Tours

Morning Tours

The NABC Local Committee has arranged for some very special, private tours of places not always seen by visitors to our Nation’s Capital. These include the diplomatic reception rooms at the U.S. Department of State and the Heurich Brewing House, both back by popular demand from the 2009 DC NABC; a docent-guided tour of the Library of Congress; the U.S. Treasury; the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing, Cedar Hill, home of Frederick Douglass; Anderson House, now the home of the Society of the Cincinnati; and a “scandalous” walking tour in Layfayette Square across from the White House. Please contact Cecily Kohler at DCTours@districtsix.org after April 1 to reserve your place on one or more of these tours!

Tickets must be reserved and purchased in advance or on-site at the NABC, if space remains. There will be a minimum number of participants required in order for the tour to take place. You will be responsible for obtaining a Metro card for the tours using that form of transportation. You may purchase the SmartCard at any Metro station or order one from Cecily for $5.

Diplomatic Reception Rooms of the State Department

This tour has been cancelled by the State Department – Reception rooms needed for diplomatic guests. 
Reception roomsBy popular demand, we are once again offering a tour of the Diplomatic Reception Rooms of the State Department, which are among the most beautiful rooms in the world. For fifty years, the art of diplomacy has thrived in the Diplomatic Reception Rooms against a stunning backdrop of American art and architecture from the time of our country’s founding and of its formative years. This historically evocative suite (42 rooms) contains a museum-caliber collection of American fine and decorative art (5,000 objects) from the period of 1750-1825.
Today, the Secretary of State, Vice President, and Members of Cabinet continue to conduct the essential business of diplomacy in the Diplomatic Reception Rooms. In these State Rooms, the United States signs treaties, conducts summit negotiations, hosts swearing-in ceremonies, facilitates trade agreements, and promotes peace. If there is enough demand, there will be two tours available – only on Friday, July 22. The first tour begins at 9:30 a.m. and the second at 10:30 a.m. Tour duration is 45 minutes. Must be ready to leave the Marriott Wardman Park by 8:45 a.m. sharp to ensure on-time arrival. Cost is $20 and includes bus transportation to and from the State Department. Please make your reservation with Cecily.

US Treasury Department

This tour has reached capacity. Reservations are no longer being accepted.

Highlights of this one-hour tour (available only on Saturday, July 23) include the Salmon Chase and Andrew Johnson Suites, the newly restored West dome and lobby, and the Cash Room.
You must request this tour yourself through the official Treasury website. Our reservation is for the 9:45 a.m. tour, so please select this tour time. Cost is $5 and transportation is by Metro. You must obtain a $5 Metro card in advance (yourself or through Cecily). Please notify Cecily if you have signed up for this tour.

The Salmon Chase Suite – The restoration of the murals and the furnishing of the suite with original and period pieces brings to life the rooms where some of the most significant events in the Treasury Department’s history took place.
The Andrew Johnson Suite – After the assassination of Lincoln, President Johnson used this suite as his office. It has been meticulously renovated.
The Cash Room – When the Cash Room opened officially, it functioned principally as a “banker’s bank,” supplying area commercial banks with coins and currency from Treasury vaults and handling the government accounts of the District of Columbia. Services were also offered to the public, including cashing of government checks, exchanging new money for old, redeeming silver certificates and gold certificates, and selling U.S. Treasury bonds.

West Dome and Lobby – newly renovated, grand stairway, marble floors in geometric design.

Cedar Hill – Home of Frederick Douglass

cedar Hill
A former slave, abolitionist leader, and blistering orator. Douglass moved into Cedar Hill in 1877. Its mixed gothic Revival-Italianate architecture, 21 rooms and 15 acres were typical of the homes built twenty years earlier in what was then called Uniontown. At the time, these homes were sold only to whites, and Douglass, DC’s newly appointed US Marshall, was the first to break this racial barrier, paying $6700 for the property and living out the last 18 years of his life. The tour starts with a short documentary providing details about Douglass’ life. In the house itself, in which Douglas entertained leading abolitionists and
suffragists, you will see original fixtures and fittings in the house that illustrate middle-class life in the late 19th century in Washington. Douglass kept chickens and goat outside in the garden, and the only water source was a rainwater pump, but inside the kitchen staff had access to all the latest technology, like the Universal clothes wringer. You will also see the “Growery”, a rudimentary stone cabin Douglass used for solitary contemplation. This tour is offered only on Sunday, July 24, and it begins at 9:30 a.m. Must be ready to leave the Marriott Wardman Park by 9 a.m. Cost is $20, and includes transportation by bus. Please make your reservation with Cecily.

Bureau of Printing and Engraving

Dollars

Located in the heart of the Nation’s Capital, a tour of the Bureau of Printing and Engraving is a great place to learn all about U.S. paper currency. A fun tour for all ages, you can see millions of dollars being printed, stacked, cut and examined for defects as you walk along the gallery overlooking the production floor. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing also prints White House invitations, Treasury securities, identification cards, naturalization certificates, and other special security documents. The 40-minute experience (available only on Monday, July 25) includes an introductory film and gallery tour of the production process. Our reservation is for 10:30 a.m., please be ready to leave the Marriott Wardman Park by 9:45 a.m. Cost is $5 and transportation is by Metro. You must obtain a $5 Metro card in advance (yourself or through Cecily). Please sign up for this tour with Cecily.

Heurich House Museum – The Brewmaster’s Castle

heurichAlso back due to its popularity in 2009 is a tour of the Heurich House. At the turn of the 20th century, Dupont Circle and its grand avenues became a “place of wealth and fashion” — the center for great mansions and castles. Only a few of those homes have survived until today, and none is as intact as the Heurich House Museum.
Containing most of its original furnishings and decorations, the Heurich House Museum’s rooms are snapshots of the late-Victorian era. They reflect the life of Christian Heurich, a self-made businessman who emigrated from Germany to America with $200. As the owner of the Heurich Brewing Company, he became the District’s second largest landowner and largest non-governmental employer. As the active manager of the company at his death in 1945 at the age of 102, he was also the world’s oldest brewer.
The house is a technological marvel, incorporating the most modern inventions of its day. Features include full indoor plumbing, circulating hot water heat, central vacuum system, venting skylight, elevator shaft, pneumatic and electric communication systems, and combination gas and electric lighting fixtures. To ensure the home’s safety, it was built out of reinforced steel and concrete and is completely fireproof. None of its 15 fireplaces has ever been used. Offered only on Tuesday, July 26. Reservation is for 9:30 a.m., please be ready to leave the Marriott Wardman Park by 9 a.m. Cost is $10 plus transportation by Metro. You must obtain a $5 Metro card in advance (yourself or through Cicely). Please sign up for this tour with Cicely. Tour duration is one hour.

Library of Congress

Often overlooked but ranking as one of, if not the, most beautiful buildings in Washington, DC, the Library was founded in 1800, making it the oldest federal cultural institution in the nation. The Great Hall in Renaissance Revival Style with its rich marble walls, inscriptions and inlaid mosaics is the most sumptuous space in Washington. The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world, with more than 162 million items on approximately 838 miles of bookshelves. The collections include more than 38 million books and other print materials, 3.6 million recordings, 14 million photographs, 5.5 million maps, 7.1 million pieces of sheet music and 70 million manuscripts. In addition, many special exhibits are housed within the Library, making this a special tour indeed. As part of the private formal tour, you will also see a copy of the Gutenberg Bible and the Main Reading Room for researchers but you will have time on your own to explore following the tour. Offered only on Wednesday, July 27. Our reservation for this docent-conducted tour is for 10 a.m., so be ready to leave the Marriott Wardman Park by 9:15 a.m. Cost is $5 and transportation is by Metro, so you must obtain a $5 Metro card in advance (yourself or through Cecily).  Please sign up for this tour with Cecily.

Tour duration is 1 hour, on-site time in total is 2 hours. For those not playing bridge that day, the Library is adjacent to the Supreme Court, where short tours are offered every half hour. Plus, there is a noon concert in the Library’s Coolidge Auditorium—check the Library website for details.

The Scandals of Lafayette Park and the White House – Walking Tour

scandalJoin us for this laugh-out-loud tour that walks you through the more sordid past of our founding fathers. From inaugurations gone awry, duels, bigamy, curses, and love affairs, Secrets and Scandals covers the misadventures, misfortunes and misbehaviors of some of the most notable names in American history. If you’re looking for the lighter side of DC history, this walking tour is something you can’t miss. You’ll learn: Which
first lady committed bigamy? The history of the Secret Service. Who really saved Washington’s portrait when the White House burned? Why the Treasury Building blocks the view of the Capitol from the White House? The curse of presidential assassinations. Offered only on Thursday, July 28. Our reservation is for 9:30 a.m., so be ready to leave the Marriott Wardman Park by 8:45 a.m. Cost is $15 plus transportation by Metro, so you must obtain a $5 Metro card in advance (yourself or through Cecily). Please sign up for this tour with Cecily. Duration is 2 hours, all within Lafayette Park, which is the size of one city block.

Anderson House

anderson houseThe Anderson House, located along Embassy Row near Dupont Circle, is now home to the Society of the Cincinnati. The winter residence of Lars Anderson, Ambassador to Japan and Belgium, is a veritable palace, built between 1902 and 1905. As a Beaux-Arts residence it has no equal in the city, its gray stone exterior sporting twin arched entrances with heavy
wooden doors and a colonnaded portico. Inside, original details – cavernous fireplaces, inlaid marble floors, Flemish tapestries, murals, and a grand ballroom – provide a lavish backdrop for diplomatic receptions. The Society of the Cincinnati is the nation’s oldest patriotic organization, founded in 1783 by officers of the Continental Army and their French counterparts who served together in the American Revolution. Its mission is to promote knowledge and appreciation of the achievement of American independence. The Society currently maintains a small museum of Revolutionary war memorabilia. Offered only on Friday, July 29. Our reservation for this tour is for 9:30 a.m., so be ready to leave the Marriott Wardman Park by 9 a.m. Cost is $5 and transportation is by Metro, so you must obtain a $5 Metro card in advance (yourself or through Cecily). Please sign up for this tour with Cecily.

Attractions

Arlington Cemetery

Arlington CemetaryThe Army National Military Cemeteries, consisting of Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia and Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery in Washington, D.C., are under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Army. The Secretary of the Army consolidated authorities and created the Executive Director position to effectively and efficiently develop, operate, manage and administer the program.

Arlington National Cemetery conducts between 27 and 30 funeral services each week day and between 6 and 8 services on Saturday. The grounds of Arlington National Cemetery honor those who have served our nation by providing a sense of beauty and peace for our guests. The rolling green hills are dotted with trees that are hundreds of years in age and complement the gardens found throughout the 624 acres of the cemetery. This impressive landscape serves as a tribute to the service and sacrifice of every individual laid to rest within the hallowed grounds of Arlington National Cemetery.

The International Spy Museum

International Spy Museum

At Washington DC’s International Spy Museum, enter a world of gadgets, weapons, cameras, vehicles and technologies used for espionage throughout the world. Hear stories of secret missions, examine artifacts and mystery-revealing photos and enjoy a slew of interactive displays, putting you right in the action! Don’t miss out on the newest exhibit, ‘Exquisitely Evil: 50 Years of Bond Villains,’ which celebrates fiction’s greatest spy, James Bond.

Highlights

  • Admission ticket to Washington DC’s International Spy Museum
  • See more than 200 gadgets, weapons, bugs, cameras, vehicles and technologies used for espionage
  • Adopt a cover identity and test your spy skills throughout the museum
  • Travel back in time to learn about past spies and unlikely undercover agents such as Julia Child!
  • Follow in the footsteps of mega-spy James Bond at the all-new ‘Exquisitely Evil: 50 Years of Bond Villains’ interactive exhibit
  • Suitable for all ages!

Kennedy Center for Performing Arts

Kennedy CenterIt is the busiest performing arts facility in the United States and annually hosts approximately 2,000 performances for audiences totaling nearly two million; Center-related touring productions, television, and radio broadcasts welcome 20 million more. Now in its 44th season, the Center presents the greatest examples of music, dance and theater; supports artists in the creation of new work; and serves the nation as a leader in arts education. With its artistic affiliate, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Center’s achievements as a commissioner, producer, and nurturer of developing artists have resulted in over 200 theatrical productions, dozens of new ballets, operas, and musical works.

Phantom of the Opera Jul-Aug 20, 2016

Bigger and better than ever before! This fresh and dazzling production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s perennial classic comes to D.C. as part of a brand-new North American tour.

For ticket information please visit:  http://www.kennedy-center.org/

Potomac River

PotomacFrom its source in West Virginia to where it empties out in Chesapeake Bay, the Potomac River is an area rich in American history, so much that’s often called “the Nation’s River.” George Washington, the first President of the United States, was born along the river, and all of Washington, D.C., the nation’s capital city, lies within the watershed.

In Washington D.C., the West and East Potomac parks, both downtown and divided by the Tidal Basin, are pleasant, green, cherry-blossomed lined spaces, lovely for walking, picnics, and fishing. West Potomac Park is home to the Constitution Gardens; the Vietnam, Korean, Lincoln, Jefferson, World War II, and FDR memorials; a small island where ducks live; and the Reflecting Pool.

East Potomac Park is more of recreational spot, with picnic grounds, tennis courts, three golf courses, a large swimming pool, and biking and hiking paths. Across the river is Arlington National Cemetery.

Upriver, the Potomac flows through the National Zoological Park; Mount Vernon, the country home of George Washington; and the Great Falls, where the normally placid Potomac cascades 77 feet (24 meters) down a series of beautiful rapids. Parks line both sides of the river.

The Smithsonian Institution

The world’s largest museum and research complex—includes 19 museums and galleries and the National Zoological Park.

Smithsonian 1  Smithsonian 2

Most Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo are free and open every day of the year except December 25.

Smithsonian Gardens are located around museums throughout the National Mall in Washington, DC. They are open year-round, seven days a week, with something to see in every season! The Enid A. Haupt Garden is the only gated garden and opens daily from dawn to dusk. A walk around all of the gardens, at a leisurely pace, takes about 3 hours. We recommend wearing comfortable shoes and sun protection during the summer. If you’d like to find out information about specific gardens, check out our gardens here. Weekly garden tours are available from May through September (weather permitting).

U.S. Capitol Building

Capitol buildingGuided tours of the U.S. Capitol Building are free of charge and are conducted Monday through Saturday, 8:50 a.m. to 3:20 p.m. Tours must be booked in advance and schedules can fill up quickly (particularly in spring), so it is advisable that you book your tour well in advance.

Tours of the historic Capitol Building begin at the orientation theaters with a 13-minute film, “Out of Many, One,” which will take you on a journey through our country’s struggle to establish the world’s first truly representative democracy and introduce you to the magnificent building that houses our Congress.

U.S. residents can book a tour through the office of their Representative or Senator. Tours can also be arranged directly through the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center using the online reservation system.

A number of items are prohibited in the Capitol Building, including food or beverages of any kind. Read the complete list of prohibited items before arrival.

More information: visitthecapitol.gov

The White House

White HouseNow anyone, anywhere, can experience the history and art of the White House via the online virtual tour or in person after submitting a tour request through one’s Member of Congress.

Public tour requests must be submitted through one’s Member of Congress.  These self-guided tours are available from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays (excluding federal holidays or unless otherwise noted).  Tour hours will be extended when possible based on the official White House schedule. Tours are scheduled on a first come, first served basis. Requests can be submitted up to six months in advance and no less than 21 days in advance. You are encouraged to submit your request as early as possible as a limited number of spaces are available. All White House tours are free of charge.  (Please note that White House tours may be subject to last minute cancellation.)

If you wish to visit the White House and are a citizen of a foreign country, please contact your embassy in Washington, DC for assistance in submitting a tour request.

Tours

Big Bus Washington DC Hop-on-Hop-Off Tour

Big BusOn this Big Bus hop-on hop-off tour through the heart of Washington DC, you can explore the monuments and museums on your own schedule. Take in the panoramic, 360-degree views while riding in an open top bus, and when it’s time to visit your next stop—whether it’s the White House, the Washington Monument, or the Smithsonian—it’s easy to exit and re-board the bus at any time.

Highlights

  • Explore the city at your own pace with a Big Bus Washington DC hop-on hop-off bus tour
  • Visit the National Mall, historic Georgetown, Arlington Cemetery and much more
  • Travel easily between landmarks like the Smithsonian, Washington Monument and the White House
  • Experience unparalleled views from the vantage point of an open top double-decker Big Bus
  • Hop on and off at any of the 57 city-wide stops, and tour four different routes
  • Choose from a 24-hour or 48-hour pass

Sites by Segway in Washington DC

SegwayThis Segway tour provides an overview of the National Mall from the Capitol Building to the Lincoln Memorial.

Highlights

  • Informative, friendly and professional guide
  • Small-group tour
  • Perfect introduction for first-time visitors
  • Great overview and orientation of the city
  • See the sights illuminated at night

What You Can Expect

Get up close views of the monuments and memorials

On this tour you will learn about the Smithsonian Institution, enjoy a ride down Pennsylvania Avenue and visit some of DC’s most iconic Monuments and Memorials. This is great for your first day in the city or if you have limited time to explore. Riders will be safely trained to operate the Segway prior to departing on tour.  Must be 16 years old to participate. (Min. weight 100lbs, max 260lbs).

Washington DC Capital Sites Bike Tour

Bike TourMake the most of your visit to Washington with this comprehensive Capital Sites guided bike tour. Bikes come in all sizes so that you may find a great fit for your ride. Learn the fascinating history behind the city’s monuments, museums, and other sites from the seat of a comfortable bike.

The Capital Sites Bike Tour visits the most popular sites of the National Mall, including the Lincoln Memorial, White House, Washington Monument, Supreme Court, Union Station, the Capitol, and more. Plus, get the latest information on Smithsonian exhibits, special events, and other local insider tips from your safety-conscious and entertaining guide.

Washington DC Monuments by Moonlight Cruise

MoonlightMeet in the Georgetown district of Washington DC at your selected time to board your sightseeing cruise of DC’s most famous and iconic monuments and landmarks.

Cruising south along the Potomac River, enjoy amazing views of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Martin Luther King, Jr Memorial, National Mall, John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and more, all gorgeously illuminated against the moonlit sky. If you think these DC attractions are beautiful during the day, just wait until you see them at night! The reflections off the water are an unforgettable sight.

Lounge in the climate-controlled indoor cabin or admire the DC skyline from the outdoor viewing deck. Your modern cruise boat has panoramic windows for optimal viewing, with soothing moonlight music to enhance your sightseeing experience. There’s also a full bar on board, so you can enjoy drinks as you soak up the views (own expense).

Washington DC Wine Tasting Tour by Pedicab

wine tastingMeet at Central Liquors, a fine wine, beer and spirits venue located just in the vibrant Penn Quarter District of Washington DC. Here, whet your palate by sampling an assortment of their promotional wines or liquors. Depending on the day, you may try wines from Spain and Argentina – three whites and three reds – or sample the specially selected liquors of the day.

After about 15 minutes here, hop aboard a pedicab and let your guide take you on a 40-minute tour of Washington DC. Sit back, relax and enjoy unobstructed views of DC as you journey effortlessly through the city streets. Pass under the Friendship Arch, see the Verizon Center, visit Chinatown and cruise through the Federal Triangle.

Delve into the history of Abraham Lincoln’s infamous assassination as you pass the Old Mary Surrat House, where conspirators stayed during the planning of his murder.  See Ford Theatre, where Lincoln was shot, and the Peterson House where he died. Then pass through the alley that John Wilkes Booth escaped through on horseback.

You’ll also see the National Portrait Gallery, a historic art museum that’s part of the Smithsonian Institution. Other cultural attractions include the International Spy Museum and the world-famous Madam Tussauds wax museum. At the end of your tour, your guide will drop you off at the metro station of your choice so you can continue exploring on your own.

Tasting On the Go

This popular option lets you take your wine tastings on the go! Instead of doing your tastings at the Central Liquors venue, you’ll be given a bottle of wine to drink inside the pedicab as you see the sights of DC.

Weather

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