Washington, DC Visitor Guide 2024: Everything you need to know

Published by: BouncePosted
view of Washington Monument

A city without a state, Washington DC occupies a unique place in American geography. The nation's capital is home to some of the country's most impressive monuments and national institutions. Essentially, Washington is a company town. But when the company in question is the federal government of the United States, you can expect grandeur.

Washington DC's location on the banks of the Potomac River is no accident. The city was chosen from the outset to be the capital of the new nation of the United States. Lying just south of the Mason-Dixon line during the Civil War, Washington is a city where the separate cultures of the North and the South continue to meet to this day. This cultural collision makes the city an interesting place to explore, even apart from the monuments of government.

A weekend in Washington DC

US Capitol building

8 Best Ways to Experience Washington DC in 2024

Who doesn’t know about the United State’s capital with its imposing monuments, the White House, the National Mall, and the Capitol? There is more to this city, however, and here we will highlight some people who can reveal this iconic city in greater depth.

With much to see and do, heavy luggage is going to prove to be a hindrance. Bounce luggage storage services have teamed up with local partners to help you overcome that problem. They can provide easy to access and reliable storage for your bags so that you can explore unencumbered.

Best History Tours – Off the Mall Tours

Katie Kirkpatrick once worked in government, but her passion for history led her into guiding tours so that she could share her in-depth knowledge. She knows that some of Washington's most interesting aspects can only be discovered once you step off the Mall and dive deeper into the city itself.

To learn more about the fascinating backstories that this city has to offer, check out the range of tours that Katie can provide. Book your place by calling 703-901-1588 or by emailing offthemallwalkingtours@gmail.com

Best DC Cycling Tours – DC Cycling Concierge

DC is rated as one of the most cyclable cities in the US. The problem many cycle tourists face is that they are not sure if their fitness or experience levels will be appropriate for group riding. This company can alleviate that concern. Your personal cycling concierge will ask you some questions and then arrive at your hotel with equipment that is appropriate to you and your needs. After that, they will lead you on a tour that fits your interests.  How cool is that?

To speak to your personal concierge and customize your tour call 202-798-2453 or email him at jeff@DCCycclingConcierge.com

Best Walking Food Tours – Zohery Tours

This city might be known for museums and monuments but there is also a thriving gastronomic side to it. If you would like to do more than just stumble into eateries and hope you strike the culinary jackpot, these are the guys to guide you. They have a total of fourteen walking and eating tours and that number keeps going up. They can lead you to the food you like at a budget you can afford.

Find out about the full range of tour options by emailing at info@foodtourscorp.com or call them on 202-851-2268 

Best Tour for Military History Enthusiasts – DC Military Tours

This city’s connection with the military is powerful in both a modern and historical context. This company, owned and operated by military veterans, offers a number of tours for small groups of not more than six people. They have the experience and contacts to get you behind the scenes and take you to places that most tourists could never hope to enter. 

To access that in-depth knowledge call 703-407-6663 or email them at info@dcmilitarytour.com 

Best Sightseeing Walking Tour – DC Nation Tours

Here is a company whose motto is "Come smile with us". They use earpieces and LED lights to show you some of Washington's most remarkable sites. With an earpiece in place, you are not confined to trailing along behind your guide. Instead, you can move about and explore as the guide talks you through what you are seeing. With a wide range of tours on their menu and friendly and competent guides, there is every reason to smile.

Book your tour by calling (571)969-9558 or email on smile@dcnationtours.com

Best Private Car Tours – Smart Limo Private Tours of Washington

If you prefer to do your touring with that little extra touch of class, then this company has the means to show you around in style. They offer limo, luxury SUV and stretch Hummer tours with expert chauffeurs to act as both driver and guide. You get to customize your tour package so that you see exactly what sites are of most interest to you while gliding around DC in a style that will make you an attraction for other tourists.

Call to discuss your tour on 202-609-9811 or email at smartlimodmv@gmail.com

Best DC by Night Tours – See DC Today

This is a company that believes that small groups offer the most intimate way to experience their city. Travelling in small luxurious vans, they will expose you to some of the history and culture that this city is so full of. Washington is a city that never sleeps and a night tour will reveal to you many of the major sites in a completely different way to how it is experienced by most tourists. 

Unbeknown to most visitors, there are night galleries and museums that stay open and are far less crowded once the sun sets. To learn about the night tour options or some of the many other tours this company puts on call 202-971-9116 or email them at dean@seedctoday.com

Best Tours of Washington and Beyond – Signature Tours of Washington DC

This is a company with a wide range of tours and experienced guides to enhance your Washington DC experience. They also offer you the opportunity to explore slightly further afield with trips to both Arlington National Cemetery and to historically rich Williamsburg. Whether you are in town for just one day or have more time on your hands, this is a company that will have a tour for you. 

Book your tour by emailing info@signaturetoursdc.com or by calling 202-498-2346


Close to several other major cities — at least by North American standards — Washington DC makes an excellent location for a weekend away. You can see many of the city's most interesting sites in just a couple of days. Start checking off those bucket list items now.

  • See the building that houses one of the most powerful institutions in the world at the United States Capitol. Home to the US legislature, this architecturally impressive building is made even more interesting by knowing what it is used for. Tours of the capital will help you better understand the intricacies of government and drink in this grand monument's atmosphere.
  • The home of the US president, the White House needs no introduction. A tour of the White House lets you see many of the quirks of this unique building that has been the home of every US president since John Adams in 1800. Security is understandably tight, so don't forget to drop off any bags at a Washington DC luggage storage locker before you visit.
  • The Smithsonian is one of the world's great institutions of learning. A group of museums, a zoo, and a research facility, this complex can easily eat up a whole day by itself. See dinosaurs in the Natural History Museum or explore outer space at the Air and Space Museum. Whatever you're curious about, you'll learn more about it here.

Washington DC lockers

The monumental architecture of Washington DC is best seen on foot. This grand city seems so much grander when you can wander it at will unencumbered. Make things easier on yourself by dropping your unneeded bags at a luggage storage service in Washington DC. Large bags aren't allowed in many of the city's government facilities, so you'll be making things much easier on yourself by not carrying more than you need to.

Off the beaten path in Washington DC

Washington DC is one of those cities that are so famous, visiting can feel unreal. The city's famous buildings have appeared in countless movies and TV shows, so they can seem familiar even when you're seeing them for the first time. But away from the halls of government, Washington DC has plenty of quirky attractions to offer.

  • Explore the history of slavery with a walk along the Underground Railroad Experience Trail. As a city close to the antislavery states of the North, Washington was an important location for away slaves. Follow this two-mile self-guided trail to learn more about the hardships faced by those seeking freedom during the dark days of slavery.
  • Check the schedule of the Smithsonian for some unique after-hours events. These popular events are for adults only and combine food, drink, music, and culture. See exclusive artistic exhibitions or witness thrilling late-night performances at these fun-filled events.
  • Journey into the history of punk rock with a DC punk walking tour. The knowledgeable guide will explain the vibrant punk scene that existed in the city back in the 80s and 90s, and point you towards its lasting legacy today. Drop off any unneeded bags at a Washington DC bag storage to make this walking tour easier on yourself.

What to do alone in Washington DC

view of Jefferson Memorial through cherry blossoms

With so many great museums and cultural attractions, Washington DC is a great place to explore by yourself. Whether you're in town on business with some time to kill or have decided to treat yourself to a solo holiday, you'll find lots to do in Washington that doesn't require company.

  • Washington DC is absolutely crowded with museums, and you can take your pick. The National Gallery of Art and the National Portrait Gallery keep art lovers happy, while the curious will love the National Museum of Natural History and the National Air and Space Museum. History buffs can choose from the National Museum of American History, the National Museum of African-American history, the International Spy Museum, and dozens of others.
  • Dive into Washington DC's culinary scene with a food tour. Due in part to the presence of so many foreign diplomats and dignitaries, Washington DC has an international food scene that rivals any city on earth. See for yourself on a walking tour, and don't forget to drop off heavy bags at a luggage locker in Washington DC before you go. Make sure to bring your appetite.
  • Even the nation's capital resisted prohibition. The city housed many speakeasies during the early 20th century when alcohol was criminalized, and lots of them still exist today. Bars like The Gibson are the perfect place to explore this side of the city and people-watch in fascinating surroundings.

The best souvenirs in Washington DC

As the center of the federal government, Washington DC is the place to pick up government-themed memorabilia. A Lego White House or some Supreme Court cufflinks from the Supreme Court gift shop will always remind you of your trip to the nation's capital. Alternatively, if you've ever wanted to dine like a president, you can get a replica of Martha Washington's China set from the Mount Vernon shop just outside the city. Finally, at the National Cathedral, you can pick up a gargoyle of your very own to give your home a more Gothic look.

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