Since I couldn’t even remember the last time I’d been to Washington DC, sometime long ago when I was a kid, I decided that it was a great time to visit everything I possibly could over the course of a day. And Viator’s Washington DC in One Day Tour was the perfect way to do it!
The tour was supposed to start with a bus pickup at the Navy Memorial, but since Wonder Woman 2 was being filmed there at the time, there was a little bit of confusion on where to meet, but the bus ended up just down the street a bit, which turned out ok for those of us who happened to wander around looking for it in the right direction.
Anyway, by a few minutes past the departure time, the bus was nearly 100% occupied! Most of these types of tours I’ve gone on have only been maybe 6-10 people, so this was a surprise to me. I guess, being June, tourist season was in full swing!
The first stop on the tour was going through Lafayette Square to head towards the White House. The group spent just enough time in Lafayette Square to snap a few photos of the statue of General Lafayette, then headed on to the White House.
Honestly, seeing the White House was a little anticlimactic. I definitely took the opportunity to get a photo there, but it was definitely not the highlight of this tour.
More interesting was the White House Peace Vigil, located directly across the street from the White House.
I enjoyed the visit to the WWII Memorial and it was one of the stops where we were given a decent amount of time to walk around and really experience the memorial and its surroundings.
All of the pillars, as well as the plaza with fountain pool in the middle, made it a very peaceful, reflective place to walk around. Another bonus of the location was that it also had a great view of the Washington Monument.
This monument was pretty awesome because of the symbolism inherent in how the statue remained unfinished to represent an unfinished life and America’s unfinished work in civil rights. “Out of a mountain. Of despair, a stone of hope”, a line from the “I Have A Dream” speech, is carved into the side, which was powerful as well.
Potomac River Cruise
After about a half an hour stop to grab some lunch to bring with us on the boat, the group boarded the Nightingale, and headed off from Washington Harbor for an hour on the river.
I’d say the boat tour would have been interesting if I had done it first, but having seen many of the monuments that had been pointed out already during the course of the day-tour, a lot of the boat tour narrative was repetitive.
It was awesome though, on a hot day, to have a nice breezy, boat road to enjoy lunch. The boat also had a small bar that sold alcohol and snacks. It’s not something I would have paid for separately to do, but as a mid-day break, it was well-timed.
So, a chatty lady that sat next to me on the bus kept repeatedly saying how excited she was to see the FDR Memorial, and going on and on about how it was her favorite memorial, so I had pretty high expectations for this one.
It was an expansive, beautiful memorial, filled with water features, statues, quotes and a lot of greenery, very thoughtfully planned out. I missed a lot of our tour guide’s explanation of the different elements of the memorial, because I was just wandering around without the group, but enjoyed seeing everything there, particularly the waterfalls.
Korean War Memorial
I thought the Mural Wall of this memorial had the coolest execution, with the way all of the soldiers’ faces were etched into the granite. The statues were interesting as well, though I couldn’t help imagining how creepy they would be at night.
This was one of two memorials I remember visiting as a kid, and it was fantastic to experience again, though a LOT of steps. And, once again, an incredible view of the Washington Monument.
Now that I think of it, the Washington Monument was conspicuously missing from the tour itinerary, most likely because we could see it from nearly every other monument we visited!
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial was the other memorial I distinctly remember visiting when I was younger, in addition to the Lincoln Memorial. It had to be the saddest memorial of all as well. I happened to be visiting on Father’s Day, and many areas of the memorial were covered in messages to dads and grandpas.
Our tour guide also told us that all of the flowers and messages were cleaned out every single night, so everything we saw today had been left today. So many people remembering their lost loved ones.
Our last stop was in front of the Capital building. Not a lot of commentary given by our guide, except to let anyone who wasn’t aware already that it’s where Congress meets.
At the end of the tour, the group was dropped off near the Navy Memorial again, and I was too curious about the Wonder Woman 2 shoot to stay away. Unfortunately, I didn’t spot Gal Gadot, but I was able to overhear a little bit of a riot scene… good enough.