Tidal Basin

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Tidal Basin: Our most recommended tours and activities

Washington DC: Monuments by Moonlight Nighttime Trolley Tour

1. Washington DC: Monuments by Moonlight Nighttime Trolley Tour

See the most popular monuments of the U. S. capital illuminated at night on a 2.5-hour trolley tour! The route follows streets that have been traveled by presidents and make stops at the Lincoln Memorial, the Martin Luther King Memorial, and the World War II Memorial A professional tour guide will entertain and inform you with stories about the Capitol’s colorful past. You’ll hear tales about the curse of the Hope Diamond and the restless spirits who make the city their home. You’ll also hear about the Medal of Honor winner whose leg was amputated. He donated the leg to a museum and would frequently go to the museum to visit it! Trolley stops:  • FDR Memorial  • Lincoln Memorial  • Vietnam Veteran Memorial  • Korean War Memorial  • Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial  • World War II Memorial Washington turns into a very different place after dark, and with the Monuments, by Moonlight tour you’ll see the city in just the right light!

Washington DC: Monuments by Moonlight Electric Vehicle Tour

2. Washington DC: Monuments by Moonlight Electric Vehicle Tour

Test your night photography skills and see some jaw-dropping views while learning the history of the United States on this monuments tour at night. Hop into the electric-powered vehicle and learn about the monuments illuminated at night with your guide. Start at the Smithsonian Metro station, before heading towards the Smithsonian complex. Your guide will regale you with the story behind the amazing museums at the largest museum complex in the world. Drive past two of the city's most famous monuments, the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial. Afterward, wander through the Franklin D Roosevelt and Martin Luthe King memorials and enjoy a stroll along the serene Tidal Basin at sunset.  Continue past the World War I and World War II Memorials before arriving at the Lincoln Memorial. Here, be amazed by the views of the Potomac River and the National Mall sparkling in the dark.  Be entertained by stories of the city’s history, statues, and famous buildings on your way to the White House. Take a monument here to capture what is possibly the most iconic American landmark, known worldwide.  Your tour will end by exploring Capitol Hill. Home to the world-famous dome of the United States Capitol, plus the United States Supreme Court Building and the Library of Congress. 

Washington DC: Monuments and Memorials Bike Tour

3. Washington DC: Monuments and Memorials Bike Tour

Bike the Sites® the along the National Mall and along the Potomac Tidal Basin. You will learn about the major presidential and war memorials and have a few minutes to explore each up close on this 3 hour guided bike tour. This bike tour is perfect for families! See the Washington Monument, Vietnam Memorial, World War II Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, and more. This tour also gives you the chance to walk around and explore the memorials in depth. There is a lot to see, but you'll get through it all in this leisurely yet efficient tour. This tour is rated as easy and covers approximately 4 miles of flat terrain.

Washington DC: National Mall Night Bus Tour

4. Washington DC: National Mall Night Bus Tour

Admire the atmospheric landmarks of the capital as the sun sets on Washington, DC. Take a trip to the twilight zone with mesmerizing views of the city highlights at dusk. As night falls, all the most famous monuments are lit up, casting a glimmering glow over the city and offering countless photo opportunities. Begin at the U.S. Navy Memorial, before heading through the half-light to capture views of the White House, the Korean War Memorial, and the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. Each monument features special illuminations at night, with regular opportunities to hop off and see the spectacular sculpture work up close. The full shimmering skyline can be seen at the start and endpoint of your tour, which also includes views of the twinkling Tidal Basin and Thomas Jefferson Memorial. Night tours don’t get much more magical than this, and pair perfectly with a day tour the following day.

Washington DC Monuments by Night Bike Tour

5. Washington DC Monuments by Night Bike Tour

Enjoy America’s capital city at night, when the air is cooler, the monuments are crowd-free, and the illuminated views are magnificent. You’ll bike to the major sights of Washington, D.C. on this 3-hour tour. As dusk sweeps the city and the memorials and monuments are light up magnificently, your guide will take you through the National Mall and around the Tidal Basin near the Washington Monument, the war memorials, the Lincoln Memorial, the FDR Memorial, and the Jefferson Memorial. Along the way you’ll have the opportunity to learn about each of the sights, and also a few minutes to walk through the memorials and experience them on foot. This 4-mile ride is rated as easy, covering mostly flat terrain. All riders are provided with reflective vests and safety lights.

Washington DC: E-Bike Tour of the National Mall

6. Washington DC: E-Bike Tour of the National Mall

Ride through the entire National Mall and circle the Tidal Basin on this fun and informative E-bike tour. Start at the waterfront, and listen to a brief introduction about the E-bikes. Then, head out to begin your 9-10 mile tour. Follow your knowledgeable guide past the Smithsonian Museums, and around to all the major sites including the U.S. Capitol, Supreme Court, Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington Monument, WWII Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and Korean War Veterans Memorial. Conclude the trip by riding around the Tidal Basin and touring the Martin Luther King Jr, FDR, and Jefferson Memorials. Hear about the history, lore, and latest happenings around the DC museums and find yourself in great self-spots and in front of picturesque views. Your guide will also stop and share some hidden gems along the way. See all the major monuments and memorials as well as treasures you might not find on your own. The tour is extensive and the riding is easy with pedal-assist bikes enabling you to see more and pedal less.

Georgetown: DC Monuments River Cruise to Old Town Alexandria

7. Georgetown: DC Monuments River Cruise to Old Town Alexandria

Avoid the traffic and see Washington, D.C., from the Potomac River. Once you arrive at the Georgetown Waterfront, simply hop on to the boat, sit back, and relax on this 45-minute ride as you witness the district's historic landmarks and monuments. Before you know it, you'll arrive in Old Town Alexandria, a historic town full of quaint cafes, restaurants, and shops. As you relax on your cruise, listen to an informative narrated story about Washington, D.C.'s history and many iconic sights, all the while cruising past top attractions including the Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, Washington Monument, and many more. Marvel at the architectural details of the various landmarks on an afternoon cruise, or see them lit up at night. Make the most of your day: either choose a one-way water taxi cruise and return to Georgetown on your own, or choose a convenient round-trip water taxi cruise while still having time to explore Old Town Alexandria. In either case, you will be able to visit Old Town's historic streets and alleyways, quaint cafes, and high-end boutiques, making the most of your trip to Washington, D.C.

Washington DC: Sightseeing Pass with Attractions & Bus Tour

8. Washington DC: Sightseeing Pass with Attractions & Bus Tour

Tour through the landmarked capital and see The Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, and the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. Pay homage to those who gave their service and lives at the National World War II Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.   Try your hand at espionage at the International Spy Museum, ride the Spirit Cruise up the river to George Washington’s landmarked and historic Mount Vernon Farm. Stand in awe at the iconic landscape of Washington D.C. and witness the splendor of the revolutionaries who defined the United States.   Take advantage of D.C.’s immersive nature with an Urban Adventure walking tour or a Bike and Roll DC bicycle rental. Admire the visionary architecture of D.C. and take a selfie from the top of the Big Bus Hop-On, Hop-Off Tour, as you pass by the United States Capitol Building, the scenic National Mall, the White House, the Smithsonian Institution, the Library of Congress, and the Washington National Cathedral. Attractions: • George Washington’s Mount Vernon • International Spy Museum (Limited capacity, entry subject to availability) • Big Bus Hop-On Hop-Off Classic Ticket or Night Tour • Spirit of Mount Vernon Cruise • Spirit Cruises One Day Water Taxi Unlimited Pass Walking & Bike Tours: • Urban Adventures - Museum of American History Through Music • Urban Adventures - Politics & Pints Capitol Hill Tour • Urban Adventures - Smithsonian American Art Adventure • Bike and Roll DC - 3 hour Bike Rental Special Discounts: • Buca di Beppo - $15 toward lunch or dinner • Bounce Luggage Storage

Washington: Cherry Blossom Tour

9. Washington: Cherry Blossom Tour

Experience an engaging 4-hour tour of the beautified region, learning the powerful history behind the city’s renowned monuments and landmarks. Embedded along Washington, DC’s Potomac Tidal Basin is one of the city’s most beloved springtime sceneries. Each year, residents and tourists from around the world visit Washington, DC to get a glimpse of the stunning frenzy of blushing pink petals that redefine the Tidal Basin and National Mall’s formal landscape, elegantly welcoming the long-awaited warmth of spring. Get your eyes, ears, and cameras ready, and prepare yourself to be wowed.

Washington DC: Cherry Blossom Festival Tour by Bike

10. Washington DC: Cherry Blossom Festival Tour by Bike

The only official bike tour of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, this special ride showcases the famous cherry trees and amazing sea of pink and white blossoms surrounding the Potomac Tidal Basin and East Potomac Park. There is much to see and lots of ground to cover, so hop onboard for a leisurely yet efficient guided bike tour. Bring your camera on this exclusive seasonal experience, beginning at the end of March (weather permitting).

Frequently asked questions about Tidal Basin

What are other attractions than Tidal Basin that are worth visiting in Washington, DC?

How can I visit Tidal Basin?

Possible ways to visit the Tidal Basin:

Entrance to Tidal Basin is free, and you do not need a ticket or pre-booking to visit.

Other Sightseeing Options in Tidal Basin

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What people are saying about Tidal Basin

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 1,299 reviews

We had Brittany as our guide. She was very knowledgeable about DC, funny and accommodating to everyone's needs. The bus trip is so worth it. You could never cover that much ground and so many historic sights on foot. It also felt safe even though it was evening.

Bruce was informative and entertaining. He provided lots of historical info and gave us lots of photo opportunities. The eve was delightful.

The guide Nick was very funny and informative. Let’s you stay on the bus if walking is an issue. Everything looks better at night!

Amazing tour, got to see so much in a small amount of time. DJ the tour guide was absolutely incredible.

Very knowledgeable guide with a great sense of humor