Now that the tourists are
occupying the Mall, it's time for the home folk to take to the streets. A
long way from the usual national-capital dog-and-pony show, these tours
reveal the rest of Washington's story.
Atlantic Kayak. Kayak tours for ages 10 and up – no experience
necessary, equipment and instruction provided – cover the Alexandria
waterfront and Georgetown beneath the bridges, Alexandria's Dyke Marsh,
Piscataway Creek (opposite Mount Vernon) and Pohick Bay.
Some "sunset" and "moonlight" kayak tours are offered.
A Tour de Force. Author (of Two Hundred Years: Stories of
the Nation's Capital) and fourth-generation Washingtonian Jeanne M.
Fogle offers groups a menu of colorful, anecdote-loaded, customizable
walking and bus tours – Foggy Bottom Walking Tour, Capitol Hill Walking
Tour, Washington's Most Unusual Tour and a couple of dozen others.
Bike the Sites. Cycle off on three guided bike hikes – the
Capital Sites Tour (three hours), Mount Vernon Tour (four hours)
and Civil War Battlefields Tour (all day) – on 21-speed Trek hybrids,
which are included in the price of the tour.
Georgetown Walking Tour. Author Jan Pottker has recycled research for her book Celebrity
Washington: Who They Are, Where They Live and Why They're Famous into
an informatively gossipy two-hour tour (pictured at top) focused on
Georgetown homes and businesses associated with the rich and famous of the
here and now.
D.C. Walking Tours. Yolanda Robinson Darricarrère offers the
"culturally and intellectually curious" a set of four all-day
– and sometimes well-into-the-night – behind-the-scenes tours.
Traveling by foot, car, Metro and Potomac River cruise boat, tours cover
government buildings and monuments, D.C.'s most fascinating neighborhoods,
Old Town Alexandria and Mount Vernon.
Historic Downtown DC. The Discovery Channel Store offers this lively walking tour
that covers a four-block radius around MCI Center in old downtown
D.C., encompassing the old Patent Building (National Portrait Gallery,
National Museum of American Art), Chinatown, the Pension
Building (National Building Museum) and a lot of stuff you hadn't
Doorways to Old Virginia. The Ghosts and Graveyards tour of Old
Town Alexandria departs from the Ramsay House Visitors Center for one-hour
creepy crawls past historical haunts.
Georgetown Walking Tours. Recovering lawyer Mary Kay Ricks'
exhaustively researched rambles peel back layers of time to trace the
evolution of Georgetown from the Town of George, Md., a mid-18th-century
working-class tobacco port, through its relatively recent emergence as an
elite neighborhood of choice for media and political heavies.
Anecdotal History Tours of Washington, D.C. Anthony Pitch, historian,
author and demon trivia pursuer (Exclusively Washington Trivia, Exclusively
Presidential Trivia, Exclusively First Ladies Trivia) leads
Sunday-morning walking tours of Georgetown, Adams-Morgan, the White House
environs or Pennsylvania Avenue. He also takes preformed groups on bus/van
tours of presidential homes.
Helicopter tours. For above-the-scenes looks at the capital, Capital
Helicopters offers 20-minute flight-seeing trips out of Reagan
National Airport. University Helicopter Tours' 10-minute
jet-powered helicopter flights take off from a heliport on South Capitol