Monuments by Moonlight Tours: See Washington DC at Night! (AMAZING)

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I’ve been to Washington, DC many times. And, I can honestly say the best experience ever was to see Washington DC at night! On Monuments by Moonlight Tours, that’s exactly what you get to do!

Imagine all those monuments in Washington, made of bright stone. Now, picture getting to see Washington DC at night — every monument lit up!

Along the way, your Monuments by Moonlight tour guide shares stories of Washington history and intrigue.

Of all the tours in Washington, DC, the Monuments by Moonlight tours are the VERY BEST!

Nothing compares to getting to see Washington DC at night on an incredible trolley tour.

Monuments by Moonlight in Washington DC

What is Monuments by Moonlight

Like its name suggests, Monuments by Moonlight Tours take guests through Washington DC after dark!

The indigo blue sky behind the Jefferson Memorial makes it stand out even more when you see Washington DC at night.

Jefferson Memorial

Monuments by Moonlight tours are provided by the Old Town Trolley Tours, a company that serves major cities throughout the United States. The company is well-known for offering quality city tours!

To see Washington DC at night, your tour begins with an organized check-in at Union Station.

The Monuments by Moonlight tour begins with a narrated journey to the first stop.

Knowledgeable and entertaining guides share the history of the many buildings you see in Washington DC after dark, and some funny tidbits as well!

Tour stops include:

  • Iwo Jima Memorial
  • FDR Memorial (my favorite)
  • Lincoln Memorial (with time for the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial and the Korean War Memorial)
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial

And, these are some of the other places you’ll see in Washington DC at night:

  • US Capitol Building,
  • White House,
  • Washington Monument,
  • Kennedy Center,
  • Jefferson Memorial,
  • and others.
One of many bronze statues at the FDR Memorial you'll see in Washington DC at night

Our guide entertained us with stories of early presidents, like one who got a speeding ticket for riding his horse too fast in the city!

We learned how the Smithsonian Institution (which is actually 19 museums and 9 research centers under one umbrella) started AND where its name came from!

We also learned that the capstone at the top of the Washington Monument has an aluminum tip!

Iwo Jima memorial seen during the Monuments by Moonlight tour.

Tips to see Washington DC at night:

Use these tips to get the most from your Monuments by Moonlight tour:

  1. Buy tickets in advance! This is one of the most popular tours in DC, so tickets sell out, especially for spring break, the summer travel season and around the holidays.
  2. Dress for the weather. The “trolley” has plastic flaps that zip shut, not traditional windows. Expect the windows to be open throughout the tour for better views. It gets cold!
  3. Wear comfortable shoes. You’ll get off the bus to visit the monuments and take photos. Wear walking shoes/tennis shoes for this tour!
  4. Make sure your camera battery/cell phone is charged.
  5. All tours begin at Union Station. Follow the signs to the “tours” area and find your tour company kiosk to check in. It’s best to arrive 30 minutes before your tour.
  6. Use the bathroom before your tour. You’ll have an opportunity to use the restroom during the tour, but you might wait in line and miss seeing the monuments.
  7. Sit on the right side if you can. 🙂
  8. In spring, the 7:30 tour is great. It starts before it gets completely dark so you can watch the sun set during the first part of the tour. By the time you get to the monuments, it will be dark outside.
  9. The tour is suitable for all ages, as long as younger kids can handle the late night. Consider bedtimes and how busy your day is before scheduling.

Are the Monuments by Moonlight tours worth it?

Full-price tickets for this tour are around $60/person, which is definitely a splurge! With so many free things to do in DC, I still think it’s worth it for a number of reasons.

USE OUR LINK FOR DISCOUNTED ADMISSION! Advance purchases are fully refundable if you cannot go. (Read the “fine print” for full details!)

  • Safety: Doing a self-guided tour after dark means driving in these congested areas among distracted tourists. Bike, walking, segway and bus tours take huge numbers of guests to each monument which makes driving tricky.
  • Information: Tour guides’ stories add flair to the tour you can’t get on your own.
  • Entertainment: Seeing the monuments after dark highlights features you won’t see in bright sunlight. All day long you can explore the monuments and read the plaques. Let the magic after dark delight you.
  • Excellence: Every person on our tour loved it! The buses seat about 50 people. That’s a big endorsement! If you need more, TripAdvisor ranks Monuments by Moonlight #14 of the more than 100 tours and activities in DC. It’s also ranked one of the DC area’s 20 best kept secrets by Fox News.

Of all the things I’ve done in DC, the Monuments by Moonlight tour is the best! Truly, when you see DC after dark, you see it in a whole new light. It’s a memory you’re sure to treasure.

For more ideas to plan your Washington, DC vacation, check out our Washington DC Travel Guide for Families!

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Jefferson Memorial, Washington Memorial and FDR Memorial as seen at night