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Smithsonian Institution Building

Closed Now: 8:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Open today: 8:30 AM - 5:30 PM
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  • Excellent69%
  • Very good22%
  • Average7%
  • Poor1%
  • Terrible1%
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“american history”(211 reviews)
“national mall”(104 reviews)
The world's largest museum and research complex is actually comprised of 19 museums and the National Zoo, with subjects that vary from African Art to the postal service, sculpture to space exploration.
Closed Now
Hours Today: 8:30 AM - 5:30 PM
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Suggested duration: 1-2 hours
1000 Jefferson Dr SW, Washington DC, DC 20560-0008
National Mall
+1 202-633-1000
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All reviews american history beautiful building national mall national treasure gift shop on display castle exhibits information crypt interests architecture overview security
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1 - 10 of 2,930 reviews
Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

Very disappointed by this castle. From the outside it looks grand, but inside is a complete mis match of random artefacts including stuffed animals which is grotesque. Take some nice photos of the exterior and garden and move on!

Date of experience: December 2018
Thank kirstyandmatthew15
Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

The Smithsonian Castle is home to the museum complex visitor center with many interactive displays and maps. You can take the maps there, pick the museums of your interest and start exploring. Beautiful red brick castle-like building has become a symbol of the museum complex....More

Date of experience: November 2018
Thank Noraatc
Reviewed December 11, 2018 via mobile

Great introduction into how the Smithsonian Institute came about. It was surprising to realise the founder had never even visited the USA! Good little mixture of artefacts that give you a better idea of what is in the main museums!

Date of experience: November 2018
Thank Travelnikk
Reviewed December 10, 2018

This was the ORIGINAL Smithsonian, a donation by a European in the 1800's and by providence made it to the US to create what became the foundation of an American institution. (For those of you who don't know, there is no single Smithsonian Museum, but...More

Date of experience: December 2018
Thank royalvagabond
Reviewed December 5, 2018

The Castle is beautiful. I was walking by and stopped in. There is a crypt with the remains of James Smithson founder of the Smithsonian institute in one of the rooms, as well as a bronze bust of him. It is a great building and...More

Date of experience: November 2018
Thank Patty B
Reviewed November 28, 2018

Well worth the time and the best starting place for the before you go to the other museum locations. Great history on the starting point.

Date of experience: October 2018
Thank Ronald C
Reviewed November 21, 2018

The Castle, as it is known, is the starting place for all the Smithsonian museums. although small, it contains an ever rotating collection of artifacts that come from the endless supply warehouses of history. There was a collection of 4 incredible helmets worn by historic...More

Date of experience: March 2018
Thank CharleySays
Reviewed November 14, 2018

This is such a cool place, with a lot more to look at than you expect. The Smithsonian is actually several buildings all tied together in a complex but be sure and explore every area, because its all very interesting.

Date of experience: December 2017
Thank ladybrady007
Reviewed November 8, 2018

Interesting Museum but the best way to experience "The Castle" is with the guided tour. It is so much more informative this way. The story of James Smithson is quite amazing.

Date of experience: November 2018
Thank Taowalker221b
Reviewed October 27, 2018

There is nothing to really see at the Smithsonian Institution Building other than a few displays, a small gift shop and café, as the main purpose is to house the administrative offices and an information center. If you do not have much time in DC,...More

Date of experience: September 2018
Thank digitalroc
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Questions & Answers
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August 27, 2017|
AnswerShow all 11 answers
Response from bustertheboa | Reviewed this property |
You can see the entire Smithsonian Institution Building in an hour or two, in my opinion. Spend some time outside in the garden and admiring the architecture. Then see the exhibits inside. It isn't so much a museum as it is... More
Kimberly H
January 8, 2017|
AnswerShow all 8 answers
Response from samir b |
Yes. Check out tripplanner.si.edu, Smithsonian's newest tool that helps you plan a visit across all the museum's in DC. And all of Smithsonian's museum's in DC are free!
Sheron J
September 19, 2016|
AnswerShow all 11 answers
Response from kade1067 | Reviewed this property |
No cost to get in only if you want to see show
Travel Forum Posts
Singapore, Singapore
2 Days Itinerary in May (5 Replies)
Hi, we will be spending about 1.5 days in DC from 26-27 May. Would appreciate comments on anything we've missed. We are a group of youths and would hope to cover as much as possible. Day 1 - arrive in DC early noon, staying in Southwest - lunch at National Mall - Smithsonian Institution Building - National Air and Space Museum - White House - Lincoln Memorial - Vietnam Veterans Memorial - Martin Luther King Jr Memorial - Thomas Jefferson Memorial - Dinner Day 2 - US...More
April 24, 2013|
Response fromDarrell6t|
You are missing dozens of things. But you are going to be in DC such a short time. Do you really want to pay for the Spy Museum when there are so many free museums in DC? The Smithsonian Castle, which is what I suppose you mean by the Smithsonian Institution Building, is an interesting building but it is more of an information center for all the Smithsonian museums than it is a destination. I believe it does have a cafe where you can get some lunch. But for a better, cheaper lunch, and if...More
Singapore, Singapore
2 Days Trip to Washington DC (3 Replies)
Hi All, I'm doing a 2 full days trip (with car) in Washington from 3rd-4th April. As I have only got 2 days :( , I have shortlisted the following places of interest: - Tidal Basin to view the Cherry Blossoms - Smithsonian Air and Space Udvar-Hazy Center or National Air and Space Museum (which one to go?) - George Washington's Mount Vernon - Smithsonian Institution Building - Capitol Tour - Library of Congress I have not planned the exact schedule, but was just wondering if I am...More
February 11, 2012|
Response fromlam91897|
The Smithsonian is a group of museums so you need to figure out what you are interested in. You don't probably have time to go out to the Udavar -Hazy Center as it is out near Dulles Airport about 45 minutes outside of DC. A trip to Mt Vernon will take a good part of one day (especially the week you are going to be here) so you may need to cut this out. If you go to Mt Vernon I would make it the first thing you day one of the days and be down there when it opens up. Later in the day it will...More
Denver, Colorado
Help! First time to DC 3 day trip to see everything (7 Replies)
I'm going to be in DC with 3 girlfriends in early March and have started to do my research but am getting overwhelmed with info. I don't want to do Georgetown or Alexandria on this trip, I just want to focus on the sites in town. Any suggestions on the order to see the following... Capitol White House Lincoln Memorial Washington Monument Thomas Jefferson Memorial National Air and Space Museum Smithsonian Institution Building Smithsonian National Zoological park Hirshhorn Museum ...More
September 08, 2012|
Response fromMatt B|
The first thing you need to do is look at a map because almost all the sights you list are within the same general two-mile area. Therefore the order you do them will be decided by wherever you decide to start walking. Georgetown IS in town. It's part of DC and it's only a mile away from the Mall.