Day Trip to Washington D.C. from New York

Exploring the highlights of the capital

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225 miles southeast of New York lies the US capital: Washington D.C. Getting from New York to Washington D.C. by bus only takes a 4-hour drive. If you’re short on time, this is a great day trip not only to see The White House but also to experience a US city that many people find is the polar opposite of New York.

NYC to Washington DC day trip details

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Day Trip to Washington D.C. from NYC

Washington offers a lot of green space, an impressive and modern downtown area. In order to help you decide whether a day trip to Washington D.C. from NYC by bus is worth it for you, we participated to get you all the current information.

Approximate Tour Timeline:

  • 7 am: The bus from NYC to Washington D.C. departs at the Gray Line Visitor Center in Midtown Manhattan
  • 11 am: You find yourself in the nation’s capital, where you will make several stops to take pictures and explore the city
  • 8 pm: The bus returns to New York, dropping you off at the same location the tour started earlier that day

After your check-in at the Gray Line Visitor Center, you can board the bus that takes you through the states of New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland until finally arriving in Washington D.C. Upon your arrival, your first stop in the country’s capital is the Arlington Cemetery, followed by the Capitol, the White House and other famous landmarks on the way. Where possible, the bus will make stops so you’ll have enough time to take photos of all the sights. In the afternoon, you can visit the National Air and Space Museum which is part of the Smithsonian Institute. After the visit to the museum, you’ll explore Washington D.C.’s most famous attractions, all clustered around the National Mall. The return trip begins in the early evening and you arrive back in New York at about 8 pm.

Sights You Will See During Your Day Trip to Washington D.C.

Here’s some information about the most important sights you will be seeing during your day trip to Washington D.C. from New York. Remember that your professional tour guide will provide you with many more interesting details and stories!

Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington Cemetery is a military cemetery, most known for John F. Kenndy’s grave. In total, Arlington Cemetery more than 400,000 graves, making it the largest military cemetery in the United States. Veterans from various wars and conflicts lie here: the American Civil War, World War I and II, the Korean Conflict, the Vietnam War, as well as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. JFK, however, is not the only United States president buried here. You will also be able to see the grave of William Howard Taft, the 27th President of the United States. Millions of people come here every year to pay respect to those who gave their lives for the freedom of the nation.

The United States Capitol

United States Capitol

Iconic, domed building is housing The Senate and the House of Representatives. The Supreme Court’s first meeting took place here in 1801. Since being built, the Capitol has undergone multiples renovations and expansions. Architecturally, it is one of the most important constructions in the United States that symbolizes democracy. Nobody other than President George Washington laid the cornerstone of the US Capitol back in 1793.

The White House

Front View of the White House

The White House is one of the most recognized buildings in the world. It is the office and residence of the President of the United States and because of this one of the highest secured buildings in the world. The secret service works with the latest in surveillance technology to ensure the security of the White House 24 hours a day. One glance at the roof says it all: Snipers keep a watchful eye on the grounds surrounding the government building. The pictures you see on TV generally show the center section of the White House, but the East and West Wing are also a significant part of the White House Complex.

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

Inside the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

The National Air and Space Museum is one of the most popular museums in Washington D.C. It’s located on the National Mall, together with several other museums and galleries. What you’ll see there? Aircrafts, rockets, spacecrafts, missiles, and many other artifacts. There’s even a planetarium that we recommend checking out! It was one of our personal highlights, as we were able to learn more about the ISS (International Space Station), while also enjoying breathtaking views of our beloved planet earth.

Washington Monument

Washington Monument

This monument is dedicated to the United State’s first president, George Washington. It’s easy to recognize it from the distance thanks to its obelisk shape. It is 555 feet tall, so you can easily see it from the distance. On the tour, you’ll learn many interesting facts about the marble monument, for example, that there is an elevator inside of it!

Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC

The Lincoln Memorial is one of the largest memorials in Washington D.C. It commemorates the nation’s 16th President, Abraham Lincoln. It’s located right at the Reflecting Pool. Besides the sculpture of Lincoln himself, you’ll find one of his greatest speeches, the Gettysburg Address engraved into the walls. Even today, the speech is truly inspiring, so be sure to take time and read it. From the memorial, you’ll have an amazing view of the Washington Monument.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial pays tribute to the fallen soldiers who fought the Vietnam wars. Over 5,800 names of those who sacrificed their lives or remain missing are inscribed on its black granite walls. The memorial, however, does not only consist of the walls. You will also see the Three Servicemen and the Vietnam Women’s Memorial. Just like at most other memorials, you’ll see flowers laid down.

Korean War Memorial

Korean War Memorial in Washington DC

The Korean War Memorial honors those who served in Korea. It consists of a wall with photos, as well as 19 steel statues, representing different branches of the military. On a sunny day, you can see those 19 statues reflect onto the wall. Together, the statues and reflections add up to 38, a significant number for the Korea War. 38 is not only the parallel of the demilitarized zone but is also how many months the war lasted. Your tour guide will tell you more unbelievable stories.

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Is One Day in Washington D.C. Enough?

You can see Washington D.C.’s most important sights in one day. If you’re short on time and don’t want to miss the capital during your trip to New York, then you should consider the day trip to Washington D.C. by bus. It’s the perfect way to get the most of your USA-trip, as it’s well-organized and also reasonably priced for a full-day trip.

Could you spend more than one day in Washington D.C.? Easily! If time allows, you should explore the capital more thoroughly. There are plenty of things to do in Washington D.C., starting with historic sites and memorials over museums to parks and much more. So if you can spare more than a day, we recommend planning your own trip to cut down on costs. Rent a car, download Waze for the best navigation and let the road trip begin!

What Else Do We Have to Say?

If you’re interested in the history of the nation, be sure to watch Hamilton on Broadway before or even after you come back to New York from Washington D.C. The musical tells the story of founding father Alexander Hamilton and also features important personalities such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Watching the musical beforehand will surely help you refresh your American history knowledge in the most exciting way. The show currently leads the list of The Best Broadway Shows in New York and we don’t see that changing in the near future!

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Profilbild Steffen Kneist
About the author

I'm a true New York fan! Not only have I visited the city over 25 times but also have I spent several months here at a time. On my blog I show you the best and most beautiful spots of the city, so that you have a really good time! You can also find lots of insider tips in our New York travel guide. Also check out my hotel finder for New York!

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