Washington, DC
Literary Activities

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Our most recommended Washington, DC Literary Activities

Washington, DC: National Archives - Guided Museum Tour

1. Washington, DC: National Archives - Guided Museum Tour

Your local English speaking guide will not only be an expert on the archives, but will also share a mix of historical & political information, background stories and surprising details with you. Tour highlights: • The National Archives Rotunda to learn about the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution while standing in front of the perfectly-preserved documents from the 17th and 18th centuries • The Bill of Rights and the Federalist Papers featuring the signatures of world-famous statesmen like Alexander Hamilton • The Public Vaults Exhibits, where letters written by presidents including George Washington and John F. Kennedy are on display • The Emancipation Proclamation, which helped end slavery in the 19th century • A citation issued to civil rights activist Rosa Parks, illustrates how long these racial issues lasted • In the Rubenstein Gallery, examine even older documents like the Magna Carta of 1297 With over half a million artifacts at the National Archives, 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.

National Museum of American History: Guided Tour

2. 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: Smithsonian American Art Museum Private Tour

3. Washington DC: Smithsonian American Art Museum Private Tour

Explore the Smithosonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery with your own private tour guide. Take advantage of a knowledgeable, expert guide to one of the world's largest and most inclusive collections of art. Enjoy visiting these two outstanding collections, both under the same roof in the vast Old Patent Office Building. Discover works of art from the colonial period to the present day, in a collection which features more than 7,000 artists.

Washington DC: Monuments Self-Guided Walking Tour

4. 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.

National Portrait Gallery & American Art Museum Guided Tour

5. National Portrait Gallery & American Art Museum Guided Tour

The building itself is a marvel, once a Civil War Era hospital where famed poet Walt Whitman helped injured soldiers. Today, his portrait joins thousands of others in this building, which has flirted with art exhibits since 1829, before becoming a dedicated museum. The National Portrait Gallery features portraits of the great women and men who helped build the United States. Presidents and first ladies are on display, as well as famous military leaders of the Civil War, like Grant and Sherman. Discover 19th Century daguerreotypes, early photographs, before exploring the Robber Barons and Suffragettes of the early 20th Century. Afterwards, move on to the American Art Museum where artists like Mary Cassatt, a beloved Impressionist, are on display. You’ll explore big names like Edward Hopper and David Hockney in front of some of their iconic paintings. Georgia O’Keeffe’s provocative flowers will spark conversations as much as the slightly odd portrait of former president Obama. Learn about the WPA-era photographs that helped define a nation during the Great Depression, as well as more modern works that will leave you scratching your head, until your expert guide helps bring it all into focus.

Washington D.C: Self-Guided Walking Tour with GPS and Audio

6. Washington D.C: Self-Guided Walking Tour with GPS and Audio

Spend the day exploring Washington D.C., listening to the history narrated by professional voice artists, and reading the information curated by creative writers. See the iconic monuments and buildings of this historic city on this self-guided tour. Begin next to Pershing Park, right across from the White House south lawn. From here, make your way to the White House itself, admire the seat of American power, and learn some facts 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, find what was once the city’s most controversial monument: The Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Next, head to the Lincoln Memorial, and then the Korean War Veterans Memorial. Hear about the fraught political struggle which wracked the White House during this bloody conflict. Discover the aftermath of the War of 1812, and how D.C. grew into what it is today. The next monument 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, see the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. Then, reach the National Mall. Here’s you’ll get an up-close look at the Washington Monument and learn the history of George Washington’s connection to this important city. Along this route, pass many museums. This includes 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, arrive at 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 will conclude here, amid these three awe-inspiring structures.

Alexandria: Private Walking Tour of Historic Alexandria

7. Alexandria: Private Walking Tour of Historic Alexandria

Enjoy an excursion to Alexandria to explore the unique history of the city as out of Alexandria came DC. Enjoy a walking tour with a private historian guide while uncovering the city through stories of notable American figures who called Alexandria home at the forming of the nation. Start the tour with tales of America’s famous founding fathers, and their ties to the town—from Washington and Jefferson to Frenchman Lafayette and founding trustee John Carlyle. Uncover the larger-than-life figure, Washington, by traversing the places which made Alexandria his home. Visit the church where Washington was a member. Walk by the home of his first love and the home of his physician. Then, visit Gadsby’s Tavern and hear of the letters written between other notable past presidents, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, political opponents who went on to have an epic friendship. Listen to the providential tale of how both died on the same day, July 4th. Along your walk, learn how the city of Alexandria arose from its landed gentry to its slave heritage who built much of the infrastructure that remains today. At the end of your tour, explore the town at your own pace. Get recommendations from your guide. Grab a bite to eat or see the farmer's market and enjoy the town's waterfront.

Frequently asked questions about Washington, DC Literary Activities

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What people are saying about Washington, DC

Tour went so fast! It was great to get a brief overview of the entire museum. I would have loitered too long and missed all sorts of areas if left on my own. This helped guide me and I was able to return to what interested me most when the tour ended. I do think this could be tough for young adults or teens unless they were very into history. With the entertainment area currently closed, it would be hard to keep kids attention the entire time. As for me, it went so fast. There is so much to see and 2.5 hours barely hits it, but it was so worth it. Well worth it!

Tony, our guide was so knowledgable, friendly and offered areas of interest that we wanted to see just from his questions of our experiences. We LOVED him as our guide. Took us to all the various areas with a running talk of their history. Thank you, Tony. Gerry and Marianne

Our tour guide, Tony, was very knowledgeable and personable. We really enjoyed it. He had lots of interesting facts. He was quick to respond to questions and was easy to find.

Really enjoyed this, you can trigger each stop manually or automatically so walk in any direction you want to the stops. Excellent way to guide yourself around DC.

Very well done. Navigation takes some getting used to at first, but then you find your way around. I would do it again and again!