National Museum of American History

National Museum of American History: Our most recommended tours and activities

Washington, DC: Old Town Trolley City Tour with Upgrade

1. Washington, DC: Old Town Trolley City Tour with Upgrade

Climb aboard the Old Town Trolley and enjoy a comprehensive tour of Washington. Listen to the colorful anecdotes, humorous stories, and well-researched historical information your guide has to share. Upgrade to include a tram tour of Arlington Cemetery. Sit back while expert tour guides help you discover the beauty and majesty of Washington, D.C. This popular tour covers Washington's major attractions such as the Lincoln Memorial, the White House, the museums of the Smithsonian Institution, and the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial.  The trolley will make one stop along the tour route at the Abraham Lincoln Memorial. While off the trolley, you can visit the Lincoln Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. You will have 30 minutes to explore the area while your guide and the trolley wait for you. Please see below the list of attractions and memorials that you will see on the tour: • Washington Welcome Center • The White House • National Archives • National Law Enforcement Museum • Union Station • U.S. Capitol • Smithsonian Air & Space Museum • The Wharf • International Spy Museum • Holocaust Memorial Museum • Jefferson Memorial • FDR Memorial • Lincoln Memorial • National Museum of American History • Smithsonian Museum of Natural History • National Gallery of Art • National Portrait Gallery Upgrade your tour by including a tram tour of Arlington National Cemetery with stops at the JFK Graveside, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and Arlington House.

Washington DC Must See Sights Half-Day Tour

2. Washington DC Must See Sights Half-Day Tour

Washington D.C. showcases some of the most majestic monuments and memorials in America. With so much to see this sightseeing bus tour makes for a great orientation option, especially for those with little time. Tailored to offer you a historic journey through the rich heritage of the United States, the tour is a quick and efficient way to learn the history of the capital. Ride past the essential monuments, museums, and attractions to relive the history of America on a 3-hour tour. You will stop at the following memorials and monuments on your tour to take pictures: • U. S. Capitol (exterior only and a photo stop only) • White House (exterior only and a photo stop only) • World War II Memorial • Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial • Korean Memorial • Vietnam Memorial • Vietnam Women's Memorial • Lincoln Memorial (tour ends at this memorial)

Air & Space and American History Museum: Guided Combo Tour

3. Air & Space and American History Museum: Guided Combo Tour

Start at the the National Air and Space Museum to learn all about the country’s more futuristic side. From the Apollo 11 Command Module to real moon rocks, this museum features some of the most out-of-this-world artifacts. Talk about Buzz Aldrin when you examine his space suit as well as moon boots and models of the International Space Station. You’ll see earlier examples of planes like the Wright Brother’s aircraft and the Spirit of St. Louis. Discover the history of the world’s leading air and space program including the innovation and technology that made it possible to land a man on the moon. There’s even freeze dried ice cream in the gift shop to complete the experience. Then after a break for lunch, move to the National Museum of American History, which traces this ascent through a one-of-a-kind collection of items including the actual banner that inspired the country’s national anthem. Learn about the first president, George Washington, while viewing his sword and discover how Hollywood has helped shape this country when you check out Dorothy’s ruby red slippers. Discuss segregation through the Greensboro lunch counter and the role of women through the first ladies’ gowns. This tour will help you to understand the turbulent history that has marked the United States of America. Please note: the Air & Space Museum is currently under massive construction and will remain as such for multiple years. This means that many of the exhibits  described may not be on display. The tour will be adjusted based on the changing stages of this renovation.

National Museum of American History: Guided Tour

4. National Museum of American History: Guided Tour

From a ragtag group of colonists to one of the world’s super powers, the United States has made quite a name for itself. The Smithsonian National Museum of American History traces this ascent through a one-of-a-kind collection of items, helping you to understand this turbulent history. Your local English speaking guide will not only be an expert on the museum, but also share a mix of historical, scientific, cultural, social, technological, and political information, background stories and surprising details with you. Tour highlights: • The actual Star-Spangled Banner that inspired the country’s national anthem • Learn about the first president, George Washington, while viewing his sword • Discover how Hollywood has helped shape this country • Dorothy’s ruby red slippers from “The Wizard of Oz” • Discuss segregation through the Greensboro lunch counter • View Thomas Jefferson’s desk • Understand the role of women through an exhibit of the first ladies’ gowns With the collection containing more than three million historical items, you’ll be thankful to your passionate and engaging guide for navigating you, bringing a personal touch to each tour, adding own favorite anecdotes and tips along the way.

Washington DC: Monuments Self-Guided Walking Tour

5. Washington DC: Monuments Self-Guided Walking Tour

Visit the most iconic landmarks of America’s capital city on this flexible self-guided walking tour. See the White House, Lincoln Memorial, the Capitol Building, and much more, and learn the revolutionary history behind the creation of Washington, D.C. Start by downloading the Action Tour Guide app that will function as your personal guide, audio tour, and map all in one. Along with being developed by local guides, creative writers, and professional voice artists, most stops along the tour have animated videos allowing you to visualize what you cannot see, such as snapshots from different centuries or interior rooms. You'll begin your adventure next to Pershing Park, right across from the White House south lawn. From there, make your way to the White House itself, where you can admire the seat of American power and learn some fascinating tidbits about its construction. From here, head south toward Constitution Gardens and pick up some insight into D.C.’s complicated history along the way. Through the gardens, you’ll find what was once the city’s most controversial monument: The Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Next, head to the Lincoln Memorial, one of the most iconic memorials in D.C. The Korean War Veterans Memorial is next, where you’ll hear about the fraught political struggle which wracked the White House during this bloody conflict. As you continue east, you’ll be filled in on the aftermath of the War of 1812 and how D.C. grew into what it is today. The next monument you’ll arrive at will be the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, honoring the nation’s most revered civil rights leader. Then, cross the Kutz Bridge and learn why the Potomac River is so significant to this city’s history. From this bridge, you’ll also be able to see the impressive Thomas Jefferson Memorial. Later, reach the National Mall, which you’ve definitely seen on TV plenty of times. Get an up-close look at the Washington Monument and learn the history of George Washington’s connection to this important city. If you like museums, the next stretch of the tour is absolutely for you. You’ll pass the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, and the National Gallery of Art. On the final leg of the tour, visit three of the most crucial buildings in the city: The Library of Congress, the Capitol Building, and the Supreme Court of the United States. The tour concludes amid these three awe-inspiring structures.

Arlington Cemetery & Museum of American History Guided Tour

6. Arlington Cemetery & Museum of American History Guided Tour

With more than 624 acres of the Arlington National Cemetery, and the 3 million pieces in the collection of the National Museum of American History, this guided 5-hour tour will make sure you get to see the absolute highlights. More than just storytellers, your passionate, and engaging guide will approach touring in a different way bringing a personal touch to each tour, and being sure to answer all your questions.  The combination tour starts at the Arlington National Cemetery. This stunningly beautiful tribute is the final resting place for many of America’s greatest heroes, from General Robert E. Lee, to President John F. Kennedy, to boxer Joe Louis and many more. Your guide will take you around some of the most noteworthy parts of the cemetery which honors the more than 300,000 veterans of every American conflict, from the Revolutionary War through to the modern wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  After a break for lunch, you will be transported to one of Washington’s best museums: the National Museum of American History. Here you will find a one-of-a-kind collection of items, including such gems as the Star-Spangled Banner that inspired the country’s national anthem, to Dorothy's ruby red slippers from the "Wizard of Oz" film. Through the impressive collection learn how America has evolved from a ragtag group of colonists to one of the world’s most powerful countries.

Washington DC Sightseeing Flex Pass: 15+ Experiences in DC

7. Washington DC Sightseeing Flex Pass: 15+ Experiences in DC

The easy-to-use Sightseeing Flex Pass is the easiest way to see the best of D.C. Select 1, 2, or 4 attractions, and take advantage of full admission to the experiences that interest you the most, saving you up to 60% on total visitation costs.  Stand in awe at the iconic landscape of Washington D.C. and witness the splendor of the revolutionaries who defined the United States. Tour through the landmarked capital and see The Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, and the Thomas Jefferson Memorial.  Admire the visionary architecture of D.C. and take a selfie from the top of the Big Bus Hop-On, Hop-Off Tour, as you pass by the United States Capitol Building, the scenic National Mall, the White House, the Smithsonian Institution, the Library of Congress, and the Washington National Cathedral. Complete list of attractions can be found on the following link: https://www.sightseeingpass.com/en/washington-dc/flex-pass/attraction-list/ota.

Other Sightseeing Options in National Museum of American History

Want to discover all there is to do in National Museum of American History? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about National Museum of American History

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 208 reviews

Great price for what you get! We did the three hour tour with our two young kids. Everyone had a fun time! Knowledgeable and engaging tour guide, we got to see all of the well known monuments (including the White House!), and were driven around on a fully enclosed shuttle (just a little bit of walking involved). Highly recommend!

There were passengers who were talking loudly; so loud that it was difficult to hear the guide tell us about the beautiful buildings and history of DC. It’s important to respect other passengers and keep private conversations as quiet as possible.

Loved it! I am here for a work conference and only had a morning to explore. I covered ten miles on foot, this tour was great!

Excellent, knowledgeable guide! His name is Duke, and he made the whole experience enjoyable.

It was very interesting and the tour guide Duke was very informative