By Foot, you will find a walking tour specific to a subject. It is the most popular because they are free or you can pay whatever you want.

This group is associated with licensed, independent tour guides that organize walking tours around the city with themes from the top tourist attractions, including Tidal Basin, National Mall, and Capitol Hill, to the culture and history of the town. If you have enough time, you can take different tours of different monuments. This way, you will not miss out on anything important in D.C.

Some tours track the Lincoln assassination as well as the ghosts in Georgetown. You will find all the scandals and secrets of the country’s capital city and learn about the neighborhood. D.C. By Foot also has food-centric tours specially designed for those with a sweet tooth.

The tours are great for meeting fellow travelers and enjoying the family holiday. You might also want to check out these museums kids enjoy in Washington, D.C.

There are guests from all over the world, meaning you get to enjoy different perspectives on the tour and many questions the tour guides ask to contribute to your experience.

There are daily scheduled tours, weekly tours, and private tours. The daily tours include the National Mall, Lincoln Assassination, Capitol Hill and Library of Congress, Tidal Basic and National Mall, and Ghost and Scandals Tours.

The weekly tours include Embassy Row, Historic Georgetown, and Arlington National Cemetery. You can book the time online. You can also opt for self-guided tours that are GPS-enabled audio tours, but you will not have a live guide to answer the questions.

See Related: Things to do in Washington, D.C.

2. Cultural Tourism D.C.’s Neighborhood Heritage Trail

Federal Heritage Trail Sign in Washington D.C.
Rosemarie –

When exploring D.C., if you are a self-starter, you should consider the cultural tourism of D.C.’s neighborhood trail. It is free, and there are many walking tours across the city’s various neighborhoods.

It allows visitors and residents who are self-guided to get a good look into the heart and soul of the city. It is an excellent opportunity to spend family time and learn about a new city. There are 17 heritage trails you can pick from. You can explore each neighborhood quickly and make the most of every area.

The tours do not just focus on government buildings or monuments. All you have to do is follow all the signs in the neighborhood and learn more about what it would have been like to live there and what it is like to live here now.

You can hear about the experiences of immigrants in Adams Morgan and explore the Civil War history in Brightwood. It will showcase the city’s transition from the civil war to an age of civil rights, and you will notice a massive difference in how the city was and what it is now. It can be a great learning experience for children.

They also offer African American Heritage Trail, where you can see sites and learn about African American history in different locations. They organize an annual event called Passport DC, which displays culture, food, art, music, and dance. More than 187 embassies and various cultural centers participate in it.

Besides the annual event, there are BikingTown DC and WalkingTown DC tours, a two-week program of free walking and biking tours of the neighborhoods.

See Related: Best Day Trips from D.C. by Train

3. National Park Service Ranger Tours

Crowd in Washington Monument

There is no better tour guide than the National Park Service Ranger. You can find them at most memorials and monuments downtown. It is one of the top D.C. walking tours. You will not only be a part of the talks at the sites but also enjoy the free guided walking tours of the National Mall and Memorial Parks during the day and in the evening.

They customize their tours and cover famous memorials. You will find different tours of the Tidal Basin and the monuments during the cherry blossom season. The time and dates of the term vary seasonally. Their programs include talks, terms, and junior ranger activities.

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4. D.C.Metro Food Tours

Two bowls of food on a marble table

If you love to learn about the city’s food scene by tasting its food, you should start with D.C. Metro Food Tours. It is the perfect place to begin knowing about the Washington restaurant scene.

The best thing about the tour is that it is on foot, and you can work off the carbs and calories you will consume at the restaurants you will be stopping at.

The itinerary will be based on the neighborhood, including Dupont Circle, Capitol Hill, Georgetown, Adams Morgan, and U Street. You will find tours that focus on the delicious Ethiopian food that D.C. is famous for.

There is also a tour of the culinary offerings at the Eastern Market. The restaurants at each time will vary but give a different perspective of the city’s heritage through culinary traditions.

Their food tours are available for groups, private tours, and corporate events. You can choose from the Old Town Alexandria food tour, U Street food tour, Georgetown food tour, Dupont Circle food tour, Capitol Hill food tour, Little Ethiopia food tour, Leesburg food tour, Eastern Market food tour, and Adams Morgan food tour.

Each tour is unique, with exquisite offerings. There will be different restaurants and menus that reflect the area’s unique history and regional products. You will be able to learn all about the area’s history, food, and culture on the food tour.

If you enjoy clubbing and want to explore the nightlife, they also have a pub crawl where you explore the neighborhood area of your choice in the dark. The guided tour will stop at great pubs and local bars, where you can enjoy games, drinks, and trivia at each stop.

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5. Washington Walks

 Washington Monument Obelisk

If you want to explore Washington like a local, you have to take the tour offered by Washington Walks. There is no need to make a reservation to be a part of Washington Walks. It costs $20, and the company has been one of the leaders in walking tours since 1999.

They have a team of experienced guides who will take you through the best areas of a neighborhood. Washington Walks offers one of the top walking tours in D.C. You will get an opportunity to explore the high society of Embassy Row, the haunted history of Lafayette Park, and the fashion scene of Georgetown, right across the White House.

There are special tours organized in cherry blossom; there is a tour of routes for memorials by night and weekend morning tours that include the rotation of neighborhoods like Woodley Park, Bloomingdale, National Cathedral, and Foggy Bottom.

They have 12 tours that last for about two hours, and you can decide where to meet the tour. You can make online registration for the time and explore the beautiful neighborhoods like a local.

6. National Mall Tour

Washington Monument

You can walk the National Mall while visiting the memorials there on the National Mall tour. It includes the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. It will last about two hours and is one mile long, with many places to rest on the way.

If you do not have enough time to take other tours, choose this one. It will cover the most important and famous monuments in D.C. The tour will give you an insight into the history and culture of the destination. 

See Related: Best Museums in the United States

7. All-in-One Tour

U.S. Capitol Building and Scenery

The All-in-One Tour includes several famous parks and D.C. monuments, including the Lincoln Memorial, National Mall, and the Capitol Building. The tour involves so much that it is about four hours long and will cover two miles of walking. You will find many places for refreshments along the way.

It is an ideal choice for those who are short on time and want to check out the most critical places. It might not be a detailed tour, but it will certainly give you insights into the culture and history of the area.

8. Old Town Alexandria

Houses in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia

This is the best tour for those who like historical settings and old houses. It will take you to the ancient streets of Alexandria and lasts about two hours.

You will be able to walk in the locations where your forefathers lived. If you want to visit the wonderful old places in the capital, choose this tour.

Established in 1749, this area has several historical sites you can explore through walking tours. You can take self-guided walking tours or guided tours. Book this walking tour of Old Town Alexandria and Mount Vernon to get a time of both places in one trip.

9. D.C. Design Tours

Cherry Blossom and Washington Monument

Enjoy an insider’s look at the design of the District with D.C. Design Tours. Get an opportunity to see the architectural marvels and hear about the conflicts and controversies involved in the development of the Capital City.

You will learn about everything Neo-Classical to Brutalist and get details about the history behind the buildings on the design-focused tours. They conduct eight walking tours in different neighborhoods in Washington, D.C. You can also enjoy driving, private walking, bus tours, and virtual tours with them.

See Related: Best Walking Tours in Charleston

10. Arlington National Cemetery Guided Walking Tour

Guards at Arlington National Cemetery

You can make the most of the Changing of Guards at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. The walking tour is ideal for the whole family, and it will give great views of the moving ceremony.

Post the ceremony, you can continue to some of the most important memorials and gravesites of the cemetery, including places dedicated to the USS Maine, John. F. Kennedy and Audie Murphy.

It is an opportunity to learn more about the history of the cemetery. This walking tour will give you information about the politicians and war heroes that are an essential part of the history of D.C.

Tips for Booking a Walking Tour in Washington D.C.

Additionally, several neighborhoods are joined together and can be easily covered on foot. It has a fantastic food and arts scene that attracts many tourists throughout the year. Even if you are a local, try exploring the neighborhoods with self-guided or walking tours.

Please encourage your family and friends to plan their family getaway in Washington, DC. You will learn much about the city even if you spend time in one neighborhood. One of the most fun activities with the family is participating in the famous D.C. walking tours.

There are many walking tours available to make the most of this destination. And by the way, when booking a trip to Washington D.C., research first to avoid any mistakes.

There are various tours for you to choose from. Consider your priorities and make a choice. Whether you are into history and architecture or culture and food, there is something for you in it.

Do not miss out on these tours the next time you visit Washington, D.C. Even if you are a resident, you can explore the neighborhood areas with a guided tour that will give insights into the area’s history, culture, art, and food scene.

The tours are a lot of fun for the family, and they allow meeting the locals and learning about their culture. You can also make friends with different people during the walking tour. Walking tours are considered an ideal way to explore a new destination.

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