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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History: Our most recommended tours and activities

Washington DC: National Mall Tour by Electric Vehicle

1. Washington DC: National Mall Tour by Electric Vehicle

Glide around the streets of Washington DC on a guided tour by a battery-operated electric cart. See all the major monuments of the United States capital, like Capitol Hill, the White House, and the Lincoln Memorial with an onboard guide. After getting comfortable onboard, head first towards the Smithsonian complex. Admire the size of the largest museum and research complex in the world.  Next, discover three of the most well-known monuments in Washington DC. Admire the monuments to Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and George Washington, arguably the three most beloved presidents of the U.S. From here, take a moment to pause and remember those who lost their lives in battle as you visit various war memorials. Pause at the memorials to World War I, World War II, the Korean War Veterans, and Vietnam War Veterans memorial sites.  Get your camera ready for when you pass by one of the most recognizable landmarks in the whole world, the White House, the home of the U.S President. Finally, feast your eyes on Capitol Hill, home to the United States Congress.

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Guided Tour

2. Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Guided Tour

Let your guide help you navigate through the over 145 million specimens at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History with on this tour. Discover an extensive collection of human artifacts, dinosaur bones, preserved plants, and animals. Meet your tour guide outside of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and begin your tour. Go directly to the collection highlights without getting lost. Save time and energy by visiting with a guide that knows the museum well. Listen to additional commentary on exhibits from your guide. See the world's most extensive collection of natural history specimens and human artifacts. View dinosaur remains and tools used by early humans. Admire unusual gemstones and ancient mummies.

Washington DC: Monuments by Moonlight Electric Vehicle Tour

3. 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: Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Tour & Boat Cruise

4. Washington DC: Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Tour & Boat Cruise

Enjoy a full day of exploring with your 24-hour hop-on hop-off bus ticket. From the open-top double decker, you’ll see amazing views of the White House, Capitol Hill, Jefferson Memorial, and more. Learn about the city’s most magnificent landmarks with expert digital commentary. Hop off at The Wharf to enjoy your roundtrip Potomac River cruise onboard the city water taxi. You can cruise along the water to see the John F. Kennedy Center, the Washington Monument, Arlington Memorial Bridge, and more before hopping back on the bus to continue your day. Your ticket gives you access to the Red and Blue city loops, giving you the freedom to hop off and explore at your own pace. Your ticket also includes 1-hour bike rental, so you can get off the tourist trail and discover more of the city.

Washington DC: National Mall Night Bus Tour

5. Washington DC: National Mall Night Bus Tour

Admire the atmospheric landmarks of the capital from an open-top or glass-top bus as the sun sets on Washington, DC. Take a trip to the twilight zone with mesmerizing views of the city highlights at dusk. See the most famous monuments lit up, casting a glimmering glow over the city. 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, along with countless photo opportunities. Marvel at the full shimmering skyline 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: Full-Day Tour of Washington DC Monuments

6. Washington DC: Full-Day Tour of Washington DC Monuments

Hop onboard a climate-controlled bus that will take you around Washington D.C. — perfect for first-time visitors or those who want to make the most of their day. Throughout the tour, your guide will enlighten you about what life in D.C. is like now and in its exciting historic past. Enjoy photo stops at the U.S. Capitol and White House. Explore the World War II Memorial, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam War Memorial, and more. From the bus or boat, see the National Archives, the National Mall, numerous Smithsonian Museums, the Jefferson Memorial, the Pentagon, the Kennedy Center and so much more.  Break up your day with a lunch stop at the DC Wharf or Georgetown in the colder months, or the Potomac River Cruise in the warmer months.

Washington DC: See the City Segway Tour

7. Washington DC: See the City Segway Tour

Arrive 30 minutes before the tour time for instruction on how to ride a Segway, then head off on a thrilling guided Segway tour of Washington DC and its main landmarks. Listen as your guide recounts fascinating stories about these iconic locations, narrated via a state-of-the-art radio system. Before departure, receive training and get fitted for your equipment. Watch a brief video and presentation, then receive one-on-one instruction from the experienced staff. Don't be nervous! Many of the visitors are first-time riders and most people get the hang of it within a few minutes.  Once everyone is comfortable, you will do a quick soundcheck and off you go!  The first stop is the White House, just across the street from your starting point! From there, continue to explore as many of the following sites as possible: Lafayette Square US Treasury Constitution Gardens Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool Vietnam Veterans Memorial Korean War Memorial DC War Memorial Tidal Basin WWII Memorial Washington Monument Smithsonian Museums National Gallery of Art US Capitol National Archives US Navy Memorial FBI Building Freedom Plaza and more!

Bike Tour: Capitol Hill, Lincoln Memorial, National Mall

8. Bike Tour: Capitol Hill, Lincoln Memorial, National Mall

Take a guided bike tour in Washington, D.C. to see all the city’s important sights and landmarks. The tour route includes Capitol Hill and the National Mall, Union Station, the Lincoln Memorial, and more. Along the way you’ll see the Smithsonian museums, the Washington Monument, and the war memorials. You’ll learn about the city's history and current events from your guide as you cycle past the major monuments and memorials. You'll also get some practical touring tips for later use! Take in the Library of Congress, the Supreme Court, the White House, the World War II Memorial, and many more important sights. This cycling tour is rated as easy and covers approximately 7 miles on level terrain.

National Museum of Natural History Guided Tour

9. National Museum of Natural History Guided Tour

The collection is housed in a purpose-built structure that covers the area of 18 football fields, but your guide will be there to make sure you don’t waste a second exploring the best parts. Your local English speaking guide will be an expert on the museum who will share a mix of historical & scientific information, background stories and surprising details with you.  Tour highlights: • The 46-karat Hope Diamond • The glowing Dom Pedro Aquamarine and the Star of Asia Sapphire • Real mummies • The Ocean Hall, where a real life coral reef exhibit brings the sea to you • The replica of Phoenix, a 45-ton whale that the museum has been following in the wild • The Fossil Lab • The Arctic Narwhal • Giraffes, elephants, polar bears and other land giants on display With over 126 million artifacts housed in the collection, 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: Guided Small Group 4-Hour Day Tour

10. Washington, DC: Guided Small Group 4-Hour Day Tour

Experience the history and culture of the nation’s capital on this comprehensive, 4-hour, small-group tour. You will travel in a comfortable vehicle complete with phone chargers, umbrellas, and a flat screen TV. From the comfort of this vehicle you will get to see Washington DC’s famous monuments, museums, and memorials, partnered with your local guide. You can see the US Capitol building, the White House, the mall and much more. You will also drive past several Smithsonian Museums, the FBI Headquarters, the US Treasury, and much more. Avoid the hassles of driving or navigating public transportation, and leave the logistics to your guide.

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What people are saying about Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 1,953 reviews

All round great. Solo visitor from U.K., good group. Team made me feel comfortable in riding the Segway before setting off, don’t feel rushed at all Tour itself is great. We had 2 guides who each knew their stuff. Got to see tons of The Mall areas, spent 15 minutes parked at the Lincoln memorial as well so we could explore Would highly recommend

Our guide was Bruce and he was very knowledgeable about the monuments and buildings in the city. You could tell that he was passionate for his city! We loved that we were his only riders and the open vehicles found maneuver around into doors they bigger vehicles couldn’t. He stopped almost anywhere we wanted to for pictures. Would do it again!

This was a wonderful experience and a great way to see and experience all of the monuments. Our tour guide, Chris, was funny and knowledgeable about everywhere we stopped! Would 10/10 recommend.

Very friendly and informative tour, so pleased we did this. DJ our driver, went above and beyond to ensure we had the best experience of Washington D.C.

Nick was fantastic!! Very knowledgeable and courteous. Highlight of the trip!