Hop-On, Hop-Off Patriot Tour (Red Loop Only)
While it’s impossible to take in all of Washington DC’s major landmarks and monuments in one day, the Hop-On, Hop-off Patriot Tour is a great way of combining multiple stops in a single day. Even better, the unobstructed views from the open-top of the bus provide some of the best photo opportunities in the city.
Here are some of our favorite stops, but you can customize your journey as you see fit.
The bus departs from and returns to Union Station, and this ambient shopping mall and food hall is a great place to grab breakfast, lunch or dinner, and do a bit of shopping if you’ve got time.
The Smithsonian Castle
The Red Castle is actually the nickname for the Smithsonian Institution Building. It is located in close proximity to the National Mall, beside the Sackler Gallery and the National Museum of African Art. It functions as an information center and administrative offices, but its Seneca red sandstone and faux Norman style earned it its nickname. It is very popular with lovers of beautiful buildings and photographers, and was officially designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1965.
The Washington Monument
The famous obelisk is situated on the National Mall. It was built to commemorate America’s first president George Washington. It’s marble, bluestone gneiss and granite design make it universally recognizable, and it is visited each year by millions of tourists and eager photographers. It is the tallest above-ground obelisk in the world.
The Lincoln Memorial & Vietnam Memorial
Built to honor President Abraham Lincoln, the Lincoln Memorial is located at west end of the National Mall. Since the 1930s it has been a major tourist attraction and is symbolic of race relations. It also contains inscriptions of Lincoln’s most famous speeches. The adjacent Vietnam Veterans Memorial honors the thousands of members of the US Armed Forces that fought, died or were declared missing-in-action in Vietnam.
Ford’s Theatre & Madame Tussauds
Visit two museums in one stop. Ford’s Theatre, the infamous site of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, is still an active working theatre where you can catch a variety of shows. In the museum you will find many artifacts and interactive exhibits that give you great insight about the presidential term of America’s 16th president. While you’re in the vicinity, you can also take in the waxy world of Madame Tussauds to see some of America’s most famous people preserved for ever as wax models.
Buses run daily, every 20-30 minutes, with the first departure at 8:30 a.m. from Union Station and finish at 6 p.m. (5:00 p.m. from October-March). Children under 5 ride free!
You can view a interactive map of Washington DC here.