Depending on your outlook, it’s the home of freedom, the ultimate American beacon of hope and dreams; or it’s the swamp, a place of torpid bureaucracy and a scam-artist leadership intent on lining their own pockets. Either way you look at it, and particularly if you’re capable of a more nuanced opinion, Washington DC is the indispensable cornerstone of the great American machine. A walk along the Mall is a walk through the history of Western democracy in the last few centuries, with some key landmarks and memorials included along the way, from the White House to the Capitol. But distances are quite far to cover on foot and a guided tour is a great way to see the city’s best sights with minimal fuss.
Private guided tours are particularly in vogue in Washington D.C. because there’s so much to see. They are often done in consummate style, with SUVs, in particular, giving off that Presidential motorcade vibe. The best way to keep costs down when looking for a private tour in Washington D.C. is to go as a group. As such, all prices listed below are group fees, with the maximum number of passengers varying depending on the tour. We have sorted through enough itineraries and information to keep any bureaucrat happy to bring you the best five private tours, taking into account the price, the quality of transportation and the reviews of previous guests. Right this way please, Sirs and Madams.
FROM: $360/per group
If you’re looking for a classy way to explore Washington D.C. and want to do things at your own pace, to your own taste, a private SUV tour is the way to go. With daily departures in both the evening and daytime, you can also choose which side of the city you wish to experience: the lively political cauldron or the laid-back, serene version where the city is lit up at night. The starting price is for two people, with slight increases up to the vehicle’s capacity of seven guests. Your driver can provide basic information about the monuments as you cruise along, making stops at any central location you desire during the four-hour journey. Popular choices include the Lincoln Memorial, Watergate Complex and Arlington Cemetery across the Potomac River. Tours are also available in Spanish.
From $439/ per group
If you are in a group of four people, another great value option is this four-hour tour, although the transportation might be a little less flashy. The itinerary is completely up to you and can be worked out in advance with the chauffeur company so that the schedule is accurately structured to ensure you’re getting the most out of your money. See the US Capitol, White House and a slew of memorials to those who fell or were injured during various wars, including Vietnam, Korea and World War II. There is even time to get out to George Washington’s Mount Vernon plantation. As such, museums that demand hours of your time to explore, like the Smithsonian, are best left until a different time. This tour also caters to children and aims to provide plenty to keep them engaged throughout.
From $384/ per group
What’s your ideal itinerary for visiting Washington D.C.? Perhaps you wish to pay your respects at a number of the war memorials along the Mall, or see world-famous highlights like the White House and Washington National Monument. Either way, you can gain further insight about them all from your driver as you move between sights, then disembark at any spot where you’d like to snap some photos or take a closer look. Meanwhile your driver will stay with the car and have it ready to go the moment you’re ready to move on. Hotel pick-up and drop-off is included for up to a ten-mile radius of Washington D.C.
From $495/ per group
If you’d prefer to cruise through the D.C. streets in more casual style, this open-air Jeep tour is a popular choice, particularly between Spring and Fall, when you can make the most of the warmer weather. You can customize your own itinerary in order to stop at your must-visit landmarks and spend a little time at each, or spend the entire three-hour tour relaxing in the back seat as your driver cruises around the city, pointing out landmarks, like the Smithsonian Museums, adding a little context and historical information along the way. The Jeep is customized for your comfort and there’s also an audio guide available in Chinese or Spanish.
From $479/ per group
With so many monuments to great American leaders in Washington D.C., like Martin Luther King, presidents Jefferson, F.D. Roosevelt and Lincoln and more, it’s not so easy to fit everything into a few hours. With this three-hour private tour though, you can at least ensure that you spend as much time as you’d like at the ones you want to see the most. And your driver can also offer suggestions, from their extensive local knowledge, of other highlights that might be of interest. Your driver can also fill you in on the impressive history of landmarks like the National Mall, Capitol, Watergate Complex and other significant buildings.