Make the Most of Your Trip to the Smithsonian

Your Trip to the Smithsonian

Make the Most of Your Trip to the Smithsonian

I’ve probably visited the Smithsonian museums about 40 times in my life. Still haven’t seen every museum- or even seen my favorites fully. The Smithsonian has 19 huge museums, including the National Air and Space Museum, National Museum of the American Indian, National Gallery of Art, the Newseum, and my favorite, the National Museum of Natural History. Here’s a complete list:
  1. National Museum of African American History and Culture
  2. The National Museum of American History
  3. The National Zoo
  4. National Air and Space Museum
  5. American Art Museum
  6. National Museum of Natural History
  7. National Portrait Gallery
  8. Freer-Sackler Galleries
  9. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
  10. National Museum of the American Indian
  11. National Postal Museum
  12. The National Museum of African Art
  13. Anacostia Community Museum
  14. Smithsonian Institution Building (The Castle)
  15. National Gallery of Art
  16. US Botanical Gardens
  17. US Holocaust Memorial Museum
  18. Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum
  19. Newseum

Even if you take a week, you couldn’t see them all. However, one big upside is that there’s no admission cost to any of the museums.So, you need my favorite thing in the world, a plan. Make a list of all the ones you HAVE to see- keep in mind you’ll get distracted by other things along the way, like exhibits on the National Mall.

Once you’ve got a plan, map out your route. If your favorites are at opposite ends of the National Mall, you don’t want to be running back and forth, especially if it’s summer. Summer in DC is brutal, and apart from the obvious downsides of getting sunburnt and overheated, you might duck into another museum to get out of the heat, and then spend the day in that museum, and then your plan is ruined! There are few things worse than a ruined plan to me- global warming and lukewarm tea are both up there.

Go prepared. Bring (very, very, very) comfy shoes. Dress in layers, the museums can be freezing at times! You should ake sure to bring a bag with sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, a change of shoes (if yours get worn out, or if you step in mud at the botanical gardens), and a bottle of water. Stop often for snack breaks at the museum cafes. The National Gallery of Art has some of the best pizza I’ve ever eaten!

P.S: Don’t forget to stop at the gift shop!