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DC Museums You Must Visit

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There is no question that DC is a museum town full of world-class art to some of the country's most legendary and inspiring artifacts. The most iconic DC museums belong to the world's largest museum complex: The Smithsonian Institution, with its soon-to-be 20 museums and the National Zoo, has a collection so vast that only about three percent of it are on display at any given time. Since many museums surround the National Mall, it makes for easy walking distance and best of all, they're free.
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600 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20560, USA
Opened to the public as part of the country's bicentennial celebration in 1976, this is the largest of the Smithsonian Institution's 20 museums. It is the most-visited museum in the U.S. (and the second-most-visited museum in the world behind the...
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14390 Air and Space Museum Pkwy, Chantilly, VA 20151, USA
FREE
This photo was taken just days after the NASA Space Shuttle Discovery was placed in its new home as part of the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum collection. The museum offers a tremendous look at both the history and current...
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10th St. & Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20560, USA
FREE
The National Museum of Natural History has become the steward of one of the largest natural history collections, with over 126 million specimens including hundreds of mammals from Africa, Australia, and the Americas. This museum always tops...
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1300 Constitution Ave NW, Washington, DC 20560, USA
FREE
Originally founded as the National Museum of History and Technology in 1964, this museum charms millions of visitors with over three million artifacts and national treasures that have shaped a nascent American history and culture Highlights...
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4th St SW & Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20560, USA
$$$$
During my three years of living in Washington, D.C., I made it my mission to visit as many museums as I could. The National Museum of the American Indian quickly won me over. Its curves can be seen from countless rooftops and decks in the city....
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6th & Constitution Ave NW, Washington, DC 20565, USA
FREE
With two buildings and a sculpture garden, the National Gallery of Art is a treasure-filled trifecta where each person’s gems will only be uncovered through an immersive day (or more) of cultural exploration. The West Building is a...
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6th & Constitution Ave NW, Washington, DC 20565, USA
FREE
When we were kids, my parents would take (okay, drag) us to visit the Smithsonian Art Museums. I dreaded those trips. What kid wants to spend an afternoon looking at canvases with indecipherable images on them? The one exception was the East Wing...
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100 Raoul Wallenberg Pl SW, Washington, DC 20024, USA
FREE
The Holocaust Memorial Museum is a living memorial to the more than 11 million victims who perished at the hands of the Nazis before and during World War II. Built in 1993, the permanent exhibition tells the Holocaust's full story through real...
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800 F St NW, Washington, DC 20004, USA
Aside from fictional spies like James Bond, Jason Bourne, and Austin Powers, few of us know much about the world of espionage and that’s probably very deliberate. After all, you can’t expect any good spy to be giving away their trade secrets. If...
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555 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001, USA
The Newseum is an interactive, ever-evolving tribute to our First Amendment freedoms of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition. Powerful exhibits such as eight sections of the Berlin Wall (the largest display outside Germany) provide...
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1600 21st St NW, Washington, DC 20009, USA
The Phillips Collection started as a humble gallery to honor a deceased father and brother in 1921, and rapidly transformed into a full-fledged modern art museum—America’s first. Set in a stately Georgian Revival brick house that was...
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8th St NW & F St NW, Washington, DC 20001, USA
An undulating steel and glass canopy wows visitors who enter the Kogod Courtyard. Inside you'll find diners from the museum's café, tourists soaking their weary feet in the shallow fountain running across the space, and students taking advantage...
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401 F St NW, Washington, DC 20001, USA
Formerly known as the Pension Building, this immense Italian Renaissance–style structure is home to more than 200 exhibits showcasing the construction, architecture, and engineering heritage of the U.S. and Washington, D.C. A favorite is the...
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2 Massachusetts Ave NE, Washington, DC 20002, USA
FREE
Part of the Smithsonian Institution since 1993, this circa-1914 former Beaux Arts post office is the world's first major museum devoted to postal history and philately (stamp collecting). It is an interactive museum that tells the history of...
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3800 Fettler Park Dr, Dumfries, VA 22025, USA
Traveling on I-95 and exiting at Quantico/Triangle in Virginia, you'll drive up to the Marine Corps Museum. This wonderful museum was opened in November of 2006. Admission and parking are free. This museum is said to be "a lasting tribute to the...