Washington D.C. Things to Do: Which Smithsonian Museum Should You Choose?

In Washington, D.C., things to do almost always include touring any of the Smithsonian Museums. But if you're not sure which Smithsonian Museum you should choose, where should you start? BBonline recommends starting at the Information Center located in the Smithsonian Castle. After that, it's best to consider your personal interests before deciding which direction to head. Here's an idea of what each museum contains, so that you can get the most out of your trips into the city each day before retiring to your cozy Washington D.C. Bed and Breakfast each night. All museums are free to enter.

Smithsonian Castle
1000 Jefferson Drive
SW, Washington D.C.
(202) 633-1000

08:30 to 17:30

The Information Center in the Smithsonian Castle offers free orientation videos and friendly guides to point you in the right direction. They also distribute information packets, so you'll never be lost when looking for Washington, D.C. things to do.

National Museum of African Art
950 Independence Ave
SW, Washington D.C.
(202) 633-4600

10:00 to 17:30

The Museum of African Art contains paintings, sculptures, pottery, animals, textiles, weaving and more, all of African descent. Works are ancient, traditional and contemporary, and come from all areas of Africa.

Air and Space Museum
Independence Ave & 7th St
SW, Washington D.C.
(202) 633-1000

10:00 to 17:30

The National Air and Space Museum displays historic planes and spacecraft, including the original plane built by the Wright brothers. You can check out the Apollo 11 command module and touch a piece of moon rock. The Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia displays some of the larger aircraft.

American Art Museum and Portrait Gallery
8th & F Streets
NW, Washington D.C.
(202) 633-7970

11:30 to 19:00

The American Art Museum displays paintings, sketches and sculptures of famous American artists, including Norman Rockwell, Mary Cassat and Georgia O'Keeffe. The museum shows America's history and culture in the works and styles of the past three centuries. The Portrait Gallery includes photographic, painted and sculpted portraits of historical figures, presidents, actors and sports figures.

American History Museum
14th St & Constitution Ave
NW, Washington D.C.
(202) 633-1000

10:00 to 17:30

The American History Museum preserves America's culture, technology, science, history and daily life. It's also where you'll find such popular items as Dorothy's ruby red slippers and Kermit the Frog. Delve into America's history before returning to your historic Washington D.C. Inn.

National Museum of the American Indian
4th St & Independence Ave
Washington D.C.
(202) 633-1000

10:00 to 17:30

More than 12,000 years of Native American history are on display in the form of artifacts, artwork, photographs and videos. Indigenous tribes from North, South and Central America are all featured.

Anacostia Community Museum
1901 Fort Place
SE, Washington D.C.
(202) 633-4820

10:00 to 17:00

This museum strives to understand the community at large, with focus on the Anacostia urban area. Photographs, videos and artifacts document African American life in urban developments from the community perspective. After a turn through this museum, you may come out with even more thoughts on Washington D.C. things to do.

Freer & Sackler Galleries
Jefferson Dr & 12 St
1050 Independence Ave
SW, Washington D.C.
(202) 633-1000

10:00 to 17:30

These galleries contain Asian art, Ancient Egyptian art, Islamic art and Near Eastern art. The works range from ceramics and paintings to manuscripts and calligraphy.

Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden
Independence Ave & 7th St
SW, Washington D.C.
(202) 633-4674

10:00 to 17:30
(Sculpture Garden 07:30 to Dusk)

The Hirshhorn Museum is all about contemporary art and culture. You can tour the gallery to see works by artists such as Alex Katz and John Gerrard, or take a tour of the Sculpture Garden to see 3D contemporary art.

Natural History Museum
10th St & Constitution Ave
NW, Washington D.C.
(202) 633-1000

10:00 to 17:30

Explore the natural world through the museum's extensive collection of plants, animals, photographs, videos and documents. Areas of study include anthropology, botany, paleontology, mineral science and more.

Postal Museum
Massachusetts Ave & 1st St
NE, Washington D.C.
(202) 633-5555

10:00 to 17:30

A stamp collector's dream, the Postal Museum houses postal memorabilia from 1886, with the first donation of Confederate State stamps. Stamps with images of American life and cultural icons such as Elvis are on display, as well as items that detail the evolution of the US postal service.