The best Washington, DC tours are operated by small locally-owned businesses. If you’re a seasoned traveler this won’t come as any surprise. You know the best slice of pizza in New York City isn’t Pizza Hut and the best tacos in Los Angeles aren’t Taco Bell. Similarly, you wouldn’t expect the best tours to come from a big national chain.
One of the best things about visiting Washington, DC is that there are tours and experiences to fit every traveler’s interest. Here’s a roundup of five locally-owned DC tour companies we wholeheartedly recommend! Check them out on your next visit to the Nation’s Capital.
Do you watch Jeopardy? Enjoy games of Trivial Pursuit? Or just like to compete with family and friends? The Trip Hacks DC Trivia Tour combines a classic Washington DC monuments tour with an interactive trivia game. Over the course of three hours you’ll get to experience all of the major monuments on the National Mall. Not only do you visit all the sites up close, but you’ll compete with fellow travelers to win prizes.
Maybe it was your dream to become an architect, or maybe you just love beautiful buildings. Either way, come experience Washington’s architectural marvels and best kept secrets, while hearing about the conflicts, controversies, and personalities involved in the development of our capital. DC Design Tours leads tours of the Federal sites, as well as tours of neighborhood gems, like Georgetown and Embassy Row. From Neoclassical to Brutalist designs, hear the stories behind the brick and mortar!
A Tour of Her Own is the first tourism company in Washington, DC focused exclusively on women’s history. Their mission is to elevate women’s stories into a more prominent place in American history. And their vision is to create a sustainable culture of women’s tourism in DC and beyond. Check out their lineup of upcoming events to see if any are scheduled during your trip. Or become a Tour of Her Own member to get access to live tours, virtual events, and other educational services.
If you want to take in the story of our Nation, sign up for a tour from a company founded by two self-proclaimed professional history nerds! Historic America delivers their experiences through dynamic, multi-sensory storytelling that are fun for the whole family. Join a walk through the hallowed ground of Arlington National Cemetery – America’s largest and most famous military burial ground. Or book the Millionaires, Mansions & Moonshine tour and learn about a time when rivers of illegal booze flowed through some of DC’s wealthiest neighborhoods.
For those who love to “eat their way through a city” – a food tour is a must! Blue Fern takes you off the National Mall and into the neighborhoods where real Washingtonians live, work and most importantly, eat! On the U Street tour you’ll get a chance to sample diverse cuisines of cultures that call DC home. On the Georgetown tour you’ll experience DC’s oldest neighborhood and taste everything from handmade doughnuts to socially-conscious street food that helps feed refugees. If you want to make a day-trip to Old Town Alexandria they’ve got you covered there too.