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National Museum of American History

National Museum of American History: Our most recommended tours and activities

Washington, DC: Old Town Trolley City Tour

1. Washington, DC: Old Town Trolley City Tour

Climb aboard the Old Town Trolley and enjoy a comprehensive tour of Washington. Listen to the colorful anecdotes, humorous stories, and well-researched historical information your guide has to share. Upgrade to include a tram tour of Arlington Cemetery. Sit back 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 the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial.  The trolley will make one stop along the tour route at the Abraham Lincoln Memorial. While off the trolley, you can visit the Lincoln Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. You will have 30 minutes to explore the area while your guide and the trolley wait for you. Please see below the list of attractions and memorials that you will see on the tour: • Washington Welcome Center • The White House • National Archives • National Law Enforcement Museum • Union Station • U.S. Capitol • Smithsonian Air & Space Museum • The Wharf • International Spy Museum • Holocaust Memorial Museum • Jefferson Memorial • FDR Memorial • Lincoln Memorial • National Museum of American History • Smithsonian Museum of Natural History • National Gallery of Art • National Portrait Gallery

National Museum of American History: Guided Tour

2. National Museum of American History: Guided Tour

From a ragtag group of colonists to one of the world’s super powers, the United States has made quite a name for itself. The Smithsonian National Museum of American History traces this ascent through a one-of-a-kind collection of items, helping you to understand this turbulent history. Your local English speaking guide will not only be an expert on the museum, but also share a mix of historical, scientific, cultural, social, technological, and political information, background stories and surprising details with you. Tour highlights: • The actual Star-Spangled Banner that inspired the country’s national anthem • Learn about the first president, George Washington, while viewing his sword • Discover how Hollywood has helped shape this country • Dorothy’s ruby red slippers from “The Wizard of Oz” • Discuss segregation through the Greensboro lunch counter • View Thomas Jefferson’s desk • Understand the role of women through an exhibit of the first ladies’ gowns With the collection containing more than three million historical items, 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: Monuments Self-Guided Walking Tour

3. Washington DC: Monuments Self-Guided Walking Tour

Visit the most iconic landmarks of America’s capital city on this flexible self-guided walking tour. See the White House, Lincoln Memorial, the Capitol Building, and much more, and learn the revolutionary history behind the creation of Washington, D.C. Start by downloading the Action Tour Guide app that will function as your personal guide, audio tour, and map all in one. Along with being developed by local guides, creative writers, and professional voice artists, most stops along the tour have animated videos allowing you to visualize what you cannot see, such as snapshots from different centuries or interior rooms. You'll begin your adventure next to Pershing Park, right across from the White House south lawn. From there, make your way to the White House itself, where you can admire the seat of American power and learn some fascinating tidbits about its construction. From here, head south toward Constitution Gardens and pick up some insight into D.C.’s complicated history along the way. Through the gardens, you’ll find what was once the city’s most controversial monument: The Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Next, head to the Lincoln Memorial, one of the most iconic memorials in D.C. The Korean War Veterans Memorial is next, where you’ll hear about the fraught political struggle which wracked the White House during this bloody conflict. As you continue east, you’ll be filled in on the aftermath of the War of 1812 and how D.C. grew into what it is today. The next monument you’ll arrive at will be the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, honoring the nation’s most revered civil rights leader. Then, cross the Kutz Bridge and learn why the Potomac River is so significant to this city’s history. From this bridge, you’ll also be able to see the impressive Thomas Jefferson Memorial. Later, reach the National Mall, which you’ve definitely seen on TV plenty of times. Get an up-close look at the Washington Monument and learn the history of George Washington’s connection to this important city. If you like museums, the next stretch of the tour is absolutely for you. You’ll pass the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, and the National Gallery of Art. On the final leg of the tour, visit three of the most crucial buildings in the city: The Library of Congress, the Capitol Building, and the Supreme Court of the United States. The tour concludes amid these three awe-inspiring structures.

Other Sightseeing Options in National Museum of American History

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What people are saying about National Museum of American History

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 170 reviews

Terrific! It was a beautiful day outside! Our tour was at 10 am in early June. It was not too hot yet. The only recommendation I would make is to increase the length of time to 45 minutes instead of 30 minutes when dropped off at the Lincoln memorial. We didn't feel 30 minutes was enough time to take in The Lincoln Memorial, Korean Memorial and the Vietnam Memorial. In fact we ran out of time and didn't make it to the Vietnam Memorial.

This is a great way to get oriented and decide what you want to go back to later. I recommend it for the first day of a D.C. vacation.

Good combo of live narration and 1 stop at the Lincoln Memorial. Great if you don't have forever for a long hop on hop off tour

The audio guide led you to the important sights and gave a short comment on each one.

OUR guide was very kindly and prepared to make his work..