DC Tours · Washington DC

D.C. Tours You Never Knew You Could Take

So you probably already have the monuments and memorials, Smithsonian Museums, the White House, and the U.S. Capitol tours on your list of things to do in D.C., but if you’ve already been there and done that, or if you just want a little something special off the beaten path, this post is for you! Here’s the list of incredible tours in D.C. you never knew you could take!

American Red Cross

Location: 1730 E Street NW
Tour Dates and Times: Wednesdays and Fridays at 10:00am and 2:00pm
Admission: FREE
Advance Request or Walk-up: Both

Calling all nurses! All blood donors! All war history buffs! Did you know you can tour the American Red Cross Headquarters? It’s true! It’s one of D.C.’s best-kept secrets, in my opinion. The building is just a couple of blocks off the National Mall and a couple of blocks from the White House. Tour times are limited, but if you’re interested in any of the things I listed above, it will be well worth planning to take the tour!

Ceremonial charter and trowel from the building’s ground breaking!
Read on: Touring the American Red Cross Museum

FBI Experience

Location: 935 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Tour Dates and Times: Monday-Friday, 9:00am, 10:30am, noon, 1:30pm, 2:30pm; excludes federal holidays
Admission: FREE
Advance Request or Walk-up: Advance Request

This tour used to be one of the most popular in D.C., but when 9/11 happened, the FBI understandably decided to close their doors indefinitely. But all that changed in 2017 with a massive re-vamp of the tour and a grand re-opening! There are amazing interactive exhibits, sections full of insider info on past cases, and tons of artifacts to see! It’s a bit of a process to get tickets, so make sure you apply early and put this at the top of your “must do” list!

You’ll find the FBI Top 10 Most Wanted List at the end of the tour. The FBI has legit caught some of their most wanted criminals this way!
Read on: How to Tour the FBI Experience

Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Location: 2700 F Street NW
Tour Dates and Times: Monday-Friday 10:00am-5:00pm; Saturday and Sunday 10:00am-1:00pm; tours run every 10-15 minutes
Admission: FREE
Advance Request or Walk-up: Walk-up

No list of little-known tours in D.C. is complete without mentioning the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. It’s one of the best venues in a city of world-class venues, and it’s the busiest performance venue in the country! A peek behind the scenes is just the thing to impress a date before taking in a performance or to inspire an aspiring actor, singer, or performer!

Kennedy Center Opera House Chandelier
Read on: Touring the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Library of Congress

Location: 100 1st Street SE
Tour Dates and Times: Monday-Friday hourly on the half hour from 10:30am-3:30pm; Saturday 10:30am, 11:30am, 1:30pm, 2:30pm; Closed Sunday
Admission: FREE
Advance Request or Walk-up: Walk-up

This is the most beautiful bulding in D.C., and so many people pass over it! It’s located right behind the Capitol Bulding on Capitol Hill, but far too often people have more to see and totally skip the Library of Congress because they don’t realize how amazing it is. Just walking inside will leave you in awe, but to fully appreciate the beauty, architecture, and thought that went into its design, you should definitely take the tour!

The Library of Congress Main Reading Room
Read on: Your Ultimate Guide to the Library of Congress

Nationals Park

Location: 1500 S Capitol Street SE
Tour Dates and Times: Variable; see their tour schedule
Admission: $15-$35, depending on the tour
Advance Request or Walk-up: Advance Request

It’s true! You can take a tour of Nats Stadium, where the D.C. professional baseball team plays! Baseball is America’s favorite pastime, as you may already know. The best parts were learning all about the history and the players, and of course throwing out a pitch in the bullpen! So if there’s a baseball fan, a visitor from another country, or an all-American coming to D.C. with you, definitely check out Nats Stadium tours.

Take me out to the ball game!
Read on: Touring Washignton Nationals Stadium

Pentagon

Location: The Pentagon
Tour Dates and Times: Monday-Thursday 10:00am-4:00pm; Friday Noon-4:00pm; excludes weekends and federal holidays
Admission: FREE
Advance Request or Walk-up: Advance Request

My dad has come to visit me in the fall almost every year since I moved here, but it took a while before we got a tour of the Pentagon, which was very high on his list! You will be one of the few people to see the inside of one of the most secure military facilities in the world! You can only metro to get there (sorry, no visitor parking), but while you’re there you should also visit the Pentagon’s 9/11 Memorial.

Don’t miss your ONE AND ONLY photo-op inside the Pentagon!
Read on: How to Tour the Pentagon

U.S. State Department

Location: 2201 C Street NW
Tour Dates and Times: Monday-Friday 9:30am, 10:30am, 2:45pm
Admission: FREE
Advance Request or Walk-up: Advance Request

This is one of the tours I tell people about and they say, “What?! You can tour that?!” The answer is yes, you can! It’s really one of my favorites because they have such a phenomenal collection of antiques from American history. This is another one you have to request in advance, so make sure you request early as spots are limited!

Thomas Jefferson’s Writing Desk; I might have been fangirling just a little bit.
Read on: How to Tour the U.S. State Department

U.S. Treasury Department

Location: 1500 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Tour Dates and Times: Saturdays 9:00am, 9:45am, 10:30am, 11:15am
Admission: FREE
Advance Request or Walk-up: Advance Request

Not to be confused with the more popular Bureau of Engraving and Printing! The U.S. Treasury is not where they make the money, it just where they decide how to use it! It’s a beautiful, historic building right next to the White House, and it’s definitely one of the most unique tours in D.C. They even give you “money” on the tour! You’ll have to take the tour to find out what that means!

U.S. Treasury Department
Read on: How to Tour the U.S. Treasury Department

White House Garden Tour (Spring and Fall)

Location: 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Tour Dates and Times: One Weekend (Saturday and Sunday) in the Spring and Fall
Admission: FREE
Advance Request or Walk-up: Advance Request or Walk-up

If you’re lucky enough to visit in the spring or fall, make sure you ask your congressperson if the White House Garden Tour is going on! It will usually take place one weekend in April for spring and one weekend in October for fall. Your Congressperson can get you tickets, but you have to ask for them! You can take your chances and walk-up, but timed tickets are limited!

You can only get this close on the tour!
Read on: Taking the White House Garden Tour

Want more? Check out D.C. Tours to Request in Advance and my Washington, D.C. Page!

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