8 Best Museums In Washington, D.C.

David Hatef

AS ONE OF THE MOST RENOWNED CULTURAL HUBS IN THE WORLD, D.C. IS FULL OF CAN’T MISS ARTIFACTS SPANNING EVERY TOPIC

Washington, D.C. is filled with celebrations of history, art, and science. Whether you spend the day in the shade at the U.S. Botanic Garden or wander the halls of the Smithsonian Castle, there is something for everyone at these eight stunning museums. 

1. NATIONAL GALLERY OF ART

The National Gallery of Art showcases a pristine collection of creativity from the Middle Ages to modern times. Examining the relationship between Eastern and Western media at a high scholarly level, the gallery has always intended to boast the same level of expertise and prestige as other nations. 

Created and financed by Andrew W. Mellon, the gallery that opened in 1941 did not bear any nomenclature related to its founder in the hopes that it would become a national centerpiece dedicated to the ongoing preservation of art⁠—and it has done just that. Growing from 152 pieces of art to a now staggering 141,000, the National Gallery of Art performs research, houses permanent and rotating exhibits, and continues to serve the public seven days a week. 

2. NATIONAL MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY

Wear your walking shoes because the National Museum of Natural History is larger than 18 football fields–that’s over 5,200 feet! Every step of the way, visitors will learn about the earth, from its beginnings to our current day environment, and examine humankind’s place in the world. On-site and global scientists associated with the museum work tirelessly to provide accurate, timely information to visitors and continue their contributions to conservation and education. 

Spend your afternoon at the Insect Zoo or explore the ocean’s depths at Sant Ocean Hall. Regardless of which exhibits you gravitate toward, every turned corner drifting through the halls will inform and intrigue. 

3. FREER GALLERY OF ART AND ARTHUR M. SACKLER GALLERY

These two galleries work in tandem to create the Smithsonian Institution’s contribution to the preservation of Asian art. While the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery holds some of the world’s most valuable remaining pieces of Chinese jade and bronze, the Freer Gallery of Art is home to paintings and ceramics from ancient times to present day. 

Explore ancient Iran at the Feast Your Eyes: A Taste for Luxury in Ancient Iran exhibit indefinitely on display at the Sackler Gallery or stroll through the Peacock Room in Blue and White and immerse yourself in beautiful Chinese porcelain at the Freer Gallery. Both museums offer a unique cultural experience that works to extrapolate the relationship between America and Asia in a global context.  

4. NATIONAL AIR AND SPACE MUSEUM

The National Air and Space Museum memorializes the innovation of American advancements in aviation. From early flight to extraterrestrial excursions, their collections and exhibits work to inform and engage with the public. Explore the Space Race of the 1960s, the development of astronomical instruments and their impact on spaceflight, and the ways we rely on accurate timekeeping for effective travel all in one encompassing location. 

Currently under renovation to support further education, the Washington, D.C. location of the museum will maintain its permanent exhibits (like the fan favorite 1903 Wright Flyer) during its construction period. 

5. UNITED STATES HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL MUSEUM

Harrowing as it is, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum tackles the daunting task of remembering the past in order to make a better future. Their permanent exhibitions respectfully teach visitors about the horror of genocide and America’s response to past transgressions. With video footage and artifacts, the museum analyzes the rise of the Nazi party, the impact of World War II, and the devastation left in its wake. 
​​​​​​​
The museum continues its work to remember victims while setting out to eradicate divisive hatred. Open every day except Yom Kippur and Christmas, the museum is free to enter and conveniently located on the National Mall. 

6. U.S. BOTANIC GARDEN

Escape into a natural oasis at the U.S. Botanic Garden. Even George Washington understood the importance of educating the public on botanical resources, so in 1820, this patch of green became one of the oldest botanical gardens in the United States. 

With a heavy emphasis on sustainability and aesthetics, the garden is blooming with bromeliads, orchids, ferns, and cacti. This living museum is a testimony to the beauty and ecological importance that plants pose in everyday life, and because it is quite literally constantly growing, the garden will be a new experience each time you visit. 

7. GEORGE WASHINGTON’S MOUNT VERNON

Take a day trip to Mount Vernon, Virginia to experience the birthplace of Washington, D.C. luxury estates at George Washington’s old stomping grounds. Mount Vernon remains an incredible piece of 18th-century architecture only a 45-minute drive from the National Mall. The house is a monument to a fledgling nation as much as it is home to our first President. 

The mansion and outbuildings offer explorative, interactive tours that let you dive into a day in a founding father’s typical life. A farm, distillery, and the resting places of both George and Martha Washington make Mount Vernon a weekend destination filled with well-preserved history. 

8. SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION BUILDING

Earning its colloquial name as the Smithsonian Castle, there is no denying the Smithson-funded building is an architectural vision and the building itself a relic worth preserving. In 1829, James Smithson, a Pembroke-taught scientist, willed a sizable fortune to his nephew with a curious amendment: if his nephew were to perish without legitimate heirs, all money should be donated to the United States of America to found the Smithsonian Institution at Washington.

No one can be certain what motivated the Englishman to choose a legacy built in the United States of America, but we are certainly glad he did. 

As with all Smithsonian museums, entrance to the Smithsonian Institution Building is free, and a stop at the visitor center is bound to make the rest of your trip smooth sailing. While the castle is rich with its own history–the crypt of benefactor James Smithson can be found on site–it also acts as a launch pad for your perfect day on the National Mall. Here, information concerning the museums of the Smithsonian complex is compiled for easy access. Visitors can also peruse America’s Treasure Chest, an exhibition design to whet the palate with displays that represent the large scope of material the Smithsonian Institution has to offer. 

​​​​​​​These eight museums only scratch the surface of exhibits and artifacts, history and art found in Washington, D.C. If you’re ready to indulge in the seemingly endless knowledge that the nation’s capital has to offer, contact me today for more information on Washington, D.C. real estate.

WORK WITH US

We are committed to the highest level of expertise, knowledge and service. Your real estate inquiries are important to us, so please expect a prompt reply.

Let's Connect
Follow Us