During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
1. National Air and Space Museum
The Air & Space is by far one of the most popular museums in the District and for good reason! There are three galleries inside the museum which feature aircrafts, space stations, and much more. You can see the 1903 Wright Flyer, touch a piece of moon rock or watch a 3D presentation in their IMAX theater.
Dedicated to journalism and free speech, the Newseum gives visitors a look at the world of journalism. You can view a gallery of Pulitzer Prize winning photographs, parts of the Berlin Wall, and a fascinating display of more than 80 front pages from around the world. You won’t want to miss the panoramic view from the sixth floor of downtown DC either!
3. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
This beautiful and moving museum is a must visit. The three floor exhibition has more than 900 artifacts, archive footage, and survivor testimony about the Nazi holocaust. Be forewarned, the material in this museum can be intense and is not recommended for young children. There is a specially designed children’s exhibition for children eight and over.
4. International Spy Museum
One of the few museums in the world dedicated to the unique world of spies, the spy museum is an adventure! Learn about the mysterious men and women who performed missions you only thought existed in the movies. The exhibits featuring spy gadgets will impress everyone!
5. National Gallery of Art
There are over 100,000 pieces of art at the National Gallery of Art. It includes everything from drawings to photographs, prints, new media and decorative arts from the Middle Ages to the present. You will also want to save time to stroll the attached Sculpture Garden.
6. Hirshhorn Museum
The Hirschhorn is one of the preeminent museums feature a range of art . The building itself is practically a piece of art all on its own. Originally designed to house millionaire Joseph Hirschhorn’s collection of 20th century art, the museum now has a wide range of art and media.
7. National Museum of American Indian
One of the more recent additions to the Mall, the National Museum of the American Indian honors and memorializes the history of indigenous people in the United States. There are over 800,000 items and artifacts from many different tribes here. Additionally, this museum is known to have one of the very best cafes in the entire city, the Mitsitam Native Foods Cafe, which serves food inspired by Native American cuisines.
8. National Museum of African American History and Culture
The newest museum in DC, the National Museum of African American History and Culture opened in 2016. The museum tells of African American life and culture in the US. It focuses on subjects such as community, family, religion, slavery, civil rights, segregation and art.
9. Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery
The American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery share a building and you can access one museum directly from the other. The American Art Museum is known as the nation’s first art collection and you can view the many different diverse works of art that have come from Americans from colonial times until today. The National Portrait Gallery tells America’s history through the people who shaped it and features over 20,000 portraits of some of the most influential Americans.
10. National Geographic Museum
This museum features the perspective from explorers, photographers and scientists who dedicate their lives to exploring and saving the planet. There are a variety of exhibits that are great for all ages!
11. National Postal Museum
Not as well known or as flashy as some of the other museums, the Postal Museum is an awesome experience. Learn about the history of the postal service, from the Pony Express until today. View fantastic collections of stamps and the many different planes, mail trucks and rail cars that have carried the mail over the years. As a bonus, it’s usually less crowded than other museums.
12. National Building Museum
A unique museum, the building itself is fantastic and earns a visit all on its own. But the National Building Museum features exhibits that focus on architects, architecture and buildings. You will get a sense of how architecture and home has evolved over the years.
13. National Museum of Natural History
From dinosaurs to diamonds, the Natural History Museum has a little bit of everything. There are hundreds of live butterflies inside the Butterfly Pavilion, spectacular dinosaur bones and lifelike animal scenes in the Ocean and Mammals Halls. You will also want to grab a glimpse of the 45.5 carat Hope Diamond and maybe stop off at the IMAX theater for a daily show.
14. Marian Koshland Science Museum
Quite lesser known than others, this is a private museum run by the National Academy of Sciences. It explores the science of daily life, including everything from weather to diseases to climate change. Their interactive displays are incredibly fun and interesting.
15. National Zoo
Yes, the zoo is technically a museum! An outdoor, living, breathing museum, that is. There are over 2,000 animals from 400 different species living on the 163 acres of park. In addition to the animals, there are several educational exhibits where visitors can learn about conservation and ecology of the different animals and species.