We first went up in the Old Post Office Clock Tower almost 10 years ago. As mentioned in this post about that visit, I learned about it from a now-defunct deal site, but I didn’t know anyone who had yet been, so it was kind of a great discovery then. We’ve visited many times since — not only did the Tower become a back pocket place to take out-of-town guests for impressive views of the city, it’s also an easy stroll from the National Mall and the downtown area.
However, until this week, it had been a few years since we visited, as the Tower was closed during Covid and just reopened to the public again in early June. Sasha and I had to run an errand nearby downtown, so we decided to pop in (or should I say up?) and enjoy those city vistas and add a little fun to our outing.
Some things have changed since that first visit I wrote about, so I thought a new post would be a good idea. It is still operated by the National Park Service, but the building it’s within is now a hotel. It was the Trump Hotel, but it recently changed hands (sigh of relief!), and is now a Waldorf Astoria. And you used to access the Clock Tower through the front entrance, but it now has its own entrance at the back of the hotel.
Once inside past security, there’s a long walkway with displays about DC history, the building, and the area where it’s located (did you know it was called “Murder Bay” in the 19th century?). That leads to the National Park Service area, where a ranger greets and guides guests to the elevator that leads up to the Tower. It was from the ranger that I learned the NPS was ready to welcome visitors back to the Clock Tower last year, but the Trump organization wouldn’t renew the contract for security at the entrance. It wasn’t until the Waldorf Astoria took over that security was hired again, and the Tower could officially reopen.
The elevator takes you to the 9th floor, where you can peer down to see the hotel lobby far below and get a good view of the gorgeous glass-paned roof. From there, you take another elevator to the observation deck. In the middle is a glass case with all the gears and inner workings of the clock. [Side note: We once happened to be there when it was time to set the clock to fall back, and they let the kids help turn it — how cool is that?!]
Of course, the main features of the observation deck are the sweeping views of the city from every direction. You can see so many major structures, and there are displays to help you locate them if you’re not familiar with layout of DC. Get a glimpse of it all in the photos finishing out this post, but I can assure you these scenes are way better in person.
Old Post Office Clock Tower
Where: Within the Waldorf Astoria Hotel | Downtown DC
Access: Enter at 12th & C Streets NW (on 12th between Pennsylvania & Constitution NW).
When: Daily, 9am – 4pm