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Smithsonian Institution Building

1000 Jefferson Drive SW, Washington DC, DC 20013-7012 (National Mall)
202 633 1000
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As featured in Washington DC on a budget
Ranked #18 of 252 Attractions in Washington DC
Certificate of Excellence 2014
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Type: Museums, Zoos
Activities: City walk sightseeing
Fee: No
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: The world's largest museum and research complex is actually comprised of 15 specialty museums, and other affiliates, with subjects that vary from... more » Owner description: The world's largest museum and research complex is actually comprised of 15 specialty museums, and other affiliates, with subjects that vary from African Art to the postal service, sculpture to space exploration. « less
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Activities for young children
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2,458 reviews from our community

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Macon, Georgia
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
18 attraction reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 26, 2014 NEW

It was beautiful building and lots of look at. Had lots of information and the people working there were very helpful. Great city!

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Chattanooga, Tennessee
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
8 attraction reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 26, 2014 NEW

a cool building, and the history is great, but there's really not much in there as far as exhibits and stuff. mostly just a massive gift shop. cafe is overpriced and disappointing

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Jasper, Texas
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
22 attraction reviews
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 25, 2014 NEW

This is a very beautiful building in the center of all the places that you are in D.C. to see. The architecture stands out among all the modern structures that have sprouted out around it. The name "The Castle" truly fits the original Smithsonian museum. I found myself wanting to take photos of it from every angle I could see.

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Rancho cucamonga, CA
Top Contributor
162 reviews 162 reviews
47 attraction reviews
66 helpful votes 66 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 21, 2014

So this castle area mainly An information area for all the smithsonian museums. They are open earlier than the museums so you can go there and an your day. The information desk workers were super friendly and helpful. The garden is pretty and there are a few antiques and photos in the Castle worth looking at.

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Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 21, 2014

A great experience , even our young twins were not bored. A great source of information/educational. Would have spent a lot longer and can wait to revisit.

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Houston, Texas
Top Contributor
107 reviews 107 reviews
49 attraction reviews
46 helpful votes 46 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 20, 2014

This beautiful castle serves as the administrative headquarters of Smithsonian Institution, the organization responsible for providing you free admission to quality museums throughout Washington DC! Unfortunately, there is nothing to do in the castle itself. Only the first floor is open to public as an information center and cafe, but the information center was just a desk with few brochures... More

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Vicenza, Italy
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
3 attraction reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 19, 2014

Plan on taking at least 2 days to see all the museums. Each museum as so much to offer. Museum staff informed me that Fridays are the busiest day of the week. Food and offered outside each museum.

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Belleville
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
17 attraction reviews
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 15, 2014

It was not marked well as to what we might see in here. BUT, when we went into the great hall we were pleasantly surprised. There are really interesting bits and pieces displayed like a piece of Washington's coffin, Presidents' hair, old seed catalogs. Unfortunately, the price of soda here (bottled Coke) was over $3.50. The gift shop has a... More

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Omaha, Nebraska
Top Contributor
601 reviews 601 reviews
472 attraction reviews
121 helpful votes 121 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 15, 2014

This is an old building in sort of the center of the mall. There is not a whole lot to see there as this is not a large building, but most people seem to miss it. Don't let that be you.

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South Carolina
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
22 attraction reviews
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 10, 2014

The Castle as it's known locally is a magical place built in a time when public buildings were of Victorian or Gothic Revival style. This was one of the first two major structures built for the National Museum known in the present era simply as the Smithsonian. It presently serves as a visitor/welcome center for the 19 Smithsonian museums arrayed... More

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