Washington, D.C. Hop-On Hop-Off Tour Review + Tips

We recently took a trip to see Rob’s parents in D.C. and my mom came with us for her first visit! Even though I’ve been a few times now, this experience was totally different because we explored in a new [to us] way. I wanted to be sure we covered as much ground as possible in the short time we were there so I booked a hop-on hop-off bus tour. There is just so much to see and do, which requires a lot of walking, so the logistics alone can be time consuming. I figured if we did the bus tour we could take a loop around the city to see the monuments from a reasonable distance and then decide where to go. It worked out perfectly! We were able to sit comfortably on the top level to enjoy the sunshine and breeze as we listened to the tour guide divulge tons of information on the buildings, history, politicians, and socialites of D.C. It was entertaining, educational, and fun all at the same time!

In the spirit of keeping things real, I have to admit I wasn’t originally overly excited about the tour. I thought it sounded a little cheesy and a lot touristy, but figured it would be the best option for our group. I was only partially right. It was definitely the best option, but wasn’t cheesy at all. I LOVED IT…so much in fact that I want to do it in New York next time we go!


1. If you purchase tickets on Groupon be sure to read the details carefully. You will most likely need to visit a separate link via the app or email to schedule your tour directly with the company via a code provided by Groupon. Highly recommend checking Groupon for tours first – it saved us about a hundred bucks!
2. The early bird gets the worm ya’ll! The tour lasts from 9am-5pm. You can get on and off the buses as many times as you want to. Take advantage and make a full day of it!
3. Grab a seat on the top deck. There’s no other way to do it IMO!
4. Bring a pen so you can note your favorites on the map provided by the tour company. I suggest taking an entire “loop” around before deciding where to hop off so you can get a feel for where you want to spend your time and create more a custom experience.
5. Keep an eye on the time when making stops so you don’t get stuck waiting around! On our tour the buses came around every 30-40 minutes. That being said, if you’re having a blast don’t cut yourself short. We spent a lot of our time at a few particular locations and really enjoyed ourselves. Some stops may pull at you and at others you may want to just snap a few pics and move along.
6. A ticket to Arlington Cemetery is included in the tour and is a must-do. This is where you can visit the Eternal Flame at JFK’s grave site and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in addition to paying your respects to thousands of men and women who served our country.
7. Don’t forget water and snacks. All the walking will leave you parched and hungry. Even if you plan to stop for lunch bring some extra beverages and goodies with you so you’re able to refuel throughout the day.
8. Get the app! It’s super helpful when trying to figure out what’s close by and where + when to find the nearest pick-up.

Have you been to D.C.? I’d love to hear your favorite parts of the city and any tours you recommend!


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