With 19 unique museums and a world-renowned zoo, the Smithsonian Institution is one of the country's most popular destinations for Washington, D.C. visitors. Established in 1855, the Smithsonian offers visitors a chance to explore the world of science, industry, history, and art in a wide range of forms and formats. From life-sized rockets and airplanes at the Air & Space Museum and dinosaur bones at the National Museum of Natural History to sculptural masterpieces at the Hirshhorn Museum and giant pandas at the National Zoo, The Smithsonian Institution offers something exciting, interesting and truly educational for visitors of all ages to enjoy. The Smithsonian captures the culture, heritage and future of America.
Admission to all Smithsonian museums and the zoo is free.
The Smithsonian Castle is open daily from 8:30am-5:30pm. Most Smithsonian museums are open daily from 10am-5:30pm.
Living Earth Festival
Smithsonian Folklife Festival
Brew at the Zoo
Exhibits and exhibitions
what dining options are available at the Smithsonian Institution?
Nine Smithsonian Institute museums offer dining venues, from gourmet Italian food and handmade sandwiches to BBQ favorites and fast food. Dining is available at the Smithsonian Castle, Air & Space Museum, American History Museum, American Indian Museum, Natural History Museum, American Art Museum, National Zoo, Cooper Hewitt Design Museum, and Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. Cafes are open in conjunction with museum hours.
How much is parking at the Smithsonian Institution?
The Smithsonian only offers visitor parking at the National Zoo, the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, and the Anacostia Community Museum. Zoo parking is $22 per vehicle with no maximum time limit. Parking at the Udvar-Hazy Center is $15 per vehicle and free after 4pm. Parking at the Anacostia Community Museum is free. Parking for all other locations is available at city parking lots or garages within walking distance of the museums.