The U.S. National Archives

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The U.S. National Archives: Our most recommended tours and activities

Washington, DC: National Archives - Guided Museum Tour

1. Washington, DC: National Archives - Guided Museum Tour

Your local English speaking guide will not only be an expert on the archives, but will also share a mix of historical & political information, background stories and surprising details with you. Tour highlights: • The National Archives Rotunda to learn about the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution while standing in front of the perfectly-preserved documents from the 17th and 18th centuries • The Bill of Rights and the Federalist Papers featuring the signatures of world-famous statesmen like Alexander Hamilton • The Public Vaults Exhibits, where letters written by presidents including George Washington and John F. Kennedy are on display • The Emancipation Proclamation, which helped end slavery in the 19th century • A citation issued to civil rights activist Rosa Parks, illustrates how long these racial issues lasted • In the Rubenstein Gallery, examine even older documents like the Magna Carta of 1297 With over half a million artifacts at the National Archives, 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: Full-Day Tour of Washington Monuments

2. Washington DC: Full-Day Tour of Washington 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. The tour includes photo stops at the U.S. Capitol and White House. You will also be able to get out and explore with World War II Memorial, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam War Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, the Iwo Jima Memorial, and Air Force Memorial. From the bus or boat, you’ll 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: National Archives Building

3. Washington DC: National Archives Building

Tour around the presidential highlights of the nation's capital, Washington, DC by luxury tour bus. Check out every memorial of the National Mall as you voyage around the city. Hop on and off as you please to visit the most important landmarks, and hear the important history from your guide. This excursion begins with an in-depth look at some of the city’s most poignant sights and sounds, from the White House to the war memorials and the U.S. Capitol Building. In summer, enjoy a leisurely boat cruise after lunch, taking in the pretty Potomac and Georgetown Waterfront. Meanwhile, winter brings a scenic bus tour through Virginia in the afternoon, taking in The Pentagon, Air Force Memorial, Iwo Jima Marine Corps Memorial, and Arlington National Cemetery along the way. Enjoy a fascinating look at the interior of the National Archives as the final attraction of the tour.

DC: Monuments Tour with Optional Arlington National Cemetery

4. DC: Monuments Tour with Optional Arlington National Cemetery

Make the most of your visit to Washington, DC with this morning tour. Take in the most important and iconic monuments of the nation's capital.  If you are pressed for time, you can book the option without the morning visit to Arlington National Cemetery. Enjoy a 3-hour comprehensive tour of the city's most important monuments, meeting the tour guide in downtown Washington DC. Your journey ends around 1:30 PM at the Lincoln Memorial, which is convenient to reach the National Mall, Georgetown, Foggy Bottom, the Kennedy Center, and more. If you choose the Arlington National Cemetery option, your morning will start with a 2-hour walk through this solemn site with an expert guide. in the cemetery, you will have the opportunity to visit John F. Kennedy's grave and see the Eternal Flame lit by Jackie Kennedy over 50 years ago. Then you will continue along to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers and witness the Changing of the Guard, a long-running ceremony.  Once done with your Arlington Tour, you will be picked up and taken to Downtown Washington, DC to start the next portion of your tour. You will visit many of the top sights of the city including the White House and Lincoln Memorial, with an air-conditioned coach bus to take you from one sight to the next. See the entire National Mall from the bus, learning about Washington and its history, then step out at select locations for a guided walk through the memorials. On this 5-hour tour you will see all of DC's most important sites and understand their significance.

Washington DC: Best of Capitol Hill Guided Bike Tour

5. Washington DC: Best of Capitol Hill Guided Bike Tour

Learn your civics by cycle. Visit the 3 branches of the US Government—Executive (White House), Legislative (Congress), and Judiciary (Supreme Court). See the Capitol Building from all angles and take a photo in front of the majestic Supreme Court Building. See where America's most important political decisions get made before cruising down Capitol Hill towards the most famous avenue in the city, Pennsylvania Avenue, where there is a protected bike lane all the way to the White House. Learn about the movers and shakers of American politics—past and present. Where do presidents go out to eat? Where do foreign dignitaries stay when they come to DC? Who put the Capitol on that hill? Find the answers to all these questions and more. See the new Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial and get tips for visiting newly re-opened Smithsonian Museums. Get insider anecdotes and fun facts from your guide as you take in all the sights on this high-energy, 2-hour guided bike tour. This tour has some uphill routes to be aware of. Please feel free to upgrade to an electric bike if you want an easier ride.

National Archives Building & Capitol Hill: Guided Combo Tour

6. National Archives Building & Capitol Hill: Guided Combo Tour

This 5-hour combination tour starts with the National Archives, the neoclassical building considered a temple to American history. Your local English speaking guide will not only be an expert on the archives, but will also share a mix of historical & political information, background stories and surprising details with you. Visit the National Archives Rotunda to learn about the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution while reading the perfectly-preserved documents from the 17th and 18th centuries. You will also see the Bill of Rights and the Federalist Papers featuring the signatures of world-famous statesmen like Alexander Hamilton. Discover the Public Vaults Exhibits, where letters written by presidents including George Washington and John F. Kennedy are on display. Have a look at the Emancipation Proclamation, which helped end slavery in the 19th century. Study a citation issued to civil rights activist Rosa Parks and examine even older documents like the Magna Carta of 1297 in the Rubenstein Gallery. After a break, the tour explores Capitol Hill on foot - the epicenter of activity in Washington DC. Your knowledgeable local guide will show the exteriors of the Supreme Court, the Capitol building and the Library of Congress as well as the interior of the Main Reading Room. In addition, admire the Statue of Freedom and the Thomas Jefferson library with a real Gutenberg Bible. You can also learn about the judicial system at the Museum of the Supreme Court and maybe get a peek inside the actual courtroom.

Other Sightseeing Options in The U.S. National Archives

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What people are saying about The U.S. National Archives

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 503 reviews

Tour guide and driver were exceptional. We did not feel too rushed—you covered important monuments and actually the boat ride was a relaxing end to the day. The bus was comfortable and clean. I would, and already have, recommended this tour!

Our guide Sally, was extremely knowledgeable and we learned intimate details from her during the tour. Seeing these monuments during the night is especially moving. They hold extra importance when seen lit up against the darkness of night.

Tour guide was very knowledgeable and professional. He was able to answer all questions. He also helped in explaining the right understanding for some of the memorials. We are enjoyed the tour and will book it again next time in DC. Lew

Zuma was an amazing guide. And the tour really hit key spots for a quick trip. Obviously spending more time at each spot would be nice but I liked getting the basics and especially at night.

Amazing. I am glad we booked with this company. Perfect amount of time at each stop and boat ride was amazing.