The Best Way to Tour Washington DC
Washington, D.C., is filled with history, architecture, museums, monuments and memorials. At first, it might seem impossible to see everything during your stay, but knowing how to tour the Capital City can change everything. The best way to tour Washington, D.C., is a personal choice, but whether you choose to walk, take a trolley or use the Metro, have your camera ready and look around so you don't miss anything.
The Washington Metro system, known as Metro, is a safe and convenient way to tour the nation's capital. Metro serves the District of Columbia, Northern Virginia and the Maryland D.C. suburbs, with plenty of stops on the steps of the main attractions--the National Mall, White House and Arlington National Cemetery. The cost depends on the length of your trip, starting at $1.35 (as of August 2009), and one-day and weekly passes also can be purchased. Metro also is connected with an extensive bus system, and several metro stations provide parking.
If you want to get exercise and see what is around the main attractions, use your own two feet. Once you get to the National Mall, most attractions are visible and less than a 10-minute walk apart. Make sure you have a map, in case you get disoriented, and wear comfortable walking shoes. More Than Monuments, Arlington Cemetery Walking Tour, Lincoln Assassination Walking Tour and Ghost of Georgetown Walking Tour are free and don't require reservations, if you feel more comfortable sightseeing with a guide or want to meet fellow travelers.
If you get tired of walking or want to get out of the underground world, hop on a trolley. Trolley tours make sightseeing in Washington, D.C., entertaining because the narrated tours provide fun facts about U.S. history and the capital. Board the orange and green trolleys in front of the attractions and choose your own pace, hopping on and off at more than 100 points of interest---and even stop for a bite to eat or a shopping trip---during the day.
Land and Sea Tour
Washington, D.C., Duck Tours take you on a 90-minute trip around Washington in a vessel that turns from a land trolley into a U.S. Coast Guard-approved vessel sailing in the Potomac River. Captains entertain you with anecdotes, historical facts and jokes while you relax and breathe in the scenery. The tour departs daily from Union Station and returns to land at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.
Washington by Night
See the Capital City in a different light by taking one of the Monuments by Moonlight Tours. The dim light coming from the monuments and memorials creates a perfect background for ghost stories, and a ride along the same streets the presidents have traveled gives you a chance to stroll the landmarks and see their beauty and architecture without the hassle of daytime crowds.
Eija Rissanen is a freelance journalist living in Hawaii. She has a journalism and environmental studies degree from Hawaii Pacific University. Her articles have been published in Kalamalama, the student newspaper of Hawaii Pacific University, and some other environmental and travel publications and Web sites in Europe and the United States.
USDA ARS Photo Unit, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Bugwood.org