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Smithsonian Institution Building

Certificate of Excellence
Neighbourhood: National Mall
Sponsored by:
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Address: 1000 Jefferson Drive SW, Washington DC, DC 20013-7012
Phone Number: +1 202-633-1000
Website
Today
08:30 - 17:30
Closed now
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Hours:
Sun - Sat 08:30 - 17:30
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Fee: No
Description:

The world's largest museum and research complex is actually comprised of 19...

The world's largest museum and research complex is actually comprised of 19 museums and the National Zoo, with subjects that vary from African Art to the postal service, sculpture to space exploration.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 3,306 reviews
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Architecturally interesting

The so-called "Smithsonian Castle" is an architecturally interesting building which now houses the overall Smithsonian information/visitors centre, and has a very small cafe with... read more

4 of 5 bubblesReviewed yesterday
LottyToronto
,
LottyToronto
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3,306 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 2,788: English reviews
LottyToronto
Level Contributor
168 reviews
105 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed yesterday NEW

The so-called "Smithsonian Castle" is an architecturally interesting building which now houses the overall Smithsonian information/visitors centre, and has a very small cafe with both usual and some unusual food, decently (for Washington) priced.

Helpful?
Thank LottyToronto
Hartstown
Level Contributor
97 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 days ago NEW

At the Castle, the light from stained glass windows puts a patina of age that really enhances the varied displays featuring historical objects from the many different museums along the National Mall. The exhibits will rotate, and while we were there a huge Tarantula that had lived in the insect zoo was near a Ming Dynasty vase, and down the... More 

Helpful?
Thank Helen C
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
72 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago

If you're coming to see DC, this should be your first landing point. You can learn about the history of the Smithsonian Museums, their origins, and it's a beautiful visitor's center equipped with assistance, tours, and maps. It's a beautiful old building. I wouldn't spend too much time at the gift shop or food places here, however. The gift shops... More 

Helpful?
Thank Vanessa L
Leeds, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
68 reviews
27 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago

We called in on the way to the Science museum. looked around for a while, bought a tee shirt. then went to get a sandwich. The price... $10.50 each. We decided against it. As we were walking away a chap from the gift shop caught us up to say we had left the debit card in the shop and he... More 

Helpful?
Thank PBPG
Tampa, Florida
Level Contributor
21 reviews
20 attraction reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago

First stop in the Smithsonian tour, The Castle. Small exhibit inside on how this all came about, then you will want to continue and see the rest of the exhibits.

Helpful?
Thank Robert C
Columbus, Ohio
Level Contributor
494 reviews
149 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 141 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago

I would suggest to anyone starting to tour the Smithsonian Museums in the City that they start here. It provides a really nice background on who John Smithson was, and why he donated the funds to start the museums - and how it almost never happened. They also have a really neat digital interactive map in the lobby to guide... More 

Helpful?
Thank Scott S
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
1,270 reviews
700 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 199 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago

The original building and main administrative building, it is architecturally significant and interesting. To the left side as looking from the mall there is an entrance to a downstairs exhibit hall well worth a visit. But me, I just like to study the building. I see something new and interesting each time

Helpful?
Thank Chinapjs
Vancouver, Washington
Level Contributor
171 reviews
60 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 148 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago

Another must-visit stop on your Mall tour, the iconic Castle is really just a glorified information booth for the rest of sprawling Smithsonian complex. There are very helpful folks who will help you plan what could be days of visits to the other museums. There is a small sample gallery of exhibits and a larger cafe here too. Worth a... More 

Helpful?
Thank David P
Santa Rosa, California
Level Contributor
32 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago

So much to see and learn when going to any Smithsonian, this was a great place to start our journey!

Helpful?
Thank Ihv4boys
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
356 reviews
229 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 227 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 weeks ago

Most people do not get a chance or have the time to stop by this Smithsonian Institution known as the "Castle." A unique red color brick building along the National mall. This is where the information center of the huge Smithsonian Institute is located. You can obtain update information on the various Smithsonian museum and sites in the Washington DC... More 

Helpful?
Thank karenpammy2016

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Questions & Answers

Here's what previous visitors have asked, with answers from representatives of Smithsonian Institution Building and other visitors
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Typical questions asked:
  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
  • How do I get there using public transportation?
  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?