National Archives, Washington

National Archives, Washington: Our most recommended tours and activities

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

1. 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

From NYC: Guided Day Trip to Washington DC by Van or Bus

2. From NYC: Guided Day Trip to Washington DC by Van or Bus

Journey from NYC to Washington on a full-day trip to see the sights of the nation’s capital with a Spanish-speaking guide. Visit the most important monuments, memorials and buildings like the White House and the Washington Monument. Head down South from NYC in a comfortable air-conditioned bus, passing through New Jersey and Delaware, with a stop in Delaware to stretch your legs and use the restrooms. Continue on past Maryland until Arlington, Virginia. The tour starts properly at Arlington National Ceremony, where the tour guide will take you to Kennedy’s grave and explore with you the lush grounds. Then, head to the Iwo Jima memorial, with time to take photos. During the whole journey, your guide will tell you interesting facts about the city.   Next, head to Washington DC across the Potomac River. Pass along Constitution Avenue where you’ll see the State Department, the Institute of Peace, and the Albert Einstein Memorial. Go to the National Mall and walk with your guide to places that have been featured in movies and TV series. See the Korean War Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Vietnam War Memorial. You’ll recognize the Reflecting Pool from Forrest Gump. You’ll also see the most-visited monument in the city, the World War II Memorial.   Back on the bus, you’ll continue to view offices of important organizations such as the Organization of American States, the American Red Cross, and the Treasury Department until you finally reach the White House. Take some time to take pictures in the gardens before continuing on to see the FBI buildings, the National Archives, and more. Your final stop will be the Air and Space Museum, where you’ll have some free time to visit the exhibits, have lunch, and take photos of the Capitol Building. On the way back to NYC, you’ll be treated to a night-time panoramic view of NYC from New Jersey. 

Washington DC: Full-Day Tour of Washington DC Monuments

3. 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

4. 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: See the City Segway Tour

5. Washington DC: See the City Segway Tour

Arrive 30 minutes before the tour time for instruction on how to ride a Segway, then head off on a thrilling guided Segway tour of Washington DC and its main landmarks. Listen as your guide recounts fascinating stories about these iconic locations, narrated via a state-of-the-art radio system. Before departure, receive training and get fitted for your equipment. Watch a brief video and presentation, then receive one-on-one instruction from the experienced staff. Don't be nervous! Many of the visitors are first-time riders and most people get the hang of it within a few minutes.  Once everyone is comfortable, you will do a quick soundcheck and off you go!  The first stop is the White House, just across the street from your starting point! From there, continue to explore as many of the following sites as possible: Lafayette Square US Treasury Constitution Gardens Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool Vietnam Veterans Memorial Korean War Memorial DC War Memorial Tidal Basin WWII Memorial Washington Monument Smithsonian Museums National Gallery of Art US Capitol National Archives US Navy Memorial FBI Building Freedom Plaza and more!

National Archives Building & Capitol Hill: Guided Combo Tour

6. 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 National Archives, Washington

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What people are saying about National Archives, Washington

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 691 reviews

Tyrone (guide) & Chris (driver) are the BEST!! Friendly, informative & super patient! Especially since we had a majority of seniors, some with mobility challenges. Lots of photo opportunities with advance notice of upcoming sights. Tyrone’s humour kept us throughly entertained throughout the trip! Definitely recommended if you are looking for a quick day tour, with stops covering all major sights. Thank you for a very memorable time!

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!

There were passengers who were talking loudly; so loud that it was difficult to hear the guide tell us about the beautiful buildings and history of DC. It’s important to respect other passengers and keep private conversations as quiet as possible.

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.

Great tour guide. Very well informed and funny. We needed wheelchair access and they were very helpful.