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Smithsonian Institution Building

Certificate of Excellence
Neighborhood: National Mall
Sponsored by:
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Address: 1000 Jefferson Dr SW, Washington DC, DC 20560-0008
Phone Number:
+1 202-633-1000
8:30 am - 5:30 pm
Open now
See all hours
Sun - Sat 8:30 am - 5:30 pm
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Fee: No

The world's largest museum and research complex is actually comprised of 19...

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.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 3,366 reviews
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  • 1988
  • 580
    Very good
  • 211
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  • 6
What to do on the Mall before 10 AM

The "Castle" provides a convenient place to hang out if you get to Smithsonian museums before their 10 AM opening. There is a decent coffee shop (but you can find cheaper off the... read more

Reviewed 2 weeks ago
Washington DC
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3,366 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 2,830: English reviews
Washington DC
Level Contributor
62 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

The "Castle" provides a convenient place to hang out if you get to Smithsonian museums before their 10 AM opening. There is a decent coffee shop (but you can find cheaper off the Mall) and lots of information about the museums, and it's a cool building in its own right.

Thank worms2u
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

The Smithsonian Institution and affiliated museums are a must see in DC -- but allow yourself plenty of time because there is so much to see. You also can't beat the price -- many of the museums are free!

Thank michaelfruff
Livermore, California
Level Contributor
21 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

This building gives a minimal overview of the VAST Smithsonian collection. Great place to coordinate with others but not too much to really see other than the history of the founder - which is good.

Thank mike b
Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
533 reviews
101 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 172 helpful votes
Reviewed March 24, 2017 via mobile

The Smithsonian Castle is the place to start your Smithsonian Museum visit. You can access resources, maps and guides who can help you get the most out of your visit. The beauty of the building is best appreciated from a distance. You should go in also see the sepulcher of James Smithsonian himself.

2 Thank George Y
Utica, New York
Level Contributor
1,784 reviews
1,145 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 677 helpful votes
Reviewed March 16, 2017

If you want to know about how the Smithsonian came to be, this is the building for you. It's really no longer a museum even though the large brick building is the iconic Smithsonian. It houses the administrative offices and there are a dozen other museums offered in the complex. So I'd suggest a visit here only if you really... More 

1 Thank RonL40
San Diego, California
Level Contributor
68 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed March 10, 2017

Not much here - but...the only place to read all about the mysterious Smithson and his mystery gift that got the whole Smithsonian Institution jump started in the early 1800's before US had the money or interest in what has become quintessential part of our Capitol's experience!

1 Thank James M
Level Contributor
97 reviews
47 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
Reviewed March 8, 2017

Smithson crypt is located immediately inside. Brought his body back from Italy! The original Building is architect designed like a Castle. The garden areas are manicured with flower gardens and pathways to stroll around on. Visitors can grab a little bite or coffee/ beverage in the little café. Information center has maps and the people working are most helpful with... More 

1 Thank Karetomuch
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Level Contributor
14 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed March 3, 2017

Smithsonian castle is a great place for you to start your tour around the National Mall. It is an information center than open before other museums, so you can plan your visit before hitting off. Mr.Smithson's crypt, the person that created the Smithsonian, is directly to the left when you entered. There is a small exhibition area that explain how... More 

1 Thank Nam V
Lincoln, Nebraska
Level Contributor
85 reviews
50 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed March 2, 2017

Make sure to stop by the castle and pickup a map of the Smithsonian campus. There is also a cafe and gift shop if you're looking for a bite to eat or some souvenirs.

1 Thank Amber B
Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
23 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed February 26, 2017

If you are travelling to Washington DC, set aside several days for the Smithsonian's many free museums. This is your first port of call. If gives you an overview of the numerous museums and is a beautiful building to explore

Thank Chris L

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Questions & Answers

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Typical questions asked:
  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
  • How do I get there using public transportation?
  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?