What Are the Best Museums in Washington D.C., USA?

There’s something special about the museums in Washington D.C. Whether you’re a history buff, art lover, or just curious, there’s a museum for everyone in D.C. Here are my top picks for the best museums to visit in the nation’s capital.

National Museum of American History

The National Museum of American History is one of the most popular museums in D.C., and for good reason. With over 1.8 million objects, this museum is a treasure trove of American history.

From the original Star-Spangled Banner to Abraham Lincoln’s top hat, there’s something to see for everyone. The museum is divided into several sections, including exhibitions on American innovation, social and political history, and cultural heritage.

Pro tip: Don’t miss the food history exhibition, where you can learn about the origins of some of America’s most iconic foods, like pizza and hamburgers.

National Air and Space Museum

The National Air and Space Museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in aviation and space exploration. With over 60,000 artifacts, this museum has the largest collection of historic aircraft and spacecraft in the world.

From the Wright Brothers’ plane to the Apollo 11 command module, you can see the evolution of flight and space travel up close.

Pro tip: If you’re short on time, head straight to the Milestones of Flight exhibition, where you can see some of the most important aircraft and spacecraft in history.

Smithsonian American Art Museum

The Smithsonian American Art Museum is a hidden gem in D.C. that’s often overlooked by visitors.


The museum’s collection features over 7,000 artists and spans over three centuries of American art. From the colonial era to contemporary works, the museum showcases a diverse range of art styles and movements.

Pro tip: Don’t miss the Luce Foundation Center, a visible storage area where you can see over 3,000 artworks that are not on display in the main galleries.

National Museum of African American History and Culture

The newest addition to the Smithsonian museums, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, has quickly become one of the most popular museums in D.C.

The museum’s collection tells the story of African American history and culture from slavery to the present day. From Harriet Tubman’s shawl to Chuck Berry’s red Cadillac, the museum’s exhibitions feature a wide range of artifacts and stories that are both educational and emotional.

Pro tip: Book your tickets in advance, as the museum can be difficult to get into without a reservation.

National Gallery of Art

The National Gallery of Art is a world-renowned museum that features some of the most iconic works of art in history.


From Leonardo da Vinci’s portrait of Ginevra de’ Benci to Vincent van Gogh’s self-portrait, the museum’s collection spans from the Middle Ages to the present day.

The museum also has a sculpture garden that features works by artists like Alexander Calder and Joan Miró.

Pro tip: Admission to the museum is free, but some special exhibitions may require tickets.


The Newseum is a museum that explores the history of journalism and the First Amendment. Exhibits cover everything from the Civil Rights Movement to the September 11th attacks. The museum provides a unique perspective on the role of the media in shaping our understanding of the world.

Pro tip: Don’t miss the Pulitzer Prize Photographs Gallery, which features some of the most iconic and powerful photographs in history.

Some extra tips for visitors to Washington D.C.

  1. Take advantage of the free museums: Many of the museums in D.C. are free to enter, so make sure to take advantage of this and plan your museum visits accordingly.
  2. Consider taking a tour: There are many tour companies that offer guided tours of D.C.’s famous landmarks and monuments. This can be a great way to learn more about the city’s history and see all the sights in one go.
  3. Be prepared for lots of walking: D.C. is a very walkable city, but you’ll likely be doing a lot of it, especially if you’re visiting the National Mall. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes and bring plenty of water.
  4. Check the weather: D.C. can have very hot and humid summers and cold winters, so make sure to check the weather forecast before your trip and pack accordingly.
  5. Avoid peak tourist season: If possible, try to avoid visiting D.C. during peak tourist season (June-August), as the city can get very crowded and prices for hotels and attractions may be higher.
  6. Try the local food: D.C. has a vibrant food scene, so make sure to try some of the local specialties like half-smokes, mumbo sauce, and Maryland blue crabs.
  7. Plan ahead for popular attractions: Some of D.C.’s most popular attractions, like the White House and Capitol Building, require advance planning and reservations, so make sure to check their websites for information on how to book.

Final thoughts

In conclusion, the museums in Washington D.C. are some of the best in the world, offering visitors a chance to explore American history, culture, art, and innovation.

From the National Museum of American History to the National Gallery of Art, there’s something for everyone in this city.

Don’t be afraid to venture off the beaten path and check out hidden gems like the Smithsonian American Art Museum or the Newseum.

With so many options to choose from, you’ll never run out of things to see and learn in the nation’s capital. So pack your bags and start planning your next museum adventure in D.C.!

For more capitals in the same area please check under the category North America here in the site. Thank you for reading and have a nice day.

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