Tours

Capitol Hill
Tour this neighborhood east of the U.S. Capitol. The neighborhood is characterized by its 19th – century brick row houses on tree-lined streets. Interspersed are churches, schools, commercial, and institutional buildings. Commercial areas with restaurants, bars, shops, and services are along Pennsylvania Avenue and 8th Streets SE and Massachusetts Avenue NE. There are many good places to eat and have drinks.


We will visit Eastern Market, a public market in a reconstructed 19th – century style building. Inside merchants sell produce, flowers, baked goods, meat, fish, poultry, and cheese. Outside, on weekends, are a farmers’ market and vendors selling antiques, arts and crafts.


Other things to see and do:


The Marine Barracks at 8th and I streets SE. This site was selected as the location for the Barracks in 1801 by President Thomas Jefferson and Lt. Col. William Ward Burrows, the second commandant of the Marine Corps. The Barracks supports ceremonial and security missions in Washington and overseas. It is the official residence of the Commandant of the Marine Corps, the main ceremonial grounds of the Marine Corps, and the home of the U.S. Marine Band. It was here that John Philip Sousa wrote many of his marches while serving as director of the Marine Band. An Evening Parade is held every Friday evening during the summer on the parade grounds; reservations are generally required.


The Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument. Home of the National Woman’s Party, the site’s library, archives, and artifacts document women’s fight for civil rights.


Enter the world of Elizabethan England and Shakespeare at the Folger Shakespeare Library. The Folger houses the world’s largest Shakespeare collection and major collections of Renaissance books, manuscripts, and works of art. Its exhibitions, lectures, publications, theater productions, concerts, readings, and education programs promote an understanding of Shakespeare and his world. Visitors gain a greater appreciation of the enduring influence of Shakespeare’s works, the effect of the Renaissance on the formation of United States, and the power of the written and spoken word.


Stroll through Congressional Cemetery, a historic and present-day burial ground on a bluff overlooking the Anacostia River. Hear stories about some of its long-term and short-term residents. More than 65,000 individuals are buried or memorialized in the cemetery, including a vice president; Supreme Court justice; Cabinet members; members of Congress; J. Edgar Hoover, the first director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and John Philip Sousa. Also buried in the cemetery are land owners, speculators, builders, architects, politicians (including DC’s “mayor for life,” Marion Barry), and other characters who left their mark on the development and culture of Washington, DC. Temporary residents in the cemetery’s Public Vault were presidents John Quincy Adams, William Henry Harrison, and Zachary Taylor, and First Lady, Dolley Madison.

Frolic with the locals and their dogs in Lincoln Park, an urban oasis with large trees, green open space, and a children’s playground. In the park are two significant statues----the Freedmen’s Memorial to Abraham Lincoln (1876) constructed with funds donated by freed slaves and a statue of Mary McLeod Bethune (1974), African American educator, civil rights activist, and government advisor.

Russ will create a tour that matches your interests and needs perfectly


Sample Tours:

Washington, DC Landmarks

  • U.S. Capitol (tours of portions of the interior, including Senate and House of Representatives chambers, are possible)
  • Library of Congress-Jefferson Building (tours of portions of the interior to see its art, architecture, and collections are possible)
  • Supreme Court (tours of portions of the interior and a lecture in the Supreme Court chamber are possible)
  • White House, Lafayette Park, Blair House, and Eisenhower Executive Office Building
  • Washington Monument
  • World War II, Jefferson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, Jr., Korean War, Lincoln, Vietnam Veterans, Iwo Jima, Pentagon 9/11, and Air Force memorials


Georgetown

Tour charming and historic Georgetown. The Maryland port town was established in 1751. It was here in 1791 that President George Washington made the deal with area property owners to acquire land for the nation’s capital. Now an upscale Washington, DC neighborhood, Georgetown has a distinctive small town feel. It has been and continues to be home for many of Washington’s business, civic, and political leaders and social elites. In the 1930s, Georgetown became a popular place to live for officials of President Franklin Roosevelt’s administration. After World War II, more business leaders, politicians, and diplomats moved into the neighborhood. John Kennedy lived here in the late 1940s and 1950s while serving as a representative and senator from Massachusetts in the U.S. Congress. Booth 3 at Martin’s Tavern on Wisconsin Avenue is where he proposed to Jackie. The Kennedys moved from a house in Georgetown into the White House in 1961 and this is the neighborhood Jackie came back to after the assassination of the president.

Tour options:

Walk the promenade along the Potomac River at Washington Harbor and through Georgetown Waterfront Park. Great place to view the John F. Kennedy Performing Arts Center, Watergate, Theodore Roosevelt Island, Francis Scott Key Bridge, and people enjoying the waterfront. Bicycles, canoes, kayaks, and paddles boards can be rented.


Explore the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Historic Park. The park preserves the remnants of a canal that was to connect Georgetown with the west. The canal was constructed as far as Cumberland, Maryland (184.5 miles) and operated from 1831- 1924. Today it is a place for recreation, to enjoy nature, and learn more about the history and culture of the area.


Walk or ride the tree-lined residential streets and view picturesque rowhouses, single-family homes, and mansions in a variety of architectural styles. Learn who lives and has lived in the neighborhood. Check-out the shopping, dining, and entertainment options along Wisconsin Avenue, M Street, and adjacent streets.


Other notable sites:


  • The Old Stone House (1766), the only pre-Revolutionary War building in Washington, DC
  • Blues Alley, a small, intimate jazz and blues club
  • The location of Hollerith’s Tabulating Machine Company, where the data processing industry got its start
  • The Exorcist steps
  • Georgetown University, the first Catholic college in the United States
  • Dumbarton House (c. 1800), a Federal-style mansion furnished to show what life was like for the wealthy in the early years of the capital city
  • Tudor Place (1816), a mansion built by Martha Custis Peter (granddaughter of Martha Washington) and her husband; it has an extensive collection of Washington memorabilia
  • Dumbarton Oaks Museum and Gardens (1801), a Federal-style mansion that features the former owners’ Byzantine and pre-Columbian art collections and beautiful gardens; in 1944, the United Nations Conference met here to lay the foundation for the international organization
  • Churches and cemeteries


Arlington National Cemetery
Tour cemetery and see the Kennedy gravesites, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Changing of the Guard, and other notable memorials and gravesites. View cemetery and Washington, DC from the Robert E. Lee Memorial.

Mt. Vernon
Tour George Washington’s estate on the Potomac River and see the mansion, colonial-era buildings, gardens, grounds, George and Martha’s tomb, museum, education center, and a working distillery and gristmill.

Old Town Alexandria
Explore this historic district consisting mostly of 18th and 19th-century buildings. See cobblestone streets made from colonial ships’ ballast. Walk red brick sidewalks lined with row houses, restaurants, and shops. View the Potomac River, Washington Monument, and U.S. Capitol dome from the marina and waterfront parks. Visit the Torpedo Factory Arts Center, a former munitions factory that is now artist studios and galleries, and the George Washington Masonic Memorial, with its Washington artifacts, Masonic memorabilia, and extraordinary view of Alexandria from the 9th floor observation deck. Walk through Christ Church (1773) and its graveyard. George Washington attended services here when in Alexandria. Robert E. Lee, whose boyhood home is in Alexandria, was confirmed and attended services here. There are many Civil War and African American history sites to explore. At night, Old Town bars and pubs are abuzz with lively music and conversation.

Washington, DC Neighborhoods


Guided tours of the Washington, DC area

African American History
African Americans have made important contributions to the development and culture of Washington, DC and played a leading role in the fight for full civil rights for all citizens. Hear stories and see sites that will increase your knowledge and appreciation of those who struggled, overcame, and contributed as we walk and talk from the U.S. Capitol to 7th Street NW.

Civil War Defenses Of Washington: Fort Stevens And Battleground National Cemetery

Ft. Stevens is the site of the only Civil War battle fought in the District of Columbia. Here on July 11 and 12, 1864, Union soldiers, with the support of their comrades at nearby forts, stopped a Confederate invasion of Washington. It was here that President Abraham Lincoln came under direct fire by Confederate sharpshooters while observing the battle from the fort’s parapet wall. We will explore the fort and nearby Battleground National Cemetery, where forty-one of the city’s defenders from the battle are buried.
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Anacostia
Tour this historic neighborhood east of the Anacostia River.

In 1608, John Smith explored the forested area then inhabited by native Americans. English exploration led to settlement. The land was cleared and planted in tobacco raised by tenant farmers, indentured servants, and African slaves. In 1791, the area was included within the boundaries of the District of Columbia.

In 1854, Uniontown, the first planned suburb of Washington was laid out. A few large, freestanding residences were constructed, but development languished until the 1880s after streetcars started crossing the Anacostia River. This spurred the construction of many modest, one- and two-story dwellings with a variety of interesting architectural details. By the turn of the 20th century, a thriving commercial district had developed along today’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue and Good Hope Road. The Anacostia Historic District was created in 1978 to protect the area’s unique architecture and small town charm.

We will tour the Historic District on our way to Cedar Hill, home of Frederick Douglass, 19th century African American abolitionist, suffragist, author, editor, and diplomat, from 1877 – 1895. The house, its furnishings, and artifacts are preserved so authentically that you will expect Frederick Douglass to step forth and greet you.

Other things to do and see:

  • Visit the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum, which interprets the impact of historic and contemporary social issues on urban communities, particularly Anacostia.

  • Enjoy a spectacular view of the Washington, DC metropolitan area from the heights of Anacostia. During the Civil War, Union forts were constructed on this and other high points around the city.
  • Explore African American history and culture sites.
  • Play in Anacostia Park, 1,200-acres of green space along the Anacostia River. The park has open and wooded areas; recreation fields and facilities; trails for walking, running, and roller blading; wildlife; historic sites; and river access.​
  • Learn about the history and redevelopment of the St. Elizabeths Hospital property, a national historic landmark. The hospital, established in 1855 as a government hospital for the insane, is a notable example of the mid-19th -century reform movement for the moral treatment of the mentally ill through the blending of architecture with the natural environment. For more than a century, St. Elizabeths was internationally recognized as a leading clinical and training institution. The West Campus is the future headquarters for the Department of Homeland Security.