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Best Washington DC City Passes

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Updated: April 3, 2024

This post compares the different tourist attraction discount passes and ticket combos that are available in Washington, DC, with tips on choosing the right one for you.

Our guides have provided more than 1 million tours around the world, and they are often asked about the best ways to save money while traveling.

In addition to helpful advice from our own guides, we will also include tips and tricks from members of our Facebook Group to give you a fair and balanced idea of whether or not these passes are worth the price.

The short answer is that most people don't find a sightseeing pass necessary for their first visit to DC. With so many free things to do in the city, a discount pass just isn't needed.

Many of the big ticket items that used to be included in discount passes no longer participate in the program, such as the International Spy Museum.

However, if you were planning on doing the included attractions anyways, sightseeing passes may save you some money on the admission!


If you’re looking to save money on some of the most popular attractions in Washington DC and you want to see some of the best sites tied to one founding father or another, there are several tourist passes you might want to consider.

And these passes can save anywhere from 20% to 50% off general admission prices – or more!

Washington DC City Pass

Most of these passes include admission to the following notable activities at a discounted rate:

  • Hop on Hop off Bus Tour
  • Potomac River Cruise
  • Bike Tours
  • George Washington's Mount Vernon
  • Some additional tours and activities are specific to each pass.

Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions about saving money in DC:

Types of Passes

There are several different passes to choose from, and we have broken them down by type.

Just follow the links for more details, but here is a quick summary. 

Explorer Pass vs Sightseeing Flex Pass

There are passes, which we refer to as flex passes, that allow you to choose a set number of attractions and tours.

These passes usually give you the choice of 3, 4, 5, or more options from a large pool of activities and attractions.

While you can save a lot of money with this type of pass, it’s best for the most expensive services.

Since you’re paying one flat price, it’s almost like paying the same low price for each activity.

The only problem is that these passes also include activities that are already quite affordable.

If you were to use a flex pass for something cheap, you’d be paying more than necessary for admission.

However, if you’re interested in some of the more expensive tours, these passes are a lifesaver!

All-Inclusive City Pass

Alternatively, you can also purchase an all-inclusive pass which includes admission to dozens of attractions for a specific amount of time (1, 2, or 3 days).

While this is a great way to save a lot of money, you have to use it for as many activities as possible to get the best possible discount.

Much like the flex pass, you’ll save the most money by using this service for expensive activities.

That said, if you can also fit cheaper attractions into your itinerary, it won’t cost you anything more!

Washington DC Explorer Pass Benefits

The next option is a prepackaged pass.

This service starts with a specific set of included activities for one flat price, and it includes the option of either 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 additional attractions.

This is a great choice for anyone who doesn’t want to get carried away or plan out too many activities while visiting Washington DC.

Finally, numerous hop-on-hop-off bus tour companies offer combo deals.

It can be difficult to decide which, if any, is right for you.

Therefore, we recommend deciding on what you want and having time to do it first before choosing which pass you would like.

Remember Our Tours

Don’t forget about all of our walking tours of the city! You can save as much as you like on our name-your-own-price tours.

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This section will cover each of the flex pass options available in Washington DC.

We include details about how much money you can save and advice about the best way to use these services.

Washington DC Sightseeing Flex Pass

Choose a package with either 1, 2, or 4 Attractions + a Big Bus Hop on Hop off from a list of 10 top attractions. 

You have 7 days to visit the number of attractions you purchased.  

All passes include their One Day Express hop-on-hop-off double-decker bus tour and the opportunity to see historical sites such as the following:

  • White House
  • Washington Monument
  • MLK Jr. Memorial
  • Lincoln Memorial
  • Thomas Jefferson Memorial
  • United States Capitol Building
  • Library of Congress
  • And more...

Much like the Explorer Pass, this service will have you paying one flat price for a set number of activities, meaning each attraction will cost the same.

Here are the prices you can expect to pay with a breakdown of the cost per attraction in red:

  • Bus + 1 Attraction: $64/Adults | $49/Children
  • Bus + 2 Attractions: $79/Adults | $59/Children
    • Price per attraction: $39.5/Adults | $29.50/Children
  • Bus + 4 Attractions: $99/Adults | $69/Children
    • Price per attraction: $24.75/Adults | $17.25/Children

Purchase the Washington DC Sightseeing Flex Pass or learn more.

The main thing to keep in mind with this service is that the hop-on hop-off bus tour included with each pass normally costs about $45 per person.

When you factor that in, it’s easy to see how even the 1 Attraction option is a good deal because that would mean you were paying only $9 more for the additional activity!

We’ll get a bit deeper into how much you could save with this pass, but first, let’s get into some of the included attractions with this service:

  • Bike Monuments Tour | $44
  • Capitol Hill Tour | $44
  • Potomac Riverboat One-Day Water Taxi | $30

While some of these attractions might not seem like a great deal when you consider that the lowest price per attraction is $22.50, you have to remember that the bus tour is included with each pass.

To give you an idea of what we mean, take a look at how much money you could save with a 4-Attraction Pass:

  • Hop on Hop off Bus Tour | $54
  • Bike the Monuments Tour | $54
  • Capitol Hill Tour | $44
  • Potomac Riverboat One-Day Water Taxi | $40.7
    • Normal Price: $211
    • Price with Pass: $89
    • Savings: $132 (58% off)

As you can see, you can actually save more money with this service than with the Explorer Pass! 

If that’s still not good enough, the prices for the 2 and 4-Attraction Flex Passes have a 20% discount.

To get the discounts, use our exclusive promo code: FTBF.

The only catch is that the Sightseeing Pass does not include as many activities as its competitors, so it might not be the best option for you if it doesn’t have any attractions you find desirable.

Much like their competitors, this service is valid for 30 consecutive days from the time it is activated.

Their refund policy is also very generous, as any unused passes purchased with insurance can be fully refunded for any reason.

Another popular pass was the GO WASHINGTON DC Explorer Pass. This pass stopped being offered in 2020 and has yet to return in 2024.


The following section will cover any all-inclusive passes available in Washington DC, including details about how much money you can save and advice on the best way to use these services.

Currently, there is only one all-inclusive pass in Washington DC, but that may change in the future!

Washington DC Sightseeing Day Pass

In addition to their flex pass, this company also offers an all-inclusive option which includes admission to all of their attractions and activities for a specific amount of time (1, 2, or 3 days).

The advantage to this pass is that you don’t have to pick only a handful of activities – you can literally enjoy every service included for one flat price!

Although we went over some of the attractions in our flex pass section, here are a few more locations and tours included:

  • George Washington’s Mount Vernon Exterior Grounds | $28
  • Potomac Riverboat Water Taxi | $40
  • Washington DC Scavenger Hunt | $20
  • Memorials Bike Tour l | $40

While some of these might not be worth it with the flex pass, the only factor to consider with an all-inclusive pass is how much fun you can fit into a day!

The amount you save will depend entirely upon how much you use the service, and you’ll enjoy the biggest discount by purchasing the longest pass.

With that said, let’s take a look at the prices for this pass with the cost per day highlighted in red below:

  • 1 Day Pass: $74/Adults | $70/Children
  • 2 Day Pass: $109/Adults | $102/Children
    • Price per day: $74.50/Adults | $69.50/Children
  • 3 Day Pass: $149/Adults | $139/Children
    • Price per day: $49.66/Adults | $46.33/Children

Purchase the Washington DC Sightseeing Pass or learn more.

The lowest price per day is going to be about $66, and with multiple activities that cost more than $40, it’s not difficult to see how you could easily save money with this pass.

That said, let’s break things down a bit with a sample 3-day itinerary to give you a sense of just how much money you can save using this service:

Day 1

  • Big Bus Hop-on Hop-off Tour | $63
  • Scavenger Hunt | $20

Day 2

  • Artechouse | $32
  • Escape Gape | $42

Day 3

  • Potomac Riverboat Water Taxi | $30
  • Capitol Hill Tour | $45

  • Normal Price: $232
  • Price with Pass: $149
  • Savings: $66

If you add a few activities or change some of the attractions on this itinerary, you could easily save more than 50% off general admission prices.

Washington DC Sightseeing Pass

This pass is a great option if you plan to do as much as possible while visiting Washington DC.

If you’re only interested in a few of the activities included, you may want to consider another option instead.

Unlike their flex pass, this option is only valid for the consecutive allotted time (1, 2, or 3 days).

That said, they do offer the same money-back guarantee for any pass purchased with insurance!

Old Town Trolley

Much like their competitors, this company also offers hop-on-hop-off service in Washington DC. 

Old Town Trolley is currently offers a hop on hop off trolley tour with 15 stops throughout the city. With free rebounding through the day and trolleys every 30 minutes, this is a popular option.

The trolleys have driver guides so the drivers will give you the history and trivia of what you are seeing. You have the benefit of a live guide, but the guide is also focusing on the road so is not always able to answer questions spot something unique as you drive by.

Purchase Old Town Trolley combo packages or learn more.


  • Adult: $44.95
  • Child: $32.95

Old Town Trolley is the only option to tour inside Arlington National Cemetery by bus/trolley. You can buy single ANC Tram tickets for $19.50 a person, though we think our Arlington Cemetery walking tour is a much better option!

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This is a somewhat more recent tourism company, and they frequently offer combo deals with multiple activities at a discount.

Currently, they only have one package:

Washington DC Bike Rental & ARTECHOUSE


Should You Get a Washington DC Discount Pass?

There are differing opinions on this topic, but it would be dishonest to ignore the fact that a lot of travelers on our Facebook Group have indicated that these passes might not be necessary.

It's not so much that you won't save money with these services, but rather that most of the popular attractions in DC are entirely free to visit.

As you can see, even prominent users of tourist passes suggest that it might not be as useful to get one in Washington DC.

Other users note that public transportation in the area is entirely free, so you can even get around with ease at no additional cost.

Even so, some visitors will still choose to get a tourist pass, as there are some activities that you just can't enjoy for free.

We recommend getting a Washington DC tourist pass if you have already seen all of the free major attractions and you want to see even more.

In other words, if this is your second trip to the area, it might make sense to get a discount pass.

However, if this is your first time, you'll find most of your time will likely be taken up by activities and landmarks that are entirely free to visit.

To get an idea of how many fun activities you can enjoy without paying a dime, check our full post covering free things to do in Washington DC.


Und vieles, vieles mehr

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