Licensed professional tour guides could tell you about the design plan of the U.S. Capitol, the specifics of the congressional resolution to build the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, and the quotes engraved on the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. Or, they could show you.
Excellent Tours' four experienced guides share their knowledge of the capital during three narrated tours aboard vans, mini-buses, and coach buses. Each tour includes stops at the White House, Capitol building, Lincoln Memorial, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, which is where the similarities end. Tours run at three different times and visit several different additional sights, such as the Thomas Jefferson Memorial and the World War II Memorial. During each excursion, guides divulge facts such as how President Theodore Roosevelt gave the White House its name in 1901, and why the engineer who laid the cornerstone of the Washington Monument used the same trowel George Washington used nearly a century earlier instead of the nice one his mother bought for him.
The trio of seasoned tour guides understands that being a guide is more than just being able to carry a microphone and CDL driver’s license with style. Being a guide is a great responsibility; it means safeguarding history and passing its great secrets and wisdoms on to others. Whether visiting DC’s iconic structures and memorials in the daylight or evening, they passionately share the stories of the individuals, ideals, and food-based dares that shaped the United States into what it is today. Fueled by the realization that planning a trip to the nation’s capital may be a once in a lifetime experience for some people, they put extra effort into ensuring that experience is as memorable as possible, leading all of their tours in a luxurious 2012 Mercedes bus.
Departing from Southwest Waterfront, a boat skipper begins another journey down the calm, flat waters of the Potomac River. The multi-decked boats, such as the Patriot II catamaran, power DC Harbor Cruises's daily tours of the capital's famous waterway. The tour crafts are furnished with bars, snacks, full audio systems, and plush seating for sightseers to enjoy as they drift along the Potomac's smooth waters and collect eyefuls of national treasures. Guests can admire the imposing Capitol Building and whisper about how silly the Washington Monument looks without its powdered wig. The Coast Guard–certified staff points out other notable visuals such as the National Cathedral's stately towers, the Pentagon, and Fort McNair.
For the past several years, Washington, DC Legend Tours, operated by Jerusalem DC Tour and Transportation, has shuttled passengers around the nation’s capital on entertaining and educational tours. Captained by Yohannes Zeleke, PhD, founder and current research collaborator at the National Museum of Natural History, the company’s guides exude passion while sowing the seeds of history in different languages, including English and Russian. They lead four-hour treks through surrounding neighborhoods and past notable monuments, such as the US Capitol building, as well as helm comprehensive eight-hour tours that delve deeper into iconic sites such as the Arlington Cemetery. When not on a tour, the company uses its fleet to bus customers to and from area airports—a safer alternative than trying to inconspicuously squeeze a moped into the president’s motorcade.
There are plenty of famous landmarks to see in Washington D.C.: the White House. The Lincoln Memorial. Jefferson's vault of pudding. However, more obscure (but just as interesting) sites lie off the beaten path, and Zohery Tours whisks its patrons to many of them. In between stops at the U.S. Capitol Reflecting Pool and the American Red Cross Headquarters, Dr. Zohery introduces visitors to the spots where dignitaries go jogging and politicians take their morning coffee breaks. He also opens their eyes to the cultural aspects of the city, which include seven universities, the National Gallery of Art, and the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts. Regardless of the locale, the guide taps into 25 years of experience hosting D.C. tours, regaling visitors with historical facts and answering questions about the political process.