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Things to Do in District of Columbia

The District of Columbia is home to the U.S. Capitol, national monuments, a vast museum complex, and memorials to presidents and veterans, gardens, zoos and historic sites, among many others. Attractions and things to do are numerous and varied. Within the greater metro area visit Virginia - take in Old Town in Alexandria, Arlington with the national cemeteries, George Washington’s Mount Vernon, historic Fredericksburg and Maryland’s Annapolis, America’s sailing capital, and Chesapeake Bay. Many of these areas are connected by the Metro and train systems. Restaurants range from world cuisine to local favorites to taverns. Visitors can stay in hotels, resorts, B&Bs and inns.
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American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery

Eighth and F Streets NW
Washington, District of Columbia
202-633-7970
The Smithsonian Institution's American Art Museum, the nation's first collection of American art, is an unparalleled record of the American experience. The collection celebrates the vision and creativity of Americans with approximately 41,000 artworks in all media spanning more than three centuries.

The museum's permanent collection is featured in six installations, including "American Experience," "American Art through 1940," the expanded "America's Presidents," "American Origins,...
Hours & Admission
Daily 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Closed December 25. Free.
Photo ©Flying Compass

Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

12th Street SW and Jefferson Drive
Washington, District of Columbia
202-633-1000
The Freer Gallery of Art was the first museum of the Smithsonian Institution to be dedicated to the fine arts. The Freer and the neighboring Arthur M. Sackler Gallery together form the national museum of Asian art for the United States. Besides Asian art, the Freer houses a collection of 19th- and early 20th-century American art, including the world's largest number of works by James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903).

Art in the Freer Gallery spans 6,000 years and many different...
Hours & Admission
Daily Monday to Saturday 10:00 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Closed December 25. Free.
Photo Courtesy: Smithsonian Institution

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Seventh Street SW and Independence Avenue
Washington, District of Columbia
202-633-1000
The Smithsonian Institution's Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is one of the world's leading museums of international modern and contemporary art. The facility welcomes visitors at all levels of understanding to experience the transformative power of contemporary art.

The museum collects, preserves and presents international modern and contemporary art in all media, distinguished by in-depth holdings of major artists of the 20th and 21st centuries. The permanent collection has more...
Hours & Admission
Museum: daily 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Closed December 25. Garden: daily 7:30 .m. to dusk. Free.
Photo by: Lee Stalsworth. Photo Courtesy: Hirshhorn Museum

National Air and Space Museum

Sixth Street and Independence Avenue SW
Washington, District of Columbia
202-633-1000
The Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum maintains the world's largest collection of historic aircraft and spacecraft among some 50,000 artifacts that range in size from Saturn V rockets to jetliners to gliders to space helmets to microchips. Exhibits showcase the history of aviation and the space age, presenting the history of flight from the earliest yearning and attempts to fly to World War II rockets to modern space probes. The politics, physics, and art linked to man's dream of flying are explored within its galleries....
Hours & Admission
Daily 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Closed December 25. Free.
Photo Courtesy: National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution

National Gallery of Art

Fourth Street and Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, District of Columbia
202-737-4215
The Smithsonian Institution's National Gallery of Art, one of the world's preeminent museums, showcases its collections in two separate buildings. It is comprised of some 116,000 paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, sculpture and decorative arts that trace the development of Western art from the Middle Ages to the present.

John Russell Pope designed the West Building, which opened to the public in 1941. Collections include European (13th-early 20th century) and...
Hours & Admission
Monday to Saturday 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Sunday 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Closed December 25 and January 1. Free.
Photo ©Flying Compass

National Museum of African Art

950 Independence Avenue SW
Washington, District of Columbia
202-633-4600
The Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of African Art fosters the discovery and appreciation of the visual arts of Africa, the cradle of humanity through exhibits, lectures, films and workshops.

Security: security checkpoint, similar to airports. No backpacks, tripods or bag lunches.
Hours & Admission
Museum: daily 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Garden: daily 7:30 .m. to dusk. Closed December 25. Free.
Photo Courtesy: Smithsonian Institution

National Museum of American History

14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, District of Columbia
202-633-1000
The Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History is responsible for the collection, care and preservation of more than three million objects. The collections represent the nation's heritage in the areas of science, technology, sociology and culture from colonial times to the present. The collections include first ladies gowns, a Samuel Morse telegraph, locomotives, tools, an Alexander Graham Bell telephone, flags, American-made quilts, Muhammad Ali's boxing gloves, Duke Ellington's sheet music and TV puppet star Howdy Doody....
Hours & Admission
Daily 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Free.
Photo ©Flying Compass

National Museum of Natural History

10th Street and Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, District of Columbia
202-357-2700
The Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History, reputed to be the most-visited natural history museum, strives to inspire curiosity, discovery and learning about nature and culture through exceptional collections, exhibitions, education and research.

With more than 125 million specimens and artifacts, the museum's collections are the largest in the world, evolving around the areas of anthropology (human studies); biology, including botany...
Hours & Admission
Daily 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Closed December 25. Free.
Photo Courtesy: Smithsonian Institution

National Museum of the American Indian

Fourth Street and Independence Avenue SW
Washington, District of Columbia
202-633-1000
Established in 1989, the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian is an institution of living cultures dedicated to advancing knowledge and understanding of the life, languages, literature, history and arts of the Native peoples of the Western Hemisphere.

Opened in 2004, this is the first national museum in the country dedicated exclusively to Native Americans, the first to present all exhibitions from a Native viewpoint. The five-story, distinctive curvilinear...
Hours & Admission
Daily 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Closed December 25. Free.
Photo by Katherine Fogden, NMAI

National Postal Museum

2 Massachusetts Avenue NE
Washington, District of Columbia
202-633-5555
The Smithsonian Institution's National Postal Museum is dedicated to the preservation, study and presentation of postal history and philately - the collection and study of postage stamps, postmarks and stamped envelopes.

The museum with six million items houses one of the largest and most significant collection of stamps and philatelic material in the world - including postal stationery, vehicles used to transport the mail, mailboxes, meters, cards and letters and postal materials...
Hours & Admission
Daily 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Closed December 25. Free.
Photo ©Flying Compass
Information subject to change without notice.
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