A trip to Washington, D.C. offers the chance to learn from renowned museums, impressive memorials, and historic sights. Unfortunately, without advanced reservations, you will either miss out or wait in lines for hours at the entrance.
Here is a list of the most popular sights in D.C. that take advanced reservations so you can make the most of your touring time.
When it comes to advanced reservations, tour groups working with a professional travel company like NationsClassroom have a major advantage. They benefit from the expertise of their coordinators who know when and how to make arrangements for the most popular sights.
If you are a smaller group or a family traveling on your own, you will need to keep track of when reservations open because most tickets sell out within minutes. You also will need Websites and phone numbers ready as well as a plan for organizing your reservations so you can find your tickets when you need them.
Now it's time to start planning your visit with reservation information for five of the most popular attractions in D.C.
Guided tours of the historic Capitol begin at one of the Capitol Visitor Center’s orientation theaters with a 13-minute film, "Out of Many, One," that addresses the challenges of establishing and maintaining a representative democracy. While on a guided and narrated tour of the Capitol building, visitors see the Crypt, the Rotunda, and National Statuary Hall.
You can enter the Capitol Visitor Center and look around, but tours require advance reservations that can be booked several ways.
U.S. residents can go directly through the offices of their Representative or Senators. Many Congressional offices offer their own staff-led tours to constituent groups of up to 15 people and most can assist you in booking a general tour.
Tours also can be arranged directly through the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center using the online reservation system.
Same-day reservations are not available online, however, same-day tour passes may be available at the publicwalk-up line near an Information Desk located on the lower level of the Visitor Center. Beware off the possibility of long waits for these passes that run out quickly.
This iconic building is home to original copies of the founding documents of the United States and its government, including the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Each is displayed in the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom. The building also houses a museum with exhibits that examine the impact and significance of different artifacts in the Archives.
Reservations are not required and visitors may wait outside the building in the general public line during hours of operation.
However, advance reservations are accepted and highly recommended. These timed tickets allow visitors to avoid the exterior portion of the line, which can be long during the spring and summer months.
Entry to the National Archives is free. However, a nonrefundable $1.50 advance reservation service fee applies to each timed entry reservation.
This museum is popular because of it powerful exhibits and symbolic design that teach about WWII and the Holocaust. Exhibits also remember the survivors and victims, and they confront the topics of genocide and anti-Semitism.
From September through February, you do not need passes to enter the Permanent Exhibition. Busy season is another story and passes are required. You may reserve your passes online beginning three months in advance of your visit for a small service charge or in person at the Museum on the day of your visit. The supply of advance and same-day passes is limited, so plan accordingly.
If you are traveling with a group of 40 or more, reservations are free and may be made three months prior to the date of your visit up to 3 P.M. Eastern Time one day before your visit.
Wreath Laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery
The Tomb of the Unknowns honors those who gave their lives in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War “in defense of the Nation’s integrity, honor, and tranquility.” Members of the public may participate in a wreath laying ceremony that at the Tomb.
Requests to lay a wreath are accepted online up to a year in advance. Participants make arrangements to bring the ceremonial wreath for the assigned date and time and must follow the protocol and dress code in order to participate.
The Pentagon, headquarters of the Department of Defense, is one of the world's largest office buildings. With more than twice the floor space of the Empire State Building, the U.S. Capitol could fit into any one of its five wedge-shaped sections - it’s massive.
Tours highlight the respective missions of the five Armed Services, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and the Joint Staff through a 60-minute presentation that includes a 1.49 mile guided walk through the building.
Start planning you trip to Washington, D.C. well in advance.
By planning your trip in advance and making reservation for the most popular attractions in Washington, D.C., you will be able to spend your time enjoying the sights instead of standing in lines.