Museums in Washington DC

THE 10 BEST Washington DC Museums

Museums in Washington DC

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160 places sorted by traveler favorites
  • Things to do ranked using Tripadvisor data including reviews, ratings, photos, and popularity.
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What travelers are saying

  • bodhi_sam
    Orlando, FL275 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Haven’t been to the DC Natural history museum in years and boy have they revamped it. Exhibits show a fantastic array of wildlife, with powerful storytelling and the minerals exhibit is curated beautifully. Worth a visit for any family - and best of all it’s free!!
    Written February 15, 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Happygolucky195
    Boston, MA57 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    The Air and Space Museum was phenomenal, but I would utilize a tour guide if I went back, which would make it even better. I had been to that museum many years ago, and the guide really brought it to life. According to the website they are in the middle of a renovation, but I didn't really notice anything. I think they must be almost done.
    Written February 23, 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • D M
    Cincinnati, OH28 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Top notch art and experience. I sat in the gallery on a couch and sketched for an hour.
    Clean bathrooms and secure. Beautiful sculptures and art.

    Easily accessible on the national mall.
    Written February 29, 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Boyd J
    Maleny, Australia1,688 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum requires a timed pass to get in and the security procedures similar to boarding an aircraft. The exhibits are laid out so that you take an elevator to the third floor. The lift is steel, has no buttons or signs and 15 people are crammed into the car. Half way up a short announcement begins about – I can’t remember what – as I was still taking in how the elevator car ride is meant to represent in a minuscule way the journey of Jews in airless freight cars to a concentration camp. The door opens and the exhibits are unrelenting from there on, as they should be. The story then unfolds over three floors as you move through the exhibit and descend each floor. The special children’s exhibit tells the story of Daniel in a way that doesn’t shy away from what happened, yet in a sensitive way more suitable for children.
    It is a confronting, sobering, yet compelling experience. Not to be missed out of all of the museums in Washington D.C.
    Written February 24, 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Boyd J
    Maleny, Australia1,688 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    This museum is deceptive from the outside. It looks like it’s three stories high, though there are also several levels underground and by descending to level three and then working your way up, the story of African Americans in the USA unfolds from the earliest days of slavery to the present day. It’s a depressing and often unpleasant story as well, but one that needs to be told. The museum also showcases African Americans in sport, music, the Arts, politics and industry and there are many stories of great achievement and happiness, though throughout, racial discrimination is an integral, and sadly pervasive element of the achievements. A phenomenally important museum and another must-see on a visit to Washington DC.
    Written February 24, 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Ilene
    massachusetts758 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    I loved every inch of this museum! In my top 3 in DC along with Smithsonian National Museum of American History and the National Gallery of Art. Holy smokes, I could have stared at Obama’s portrait forever. Simply electric.
    Written February 14, 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Michelle C
    Coventry, UK10 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    This was such a great place to visit and also you get the added bonus of going to visit the boarding house over the road where Lincoln sadly passed away.

    The museum itself was really well presented and informative. Upon arriving the front of house staff including box office are lovely and there is also an audio guide available for $5 which you need to swap for a photo ID, so make sure you take your's with you if you want to rent a guide. Personally for me it was worth it as it gave additional information to the presentation boards and this one also bleeps at you to display photos on the screen so you know what it relates too which I thought was a great additional. The museum itself is full of exciting items and history with plenty to see plus things I actually didn't know about! Also when entering the theatre itself you can view the presidential box and capture some great photos! When I was there, there was also a Park Ranger giving a history download on the theatre and the night of the event and he was great! gave lots of information and made the story come alive, he was also at the boarding house by luck when I went across the road and again gave us additional information about the house and its history!

    And the final thing, all this was only $3.50! money well spent and came away very knowledgeable and pleased I had visited :)
    Written February 27, 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Stevie D
    Reading, PA4 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Plan to hit the displays that you are interested in and save time for other displays that interest you. Defiantly a lot of good stuff here. Some things I have are not relatable to me but some are a hit out of the park. Always food trucks outside if you are hungry.
    I consider this very good. Hit this and do another.
    Written January 29, 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Erin H
    99 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    This is one of the best kept secrets in Washington DC. I have heard that this Museum boasts the largest collection of Russian art outside of Russia. It is located within a house of the heiress Merryweather Post, the heris to cereal fortune. I think the story goes that she was married to a diplomat or something who was in Russia as was she during the revolution of 1917, and to preserve much of the art she bought it and brought it all to her home. The home is preserved just as it would have been in the 1950s when I believe she passed away. It is a stately mansion with a number of outhouses, a greenhouse, and amazing Gardens and even one of the best gift shops in DC. You can take a picnic lunch and eat on the ground or take a lunch from the on-site catering facility that has lovely food and a nice atmosphere in which to eat it. I went to the museum about a year ago with my toddler who was either a two or three year old. Let's just say that the house is not accessible so strollers cannot be brought in to the house / Museum. Of course she could walk all over the museum, but in order to preserve the mansion, they haven't really made any modifications to facilitate wheelchairs or strollers, and everything is pretty much out in the open. At the time I went, I had to close friend visiting from Britain, and he tried to hold my daughter on his shoulders the entire time we were in the mansion. This is a little stressful for us. So I think it's advisable not to take young kids to this Museum, which is unfortunate. I have to be able to bring my daughter and other visitors to the museum now that she's a little bit older. She loves the grounds, the restaurant, and of course the main attraction itself. You don't have to love Russia, but they used to and to a certain extent, still do produce some of the most amazing art and pottery in the world.
    Written February 9, 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Car7177
    Milwaukee40 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Even though the museum is under renovation this is a must see. The Constitution, The Declaration of Independence, & The Bill of Rights! So powerful to see them in person. Make sure to make a free reservation online prior to going—then you hardly have to wait & can get right in!!!
    Written March 1, 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Jida N
    Houston, TX148 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    We were excited to check out the museum. A well built museum with interesting exhibits.

    We were disappointed in some of the exhibits that were one sided and did not show Israel’s occupation of Palestine for example. Quite frustrating with the exhibits of the Oklahoma bomber who was not classified as a terrorist but the terrorist word used for the terrorist that identified as Muslim only.

    It’s a large museum and overwhelming we just wanted to get through at the end.

    The interactive mission was under whelming. No activities or missions to accomplish. If you skipped it you aren’t missing anything.

    Some of the interactive exhibits were interesting such as the interrogation activity.

    Interesting to visit but a few exhibits need to show a more holistic view of the Israel and Palestinian topic.
    Written December 26, 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Urban Explorer
    Toronto, Canada291 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Yes yes we know about the magnificent collection: A Van Gogh here, Renoir, El Greco, a Diebenkorn, one half of the Jacob Lawrence Migration series (the other half lives at MOMA) and much much more. Because in the old days people who made millions upon millions bought art…and eventually made it available to the rest of us as a museum. And it’s lucky for us they did because it’s a terrific memorable collection.

    But what you shouldn’t miss is the cafe. I usually stay away from these museum cafes but the food was excellent and the coffee robust. Fairly reasonable considering it’s a museum (pricey but not absurd). The cup of squash soup was bursting with flavour, had a bit of kick, and came with a generous slab of rustic bread. Held us over until dinner.

    Altogether worth visiting on every trip to DC.
    The cafe too!
    Written February 21, 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Vegiemite76
    Florence, SC23 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    As a follower of Jesus this provided a great day at the museum and we were very impressed with the quality of the displays and presentations.

    Having a Jewish gentleman explaining people’s names meaning and writing them in Hebrew was an unexpected highlight.

    Definitely need a few hours to get through it all but was interesting to see the museum app offering a few fast track options for those with less time.

    Multimedia presentations were very well done. Amazing collection of Bible copies from through the years and helpful insights into culture and societies that were part of the Bible’s journey through history.

    Highly recommended. Groupon offers discounted entry and that was easy to use.
    Written December 21, 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Robert D
    Brooklyn, New York2,718 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    The Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) and the National Portrait Gallery (NPG) are both housed in the old Patent Office building. In SAAM, there were many interesting exhibits, both permanent and temporary. The exhibits give a broad picture of American art from the colonial period until the 21st century.
    Written January 4, 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Caribby96
    Burnaby, Canada234 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    I visited several of the Smithsonians while I was in DC and this was by far my favourite. It was not too busy, so there was an opportunity to see everything at a leisurely pace. Learning about the history of the US Postal Service was very cool. We also loved looking at the old stamps! Definitely an underrated museum.
    Written February 6, 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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