As the newest jewel in the Smithsonian Institution's crown, the National Museum of African American History and Culture seeks to understand American history through the lens of the African American experience. It is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture. It was established by Act of Congress in 2003 and opened to the public on September 24, 2016. It has been extremely popular, making attendance a challenge unless you follow a few simple tips:
Starting Monday, Dec. 19, 2016:
- The museum will no longer distribute same-day, in-person passes at 9:15 a.m. daily.
- A limited number of walk-up passes will be available starting at 1 p.m. on weekdays.
- No walk-up passes will be available on weekends due to high visitation.
- Same-day, online, timed passes will be available only through the museum's website, nmaahc.si.edu, beginning at 6:30 a.m. daily.
- Non-commercial group visits of 10 or more, including student groups, will now be available for scheduling up to one year in advance by visiting nmaahc.si.edu/groups.
***PLEASE NOTE: On Jan. 4, 2017, NMAAHC will issue advance timed passes for April 2017. Advance timed passes will be available online starting at 9 a.m. by visiting nmaahc.si.edu or by calling 866-297-4020. Advance timed passes for May 2017 will be available starting Feb. 1, 2017.
Location: 1400 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20565
Phone: (844) 750-3012
With a permanent collection of more than 100,000 art objects, the National Gallery of Art is a national treasure. Often times, this fantastic museum is inexplicably less crowded than surrounding museums. The collection resides in two buildings, the West Building holding the only Leonardo da Vinci work outside of Europe. The West building also has a spectacular collection of impressionist’s works along with one of the largest collections of Degas sculptures in the world. The East Building, designed by I.M. Pei, exhibits 20th- and 21st-century art. Head to the West Building at 6pm on Sundays for a free classical music performance!
Location: 4th and Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20565
Phone: (202) 737-4215
The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery houses the nation’s only complete collection of presidential portraits outside the White House. The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, located in trendy Chinatown and housed in the original U.S. Patent Office building, not only has one of the most impressive collections in DC, but offers a quiet sanctuary for tired travelers in its lovely enclosed courtyard. Permanent exhibits include Twentieth-Century Americans, a major showcase of cultural, scientific and political figures of the 20th century and American Origins, 1600-1900. The museum also features temporary exhibits that mirror current events in American political life. And if you are tired and hungry after a long day, step into the Kogon Courtyard to rest your feet while enjoying a refreshing beverage or snack. This enclosed courtyard with an elegant glass canopy was recently named as one of seven architectural wonders by Conde Nast Traveler – it’s truly a sight to be seen.
Location: 1050 Independence Ave, SW Washington, DC 20001
Phone: (202) 357-270
The Newseum is the world’s most interactive museum and is exciting for all ages! Be prepared to be immersed in the world’s greatest news stories as you enter the 14 major galleries and 15 theaters. You can even step behind the camera, sit at the anchor desk, and grab a pen and notebook to see if you have what it takes to be a reporter. The Newseum is conveniently located near Capitol Hill and is the perfect place to visit following a Capitol Tour. A general admission ticket will last for two consecutive days and same-day tickets may be purchased at the Newseum's ticketing kiosks and admissions desk. General admission for adults (ages 19-64) is $19.95, for seniors (ages 65+) is $17.95 and for the youth (ages 7-18) is $12.95. Children ages 6 and younger can enter for free.
Location: 555 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20001
Phone: (202) 292-6100
Located among our national monuments, The Holocaust Museum serves as a living memorial to the Holocaust and serves to educate millions of people each year about the dangers of unchecked hatred and the need to prevent genocide. Exhibition passes for the museum are not required for entry from September through February, but are required from March through August. The museum is open daily from 10am-5:20pm.
Location: 100 Raoul Wallenberg Place, SW Washington, DC 20024
Phone: (202) 488-0400
If you are fascinated by living a life of lies, and want to see what it is like to go undercover as a spy, visit the International Spy Museum. At the International Spy Museum, you can examine over 200 spy gadgets, weapons, bugs, cameras, vehicles, and technologies, which makes up the largest collection of international spy-related artifacts ever placed on public display. The museum is open daily and admission varies depending on which exhibit you choose to see. General admission ranges from $15-$18.
Location: 800 F St, NW Washington, DC 20001
Phone: (202) 393-7798
One of the best kept secrets of sites to see, the “Wish Tree for Washington D.C.” is a must see during your visit to our nation’s capital. In 2007 the Museum acquired this tree as a permanent installation gifted by Yoko Ono. The project evokes the spirit and goodwill of the initial 1912 offering of Cherry Blossoms to the United States from Japan. The Wish Tree rests next to a writing desk where paper, pencils and twine sit at the ready. Visitors are invited to whisper their longings to the trunk of the Flowering Dodwood before hanging their scribbled dreams around its branches.
Location: Independence Avenue at Seventh Street, SW Washington, DC 20024
Phone: (202) 633-1000
If you are unaware of Washington D.C.’s bustling theater scene, this is the place to explore. As one of the best theater venues in town, there is always an interesting play showing. But that’s not all, during the day you can visit the Ford Theatre’s museum. This was the site of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. Therefore, the theatre features daytime programming relating to learning more about Lincoln’s life and the day of his assassination.
Location: 511 10th Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20004
Phone: (202) 638-2941
More than 200 years ago, George Washington had a vision for the capital city of the United States that included a botanic garden financed by Congress that would demonstrate and promote the importance of plants to this young nation. Today the conservatory features more than 20,000 plants, including exotic flowers and fruit species.
Location: First Street and Maryland Avenue, SW
Explore the world’s largest museum complex by visiting one of the sixteen Smithsonian museums located in Washington. There are always new exhibitions and weekly events that will arouse your curiosity and expand your knowledge of the world around you.
Location: Along the National Mall and throughout D.C.
All Smithsonian Museums
950 Independence Avenue, SW
Independence Avenue at 6th Street, SW
14390 Air and Space Museum Parkway, Chantilly, Virginia
8th and F Streets, NW
1400 Constitution Avenue, NW
Fourth Street & Independence Avenue, SW
1901 Fort Place, SE
900 Jefferson Drive, SW
Jefferson Drive and 12th Street, SW
Independence Avenue at Seventh Street SW
3001 Connecticut Avenue, NW
10th Street & Constitution Avenue, NW
Eighth and F Streets, NW
2 Massachusetts Avenue, NE
1661 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
1050 Independence Avenue, SW
1000 Jefferson Drive, SW
17th Street and New York Avenue, NW
The Interior Museum is currently closed for renovations.
201 East Capitol Street, SE
511 10th Street, NW
7th & Constitution Avenue, NW
401 F Street, NW
1145 17th & M Streets, NW
1811 R Street NW
1600 21st Street, NW
2320 S Street, NW
100 Raoul Wallenberg Place, SW