Self-Guided Walking Tours to Explore Washington D.C., USA
How it works: download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play to your mobile phone or tablet. Each walk comes with a detailed tour map as well as photos and background information for the featured attractions. The app's navigation functions guide you from one attraction to the next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.
Custom Walk: Create Your Own Walking Tour
Sightseeing Walk: Historic Monuments and Memorials Walking Tour
Sightseeing Walk: Gardens and Parks Walking Tour
Sightseeing Walk: City Orientation Walking Tour
Sightseeing Walk: Art Galleries and Museums Tour
Sightseeing Walk: History Museums Tour
Sightseeing Walk: Nightclubs Tour
Sightseeing Walk: Federal Buildings Walking Tour
Sightseeing Walk: Georgetown Walking Tour
Sightseeing Walk: Souvenir Shopping Part 1
Discovery Walk: Georgetown Shopping
Discovery Walk: Embassy Row Walking Tour
Discovery Walk: Adams Morgan Walking Tour
Discovery Walk: Chinatown and Penn Quarter Walking Tour
Discovery Walk: Logan Circle Walking Tour
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Saving Money with City Passes
To save yourself time and money visiting Washington DC's multiple sights, you may want to resort to the so-called city passes, such as Washington DC Explorer Pass, Go Washington DC, or Washington DC Sightseeing Pass.
A city pass combines all or multiple Washington DC's top highlights, tours and experiences in one prepaid attractions pass, using which you can save incredible amounts on general admission fees as compared to purchasing tickets separately. Often, a city pass also allows you to skip lines at major attractions, thus saving your precious time.
Staying at Walk-Friendly Hotels
Since you're keen on exploring cities on foot (we assume that you are, and this is why you're here), it is important that you stay at a hotel close to the city's major attractions. It saves you time and energy. Here are a few of Washington DC hotels conveniently located for a comfortable stroll: Club Quarters Hotel in Washington DC, The St. Regis Washington, D.C., The Hay - Adams.
Taking Care of Your Feet
To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Washington D.C., it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.
Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device
Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.
For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.
Exploring City on Guided Tours
We have a strong bias towards exploring a city on foot, at your own pace, because this is how you get to see things up close with a maximum freedom. You decide how much time you wish to spend at each attraction and don't have to worry about following a crowd. That said, however, we also understand that some of you may want to go with a guided tour. If that is your case, here are some guided tours to consider. Be ready to fork out a bit of money, though, as a guided tour of Washington DC typically costs somewhere between US$30 and US$90 per person:
- Board a hop-on hop-off trolley to enjoy sightseeing of Washington DC in comfort listening in the headsets to the prerecorded narration in a variety of foreign languages or a live on-board commentary (English only) from a local guide, and be able get on and off at any of the stops along the route as often as you like. The tickets are valid for one day (Silver or Gold Pass) or two days (Platinum Pass).
- Pedal your way around Washington DC on a 3-hour educational and fun bike tour to appreciate the city's most spectacular sights while stopping at some of them for a bit of rest, watching the surroundings, and learning interesting facts about the attractions en route from a knowledgeable group leader.
- If you want to pay tribute to the late members of the Kennedy clan including, primarily, President JFK himself, or the unknown soldiers fallen in the wars fought by the United States throughout centuries, you would definitely be interested in taking a 2-hour guided walk around Arlington National Cemetery and get insight into some of the chapters of the American history along the way.
- Embark on a culinary quest in one of DC’s iconic neighborhoods to see what makes U Street so delicious, satisfying both your stomach and cultural appetites alike on the tour set to explore great eats, architectural trends and the history of the neighborhood over the past century.
- Discover the historic side of Washington, DC in a different light on the Monuments By Night tour. See the National Mall, White House, Capitol Hill and other landmarks ablaze with nighttime illumination after the daytime sun yields way to the moonlit magic!
- Cap off your Washington DC experience with a sumptuous 3-hour dining adventure aboard a cruise ship sailing along the Potomac River offering postcard-worthy views of the nation's greatest monuments to complement the freshly-cooked 3-course dinner.
If you have a day to spare whilst in Washington DC, why not use it to explore some of the out-of-town destinations like Mount Vernon, Gettysburg PA, or Charlottesville VA. For as little as circa US$55 to US$150 per person you will get a chance to visit George Washington’s plantation estate in Fairfax, Virginia, set foot on the site of the largest battle ever fought on the American soil to this date and where President Lincoln delivered his historic Gettysburg Address, enjoy the picturesque views of the Maryland and Pennsylvania countryside, explore Monticello - the home of President Thomas Jefferson, learn about his professional accomplishments and personal life, as well as see the University of Virginia founded and designed by Jefferson himself, and so much more. For any of these tours you will be picked up from a designated place in Washington DC and transported by a comfortable air-conditioned vehicle to the destination of your choice and back again.
Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip
10 Chocolate Destinations in Washington D.C.
Traveler's Guide to Washington DC: 16 Souvenirs to Bring Home
10 Unusual Things to Do in Washington DC