All The Best Things To Do in DC With Big Bus Tours

Washington, DC capitol dome

It never fails to amaze me exactly how much stuff there is to do in Washington, DC. Even after ten years of living here. And can you believe this will be my very first blog post about my hometown? But it’s not uncommon for people to be so focused on traveling away that they forget to explore their own backyard. And, if there’s anything Covid-19 has taught me in the ways of travel, it’s to take advantage of my local surroundings. So, when Big Bus Tours agreed to collaborate with me on a tour of all the best things to do in DC, I couldn’t have been more excited. A huge thank you to them for sponsoring such a fun day!

Those that know me well know that, not only am I a big fan of Meantime Meanderings and being a tourist in your own town, I’m a big fan of hop-on/hop-off buses when I travel, too! It’s the perfect way to make sure you get all your sights in, and an easy way to get around town when you don’t want to deal with taxi drivers or the local metro system. And, let’s be honest, it was just plain fun bussing around my own city for a day.

About Big Bus Tours

Big Bus Tours is the primary hop-on/hop-off tour company that I use on most of my travels. While their headquarters are based in London, their bus services are located in over twenty cities across four continents… one of them being Washington, DC. Other US cities include New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Miami. Internationally, they’re all over—from Paris to Istanbul to Dubai to Singapore.

You’ll see the uber exciting open-top double-decker buses rolling around town. And they have really entertaining, really informative guides to accompany your ride. Depending on the city, you’ll either have a live guide, or recorded audio—available in multiple languages—with complimentary headphones. Either way, it’s going to be a good time.

If you’ve never tested their services out, it’s super simple. For one, they have their very own app—which I love—with live updates on your bus’ location. And two, all their stops are marked with easy-to-find signs in their signature burgundy and yellow. The buses circulate on a regular schedule, and you can jump between different routes if you so choose.

The #AdventurePartnerForLife and I like to get a couple-day pass and do different routes on different days. We’ll also jump off at one stop, see the sights between stops, and hop back on at a different stop. Whatever tickles our fancy, really. The possibilities are endless!

Big Bus Tours’ Covid-19 Precautions

The great thing about Big Bus Tours and their open-top double-decker buses is that they’re already pseudo-Covid-friendly since they’re out in the open air. (Just don’t sit downstairs and inside if you can avoid it.) And, while I’m sure the measures vary from city to city, they also required face masks on our DC tour. For city-specific information on Big Bus Tours’ hygiene measures, just click on the “Covid-19 Safety Measures” link at the bottom of each city page.

All The Best Things To Do In DC

Big Bus Tours made certain that you get to see all the best things to do in DC. They currently have two routes—the red line and the black line. The red line is the day tour, while the black line is the night tour. (Evening tours of the monuments are a particularly popular activity!)

Where & When

Grab the red line at L’Enfant Plaza and the Spy Museum starting at 10 a.m. Thursday through Monday. A complete loop takes about 90 minutes and buses depart every hour on the hour; the last bus departs at 5:00 p.m. The black line departs from the same stop at 7:00 p.m.

Things To Do In DC… And More!

I’ve outlined the Big Bus highlights below, but this list is by no means comprehensive. (Note that you can access the same sights from multiple stops.) For a comprehensive rundown of all Big Bus’ things to do in DC, be sure to check out their tours page online.

I’m also making my own additions to the list because I think there are a couple big sights missing and I don’t want our visitors to miss a thing!

Smithsonian Castle. Photo Credit: Unsplash.com.

Stop #1: L’Enfant Plaza

American Indian MuseumHirshhorn MuseumSackler/Freer Gallery
ArtechouseHolocaust Memorial MuseumSmithsonian Castle
Bureau of EngravingNational Air & Space Museum

More Things To Do In DC at Stop #1

International Spy MuseumMuseum of the BibleNational Museum of African Art
The Washington Monument from the Tidal Basin. Photo Credit: Unsplash.com

Stop #2: Washington Monument

American History MuseumHolocaust Memorial MuseumSmithsonian Castle
ArtechouseJefferson MemorialWashington Monument
Bureau of EngravingSackler/Freer Gallery

More Things To Do In DC at Stop #2

National Museum of African American History and CultureNational Museum of Natural History
Martin Luther King Memorial. Photo Credit: Unsplash.com.

Stop #3: Roosevelt & MLK Memorials

Albert Einstein MemorialKorean War MemorialVietnam Memorial
Franklin D. Roosevelt MemorialLincoln MemorialWorld War II Memorial
Jefferson MemorialMartin Luther King Memorial

More Things To Do In DC at Stop #3

Thomas Jefferson MemorialTidal Basin
The Lincoln Memorial. Photo Credit: Unsplash.com.

Stop #4: Lincoln Memorial & Korean War Memorial

Albert Einstein MemorialKorean War MemorialMartin Luther King Memorial
Franklin D. Roosevelt MemorialLincoln MemorialVietnam Memorial

More Things To Do In DC at Stop #4

The Arts of War Sculptures on the Arlington BridgeThe Reflecting PoolVietnam Women’s Memorial
Washington, DC’s Chinatown Gate. Photo Credit: Unsplash.com.

Stop #5: City Center & Ford’s Theater

ChinatownHard Rock CafeNational Portrait Gallery
Ford’s TheaterThe National Archives Museum

More Things To Do In DC at Stop #5

Federal Bureau of Investigation BuildingGallery of Art & Sculpture GardenMuseum of Women in the Arts
The White House. Photo Credit: Unsplash.com

Stop #6: The White House

American History MuseumThe Renwick GalleryThe White House
Ford’s TheaterU.S. TreasuryWillard Hotel
Hard Rock Cafe

More Things To Do In DC at Stop #6

National Museum of African American History and CultureNational Museum of Natural History
Black Lives Matter Plaza. Photo Credit: Unsplash.com.

Stop #7: Black Lives Matter Plaza

ChinatownHard Rock CafeNational Portrait Gallery
Ford’s TheaterThe National Archives MuseumThe Renwick Gallery

More Things To Do In DC at Stop #7

Lafayette Square
Union Station Entrance. Photo Credit: Unsplash.com.

Stop #8: Columbus Circle & Senate Park

American Indian MuseumJapanese American MemorialU.S. Capitol
Botanical GardenLibrary of CongressUnion Station
Folger Shakespeare Library

More Things To Do In DC at Stop #8

Judiciary SquareSupreme Court of the United States
The Wharf. Photo Credit: Ted Eytan, Flickr.

Stop #9: The Wharf

ArtechouseHirshhornPotomac Boat Cruises

More Things To Do In DC at Stop #9

Food, music & shopping!

A Recommendation for Big Bus Tours

I’ve always had an affinity for hop-on/hop-off buses, but I particularly enjoy Big Bus Tours and highly recommend them. While the app is definitely one of my favorite things about their services that other bus companies don’t offer, I also like how thorough their tours are—in terms of both guides and routes. It’s an added bonus that they’re located all over the world.

And, for a limited time, enjoy 10% off Washington, DC tours when you book online! Other cities, like Dubai, offer 20% off with free services for kids. So, what are you waiting for? Get out and tour your own town today!

Contact Information

Big Bus logo

While physical information centers exist in each Big Bus city, some of them are currently closed due to Covid-19. Contact Big Bus Tours via live chat on their website or through their app.

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*While this post has been sponsored by Big Bus Tours, the views expressed are my own.

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