Us Capitol Visitor Center
Similar to the White House, you need tickets to enter the actual Capitol Building – but these are relatively easy to come by and are included on our Capitol Hill Walking Tour.
But you do not need tickets to enter the free Visitor Center which houses an interactive and video filled education center.
If you want to view the House or Senate Gallery, passes are required. These are still free but require contacting your congressperson or the International Visitors Desk to get them.
- You can visit the Heurich House to attend one of the many events for free. You won’t get a full tour of the house but you can get a sneak peek.
The government and public buildings below are open to the public, though some require advance reservations or tickets at certain times of the year.
And don’t forget, many of our walking tours include these buildings!
Learn more about the history of Ford’s Theatre on our Lincoln Assassination tour.
Our Capitol Hill & Library of Congress tour visits inside the Library and includes tickets for touring the Capitol Building.
United States Botanic Garden Is Open And Free
While you may not think of it as a museum, the US Botanic Garden still makes us happy throughout the year, especially during the winter months. And actually, it is considered a living museum filled with flora and fauna. Best of allits FREE. All year long!
The conservatory is one of the warmest spots to visit in the city in the winter, filled with blooms that will remind you that spring will come again. Visit several times a year to see the garden at its different stages. No two weeks will ever look the same.
Just remember to look, not touch. Dont remove the labels dont pick the flowers. These are for everyone to enjoy.
Smithsonian Museums In Dc To Reopen Starting In May
The Smithsonian will reopen eight of its facilities to the public in May, starting with the National Air and Space Museums Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, Wednesday, May 5. Additional museums and the National Zoo will open Friday, May 14, and Friday, May 21.
All locations will reopen with added health and safety measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Visitors will need to reserve free timed-entry passes for all locations. All other Smithsonian museums will remain temporarily closed to the public.
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Smithsonian Museums Are Reopening This Summer Heres What You Need To Know
The National Museum of Natural History is slated to reopen on June 18, 2021.
Hugh Talman and James Di Loreto, Smithsonian Institution
After being closed for several monthsor in some cases since March 2020because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Smithsonian museums and art galleries in Washington D.C. and New York City will soon be open to the public thanks to staggered reopening dates and timed entry passes. Seven popular Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo reopened in May 2021, while 10 more are expected to reopen in . Heres a look at whatll be opening when and everything else you need to know to plan your visit.
Heres What You Need To Know About Visiting Museums In Dc Right Now
Washingtons museum scene continues to feel the effects of the pandemic, with some museums closed and others requiring vaccination to enter. Meanwhile, some popular attractions are shuttered for renovations. Heres everything you need to know about visiting museums in 2022. Remember: Masks are required to be worn inside all buildings.
This story will be updated.
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Art Museums & Galleries
DC has a number of art museums to cover an array of tastes. We have a guide to the art museums of DC here.
- American Art Museum– This is the nation’s first collection of American art and is home to one of the largest and most inclusive collections of American art in the world. here
- African Art– This is the only national museum in the United States dedicated to the collection, exhibition, conservation, and study of the arts of Africa and the exhibits expand all of Africa in its examples of traditional and contemporary art.
- Portrait Gallery– This museum balances both traditional and contemporary art exhibits, and is best known for housing the largest collection of presidential portraits outside of the White House.
- Archives of American Art– With over 16 million items and growing, this is the world’s largest and most widely used resource dedicated to collecting and preserving the papers and primary records of the visual arts in America.
- Freer Gallery of Art & Sackler Gallery– These are the Smithsonian’s two Asian art museums.
- Hirshhorn– If you love contemporary art, this one’s for you. The unique cylindrical building is impossible to miss and houses unique contemporary art and includes a sunken sculpture garden.
- Renwick Gallery– This museum is located right across from the White House and houses contemporary art. It is also the first building in the United States built specifically to be an art museum.
Find The Latest Coronavirus
The coronavirus pandemic has affected events, attractions and other businesses throughout the Washington, DC area. The city is currently in Phase Two of recovery, which allows many businesses to reopen. Make sure to check out our list of reopened businesses and read below for more details on restaurants, attractions and museums, including helpful safety information.
The DC government currently requires visitors to test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of traveling to avoid visiting if you are a close contact of a confirmed positive case and to get tested within 3-5 days of arrival if you are visiting for more than three days. The city already requires individuals to socially distance and wear face coverings. Read more up-to-date information about traveling to the city to ensure the health and safety of visitors.
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Other Museums And Historic Sites Are Closed Too
The Smithsonian isnt the only attraction where you might find locked doors this spring. The National Gallery of Art is closing the East Building, home to its modern art collection, on Feb. 28 for restoration work on the skylight, as well as other renovations. The National Gallery plans to reopen the building in June.
The National Museum of Women in the Artsclosed for extensive building renovations in August 2021, and is not expected to reopen until fall 2023. However, some of the museums treasures, including works by Lavinia Fontana, Amy Sherald and Frida Kahlo, are on display at the National Gallery of Art during the closure.
The Belmont-Paul Womens Equality National Monument, the historic home of the National Womans Party had big plans for 2020, the centennial of womens suffrage. However, the museum closed in March 2020, and has not reopened to the public. The National Park Service announced that the museum will be closed through early 2023 while the roof, windows and other portions of the building are renovated. Its not the only Park Service site closed at the moment: at Cedar Hill, Frederick Douglasss Anacostia home, the grounds are open but the house is closed.
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Woman’s National Democratic Club Museum
The Woman’s National Democratic Club Museum is located two blocks from Dupont Circle station. The museum is housed in a landmark 19th-century residence. Interior features include the Arts and Crafts foyer and stairwell, and an elaborate plaster ceiling in the former music room. The WNDC museum displays political campaign memorabilia, portraits, photographs, political cartoons, antique furnishings in handsomely appointed rooms, and art exhibits. Public tours are by appointment only.
Here are some of the “must see” items at Woman’s National Democratic Club Museum.
- Arts and Crafts foyer
Free Museum Entry For Federal Employees
We love our free DC museums, but the city has several fee-based museums that are always worth a visit. Now is not the time to stay home and do nothing.
The government shutdown affects so many people. We love seeing how organizations are showing love and respect to those struggling right now by giving back, even through free museum admission.
Federal workers with an employee ID can get free entry to many of the citys museums while on furlough. You just have to know where to ask. Keep an eye out for discounts, free admissions and specials. Many are being announced on local news stations and on the individual museum sites.
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Washington Dc Trip 20
Redoing our planned March 2020 trip for May. I had everything all reserved and well, you all know what happened.
So Washington monument I think is now day before reservations?
Holocaust Museum says May tickets released but no availability so now do I look day before or of?
National Museum of African American History now looks like they release reservations 30 days.
Portrait Gallery does not need reservations right?
Vaccine card needed to enter museums? Other thread looks like photos of card and ID good for restaurants.
Thanks so much!
The websites tell you the rules, all of those do. No, you don’t need res for Portrait Gallery. Just keep checking the Holocaust periodically, I think sometimes some open up before the same day thing.
I do not know of any entity anywhere who doesn’t accept a photocopy of the CDC vaccine card, you don’t have to carry the real one around, if that’s your question. Of course you would always have a copy of that and a copy of your ID on you every day no matter what you are doing, don’t you? I do, it’s just another piece of paper in my wallet sleeve and you can’t go about anywhere or shouldn’t without ID.
I presume you are vaccinated anyway, so not sure the concern. However, in fact, I don’t know where you got that info as I don’t think any museum requires it. Some special events may at a museum. The only museums I know are private ones that have that as a requirement .
Edited: 3:44 pm, yesterday
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- The 76ers dominated the Wizards, 120-95, to go up 2-0 in their first round series, but much of the attention has been on the incident in which a fan in Philly dumped popcorn on Russell Westbrook as he was leaving the game due to injury. This shit is getting out of hand, Westbrook told reporters after the game. Game 3 will be at Capital One Arena on Saturday at 7 p.m.
- Instead of playing their home opener last night, the Washington Spirit had to fly to Houston to take on the Houston Dash due to the construction delays at Segra Field. The last-minute change gave the players even more reason to focus on the task at hand, and the Spirit came away with a 2-1 victory and its first win of the regular season.
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Visit The Smithsonian Museums
Collectively called the Smithsonian Institution, this world-renowned museum and research complex in the District consists of 17 museums, galleries and a zoo. Each one is free to enter, and across the spectrum, you can learn about the origins of man, the wonders of art, the history and future of flight and so much more.
Museum Hours And Information
- National Museum of African American History and Culture: open Wednesday to Sunday 11 a.m.4 p.m.
- Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery, both located at Eighth and G streets N.W.: open Wednesday to Sunday 11:30 a.m.7 p.m. Visitors will use the G Street entrance.
- Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, near the White House: open Wednesday to Sunday 10 a.m.5:30 p.m.
- National Museum of the American Indian: open Wednesday to Sunday 11 a.m.4 p.m.
- National Zoo: open daily 8 a.m.4 p.m.
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Hikers asked not to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail this year
Hikers hoping to spend 2021 hiking the Appalachian Trail are being asked to postpone their trips until 2022 by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, citing concerns over the spread of COVID-19. Health officials say that the COVID-19 risk comes not from the hike itself, but the travel to and from trail points across the country. The ATC is actively discouraging long-distance hiking this year, and says it will not be distributing any AT Hangtags in 2021. Hangtags are plastic tags given to hikers that have registered their thru-hike with the ATC. Distribution of the hangtags helps the agency understand how many hikers are using the trail per year. Hangtags will not be distributed until the CDC has deemed the pandemic “under control,” or a vaccine is more widely available to the general population. ATC President and CEO, Sandra Marra, told CNN that “we’re really basing our guidance on the best information we have. The guidance is based on science, on the states and the federal outline as to how we can proceed until everyone is fully vaccinated.”The Appalachian Trail is the longest hiking footpath in the world, covering over 2,180 miles of the Appalachian Mountains from Georgia to Maine.
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National Gallery Of Art
The National Gallery of Art is perhaps the most popular art gallery in Washington, DC. While technically not a Smithsonian, it is still located on the National Mall with the others for easy access.
Like the Smithsonians, it is also free to the public and no ticket is required for entry. The NGA is separated into two buildings, the East Wing, which is contemporary and modern art, and the West Wing, where youll find more traditional artwork.
To better plan your visit, we recommend checking out our guide to the National Gallery of Art here.
For other art museums, check out the ones in the section
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Best 14 Washington Dc Museums
Washington, D.C. has dozens of wonderful museums that will appeal to virtually any traveler’s interests. From large publicly funded institutions to small historic homes, get ready to learn a great deal and find some welcome surprises when you visit many of DCs museumsand bonus, all of the Smithsonian Institution museums are blissfully free to the public.
There is something for everyone at this world-renowned museum. Natural history appeals to all ages and there are so many artifacts that you cant possibly see them all in one visit. The dinosaur exhibits are fascinating and great for kids. The Family Hall of Mammals is especially fun to explore as well as the Sant Ocean Hall. Then there’s the cinematography and scenery in the IMAX films that’s so stunning you’ll wish you had time to see them all.
Visiting Tips: This is the most popular Washington, D.C. museum for families. Arrive early in the morning to avoid crowds. Purchase IMAX tickets in advance or as soon as you arrive. If you are visiting with kids, be sure to see the Discovery Room where there are lots of hands-on activities. Allow at least 2-3 hours.
Visiting Tips: Free Timed Passes are required for the permanent exhibit. Timed passes are distributed for the same day on a first come, first served basis. Allow 2-3 hours.
Whats Inside The Smithsonian Castle
While the Victorian arches and dark woodwork of the Castle suggest a bygone era, it now holds a thoroughly modern visitors center with interactive 3-D maps pinpointing and detailing the 17 DC-area Smithsonian Institution properties, including museums, galleries and the National Zoological Park.
Since most are on the adjacent National Mall, the maps can be particularly helpful for plotting a day of museum-hopping. Docents also man a help desk and distribute printed guides. Theres also a coffee and snack shop and a large seating area with free Wi-Fi, an ideal place to take a break and plan your next move, be it bug-viewing at the National Museum of Natural History or a dip into contemporary art the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.
Also housed in the grand, church-like structure is the exhibit A Castle of Curiosities, delving into the history of the castle and the little that is known of Smithsons life. In the high-ceilinged rooms beyond, another exhibit, Welcome to the Smithsonian, holds art and artifacts representing all of the institutions members in old-timey gleaming wooden display cases. Look out for the National Zoos panda cam showing its popular bears and ancient buddhas from the Sackler Gallery.
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