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Know Before You Go: Visiting Washington DC During Election Season

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Know Before You Go: Visiting Washington DC During Election Season
Washington DC hums with excitement during the presidential election season—reaching its peak every four years beginning around October and culminating with Inauguration Day on January 20. With patience and advance planning, here’s how to make the most of a visit to the US capital during this momentous time.

Delve Into Presidential History with Themed Tours
Election season is a perfect opportunity to brush up on your knowledge of the US government. Explore the legacy behind monuments such as the US Capitol Building, White House, and Lincoln Memorial on a guided bus, trolley, or Segway tour that makes it easy to cover all the big sights in one day. Look for special election- or inauguration-themed tours that showcase the parade route down Pennsylvania Avenue and offer insight into election events.

Enjoy the Calm Before the Crowds
In the days leading up to Election Day in early November, candidates and their crews are generally out on the campaign trail or voting in their home districts, leaving the capital a fairly peaceful place to watch the results roll in. All the top DC attractions remain open throughout the month of November and much of December, so you can still pack in plenty of sightseeing amidst the anticipation.

Plan Ahead for Inauguration Day
If you want to witness the pomp and parades of Inauguration Day, book far in advance, as accommodations fill up quickly. While tickets to the swearing-in ceremony on the steps of the US Capitol building are free, they are difficult to secure and only available via local representatives and senators. If you can’t get your hands on tickets, the National Mall is a popular place to join in the action from afar. The ceremony itself is followed by a parade along Constitution Avenue, Pennsylvania Avenue, and 17th Street. Plan to arrive early; many viewers are on hand to stake out a spot as soon as public entrances open at 6:30am.

Keep an Eye on Closures
Inauguration Day is a federal holiday for employees in the DC area, so expect many businesses to be closed. Because of parade street closures and congestion, many guided tours may not operate on this day. Also, keep in mind that security will be amped up in and around DC, and the Archives/Navy Memorial Metro station will be closed, so be sure to pack patience and leave yourself plenty of time to get around.
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Washington DC Tours & Activities (13)
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DC At Dusk Night TourHalf-day Tours

DC At Dusk Night Tour

star-4.5
Ride a luxury coach past major landmarks on this night bus tour of Washington DC. Gaze at floodlit memorials and monuments, such as the magnificent Lincoln Memorial and the glow of the Jefferson Memorial reflected in the Tidal Basin. After this sightseeing tour, you’ll understand why the nation’s capital is considered one of the world’s most beautiful cities at night.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
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$58.00 
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$58.00 
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures

Best of DC Tour - With Access to US Capitol & National Archives BuildingsFull-day Tours

Best of DC Tour - With Access to US Capitol & National Archives Buildings

star-4.5
Beat the long entrance lines and experience some of the most popular attractions in Washington, DC like an insider on this full-day sightseeing tour. Enjoy priority entry into the United States Capitol, the home of Congress. Then visit the National Archives Building, where the original Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution are on display. In between, see the city’s most famous landmarks and monuments, like the White House, the Lincoln Memorial and more.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
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$125.00 
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$125.00 
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures

Washington DC in One Day: Guided Sightseeing TourHalf-day Tours

Washington DC in One Day: Guided Sightseeing Tour

star-4.5
Experience the sights and sounds of Washington, DC in one day on this guided walking and riding sightseeing tour around the nation’s capital. Visit the city’s historic, iconic landmarks and monuments, like the White House, the United States Capitol, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and the Lincoln Memorial. See and learn about the memorials of famous American leaders who helped shape the United States, like Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and Martin Luther King, Jr., to name a few. Includes a seasonal Potomac River cruise.
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
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$74.00 
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$74.00 
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures

Big Bus Washington DC Hop-On Hop-Off TourBus Tours

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Big Bus Washington DC Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

star-3.5
Discover the most popular sights in Washington, DC on this relaxing hop-on hop-off bus tour. Drive past many of the top attractions in the nation’s capital — including the White House, the Washington Monument, the National Mall, historic Georgetown, and Arlington National Cemetery, and choose where you want to get off and explore in more detail. Select a 1- or 2-day pass, then hop on at any of the stops on two different routes and get to know the city with a combination of both live and audio commentary. The 2-day option includes admission to Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum.
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
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$39.20 
$49.00
$9.80 savings
From  
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$49.00
$9.80 savings
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures

Capitol Hill and DC Monuments Tour by Electric CartHistorical Tours

Capitol Hill and DC Monuments Tour by Electric Cart

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Explore the famous monuments and war memorials of Washington, DC on this small-group sightseeing tour. Hop aboard a special eCruiser vehicle and enjoy an educational and entertaining narrated history of our nation’s capital. Get a glimpse of the White House and travel around and through Capitol Hill, the Smithsonian museum complex, plus a plethora of famous memorials and monuments — like the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument — and many other hotspots. This is a great way to see many of DC’s most famous landmarks.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
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$62.00 
From  
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures

Arlington National Cemetery Guided Walking TourHistorical Tours

Arlington National Cemetery Guided Walking Tour

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See the moving Changing of the Guards at the Tomb of the Unknowns on a guided walking tour of Arlington National Cemetery. Be perfectly placed for good views of the moving ceremony, then continue to some of the cemetery's most important gravesites and memorials, including places dedicated to John F. Kennedy, the USS Maine, Second World War soldier Audie Murphy, and more, learning the fascinating history of the cemetery as you walk.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
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$35.96 
From  
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures

2-Day DC Grand Tour with Arlington National Cemetery.Overnight Tours

2-Day DC Grand Tour with Arlington National Cemetery.

star-4
Explore the most famous landmark locations in and around Washington, DC on this guided, 2-day sightseeing tour. Visit popular attractions like the White House Visitor Center, the United States Capitol and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, to name just a few. Then travel to Mount Vernon, George Washington's beloved plantation in Virginia and Arlington National Cemetery to witness the Changing of the Guard. Along the way, hear colorful stories and learn little known facts about all the monuments, statues, buildings and locations in and around DC.
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  • 2 days
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
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$145.00 
From  
$145.00 
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  • 2 days
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures

Washington DC Super Saver: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley + Monuments by Moonlight TourSuper Savers

Washington DC Super Saver: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley + Monuments by Moonlight Tour

star-4.5
Explore the best of Washington, DC on this narrated, hop-on hop-off trolley tour. Visit more than 100 points of interest among DC’s top attractions—like the White House, the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument, to name just a few. Depending upon your interest, select a silver, gold, or platinum pass, then board at any of the stops and get to know the nation’s capital in customized fashion, with live onboard commentary from a professional tour conductor. A guided moonlight trolley tour to the same landmark locations, illuminated for the evening, is also included.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
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$85.00 
From  
$85.00 
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures

Washington DC Capital Sites Bike TourMountain Bike Tours

Washington DC Capital Sites Bike Tour

star-5
Washington DC is full of historical sites and while it’s easy to explore on foot or by bus, this 2-wheel tour option gives travelers access to some of the city’s most popular landmarks. Check out the Lincoln Memorial, White House, Supreme Court and the Capitol on this Capital Sites Bike Tour. Your friendly guide shares plenty of history, facts, and city knowledge on this easy bike ride through the nation’s capital.
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  • 3 hours
From  
$46.00 
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  • 3 hours

Presidential Inauguration Preview Tour in Washington DCHalf-day Tours

Presidential Inauguration Preview Tour in Washington DC

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Walk in the footsteps of many US presidents on this tour of Washington DC. During this 3-hour experience, visit the essential locations in the inauguration process, including the parade route down Pennsylvania Avenue and the US Capitol building, where the new president takes the oath of office. At the White House, see where the president and presidential spouse host the Inaugural Ball, then continue to the Jefferson Memorial and listen to your guide tell historical anecdotes about inaugurations past. Visit the National Building Museum and the National Air and Space Museum to expand your understanding of the inaugural process.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
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$50.35 
From  
$50.35 
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures

Washington Monument Reserved Admission with DC Landmarks and Memorials TourHalf-day Tours

Washington Monument Reserved Admission with DC Landmarks and Memorials Tour

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Get to know some of the most popular landmarks in Washington, DC on this guided sightseeing tour onboard an air-conditioned coach. See iconic landmarks the White House, the United States Capitol, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, and more. Then, take a self-guided tour inside the Washington Monument where you can enjoy panoramic views from the 500-foot-high (152-meter) observation deck.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
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$79.00 
From  
$79.00 
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures

George Washington's Mount Vernon and Old Town Alexandria Tour Day Trips

George Washington's Mount Vernon and Old Town Alexandria Tour

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If you’re interested in iconic locations in American history, then this tour will be ideal for you. Our talented driver guides will make every moment of the day great. It has a brilliant mixture of structure and freedom, as you can visit some sights alone and others with the group.
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  • 5 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
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$105.00 
From  
$105.00 
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  • 5 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures

Water Taxi from Wharf or National HarborDay Cruises

Water Taxi from Wharf or National Harbor

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See the famous monuments of Washington, DC from an entirely new perspective on this narrated sightseeing cruise. Hop aboard a riverboat and enjoy the breathtaking view of our nation’s capital on an afternoon or evening excursion. Travel along the Potomac River to see the plethora of famous monuments and landmarks, with stunning reflective views of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Washington Monument, Arlington Memorial Bridge, and more. This is a truly unique look at the iconic monuments of Washington, DC.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From  
$21.00 
From  
$21.00 
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures