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Where To Park In Dc For Museums

From Otherworldly Art Exhibits To Limited

Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History Fossil Hall Time-Lapse

Of the many national treasures to be found in DC, some of the most impressive monuments are actually housed in the many museums around The District rather than on the National Mall. From some of the worlds most coveted gems in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History to celebrations of language at Planet Word, the museum scene in DC is rife with educational and inspirational works that can appeal to a wide range of interests.

With the new season comes a bevy of new things to do, so if youre looking for a way to spend an afternoonor heck, a whole daychecking out one of DCs many world-class museums is a tough act to beat. Curators across disciplines have worked hard to create mind-boggling exhibits across the city that are worth a visit. Theres a lot to see, so to make things easy for you, weve rounded up all the coolest museum exhibits in DC right now that you can check out this spring.

A Museum Built For All

wheelchair accessibility

All exhibits are wheelchair accessible, including the Dream Machine, our climber and slide. An elevator connects the Museums two floors.

mothers room + stroller parking

The Mothers Room is located on Floor 1, near the elevator and the Little Dreamers toddler space. Stroller parking is available on Floor 2 of the Museum.

open captioning

Your Guide To Finding A Place To Park In The Nation’s Capital

While Washington, DC is a metropolitan city with safe, efficient public transportation options , sometimes you may just want to get into your car and drive to DC. The city does attract an high volume of commuters on a daily basis, but there are plenty of parking options to consider when you visit DC in your vehicle.

Street parking and parking garages

Your two best bets for parking in DC are parking garages and street parking. If you choose to park, there are several resources to help you explore the best options.

Visit before you arrive to read up on parking options in DC. There are many privately owned garages that will cost you roughly $10 to $30 or more, depending on how many hours you are parked. Laz Parking and Colonial Parking also feature valet services and garages around town.

Many commuters also park in these DC garages, so keep in mind they tend to fill up early. During special events , prices at nearby garages may go up even higher.

DC also has street parking in most neighborhoods. Pay close attention to posted signs, as most parking spots have restricted hours . Parking restrictions are strictly enforced and violators may find a parking ticket on their windshield . Most parking is metered and many accept cash or credit cards.

Keep in mind that both street and garage parking is especially hard to find around many of the monuments and memorials and near the White House.

Parking at the Metro

More About DC

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Economy Parking At The Airport

The long-term economy lot at Reagan National Airport is $17 per day. It works just like parking at any airport. Although, here you can actually reserve your spot in advance online. The disadvantage to using this option is that youll need to take a shuttle to get from the parking lot to the airport terminal, then use the Metro to ride into DC. So, if youre staying downtown, its not the most convenient option.

Planning A Trip To Washington Dc Dont Forget Travel Insurance

The Best Museums in Washington D.C.

Whether you are traveling domestically or coming from an international destination, travel insurance is a must for anyone coming to Washington, D.C. You will be exploring both inside and outdoors hiking may even happen if you get adventurous. You could find yourself on a Segway or bike tour. The city is highly populated and accidents and crime do happen. This is not to scare you, but to prepare you for what could occur when you are checking out the free museums, exploring neighborhoods, finding the best food and learning about the local street art. Should something happen, travel insurance has you covered. Check rates and availability here.

We recommend and use Allianz Travel insurance. Our family iscovered under a household plan, but their individual plans are just as robustif you are a solo traveler or a couple looking to get away. Ive been acustomer for more than five years and have always been in good hands with theAllianz team.

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Attractions In Washington Dc

The National Mall is always a good place to start if you are visiting Washington DC: The Smithsonian Institution comprises 19 of the world’s top museums, many found right on the Mall. The National Museum of American History, National Museum of Natural History, the National Air and Space Museum and numerous art museums along the way- All free for visitors. Monuments on the Mall include the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial and the world famous Lincoln Memorial.

Visitors to DC can start the day with a trip to view the Declaration of Independence, meander through Ford’s Theatre, where Lincoln was assassinated, head over to Watergate, delve into the murky world of intrigue, politics and espionage at the Spy Museum and end the day with a contemporary performance at the Kennedy Center. Washington DC is one of the most thrilling cities to visit.

Museum Exhibitions And Attractions

Museum of the Bibles exhibits, restaurants, attractions, and retail spaces are fully wheelchair accessible. There is also minimal seating available throughout the floors and galleries.

Open captioning is available on most video presentations throughout the museum. Scripts are available upon request for the Hebrew Bible Experience and the New Testament Theater on The Stories of the Bible Floor.

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Get To Know Someone In Dc Or The Dc Suburbs

There are more free two-hour parking spots in and around DC than we can count, unless of course you have a residential permit. That permit gets you unlimited parking within your zone.

So, if you plan to visit DC often, its time for you to get to know the DC locals.

Almost every resident can apply for a parking permit, which also comes with a visitors pass. Call me crazy, but I love that I can park my car at my house and walk to the metro station five blocks away.

All of my friends and family love this perk as well. This is by far the cheapest way to park in Washington DC. Actually, its the best free street parking in D.C.

Need a car? Get the best rental car rates HERE.

Ronald Reagan Building And International Trade Center

A Walk Through the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museums

For general tourism, the garage at the Reagan Building is one of the most convenient in the entire city. It is about a block and a half from the White House. It is also across the street from the Smithsonians American History Museum.

This is a great option if you are coming in on the weekend. Weekend rates are only $15 on Saturday and Sunday. However, during the week that price jumps to $35 per day. One thing to note about this garage is that it is in a federal government building. So, when you pull in a security guard will ask you to pop the trunk and will take a look around. Some people do not like this. However, others really do because it makes it feel like their car is in a really safe spot.

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Ik Ud: Nollywood Portraits At The National Museum Of African Art

This unique exhibit celebrates what is known as Nollywood, the burgeoning film and media scene in Nigeria. After three decades in New York City, photographer Iké Udé returned to Lagos in 2014, and has been capturing some of the nations brightest stars from behind the lens. The collection showcases the evolution of African identity and celebrity in the 21st century through a series of photographs.Dates: Now through February 28, 2023How to visit: The museum is open every day except Tuesday from 10 am to 5:30 pm.

National Museum Of Natural History

The dinosaurs have a brand-new exhibit and all of WashingtonDC has rejoiced. Walk in to say hello to the life-size elephant, one of themost photographed museum spaces in the city, before you head into this museumdedicated to the mammals, geology and natural wonders of our planet.

For ladies looking for a bit of inspiration for theirjewelry collection, make sure you check out the gem collection in the museum.This is where the Hope Diamond is also on display, but we have our eye on a fewtiaras too.

Dinosaurs, bugs, a butterfly pavilion , and ofcourse, the ultimate taxidermy of critters collection are just waiting for youto explore.

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Do I Have To Enter And Exit At Exactly The Time Listed On My Reservation

Similar to how a hotel reservation works, you can enter at any time after the start time listed on your SpotHero reservation, and you can depart at any time prior to the end time listed on your reservation.

For example, if your reservation goes from 8 am to 8 pm, you can enter any time after 8 am, and must leave anytime before 8 pm. Please be aware that any time spent parked outside of your reservation is subject to a ticket, tow, or an additional charge from the parking facility.

Is There Free Parking Near The Smithsonian Museum Of Natural History

The DC Bomb Shelter Museum Upper Senate Park, Washington, â¦

Yes, you can find free parking spots on Constitution Avenue. However, these spots are rarely vacant you might need to be very lucky to nab free parking near the Smithsonian Natural History Museum. Whats more, you need to keep track of parking regulations, which can be a headache. Towaway times are between 7-9 a.m. and 4-6.30 p.m.

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Handicapped Parking At The Smithsonian Natural History Museum

There is handicapped parking on Madison Drive near the entrance to the museum. The museum has added two wheelchair accessible ramps that will take you to the top of the steps at the Madison Drive entrance, but these are rather long and steep. If there is a line to get into the museum, these ramps also take you directly to the front of the line. The Constitution Avenue entrance is easier, with much less uphill ramp, but there is no street parking of any kind.

Where To Stay In Washington Dc

Budget: When it comes to Washington, D.C. budget hotels, prices vary depending on the season. In the middle of October, a four-star hotel could be under $150, while in December it may be over $400. At any given time of year, though, Hotel Hive is a safe bet for value when it comes to resting your head. If you are looking for a hostel, Hi Washington D.C. Downtown is well located for exploring all of the D.C. museums, restaurants and bars at the fraction of the price of a hotel. Check rates and availability here.

Mid-range: Every USA hotel chain can be found in Washington, D.C., but stay at the St. Gregory Hotel when you want a local touch. The modern, light-filled rooms will welcome you to the city, whether you are in a studio or suite with wraparound terrace. The hotel is walking distance to Georgetown, the National Mall and Embassy Row, making it easy to explore without a rental car. Check rates and availability here.

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Walk The National Mall And Memorials Park

Washington DCs most popular and recognizable park is known as the National Mall.

Youll find many of the free DC museums, the Washington Monument and lots of wide-open spaces for kids to run. Kite flying is a big draw especially during Cherry Blossom season.

While the Mall is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the best light is early in the morning and before sunset.

Parents and kids will love that there are three different Junior Ranger programs available in this DC National Park, allowing young travelers to earn new badges. Activities arent just relegated to the younger set either.

Park rangers offer a wide variety of activities from tours to walks, talks and even runs throughout the year.

Monuments And Memorials On The National Mall

8 Tips for the Smithsonian and FREE museums in DC

Plan at least a day or two to explore the memorials and monuments on the Washington DC National Mall. Its our favorite spot to do a Flytographer photo session, but more importantly, it gives you a well-rounded history of the nations important figures and events.

Heres the highlights you dont want to skip:

  • Thomas Jefferson Memorial
  • Korean War Veterans Memorials
  • National World War II Memorial

Book a tour is you want a really good overview of Washington DCs history and why these memorials are so important to U.S. history.

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Breathe In The Blooms At United States National Arboretum

Washington DC may be known for her cherry blossoms, but azaleas are why you go to the United State National Arboretum in the spring.

Fall colors take over in autumn, but year-round you will find locals strolling the paths, biking around the trees and enjoying a picnic on the weekend.

Special programming happens in the park year-round, including a special collection of bonsai, wreath making workshops and learning how to use herbs to make fresh scents for your home.

National Bonsai Museum at the National Arboretum:dont miss the 1625 bonsai that survived Hiroshima before it was donated to the U.S. by the Yamaki family.

Parking Near Dea Museum And Visitors Center

With the help of SpotHero, enjoy the convenience of booking a parking spot ahead of time, ensuring you have a space waiting for you when you get to DEA Museum and Visitors Center.

To get started, select the timeframe you wish to book parking for, find your ideal spot on the map, and head to checkout to complete your reservation!

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Nearby Alternative Locations To Parking At The Smithsonian Natural History Museum

Two one-way streets go along the National Mall past many of the Smithsonian museums. Jefferson Drive runs east, and Madison Drive runs west. There are many metered 3-hour parking spots along these two streets, but these spots get filled fairly quickly.

There is also some parking along the cross streets 3rd, 4th, 7th and 14th Streets all have metered parking as well. On 7th and 14th Streets, there are rush hour restrictions. If you do not move your car by 4:00 PM on weekdays, expect to have your car towed and a hefty ticket.

On weekends and holidays, it is hard to find a spot in this area unless you arrive early .

You cannot leave your car on the National Mall overnight. After 1:00 AM, they will tow your car.

On-street parking on the National Mall is no longer free of charge. Three hour parking is available at $2 per hour. Parking meters only accept credit cards.


Looking for things to see on the National Mall? Take a look at these things to do while visiting DC. Heres how to take advantage of visiting all the monuments and memorials and museums that DC has to offer.

Cheap Dc Parking Apps

Smithsonian Institution Parking

Start downloading. These are the DC parking apps you will fall in love with when you want to park your car in a pinch.

Parking Panda is our favorite app because we can map out exactly where we want to park based on where we are staying or what museum we are visiting. The others are perfect for overnight visits as well.

  • SpotHero

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Smithsonian National Museum Of Natural History Parking Tips

The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History is located at the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

The Museum entrance is located on Madison Drive NW, between 9th Street NW and 12th Street NW. The exit is located at 10th Street NW and Constitution Avenue NW.

When parking on-street, ensure you check for nearby parking signs that tell you about parking time limits and other regulations.

Try not to leave your valuables exposed on the dashboard or passenger seats. Thats just an invite for car break-ins.

End Of The Line Metro Stations

Four of our Metro stations currently offer overnight parking where you can leave your car for up to ten days. Those stations are Greenbelt, Huntington, Franconia-Springfield and Wiehle-Reston East. These are the stations at the end of the green, yellow, blue, and silver lines respectively. Parking at each of these stations is about $5 per day and free on the weekends. So, it is definitely the cheapest of the options. But, these stations are really far from downtown. So, in addition to the inconvenience, you will need to factor in the price in Metro fare that it will take to get your family to and from the car.

Other Metro stations with parking lots officially do not allow overnight parking. So, if you do park in one of them you may come back to find a ticket on your windshield or even that your car was towed. Now, many people have told us they have parked overnight at these stations without any trouble. However, it is definitely an at your own risk situation.

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Commercial Parking On The National Mall Area

On many of the side streets there are commercial parking garages. One of the biggest is under the Ronald Reagan Building on 14th Street Northwest between Pennsylvania Avenue and Constitution Avenue. This is open 24 hours. Convenient to the American History Museum, the Natural History Museum, the Washington Monument, the White House, and the African American History and Culture Museum. Weekday rates in 2022 are $25 for up 15 hours and $17 all day on weekends. On 6th Street and C Street Southwest are two other popular parking garages, LAZ Parking and Capitol Parking, with comparable rates. These are not open 24 hours. This is very convenient to the Air and Space Museum and the Museum of the American Indian. At 601 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest, there is a Colonial Parking with comparable rates. This is convenient to the National Gallery of Art.

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