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The Best Way To See Washington, D.C. During The Pandemic

Washington, D.C. is one of those cities that everyone should visit at least once. The amount of history that has happened in and around D.C. is truly amazing! Around every corner there’s another iconic landmark or historical site that leaves you in awe. And while COVID has affected and changed how Washington, D.C. operates, it hasn’t changed the beauty and historical significance that it holds. At the time of writing this (March 2021), many of the museums and attractions closed due to COVID, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t still ways to see this beautiful city safely, and we think that the Old Town Trolley Tour has some of the best options to do just that!

*Check out our Washington, D.C. travel vlog for a closer look at our time in D.C.*

On our most recent visit to D.C., we had the opportunity to do both the Old Town Trolley City Tour Silver Pass and the Monuments by Moonlight Tour and loved our experience! One of our favorite things about these tours is how knowledgeable the tour guides are! There isn’t a moment during the 1.5 hour City Tour or the 2.5 hour Moonlight tour that you aren’t learning something about the sites. Another thing that we love about these tours is that the tour guides aren’t just given a script to recite throughout the drive. Even though we saw some of the same sites on each of the tours, we had different guides for each one, so we never heard the same facts repeated! Each guide puts their own spin on the tour making it a unique experience every time!

Just to give a brief overview of how the tours work differently than they did pre-COVID. First, you will board your tour at The Old Town Trolley headquarters (1001 E St NW), NOT at the Union Station location. Face coverings are required, and upon boarding, you will notice that they have roped off certain rows of seats to ensure safe social distancing. Also, the Old Town Trolley City Tour used to be a hop-on, hop-off style tour, but in an attempt to keep everyone safe, they are not currently offering this service. Instead, the tour stops once about half way through at the Lincoln Memorial where you will have around 30 minutes to take in the sites there. Other than that, you are one the bus for the entire 90 minutes, so be sure to use the restroom before getting on the bus, and bring snacks and water if you need to. We weren’t sure how we would like not having the freedom hop-on, hop-off whenever we wanted, but we honestly didn’t really miss it that much. The guides are so knowledgeable and entertaining that you didn’t really want to get off!

For the Monuments by Moonlight Tour, the same safety procedures are taken. With your required face covering on, you will board at the Old Town Trolley Tours headquarters and take your seat in any of the non-roped off sections on the bus. This tour is only offered at one time each day (6pm or 7:30pm depending on the time of year you visit) and seats fill up fast, especially now that buses are only operating at limited capacity, so be sure to buy your tickets well ahead of time! While on the tour, you will see many of the same sites that you see on the daytime City Tour, but seeing them all lit up at night is such a different and amazing experience. Also, in addition to stopping at the Lincoln Memorial, you’ll also make a stop at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. Plus, on top of seeing many of the same sites as the City Tour, they add in a few extras, including the US Marine Corps War Memorial which is a breathtaking sculpture inspired by the iconic 1945 photograph of six Marines raising a U.S. flag atop Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II.

All in all, we cannot recommend the Old Town Trolley Tours enough! Especially during these difficult times. We truly do feel that there isn’t a better way to experience this city and gain so much knowledge in such a short amount of time. So, next time you’re in D.C. we hope that you’ll hop on an Old Town Trolley Tour! You won’t regret it!

Be sure to check their website for updated tour and safety information.


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