Washington, DC Walking Tours & Trails

Washington, DC is one of the most walkable cities in the USA, and just about every avenue and alley has a story to tell.

World War II Memorial at night, Washington, DC
World War II Memorial at night
Georgetown waterfront, Washington, DC
Georgetown waterfront (Photo courtesy Washington.org)
Embassy Row, Washington, DC
Embassy Row
Adams Morgan neighbourhood, Washington, DC
Adams Morgan neighbourhood (Photo courtesy Washington.org)
Ben's Chili Bowl, Washington, DC
The U Street neighbourhood is home to the iconic Ben's Chili Bowl restaurant (Photo courtesy Washington.org)
World War II Memorial at night, Washington, DC
Georgetown waterfront, Washington, DC
Embassy Row, Washington, DC
Adams Morgan neighbourhood, Washington, DC
Ben's Chili Bowl, Washington, DC

Whether you prefer to go at your own pace or take a guided tour, here are ideas for exploring Washington, DC on foot.

Walking Trails

Explore a Cultural Tourism DC Neighborhood Heritage Trail, a system of self-guided walking routes marked with illustrated signs that tell stories of Washington’s historic neighbourhoods. Some of the available trails are:

  • Civil War to Civil Rights: Downtown Heritage Trail – Along this trail, you’ll see the alley down which John Wilkes Booth fled after shooting President Abraham Lincoln, as well as the hotel where Martin Luther King, Jr. finished his “I Have A Dream” speech.
  • Battleground to Community: Brightwood Heritage Trail – As part of this 90-minute tour, visit Fort Stevens – the site of the only Civil War battle to take place in DC – in one of the city’s first communities.
  • City Within a City: Greater U Street Heritage Trail – Spend 90 minutes touring the U Street neighbourhood, home to a completely self-sufficient African American community in the early 20th century. Stops include the restored Lincoln Theatre.
  • River Farms to Urban Towers: Southwest Heritage Trail – Learn more about DC’s waterfront during this two-hour trail. See some of the city’s oldest houses on “Wheat Row” and where the city’s regiment of U.S. Colored Troops returned in triumph after the Civil War.
  • Lift Every Voice: Georgia Avenue / Pleasant Plains Heritage Trail – Relive the heyday of the Howard Theatre, the nation’s first major theater for African Americans. Also see the historical Howard University.

Guided Tours

Washington Walks and DC by Foot offer several guided walking tours around the city.

DC by Foot’s free walking tours make history fun for everyone, whether you’re strolling the National Mall, tracing history through Arlington National Cemetery or travelling back in time as you visit the site of President Lincoln’s assassination.

Washington Walks offers tours by location or theme, such as Memorials by Moonlight, Georgetown, Get Local, Embassy Row and The Most Haunted Houses. See if you experience paranormal activity at the Octagon House, revel in the shopping and dining of one of DC’s most famous neighborhoods, or check out local cafes and shops in different DC neighbourhoods.

For more tour-rific ways to see the Capital Region USA, visit our Tours & Trails page.

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