Washington DC Architecture Walking Tours

TOURS WE OFFER

DC Design Tours offers tours of Washington DC focused on architecture, urban planning, and design. Please visit our calendar page to sign up for public tours, or book a private tour.
 
Public tours are $35 per adult and $20 per child. All of our tours are available as a private tours, and can accommodate large or small groups. Private tours for groups of eight or fewer are $200, and can be booked directly online. Please get in touch directly if you have a larger group or would like to schedule a driving tour. We look forward to touring with you!
National Mall: Monuments & Memorials Tour

 

Explore Washington's most iconic landmarks through a design focused walking tour of the National Mall. Take in the towering Washington Monument, sobering Vietnam Wall and awe inspiring Lincoln Memorial while learning about the designers and politicians that helped shape this monumental core of the Capital. Hear stories of the history, heroes, and hopes of the United States on a stroll through the heart of Washington DC! Sights we discuss include:

 

  • Washington Monument

  • The White House

  • National WWII Memorial

  • Vietnam Veteran's Memorial

  • Korean War Veterans Memorial

  • Lincoln Memorial

 

This tour meets at the Washington Lodge, just to the East of the Washington Monument. The tour takes about 2 hours and covers approximately 1 mile, ending at the Lincoln Memorial.

Click here to see a map of the tour route!

2018-11-03 10.22.57_edited.jpg
 

Great for first time visitors!

Arts and Industries Building Washington DC
 

Learn all about the Smithsonian museums!

Castle to Capitol: 
Museums of the National Mall Tour

 

Washington's best loved museums line the East side of the National Mall, laid out between the Capitol Building and the Washington Monument. Called the "Nation's Attic," the Smithsonian Institution is one of the largest museum complexes in the world, with 30 million annual visitors, 19 museums, and over 150 million items in the collection. Each unique building is an architectural landmark all it's own. On this tour, explore how the Smithsonian Institution has shaped the fabric of the National Mall since 1855. Sights we discuss include:

 

  • Smithsonian Castle & Garden

  • James V. Forrestal Building (Dept of Energy)

  • Arts and Industries Building

  • Hirshhorn Museum

  • National Air and Space Museum

  • National Gallery of Art (from a distance)

  • National Museum of the American Indian

  • United States Botanic Garden

  • United States Capitol Building

 

This tour meets in front of the Smithsonian Castle at 1000 Jefferson Dr SW.

The tour takes about 2 hours and covers approximately 1 mile, ending on the West lawn of the U.S. Capitol.

Click here to see a map of the tour route!

Iconic Capitol Hill Tour

 

This tour takes visitors through the political core of Washington DC! From the original L'Enfant city plan, to the tumultuous construction of the Capitol and Grounds, the rise of the magnificent Beaux Arts Library of Congress and imposing Supreme Court, and into the present day. Prolific designers like Thomas Jefferson, Robert Mills, Frederick law Olmstead, and Daniel Burnham will feature prominently. Controversy, chaos, and red tape abound! A tour not to be missed by architecture and history enthusiasts. Sights we discuss include:

 

  • Union Station

  • U.S. Capitol Building

  • Capitol Grounds

  • Supreme Court Building

  • Library of Congress

  • Capitol Visitors Center

 

This tour meets in the Great Hall of Union Station under the big clock.

The tour takes about 2 hours and covers approximately 1 mile, ending at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center.

Click here to see a map of the tour route!

63466526ea4019dae9cebacdbe040a71.jpg
 
 
Dupont Circle & Embassy Row Tour

 

Gilded Age opulent mansions and grand embassies line the streets of one of Washington DC's most fashionable neighborhoods, Dupont Circle. Walk along Embassy Row and see some of the city's most impressive properties, spanning the architectural gamut from Neo-classical to Beaux-Arts to Queen Anne and more. Hear the stories and scandals that helped shape the Nation behind the doors of the District's most extravagant homes. Sights we discuss include:

 

  • Dupont Circle

  • Brewmaster's Castle (Heurich House)

  • James Blaine Mansion

  • Embassy of Indonesia (Walsh-McLean House)

  • The Cosmos Club

  • Society of the Cincinnati (Anderson Mansion)

  • Turkish Ambassador's Residence (Edward Everett House)

  • Embassy of Latvia (Alice Pike Barney Studio)

  • Sheridan Circle

  • Embassy of Cameroon

  • Woodrow Wilson House

  • Kalorama/ Mitchell Park

  • Spanish Steps

  • Edward Lind Morse Studio

  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt House

  • The Phillip's Collection

 

This tour meets in the center of Dupont Circle at the base of the fountain, and wraps up in from of the Phillip's Collection at 21st and Qst, near the Dupont Circle metro station. The tour takes about 2 hours and covers approximately 2 miles. Check out this video featuring our guide, Carolyn, talking all about embassies, and click here for a map of the tour route!

 

Washington DC Dupont Circle & Embassy Row Architecture Tour
Historic Georgetown Tour

 

Established fifty years before Washington DC, Georgetown began as a gritty port city on the banks of the Potomac River, described by Abigail Adams as a "dirty little hole". Despite its modest start, Georgetown is now home to palatial mansions, elegant cemeteries, stately churches, and a world class University. Explore the highlights and secrets of DC's most exclusive neighborhood while learning about Georgetown's transformation in this rags to riches tale. Sights we discuss include:

 

  • Chesapeake & Ohio Canal

  • Old Stone House

  • Laird-Dunlop House

  • Newton D. Baker House

  • Miss Lydia's English Seminary

  • Grafton Tyler Double House

  • Christ Episcopal Church

  • Yellow Tavern

  • Pomander Walk

  • Volta Laboratory

  • Georgetown Preparatory School

  • Georgetown University

  • Exorcist Steps

  • Georgetown Car Barn

  • Cady's Alley

  • Georgetown Waterfront

 

This tour meets outside the coffee shop Baked and Wired at 1052 Thomas Jefferson St NW. The tour takes 2-2.5 hours and covers approximately 2 miles, ending at the Georgetown Waterfront. Check out this video with guide Carolyn all about Georgetown and click here for a  map of the tour route!

 

Visit the oldest neighborhood in Washington!

Washington DC Georgetownl Architecture Tour
Presidential Neighborhood:
White House & Pennsylvania Avenue Tour

 

Pennsylvania Avenue has been host to inaugurations, protests and celebrations throughout our Nation's history. But the development of this grand boulevard, connecting the Capitol to the White House, is fraught with conflict and intrigue. Visit the White House grounds, walk Pennsylvania Ave, and learn how downtown Washington went from Murder Bay to America's Main Street.

Sights we discuss include:

 

  • The White House

  • Eisenhower Executive Office Building

  • Blair House (President's Guest House)

  • The Willard Hotel

  • Wilson Building (DC City Hall)

  • Pennsylvania Avenue

  • Freedom Plaza

  • Old Post Tower

  • J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building

  • U.S. Navy Memorial

  • National Archives

  • Temperance Fountain

 

This tour meets in front of the White House in Lafayette Square at the
General Rochambeau Statue, 701 Jackson Pl NW.

The tour takes about 2 hours and covers approximately 2 miles, ending near the National Archives at Pennsylvania Ave and 7th St.

Click here to see a map of the tour route!

Washington DC White House & Pennsylvania Ave Architecture Tour
 

Must see sights!

Columbia Heights & Adams Morgan Tour

 

Venture into some of Washington's most diverse residential areas in this off the beaten path tour of the Columbia Heights and Adams Morgan neighborhoods. From DC socialites to civil rights activists, Northwest Washington has been host to castles, embassies, temples, protests, and almost the Lincoln Memorial! Sights we discuss include: 

 

  • Meridian Hill Park

  • The Envoy 

  • Josephine Butler Parks Center

  • Dorchester House

  • The Pink Palace

  • Warder Mansion

  • Spanish Cultural Center

  • Mexican Cultural Institute

  • Scottish Rite of the District of Columbia

  • Unification Church

  • Former Ontario Theater

  • Lanier Firehouse

  • Walter Pierce Park

  • Former Site of Knickerbocker Theater

  • Adams Morgan Main Street

 

This tour meets at the bottom of the fountain in Meridian Hill Park near 1559 Wst NW. The tour takes about 2 hours and covers approximately 2 miles, ending near the intersection of 18th street and Kalorama Rd NW.

Click here to see a map of the tour route!

 

Washington DC Columbia Heights & Adams Morgan Architecture Tour
 
 

Get off the beaten path!

2018-06-06 16.11.08 HDR.jpg

Offered as a private tour and on special occasions.

Arlington National Cemetery Tour

 

Arlington National Cemetery is the final resting place of over 400,000 servicemen and servicewomen.  With a commanding view of Washington DC, Arlington preserves the history of the United States' past. Every war is represented here, from the American Revolution to the present day. Two Presidents, thirteen Supreme Court justices, senators, congressmen, war heroes, and thousands of others are interred among the rolling hills, stone monuments, trees, flowers, and modest grave markers. Take a guided walk through the cemetery to hear the famous and little known stories contained within this hallowed ground. Notable sights we discuss include:

  • Kennedy Gravesights

  • Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

  • Changing of the Guard Ceremony

  • USS Maine Mast Memorial

  • Space Shuttle Memorials

  • Arlington Mansion

  • Pentagon (from a distance)

  • President William Howard Taft Monument

  • Tomb of Robert Todd Lincoln

 

This tour meets outside the Arlington National Cemetery Visitors Center at 1 Memorial Ave, Fort Myer, VA 22211. The tour takes about 2.5 hours and covers approximately 2.5 miles, ending back at the Visitors Center. The Arlington National Cemetery tour is offered on special occasions, such as Memorial Day and Veterans Day, and as a private tour option year round. Please get in touch to request this tour.

 

Washington DC Cherry Blossom Tour
Cherry Blossom Tidal Basin Tour

 

Every year Washington's iconic cherry blossom trees draw thousands of visitors to the Tidal Basin. Nestled among three spectacular memorials, the trees reach usually reach peak bloom in early April, when a breathtaking event takes place! Join a special Cherry Blossom Tidal Basin tour for an opportunity to see the memorials and cherry blossoms in their full splendor. Hear about the design of the memorials, visit a few hidden gems along the Tidal Basin, and learn all about the bloom! Sights we discuss include:

  • Tidal Basin

  • Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial

  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial

  • Pentagon (from a distance)

  • Potomac River

  • Jefferson Memorial

 

This tour meets outside the Martin Luther King Memorial Bookstore at 121 West Basin Dr SW. The tour takes about 1.5 hours and covers approximately 1 mile, ending at the Jefferson Memorial. The Cherry Blossom tour is offered seasonally during the bloom, usually mid-March to mid-April. Please get in touch to request this tour privately or outside of blooming season.

 

 

Offered seasonally during the bloom!

WWI Memorial
Private Tours

 

Book your private Washington DC tour for an extra personal experience in the Nation's Capital. Choose from any of our tour offerings to be conducted privately. Private tours can be arranged as walking or driving tours for individuals, families, conferences, companies, school groups, and more!

 

Private walking tours for small groups of up to six people can be booked directly online. For larger groups or driving tours,  please get in touch directly at dcdesigntours@gmail.com or 240-229-6795 to schedule.

 

tripadvisor.png
  • TripAdvisor App Icon
  • Yelp Social Icon
  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Instagram App Icon
  • Twitter App Icon

© 2019 by DC DESIGN TOURS LLC

Georgetown C&O Canal