The Smithsonian Museums and National Zoo

The Smithsonian Institution currently consists of 19 individual museums and galleries; and the National Zoo. Most of the museums are located on or near the National Mall, a roughly 3 mile stretch of land located in Washington DC, East-West from the Potomac River to the U.S. Capitol. The museums are mostly free, and (most) open year round except December 25th. General hours of operation are 10am to 5pm. Please refer to each museums website for specific hours of operation. The National Zoo is located in the upper northwest area of the city of Connecticut Avenue. The museums are generally best accessed using public transportation, either city bus or the subway, commonly known as the Metro. Parking is available at the National Zoo for a fee of about $16 per hour. Parking around the National Mall is by meter only, about $.25 for 7 minutes, or in commercial garages, about $20 per hour. There is a very limited number of handicap accessible spaces located throughout the national mall, these spaces may still require a fee.


National Air & Space Museum

Museum of aircraft, missiles, rockets and spacecraft. Generally a great attraction for children

Independence Ave and 6th Street SE, Washington DC 

Air & Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Content

Expanded annex of the National Air & Space Museum featuring full sized aircraft and space craft including Space Shuttle Discovery. Located near Dulles airport, a car is helpful. This is also a favorite for children

1439 Air & Space Museum Parkway, Chantilly Va

American History Museum

Trains, Automobiles, Dorothy's ruby slippers, Julia Child's kitchen, First Ladys' gowns. History of American culture. This is a child favorite museum. 

1400 Constitution Ave, NW Washington DC

Natural History Museum

 Dinosaurs, Geology, Gems, Minerals, Human Origins, Birds, Mammals, Reptiles, Insects. Extensive exhibits covering history of the earth, and it's inhabitants.This museum also tends to be a favorite of children. The gems and minerals exhibit featuring the Hope diamond has it's favorites visitors as well!

10th Street & Constitution Ave NW, Washington DC

National Gallery of Art, East and West wings

Opened in 1941, the National Gallery of Art offer an extensive permanent collections as well a dedicated space for traveling exhibitions. To explore both the East & West wings, plan a full day for this museum. In addition, there is a 6 acre sculpture garden adjacent to the West wing.

 4th and Constitution Ave NW, Washington DC

 National Zoo

 Beloved Giant Pandas, Elephants, Monkeys,Sumatran Tigers, Gorillas along with almost 2000 other animals. The Zoo is located in upper northwest, on 163 acres-- Plan on a lot of walking!  Another favorite of children and families

3001 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington DC

African American History & Culture Museum

Scheduled to be completed and open sometime in 2015. This museum is devoted exclusively to African American life, art, history and culture.

Constitution Avenue & 14th Street NW, Washington DC 

 African Art Museum

 Expressions of art from the continent of Africa. Enjoy exhibits in Mosaic, Textiles, Pottery, Masks, and Paintings.

950 Independence Ave SW, Washington DC

American Art Museum

Modern and Contemporary American Art. All mediums are represented as well as time periods. More than 7000 American artists are represented. This museum is connected by a central, covered courtyard to the National Portrait Gallery. 

8th and F Street NW, Washington DC 


 American Indian Museum

This Museum explores the History, Culture and Art of Native Americans. Exhibits were developed in collaboration with western hemisphere tribes and communities. The architecture of the building has an especially unique story. Click here to learn more

4th Street & Independence Avenue SW, Washington DC 

 Anacostia Community Museum

This Museum is dedicated to the study and understanding of  community and family. The permanent collection includes artifacts, photographs, documents, media and art tracing family and community, locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally.  

1901 Fort Place  SE,   Washington DC

 Arts & Industries Building

The original home of the National Museum, dating back to 1881. This was the foundation for the Smithsonian system. Currently, the building is closed for renovation. One attraction still operating is the 1947 vintage carousel with 60 horses. $2.50 a ride, usually generates a big smile for kids and adults 

900 Jefferson Drive  SW, Washington DC

 Freer Gallery of Art 

Asian Art dating from the early 20th century back to Neolithic times. The collections feature Chinese paintings, Indian Sculpture, Islamic metalware, Japanese lacquer, Korean ceramics. This museum is closely associated with the Sackler Gallery. The 2 are connected via an underground exhibition hall.  

Jefferson Drive & 12th Street SW, Washington DC

 Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden

Modern Art and Sculpture displayed in a unique round building, arguably a grand piece of art in itself, and outdoor garden.  

Independence Ave& 7th Street SW, Washington DC

National Portrait Gallery

Explore Portraits of the people who have shaped our nation. From Presidents (the only collection outside the White House with every President since George Washington) to celebrities, villains, actors and poets. The Portrait Gallery is connected to the American History Museum by a large covered central courtyard. 

8th and F Streets NW, Washington DC

National Postal Museum

 The Pony Express, Mail trucks, trains and airplanes. Stamp collecting, history of the mail system, letters, hands on activities, and computer interactive exhibits. 

2 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington DC 

 Renwick Gallery

This museum explores American crafts and decorative arts. This is a relatively small museum, with rotating permanent collections along with temporary exhibits. 

1661 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington DC 

 Sackler Gallery

Asian Art dating from the early 20th century back to Neolithic times. The collections feature Chinese paintings, Indian Sculpture, Islamic metalware, Japanese lacquer, Korean ceramics. This museum is closely associated with the Freer Gallery. The 2 are connected via an underground exhibition hall.

1050 Independence Avenue SW, Washington DC 

 Smithsonian Institution Building, The Castle

Administrative and Information headquarters for the Smithsonian system. Americas Treasure Chest, the primary exhibit in the Castle, features a sampling of objects and art on display throughout the system. 

1000 Jefferson Drive SW, Washington DC


 U.S. Holocaust Museum & Memorial

The Holocaust Museum is dedicated to the history, stories and survivors of persecution by the Nazi regime. The museums seeks to "inspire citizens and leaders worldwide to confront hatred, prevent genocide and promote human dignity." The museum tells the story of those that died, but also those who survived. This is an exceptionally emotional museum, but also a tremendous experience. 

14th & C Streets SW,  Washington DC