Washington DC Boat Tours

Washington DC Boat Tours | Which One is Best

This post compares the various boat tours and cruises, including dinner cruises, available in Washington, DC. to help you decide which, if any, is best for you. 

This post was updated April 06, 2021 – many cruises are running for 2021 Spring season! 

Boat tours offer you a unique perspective of Washington, D.C. During a cruise, you can enjoy unique views of some of the city’s many attractions including the memorials on the National Mall, Old Town Alexandria, and National Harbor.

Rather than providing an interesting account of our nation’s history, these services often include meals and music. While some companies offer cruising options during the day, others focus their attention primarily on night tours.

With so many different options, it can be difficult to pick the right excursion for your schedule. Taking this into account, we’ve decided to offer a comprehensive comparison of the boat tours and cruises offered in Washington DC.

Prices range from $25-$40 for a boat tour and $80-$100 for dinner cruises. Read more »

Washington DC in April

What To Do in April in Washington DC (2021)

This post covers things to do in Washington DC in April, including a top 10 list and some honorable mentions full of activities, events, and entertainment. It is updated for 2021.

Read our master post on things to do in DC for more activities at any time of year.

 

 

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TOP EVENTS AND THINGS TO DO IN APRIL IN DC

For more ideas on popular things to do in DC, check out our other posts:

Some of the items listed in this post are included for free with the purchase of a tourist discount pass

Read more »

What to Do in Washington DC during COVID

 

Washington DC is slowly reopening but there are still many locations that are not open to the public just yet.

If you’re looking for what to do in Washington DC during the pandemic, this comprehensive guide will help you navigate what is open in DC right now.

This page was updated on April 05, 2021


Please note that Washington DC has some guidelines for visiting:

  • Face coverings must be appropriately worn while in public
  • There are city regulations for visitors, you can find more here.

What to Do in Washington DC during COVID

1. Take a Walking Tour

We offer a number of walking tours right now! All tours take safety precautions such as mandatory face coverings, small groups, no interior stops and physical distancing.

 

 

You can join us for tours of:

  • National Mall
  • Historic Georgetown
  • Lincoln’s Assassination
  • True Crime & Scandals of Georgetown, or Embassy Row
  • Ghosts of Georgetown

2. Visit a Museum (that’s open!)

While most museums in DC are closed right now, not all are – you can visit some of the smaller and/or private museums with adviced timed tickets.

Hillwood Estates - taken by Canden

 

Museums that are currently open in Washington DC (as of April 05, 2021)

Which Smithsonian Museums are Open right now? Sadly, none. ALL Smithsonian Museums and the National Zoo will be closed. They have not announced a reopening date.

3. Explore the Memorials

One of the highlights of visiting Washington DC is touring the National Mall. You can take a guided tour of the memorials with us on a in-person guided walking tour or a self guided audio tour.

 

 

All the memorials on the National Mall and Tidal Basin are open to visitors, though some of the small interior museums are closed.

The Washington Monument is also currently closed. 

4. Walk through a historic neighborhood

Neighborhoods like Georgetown and Alexandria offer pre-revolutionary charm, and U Street NW was once known as Black Broadway.

 

 

A stroll through these neighborhoods offers photo ops, charm and if you walk with one of our self guided audio tours, a lot of history.

We offer audio tours of three historic neighborhoods:

  • Historic Georgetown
  • U Street NW
  • Old Town Alexandria

5. Take a Hop on Hop off Bus Tour

Big Bus Tours have recently reopened in Washington DC with enhanced safety measures.

Bus Tours allow you to hop on and hop off at select sites with a guided narration as you drive between. This is a good way to see sites but also get around the city.

Read more about Bus Tours in DC or Buy Your Ticket Here.

6. Become a Spy at the International Spy Museum

One of our favorite museums in DC has reopened! Here you have a chance to explore their new location and learn about the tricks of the espionage trade.

The Spy Museum is open Thursday to Monday.

You can read more about the International Spy Museum here.

7. Pay Respects at Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington Cemetery is open and the Tomb of Unknown Soldier reopens on March 09, 2021.

You can also visit the Women in Military Service Memorial & Museum though free timed tickets are required. 

 

 

8. Eat at a local restaurant

DC has a lot of great places to eat! You can Support DC Businesses by ordering to go or eating on some of the outdoor patios. Many restaurants will have heated patio seating as the days get cooler.

Some of our favorite places to eat are:

  • Ben’s Chili Bowl (U Street NW)
  • Founding Farmers (Foggy Bottom)
  • Queen Vic (H St NE)
  • Martin’s Tavern (Georgetown)
  • Hamilton (Downtown)
  • Pizza Paradisio (Georgetown)

9. Learn about DC from a local Justice perspective

DC by Foot has partnered with Justice Walks DC to offer tours of Washington DC neighborhoods through the lens of Civil Rights and Social Justice.

Join Kate, a social justice educator, for a discussion about these neighborhoods and where available a chance to talk to community leaders and business owners.

NOTE: this is a tour that will discuss topics some may find controversial such as race, racism and economics. It is also a participatory, discussion based tour. Participants will be encouraged to share their experiences and thoughts. 

Contact us at info@dcbyfoot.com to book this as a private tour.

10. Visit the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden

The National Gallery of Art, which offers a chance to see the only Leonardo da Vinci in the Americas, as well as Turners, Titians and more, is currently closed.

But you can still visit the outdoor sculpture gardens!

11. Heurich House Beer Garden

We are big fans of history & hops, so when the Heurich House Brewmaster’s Castle opened their garden, we could not have been more excited.

On Thursdays from 5pm-8pm you can have a 1921 style Happy Hour- featuring Senate Beer and Liberty Apple Cider.

Find out more here: https://heurichhouse.org/visithhm

12. See the theatre and museum at Ford’s Theatre

As of November 23, 2020 Ford’s Theatre is closed.

Ford’s Theatre has closed (again) but we’re still offering our famous Lincoln Assassination Walking Tours. Our walking tours do not enter any buildings and we end outside the famous theatre painting a picture for you. It is a great alternative for going inside! 

12. Explore the Great Outdoors

In addition to the National Mall, Washington DC has a lot of open green space for exploring.

  • Teddy Roosevelt Island
  • National Arboretum
  • Oak Hill Cemetery
  • Congressional Cemetery

Our hiking expert, Bob, has written a whole post about finding hiking in the DC area.

13. Ride the Capitol Wheel

The Capitol Wheel at National Harbor is an observation wheel that takes you up 180′ in one of 42 climate controlled gondales. Sunset rides are the most popular.

Keep in mind that National Harbor is a ways out of downtown but there are a number of things you can do there such as a public art walk, the Awakening statue, restaurants and more. Read our post on things to do in National Habor…

14. Go to an immersive Art experience at ARTECHOUSE

‘Renewal 2021’ opens March 15, 2021 and is inspired by DC’s Cherry Blossom season. You’ll walk through an industrial city 100 years in the future where nature struggles to survive. Leave with a sense of hope though seeing cherry blossoms peak through the plastic and concrete.

Find out more …


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Ghosts of georgetown tour

10 Spooky Facts about Georgetown

Long before the 1971 Exorcist movie put Georgetown on the map for horror fans, tales of ghosts and the otherworldly was a deep part of the town.  It may be a combination of ambiance, architecture, and landscaping… but Georgetown is seriously haunted.  Below are some, not so well known, spooky facts about this old port town.

 

 

1. There is a fence made of gun barrels 

Some of the black iron gates that adorn the houses are made from old gun barrels from long forgotten wars. 

Indeed, check out the fence at 2803-11 P Street NW to see the Mexican War muskets that owner Ruben Daws purchased from a pawnshop.

2. There are century old railcar tracks

On O Street you will see the remains of old railcar tracks.  For more than a hundred years these charming railcars were a part of city life. 

The last ones ran until 1960… but even today, late at night, you may hear their bells and the conductors call to attention.

3. There is an old church where you can join a seance

On Q Street you will find the Church of Two Worlds inside an old Methodist gothic church. The members here practise spiritualism, whose aim it is to prove the continuity of life by contacting and communing with the dead.

Join the seance every Wednesday and Sunday from 2pm.

4. Albert Clemons slept in a crypt at Halcyon House

Albert Clemons, onetime owner of the Halcyon House, had built a crypt on-site and may have slept in it. 

Indeed, his last will and testament begins, “First, I direct that upon my death… the attending physician shall thereafter pierce or puncture my heart sufficiently for the purpose of absolute certainty of death.”

5. The K Street Bridge is haunted by a headless man

In the 1800s Georgetown‘s children lived in mortal fear of the “headless man of K Street bridge”.  Apparently the victim of some heinous crime, his documented apparitions in this dark wooded area kept locals away after dark.

6. Oak Hill Cemetery was the site of a satanic ritual 

>Georgetown‘s Oak Hill Cemetery is straight out of a Victorian novel.  Visit during the winter to experience it in all of its creepy splendor and glory. In the early 1980s, a crypt was broken into and some kind of a satanic seance was held, complete with a spike through the heart of the body of a long-dead Navy Commodore.

View of Oak Hill Cemetery Graves

7. There was a Civil War Hospital that is now Apartment Buildings

The Colonial Apartment building was once Seminary Hospital during the American Civil War. Amputations and surgeries with no anesthesia happened in what is now living rooms. And the bodies of poor and unidentified dead soldiers would be stacked outside waiting to carried to nearby cemeteries.

8. Healy Hall has a portal to the underworld… 

Georgetown‘s Healy Hall, with its dark and dramatic spires, is most certainly haunted.  It is well known that long ago a young Jesuit student accidently opened the gates to the underworld when reading forbidden chants in a book about exorcism. 

Unable to close these gates, the fifth floor has remained sealed ever since.

Self Guided Tour of Georgetown University Healy Hall

9. Samuel Davidson was not a friendly neighbor!

In 1810, Georgetown resident Samuel Davidson took out an advertisement in the local paper warning his neighbors not to trespass on his estate.

He ended his warning like this; “Therefore, I beg and pray all of my neighbors to avoid Evermay as they would a den of evils, or rattlesnakes, and thereby save themselves and me much vexation and trouble.”

10. Mary Todd Lincoln contacted her son Willie after he died

During and after the Civil War, 3226 N Street was the home of Cranstoun and Margaret Laurie. 

Spiritualists and seance conductors, they were said to have entertained Mrs. Mary Lincoln who was seeking contact with her beloved son Willie who had died of typhoid in the White House.

Top Things to Do for Memorial Day in DC (2021)

Visiting DC for Memorial Day? This post is about things that are happening for Memorial Day in 2021.

There are usually a number of different events and ceremonies that commemorate this special weekend including a national concert, parade, and motorcycle rally. But 2021 will be a little different. This post covers things to do in Washington DC on Memorial Day 2021 including a top 5 list, nighttime activities, family-friendly things to do, and free things.

Read our master post on things to do in DC any time of year.

 

 


TOP FIVE THINGS TO DO MEMORIAL DAY

DC is the perfect place to spend Memorial Day. There are plenty of places to see and things to do to honor our fallen service members. This section covers our top five list for Memorial Day.

For more ideas on popular things to do in DC, check out our posts on bus tours and walking tours of the city.

Some of the items listed in this post are included for free with the purchase of a tourist discount passRead more »

Women Owned Restaurants in DC that are OPEN

With Women’s History Month here and local restaurants now allowed to offer indoor dining at 25% capacity, it’s a great time to support women-owned restaurants in the District.

These are a few of our favorites. They are open but require prior reservations! 

Lulu’s Winegarden on U Street

Backyard envy, anyone? Co-owned by local husband and wife team, Brittany and Paul Carlson. There are THREE garden patios!

Dish we love: Whipped Feta Dip with Grilled Bread

https://www.luluswinegarden.com/

Sospeso on H Street

Super women owned and run! Hatice Rosato is the c-owner and the chef, beverage director are also women.

Dish we love: Mezze Platter.- give us all of the yumminess!

http://www.sospesodc.com/

ANXO Cidery & Pintxox Bar in Shaw

Owned by Rachel Fitz. Plus point, apples are sourced directly from farmers so more power to them!

Dish we love: ANXO Rose Cider

https://anxocider.com/

Baan Siam in Mt. Vernon Triangle

Run by Chef Jeeraporn Poksupthong. She uses her mother’s and grandmother’s original Thai recipes.

Dish we love: Floating Market Noodle Soup

https://www.baansiamdc.com/

Soi 38

Created by Dia Khanthongthip, street That food with creative cocktails. Dia and co owner Nat Ongsangkoon grew up in Thailand with trips to the night market for street food and now have brought that flavor to DC.

Dish we love: Kana Moo Krob

https://www.soi38dc.com/

 

There are so many more  women owned restaurants we want you to support so be sure to also check out:

Cherry Blossoms Alternatives

Where to see Cherry Blossom Trees in DC that are NOT on the Tidal Basin

The Blossoms on the Tidal Basin are the most famous but there are a number of Cherry Blossom alternatives to the Tidal Basin!

In the age of Instagram selfies and the perfect shot you’ll be hard pressed to get a photo that does not also include a hundred of your new closest friends if you’re visiting the Tidal Basin. Let’s be honest. It gets crowded. And with 2021 Cherry Blossom season, the Tidal Basin may even be closed for public safety.

Though the most photographed spots are along the Tidal Basin, they are not the only ones. 

Cherry Blossom mural

Washington, DC in Spring is beautiful in part due to the number of cherry blossoms but also a variety of other flora and the pride city residents have in their neighborhoods.

WHERE TO SEE THE CHERRY BLOSSOMS IN 2021

Peak Bloom 2021: April 2-4 (but beware – this can easily change based on weather!)

Find out more about the Cherry Blossom Festival on our Festival Guide (updated for 2021)

Our favorite way to decide where to go? Use Casey Trees’ Cherry Blossom Map. Click for larger interactive map.

Can you still see the Cherry Blossoms during Covid? Of course! There are cherry blossoms all over Washington DC! The National Park Service has not officially announced but will likely be closing the Tidal Basin to pedestrians during peak bloom, but if you really want to see the Cherry Blossoms on the Tidal Basin, you can still do so Virtually!

We have a number of Virtual Cherry Blossom Tours on YouTube and will be going live from the basin when we can on our Facebook

 


1 – Hains Point East Potomac Park

This area isn’t that far from the Tidal Basin and we even have a Cherry Blossom tour that visits it! You’ll see roads lined with blossom trees and there is a chance they close the areas to cars and only allow pedestrians. 

This area has both Yoshino trees that bloom at the same time as the Tidal Basin but also brighter pink Kwanzan trees that bloom a little later – meaning you can visit this area for those great photos for most of April 2021.

Book our Cherry Blossoms on the Waterfront Tour.


See the Blossoms in an immersive art exhibit – with a discount!

Guests on our Cherry Blossom tours (private and public) get a discount code to experience RENEWAL 2021! 

ARTECHOUSE presents its fourth annual cherry blossom inspired installation with a conservation twist — Renewal 2121

Seeking to inspire optimism and hope amid a global pandemic and concerns of climate change, the immersive, technology-driven art installation will transport visitors 100 years into the future.

On view through September 6, 2021 in Washington, D.C.


2- At the Capitol

The most instagrammable photos in the Spring seems to be blossoms with a DC landmark. Nothing evokes the capital more than the Capitol! At the time of writing, the Capitol Grounds are still closed. We include this in our hope that the fences will come down soon.

You can still see a number of trees at Lower Senate Park, where the fences have been removed! Just across the street from this park is the National Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism during WWII.

 


3- At Arlington National Cemetery

Besides being the hallowed ground to honor our fallen men and women, Arlington is also a level II arboretum.

A fitting place for such beauty and serenity, a personal favorite is the Cherry Blossom tree along Crooks Walk, the set of stairs that connects Arlington House to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

This solitary Cherry Blossom has limbs full of flowers set amongst the simple white marble headstones.

It is a common bottleneck on our Arlington National Cemetery tours as folks stop for photos.


4- National Mall at the Washington Monument

There are a number of groves of Cherry Blossom trees at the Washington Monument – meaning you can still get that famous shot of a blossom branch in the foreground and a memorial in the background. 


5- At the Arboretum

The National Arboretum is here to share its flowers, trees, plants with us and it is beautiful all year round. In the Spring, you can find numerous variety of Cherry Blossom trees. Our favorite is the Cherry Blossom Willow tree! 

They even have a self guided tour booklet!

It is about 3 miles so a bit lengthy for a walk, even if it is a gorgeous one. We like to do it on a bike but you can drive through the Arboretum – just park in designated spots only.

INSIDER TIP: This is on the top of everyone’s list for 2021 with the suspected closure of the Tidal Basin so try to go on weekday or early in the morning. 


6 – Kenwood, Maryland

If you have a car, driving out to this suburb of DC is worth it. You’ll get some beautiful photos without the crowds. 

In the 1940s, the beautiful trees were planted as a way to entice new residents. The best spots are along Kennedy Drive, Dorset Avenue and Kenwood Avenue. This is a great for drive but street parking is not allowed – you can find a parking lot nearby though! 


7. At the Basilica of the National Shrine of Immaculate Conception

This is both a beautiful building and a somewhat secret spot for blossom viewing! Even better, they have free parking.

You’re not far from some great restaurants in the Brookland neighborhood – Primrose, Brookland’s Finest, are Right Proper Brewing are some of our favorites. 


8. At Congressional Cemetery

This historic cemetery is one of our favorites at any time of year – a “hip” cemetery that does Yoga in the Crypt, 5Ks and “ghost” tours in the fall. They have beautiful trees in the Spring. You can join them for docent led tours on weekends or watch our virtual walk here:

What To Do in Washington, DC for St. Patrick’s Day (2021)

There are tons of things to do while visiting Washington, D.C. during St. Patrick’s Day! Whether it’s enjoying delicious Irish cuisine with some authentic Irish music, or visiting our beautiful landmarks that have been built by Irish hands, there is fun for everyone during this festive weekend.

St. Patrick’s Day is Wednesday, March 17, 2021. Here are some suggestions for celebrating St. Patrick’s Day and Irish culture during your stay in D.C:

Read more »

Georgetown Glow

Georgetown Glow Tour

We’ve partnered with the Georgetown BID to offer a special evening tour that brings you the history through the light art installations that are part of the GLOW exhibit.

In addition to touring these temporary light installations, we’ll also see some of the murals and street art in the neighborhood.

Explore the Public Art in Georgetown as part of Georgetown GLOW 2021!

PAST GLOW TOURS:

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Our own tour guide Canden has published a book on the wicked side of Georgetown history! Wicked Georgetown: Scoundrels, Sinners and Spies  and a pictorial history using vintage photographs, Images of Georgetown.

Check out our audio tours before or after your visit!


Tour information

Reservations: REQUIRED. Click here to reserve.

Please note this tour cannot accommodate wheelchairs or strollers.

When: View our Calendar  (Saturdays at 8pm are name your own price! Private tours available on any night of the week!)

Where: Tour begins at N St and Wisconsin Ave NW (across the street from Martin’s Tavern!) and will end at Georgetown Waterfront.

Purchase a guaranteed parking spot in advance near the tour’s starting point with SpotHero.

Duration: Tour lasts approx. 1.5 hours. Total walking is about 2 miles.