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City Segway Tours: The Fastest Way to See Washington DC

My husband, clearly very focused on the road, heading towards the White House on his Segway.

 

Washington DC is an enigma of a tourist destination.  On the one hand, all of the major tourist attractions are grouped together in what appears to be a very walkable area.  Compare this to other major capitol cities–London or Paris for example–and DC seems like a super convenient city to visit.  But on the other hand, there are so many major tourist attractions–and each is so huge and sprawling–that many visitors find themselves just plain worn out by the end of the day.  The remedy for that–City Segway Tours, truly the fastest–and most fun–way to see our nation’s capitol.

Josh, our tour guide, explaining how the Segway works.

The tour begins at the City Segway shop, extremely conveniently located directly across from one of DC’s largest metro stations, the Chinatown Metro Station.  After a brief and entertaining safety video wherein several sad stick figures seriously injure themselves, it’s outside for your hands-on Segway orientation.  Because you’ll be in a group no larger than eight, this orientation is both quick and personalized–your individual guide will take the time to familiarize each person on the tour with his or her own Segway, and then you are given a bit of time to practice riding around the alley between and behind the buildings.

After the training, our group of eight–one family of four and two couples, us included–headed south towards the National Mall area, hanging a right to make our first stop at the rear of the White House.  From there it was on past the Executive offices, through Constitution Park, and then onward to the Vietnam Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial.  We were treated to frequent stops along the way during which our extremely knowledgeable and personable (and, ok, I admit it, super cute) tour guide Josh treated us to tidbits of information about everything we saw along the way.

After a twenty five minute ‘break’ at the Lincoln Memorial–just enough time to get off, stretch, and explore–we continued on to the newest memorial on the National Mall, the MLK memorial, before heading out check out the Washington Monument before being given the opportunity to tool about the actual National Mall area.  We ended our tour with a brief stop along Pennsylvania Avenue, where my husband had a blast zipping around the trees planted on the sidewalk area outside the FBI building.

There are several reasons why this tour is a great idea, and I can wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone visiting the DC area.

City Segway Tours is educational

Our group, paused on the Mall to learn about the history of the Smithsonian.

 

Of course I had to list this reason first.  I travel in order to learn, and I’m happy to report that I did learn quite a bit on this tour.  Even as someone who has visited DC many, many times before (I actually spent a summer working at the EPA right in Federal Triangle) I still learned lots of new information.  From facts about the woman who designed the Vietnam Memorial to interesting historical context on the architecture of the executive offices, every stop was filled with information that greatly enriched my tour of the city.

City Segway Tours is fun

Zipping through the trees along Pennsylvania Ave.

 

At the end of every trip we take, my husband I have the ‘what was your favorite part’ conversation.  We spent three days in DC over Easter weekend, and during those three days my husband’s number one activity was the City Segway Tour.  Yes, it was educational.  But most things in DC are educational.  This tour is educational and fun–a truly winning combination.

City Segway Tours is safe

Obeying traffic laws while approaching the Washington Monument.

 

This was not my first time on a Segway–I recently did a Segway tour of Epcot’s World Showcase in Walt Disney World–but it was my husband’s first time.  So I can tell you that both of us–beginner and not-exactly-beginner–felt totally comfortable on the vehicles, despite my initial misgivings.  Driving a Segway on streets with real traffic and crowds of tourists sounded scary, but I can assure you that it was much easier than I imagined.  We used bike lanes and, when available, sidewalks or gravel pathways, and at no point during the three-hour-tour did I feel that I was in any way in danger.

City Segway Tours is fast

The Lincoln Memorial is two miles from the Capitol Building. On a Segway, that's nothing!

 

Simply stated–there is no other way to do so much in such a short period of time.  Had this been my first visit to DC, I would have been very pleased by how much ground we covered in only three hours.  And, as a bonus, at the end of the tour I still had enough energy left to continue touring around on my own two–admittedly rather slow–feet for the rest of the day.

City Segway Tours is up-close and personal

Beautiful Constitution Park--a tour bus can't take you through here. But a Segway can.

 

If you only have one day to see DC (which, by the way, is insane) you’ll likely seriously consider some sort of bus tour.  DC has no shortage of hop-on hop-off tours, trolley tours, and boat tours.  But a bus tour can only get you so close to the action.  A Segway is truly the best of both worlds–you are on the street, close to everything, a part of the city.  But you’re also zipping along at what is often a faster pace than the slow crawl of the traffic.

City Segway Tours is unique

I understand why people pointed and laughed!

 

If you’ve never been on a Segway before, this is a great way to combine a fun half-day of sightseeing with a truly unique experience.  Just be warned–everyone else will think it is unique, too.  One of the most entertaining parts of the day was watching people on the street react to our little group of Segway riders.  Yes, there was some pointing and laughing.  Yes, middle school students did sneer at us and whisper jokes.  And it’s amazing how people of all cultures, from all countries, and speaking all languages all know the word ‘Segway’.  I witnessed women in saris point at us, smile, and in a very thick accent exclaim ‘Segway!’  And then they laughed.  But that’s all part of the fun.  And besides–you’re moving so quickly, no one has time to laugh for very long!

City Segway Tours is located at the intersection of 9th and G Streets Northwest, almost directly across the street from the 9th Street Chinatown Metro exit.  Advance reservations are required, so call or email as early as possible as tours do fill up.  They also offer a bike tour of DC’s highlights, as well as tours in other major cities around the world.  You can find more information on their website

In the spirit of full disclosure:  I was given the opportunity to take part in this tour free of charge in exchange for a review to be posted on The Suitcase Scholar.  However, all opinions are, as always, my own.  If something sucks, I’ll tell you.  If something is awesome, I’ll tell you that too.

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