One of our favorite things to do in a new city (or one that we haven’t been to in a while) is take a guided tour to get our bearings and learn more about the area that we’re exploring. On our recent trip to Washington DC, we had the opportunity to partner with USA Guided Tours and check out their DC at Dusk tour to see some of the most popular monuments in the dark.
A huge thanks to USA Guided Tours for hosting us on the DC at Dusk tour. We received complimentary tickets but all opinions are honest and my own.
The tour kicks off at the Navy Memorial (701 Pennsylvania Avenue NW)– just look for the USA Guided Tours busses (there were several the night we did the tour). We used Parking Panda to secure a parking spot in a nearby garage but the Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter Metro Station on the green/yellow lines is right there, too.
The climate-controlled bus kept us nice and warm on our drive through the city! Our first stop was to see the White House- while you don’t get to go super close, it’s still fun to be right there and I loved all of the wreaths on the windows for Christmas!
And since we were there right after Christmas, we were able to see the National Christmas Tree, too. With USA Guided Tours, your tour guide actually hops off the bus and continues the tour as you’re walking around the attractions allowing for even more insight and information.
Our next stop was the National World War II Memorial, which honors the 16 million who served, the more than 400,000 who died, and those who supported the war effort from home.
We’ve visited Washington DC with our kids several times and while we had to explain a lot at each memorial when the kids were little, now that they’re older, they’ve learned a lot of the information in school and the visit is so much more meaningful for them. I would still take young children to Washinton DC, it’s just been interesting to watch their insights and understanding change over the years.
We hopped back on the bus and made our way to the Jefferson Memorial.
The 19-foot tall statue of Thomas Jefferson with the Declaration of Independence in his hand is centered within the open air dome. Quotations from his writings are carved into the sides of the chamber.
From the Jefferson Memorial, you can see the lights of Washington DC, the White House, and the Washington Monument. The kids loved that they were able to hop off the bus and walk around (and take pictures!) during our tour, rather than just listen and see things through the windows.
Across the Tidal Basin, we made a quick stop at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, one of the newest memorials in Washington DC.
From the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, you have a great view of the Jefferson Memorial across the Tidal Basin.
After another quick ride, our bus dropped us off at one of my absolute favorites, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, for the walking part of the tour. The 19 statues in the Korean War Memorial are made to look like they’re walking through rice paddies in Korea (they stand in juniper bushes and are separated by strips of polished granite).
Next, we walked to the Lincoln Memorial and took in the view of the Washington Monument and the US Capitol from the steps and saw where Martin Luther King, Jr. stood to deliver his “I Have a Dream” speech.
Inside the Lincoln Memorial, the statue of Lincoln is 19 feet tall from his head to his feet- if he was standing, the statue would have been 28 feet tall! Our guide pointed out things that we’d never noticed even though we’ve been several times – like the “typo” in one of the inscriptions on the wall!
From the Lincoln Memorial, we walked to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to see the “Three Servicemen” statue.
And ultimately made our way to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. The Wall was designed by a Yale University student as part of a design contest and is actually made up of two 246 foot long black granite walls that meet, creating a chevron. The names of those who died during or because of the Vietnam War are inscribed on the wall, as are those whose status is MIA.
The bus picked us up by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and we made our way to the last stop of the night. We had time to snap a few pictures near the US Capitol Building with the Capitol Christmas Tree twinkling in front before heading back to the Navy Memorial.
While the tour does not include admission into the US Capitol or the White House, it’s a great way to see both locations while also getting to see many of the monuments and memorials that Washington DC has to offer. We had a fantastic time on our Washington DC night tour and would definitely book a tour through USA Guided Tours again- our guide was very knowledgeable and kept the kids engaged during our 3-hour tour of the monuments and memorials. The DC at Dusk tour, through USA Guided Tours, is a fantastic way to see some of the most popular attractions in the city. It offers low crowds, comfortable buses, and tour guides that go above and beyond.