Is the Go Washington DC Card worth it? Go Washington DC Card review
Washington DC is a classic and popular destination for both Americans and foreign visitors, but things there operate in different ways than cities like New York or Los Angeles. On one hand, many of the top Washington DC attractions are free to enter, including most of the big monuments and the many museums that make up the Smithsonian. But on the other hand, those attractions tend to be a bit dry, especially for younger visitors.
The Go Washington DC Card should be a money and time saver for some visitors, but certainly not all. The hop-on, hop-off bus tour is an excellent way to see the city in a short time and decide on which things you want to see close up later on. If you are going on the bus tour then you already on your way to saving money with this card by seeing another attraction or two. If you add in the boating attraction and Spy Museum, you are not only saving money but saving time in ticket queues. Below we’ll take a closer look at this card and see who should consider it and who probably should not.
Go Washington DC Card prices for 2016
When purchasing your Go Washington DC Card (also known as the Washington DC Explorer Pass), you’ll find price variations depending on the amount of attractions chosen and age of card holder. When purchasing your card, you’ll notice that cards for children are lower in price than those for adults. You’ll also find that there are 2 different types of cards to choose from, one of which allows you to visit 3 different attractions while the other is good for 5 different attractions.
- 3 Attraction Choices Adult $59, 3 Attraction Choices Child $39
- 5 Attraction Choices Adult $89, 5 Attraction Choices Child $59
It is important to note that the child card is recommended for children ages 7 through 12. Also notable is that some attractions allow free admission for younger children, making it important to contact the attraction of your choice before visiting to see if young children can indeed get in for free.
Top sights and attractions
CitySights Monuments Express Hop-On Hop-Off Tour – $39.00
A great tour for those who love having the option to hop on and off to explore attractions and sights along the route, the CitySights Monuments Express Hop-On Hop-Off Tour delivers. When on the bus, you’ll be treated to narration that’s both informative and fun. Making it even more fun is the fact that the bus is a double decker with the top deck allowing you great views of the Washington DC’s buildings, green spaces and bridges. Some tour highlights include the White House, the National Cathedral and the Smithsonian Institution Museums.
Madame Tussauds DC – $23.27
A little different from other Madame Tussauds found around the US, this location offers you the chance to get up close and personal with some of your favorite political figures. In fact, the President’s Gallery features wax models of all 44 presidents. You’ll also find celebrities and singers to snap pictures with, making this Madame Tussauds very well rounded. This attraction is great for both adults and children and offers a wide selection of photo opportunities.
National Geographic Museum – $15.00
A very unique attraction, the National Geographic Museum is a family friendly attraction that’s great for those who love photography and the history of one of the nation’s most famous magazines. Here visitors will find over 127 years of history divided between different collections, some permanent, some temporary. With all there is to see here, you can easily spend a few hours looking around at the artifacts and magazines.
Newseum – $24.27
Another unique museum, the Newseum showcases the influence of news media during the modern era. Also very large in size, this museum has 7 different levels with 15 different galleries that contain a variety of artifacts, award-winning photographs, historic documents and newspaper clippings. Visitors will also find interactive exhibits and a 4-D theater. This attraction is great for kids as well and should take about 2 hours or so.
Boating in DC – $30.00
A seasonal attraction that is open from mid April to November, Boating in DC is a great way to explore waterfront neighborhoods and stunning waterways. Choose from a kayak, stand-up paddleboard or a canoe. Some important monuments that you’ll be able to view are the National Harbor waterfront neighborhood, the Capitol Riverfront and the Georgetown waterfront. This is another attraction that is kid friendly, though you’ll want to make sure your child knows how to swim prior to your visit.
Is the Go Washington DC Card a good deal
In order to fully answer this question correctly, we must first take a look at what is included with the purchase of the card. With each card, the cardholder is granted access to 3 or 5 attractions out of a total of 10. This allows you to skip the purchase of a ticket at the attraction gate. In addition, you’ll also receive a guide containing the hours of operation and directions to each individual attraction as well as a map.
Now we’re going to go ahead and look at a 5-attraction choice itinerary for an adult. Then we’ll compare the end cost of this itinerary to the cost of a 5 attraction choice card.
- City Sights Hop-On Hop-Off Tour – $35.00
- Boating in DC – $30.00
- Newseum – $24.27
- National Geographic Museum – $15.00
- George Washington’s Mount Vernon – $18.00
The total cost of visiting these 5 attractions at the normal gate rate comes out to be $122.27. If you were to visit these attractions with your Go Washington DC Card, you would end up paying only $89.00. That’s a savings of $33.27. If you can get your Go Washington DC Card at a discount then the savings are obviously even more, and discounts are frequently available.
Are all of the attractions covered with the Go Washington DC Card worth a visit
Even though there are only 10 choices, each attraction caters to a different interest, making for a nice variety of things to do and see. Because of this variety, we do feel that each attraction is worth a visit. Whether you love National Geographic, cruise tours, bicycling or crime museums, you’ll find a few attractions to spark your interest.
How not to use the Go Washington DC Card
Unlike other attraction cards and passes that put a short time limit on each pass, cardholders will find that they have 30 days to take advantage of the card. These 30 days are activated at the first attraction, meaning that you can wait a few days to see your first attraction after your card has been purchased. Because of this, there’s no real worry about visiting attractions that are close to each other as there is plenty of time to visit each one. With that said, you won’t be able to visit the same attraction twice and you’re not allowed to share the card with another person.
You’ll also want to keep in mind, that although you can visit each attraction whenever it suits you best, opening and closing times vary from attraction to attraction. This means that you’ll want to check your free guide and make sure that the particular attraction you’re wishing to see that day is indeed open.
The bottom line
If you’re looking to visit a small number of attractions but don’t want to pay each gate price, you’ll find that the Go Washington DC Card is a great money saver that is both easy and convenient to purchase and use. As the card is activated for an entire month, you’ll also find that there is no rush to see each attraction, allowing you to more freely plan your days.
Where do you purchase your Go Washington DC Card
In order to receive your pass, first you must purchase it through the link above. Once you have done that, there are 2 ways to get your pass, the first being through e-mail and the second through your smartphone. All you have to do is print your card out and you’ll be all set to go!