Museums & Attractions in Washington, D.C.

In addition to government buildings and memorials built to honor America’s history, Washington also presents countless museums which share the nation’s understanding of history, art, architecture and science. Listed below are the primary publicly financed museums as well as a number of other interesting collections. Access to the public museums and galleries is free of charge, but private attractions may carry an entrance fee. Each of the following museums, sights or attractions is wheelchair accessible.

Ginevra de' Benci by Leonardo da Vinvi
Ginevra de’ Benci by Leonardo da Vinci, c. 1474.
On display at the National Gallery.

Opened in 1937, the National Gallery of Art is free and open to the public. Located on the National Mall, the Gallery is home to one of the finest art collections in the world. Many paintings in the collection date back to the Middle Ages. Works by countless celebrated artists are on display. Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Rembrandt van Rijn, Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso and other famous artists produced works on display in the National Gallery. Visitors are certain to be impressed by the collection and understand the reason why the Gallery is the 8th most visited in the world.
Subway Metro Icon Nearest Metro subway:  4 blocks from Green/Yellow lines at Archives station

Smithsonian Air & Space Museum

The National Air and Space Museum occupied its current building in 1976 and holds the largest collection of historic aircraft and spacecraft under one roof in the world. The museum features more than 160,000 square feet of exhibition space. With 6.7 million visitors in 2014, it is the 5th most visited museum in the world. The museum is located alongside the National Mall in the center of the District. Among the air and spacecraft on display are The Spirit of St. Louis, the Apollo 11 command module, a collection of Soviet rockets, a Lockheed U-2 and a Northwest Airlines Boeing 747-100B. Admission is provided free of charge. The museum is open on all days except December 25, Christmas. The museum is wheelchair accessible and provides accommodations for all manner of disabilities. For more information on these accessibility features, visit
Subway Metro Icon Nearest Metro subway:  3 blocks from Blue/Orange/Silver Lines at Smithsonian station

Smithsonian Museum of American History

The National Museum of American History, maintained an operated by the Smithsonian Institution, is a valuable resource to the preservation and celebration of United States history.  Exhibits and displays focus on the country’s cultural, military, political, scientific and social history.  The museum’s contents are spread across three exhibition floors, each dedicated to a particular period or theme.  The first floor is dedicated to science and innovation, with a popular exhibit being America on the Move.  This exhibit features the John Bull locomotive, a steam-powered train built in 1831.  The second floor considers the social ideals of America.  The centerpiece on that floor is the original flag which was raised above Fort McHenry during the War of 1812 and served as the inspiration for Francis Scott Key’s Star-Spangled Banner poem.  The third floor is dedicated to the history of America at war, the presidency and sports/entertainment.  Admission is provided free of charge and the museum is open on all days except Christmas.  The museum and its exhibits are accessible to wheelchairs and persons with other disabilities.  For more information, visit the museum website at
Subway Metro Icon Nearest Metro subway:  3 blocks from Blue/Orange/Silver Lines at Federal Triangle station

Smithsonian Museum of Natural History

The National Museum of Natural History is located on the National Mall and is operated by Smithsonian. With 7.3 million visitors in 2014, it is the third most visited museum on the world. The museum is housed in a building with a total of 1.32 million square feet of space. 350,000 square feet is dedicated to the publicly accessible museum and exhibits. The remaining space is used to house the Smithsonian’s 185 natural history scientists and a collection of more than 126 million specimens of cultural artifacts, fossils, meteorites, minerals and rocks. The museum features exhibits on the development of the natural world, from dinosaurs to insects to humanity. Admission to the museum is free and it is open every day except Christmas. The museum and its exhibition spaces are accessible to wheelchairs and persons with disabilities. For more information, visit
Subway Metro Icon Nearest Metro subway:  3 blocks from Blue/Orange/Silver Lines at Federal Triangle station