$10 in Groupon Bucks

Castle to Capitol: Museums of the National Mall Architecture Tour

DC Design Tours

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Starting at the Smithsonian Castle, we'll visit the original home and oldest museum on the Mall. We'll see the crypt of James Smithson, the founder of the Smithsonian, who never came to this country in his lifetime. We'll take a look at old photos of Washington, showing the transformation over the past 150 years, and an original model of the Castle. Next, we'll head outside to the gardens- "backstage" National Mall. We'll stop at the Smithsonian's second home, the Arts & Industries Building, one of the most colorful and eclectic structures in the city. We'll pass the Hirshhorn Museum, our spaceship on the mall. Then to the most popular museum in the U.S., the Air and Space Museum, and one of our most underappreciated, the Museum of the American Indian. Heading through the Botanical Garden to a hidden gem known mostly by hill staffers, we'll wrap up at the foot of Capitol Hill with beautiful views of the US Capitol. Please note, we'll only be going inside the Smithsonian Castle!

Groupon Customer Reviews

Relevant Reviews
Rating of 5 out of 5 stars
August 20, 2022
Fascinating history. Easy walk. Great value. I've recently gotten interested in architecture and decided to take the "Castle to Capitol" tour while I was in town for work. Absolutely fantastic. Can't wait to do another tour they offer. The "Castle to Capitol" tour tells the story of the birth and evolution of the Smithsonian Institute through the design and architecture of several of their most prominent buildings. Intriguing, often funny, history told through a leisurely stroll down the mall. Great for all ages. I would say 12 and up would get the most out of it, but it's enough moving around to keep the younger ones from melting down.
Rating of 1 out of 5 stars
August 7, 2022
My mother and I were excited for this tour. We booked on Viator and received our tickets. Yesterday we received our confirmation for today's tour at 10 am. We went to the meeting place and no one showed up. We called and were informed this tour had been changed to 2pm instead. We weren't notified because we had booked on a third party site. We were given a refund (hopefully) since we had another tour lined up. Even in trying to find a way to write this review I had to go to 3 different sites as you cannot leave a review directly on DC Design Tours site, nor on the Viator site. All in all worst experience with a tour company.
Rating of 5 out of 5 stars
June 19, 2022
This is such an interesting tour! I’ve gone to museums many times without thinking much about the buildings that house them- this entire tour is all about those buildings. I credit this tour with introducing me to one of my favorite places to catch a quiet moment on the mall- the Enid A. Haupt garden at the Smithsonian castle- and the exterior of the National Museum of the American Indian is serene and took my breath away (also has a fascinating story!) I highly recommend this tour.
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This is a typical itinerary for this product

Stop At: Smithsonian Institution Building, 1000 Jefferson Dr SW, Washington DC, DC 20560-0008

Your tour begins outside the Smithsonian Castle, the headquarters of the largest museum complex in the world!

Duration: 30 minutes

Stop At: Smithsonian Arts + Industries Building, 900 Jefferson Dr SW National Mall, Washington DC, DC 20560-0004

We'll discuss the beautiful and unique design of this second home of the Smithsonian Institution.

Duration: 5 minutes

Stop At: Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, 7th St & Independence Ave. SW Smithsonian Institutions, Washington DC, DC 20560

Our spaceship on the National Mall.

Duration: 5 minutes

Pass By: National Air and Space Museum, Independence Ave SW 600 Independence Ave SW, Washington DC, DC 20560

The second most popular museum in the world!

Pass By: National Gallery of Art, Constitution Ave NW 6th Street and Constitution Avenue NW, Washington DC, DC 20002

We'll examine the stark contrast between the Neoclassical West building and Modern East building of the National Gallery of Art.

Stop At: National Museum of the American Indian, 4th St SW Independence Ave SW, Washington DC, DC 20560

Meant to look sculpted by the wind and water, this beautiful building has a tumultuous past.

Duration: 5 minutes

Stop At: United States Botanic Garden, 100 Mayland Avenue SW, Washington DC, DC 20001

A hidden gem among museums along the National Mall!

Duration: 10 minutes

Stop At: Bartholdi Park, Independence Avenue, Washington DC, DC

A secret spot off the National Mall with a historic and beautiful fountain, sculpted by someone unexpected!

Duration: 5 minutes

Stop At: Capitol Hill, First St and East Capitil St NE, Washington DC, DC 20004

We'll wrap up at the foot of Capitol Hill, with breathtaking views of the US Capitol and the National Mall!

Duration: 10 minutes

Additional Information

  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Minimum numbers apply. There is a possibility of cancellation after confirmation if there are not enough guests to meet requirements. In the event of this occurring, an alternative or full refund will be provided.
  • Stroller accessible
  • Service animals allowed
  • Near public transportation
  • Transportation is wheelchair accessible
  • Surfaces are wheelchair accessible
  • Most travelers can participate
  • This experience requires a minimum number of travelers. If it’s canceled because the minimum isn’t met, you’ll be offered a different date/experience or a full refund
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 20 travelers
  • Guides required to regularly wash hands
  • Contactless payments for gratuities and add-ons
  • Local guide

  • Gratuities

2 hours

Return Details
Capitol Hill, Washington, DC 20016, USA

Voucher Info
You can present either a paper or an electronic voucher for this activity.

The tour identified in this promotion is made available through Viator. LivingSocial is not affiliated with or sponsored by the DC Design Tours in connection with this deal. Please contact LivingSocial customer service for all inquiries related to this offer. Inquiries placed to Viator will be directed back to LivingSocial.

This offer is not eligible for promo codes.

Fine Print

For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.

Merchant is solely responsible to purchasers for the care and quality of the advertised goods and services. Offer is not eligible for our promo codes or other discounts. Learn about Strike-Through Pricing and Savings