D.C. Museums for Summer Vacation

By Katelyn Shibilski


While in D.C. there are hundreds of places to visit, each of them as interesting as the last. The Smithsonian museums, art museums, and other various museums are great places to spend a weekend exploring. A trip to D.C. doesn’t have to be expensive either, all the museums below are free to visit.


Air and Space Museum

Address: 600 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20560

Hours: 10 A.M. to 5:30 P.M.

Metro Stop: Smithsonian

About the museum: This museum specializes in the history of flight, from the Wright Brothers to the high-tech stealth planes the military uses today. They also have information about all of humanity’s space endeavors from early astrology tools to moon rovers. This museum also has an abundant of hands on exhibits that explain the science behind flight.

Museum highlights: Apollo to the Moon (includes the moon rover), Early Flight (includes the Wright Brother’s plane), and Explore the Universe (includes the Herschel 20-foot telescope)

air and space museum


American History Museum

Address: Constitution Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001

Hours: 10 A.M. to 5:30 P.M.

Metro stop: Smithsonian

About the museum: This museum explores the history and culture of America from the Revolutionary war to today’s pop culture. This museum is a good visit if you’re looking for pop culture gems or historical artifacts.

Museum highlights: Original Star Spangled Banner, First Lady dress collection, Pop culture exhibit (includes original Kermit the Frog)

american history


Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Address: Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20024

Hours: 10 A.M. to 5:30 P.M.

Metro stop: Smithsonian or L’Enfant Plaza

About the museum: A wide collection of art from the Hirshhorn collection. There is a temporary exhibit that rotates artists, for example Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors just finished its exhibition. The next exhibit will be Markus Lüpertz from May 24 to September 10. The museum also has a sculpture garden on it’s grounds.

Museum highlights: Masterworks from the Hirshhorn Collection, Sculpture Garden



National Museum of African American History and Culture

Address: 15th St. and Constitution Ave., NW Washington, DC

Hours: 10 A.M to 5:30 P.M.

Metro stop: Smithsonian

About the museum: This museum opened recently and is extremely popular, so if you go you must reserve a time slot, which can be done at https://www.si.edu/museums/african-american-history-and-culture-museum and clicking on “reserve a time spot.” This museum shows the history and culture of African Americans, and it is the only national museum devoted exclusively to African Americans and their experience.

Museum highlights: Chuck Berry’s Cadillac, a dress made by Rosa Parks, and Harriet Tubman’s shawl

african american history


National Museum of Natural History

Address: 10th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW Washington, DC

Hours: 10 A.M. to 5:30 P.M.

Metro stop: Smithsonian

About the museum: This museum showcases the history of our Earth, from the animals that call it home, to the beautiful materials we get from the earth, to the history of ancient civilizations.

Museum highlights: The Hope Diamond, Woolly Mammoth, American Dinosaurs, and an interactive butterfly garden



National Archives

Address: 700 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20408

Hours: 10 A.M. to 5:30 P.M.

Metro stop: Archives/Navy Memorial station

About the museum: This museum is home to the documents that the country was founded upon. You do not need a reservation to enter this museum, but there is often a line to enter and begin touring. The best times to visit are early in the morning and later at night.

Museum highlights: Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, and the Bill of Rights



National Zoo

Address: 3001 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008

Hours: Grounds are open 8 A.M. to 7 P.M. (exhibit buildings from 9 A.M. to 6 P.M.)

Metro stop: Woodley Park Station

About the zoo: Ever since 1889 the National Zoo has been home to many animals. Today the zoo houses over 1500 animals and helps fund research for conservation. The zoo is over 160 acres and has a couple of hills, so wear shoes that are comfortable to walk in. There are many restaurants inside the zoo, but cheaper options outside the zoo.

Zoo highlights: Small Mammal House, Great Cats, Asia Trail

national zoo


Botanical Gardens

Address: 100 Maryland Ave SW, Washington, DC 20001

Hours: 10 A.M. to 5 P.M. everyday, including weekends and holidays

Metro stop: Federal Center SW

About the gardens: This museum offers a multi-level garden experience, with plants from all over the world. Since it is inside of a greenhouse, it can be warm in the summer. There is a garden outside and the regional plants are inside the conservatory. Certain plants will also rotate, for example there is a Season’s Greeting exhibit coming from November 23, 2017 to January 1, 2018 which includes festival plants from around the world.

Garden highlights: Butterfly garden, the Tropics, and World Deserts