5 Best Museums in Washington D.C. And Why You Should Visit (When They Reopen)

By FamilyProof Editors

Interested in visiting the best museums in Washington D.C.? These 5 must-see museums offer everything from the history of the bible to exhibits on African-American history and culture. 

Unfortunately, not all of these museums are open right now. So add them to your to-do list and keep this page bookmarked as we’ll update regularly with reopening news.

1. Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History – Closed

5 Best Museums in Washington D.C. And Why You Should Visit (When They Reopen) 1
PHOTO: KARI C./YELP
  • First up is the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, situated at 1000 Constitution Ave. NW. Originally housed in the Smithsonian Castle on the other side of the Mall, the museum moved to its current building in 1910 to accommodate a growing collection that today includes more than 126 million natural science specimens and cultural artifacts.
  • Ongoing exhibits include the National Gem and Mineral Collection, the Hall of Human Origins, and the National Collection of Amphibians and Reptiles.
  • With 4.5 stars out of 1055 reviews on Yelp, the museum has proven to be a favorite of local, national, and international visitors alike.

CHECK OUT: 5 family-friendly staycation ideas in Washington D.C.

2. National Museum of African American History and Culture – Part Open

5 Best Museums in Washington D.C. And Why You Should Visit (When They Reopen) 2
PHOTO: LUKE C./YELP
  • On your tour of the best museums in Washington D.C., plan your visit to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which has earned 4.5 stars out of 604 reviews on Yelp.
  • Opened in 2016, it is the newest member of the Smithsonian Institution. The bronze-colored building suggests a crown used in the West African Yoruban culture. 
  • The museum is home to 36,000 artifacts that document African-American life, history, and culture.
  • Exhibits include explorations of slavery, the civil rights struggle, and the career and cultural impact of Oprah Winfrey.
  • Rest and restore after your visit to the renowned in-house restaurant, Sweet Home Cafe. You can find it on the Mall at 1400 Constitution Ave. NW.

3. Museum of the Bible – Open

Best Museums in Washington D.C.
PHOTO: ABDY M/YELP
  • The Museum of the Bible is open.
  • Timed exhibits include Inventors of the Alphabets, History of Ancient Israel, Treasures from the Vatican, and much more.
  • Permanent exhibits include Stories from the Bible, the Impact of the Bible, and the History of the Bible.
  • The museum has 4.5 stars out of 260 reviews on Yelp.

CHECK OUT: The mental side of wellness.

4. Holocaust Memorial Museum – Closed

5 Best Museums in Washington D.C. And Why You Should Visit (When They Reopen) 3
PHOTO: AUDREY P./YELP
  • The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is another important stop on the best museums in Washington D.C..
  • It aims to “advance and disseminate knowledge about this unprecedented tragedy; to preserve the memory of those who suffered; and to encourage its visitors to reflect upon the moral and spiritual questions raised by the events of the Holocaust,” the museum says on its website.
  • It is housed in a building at 100 Raoul Wallenberg Place SW that is designed to evoke many of the tragic themes of the Holocaust.

5. National Gallery of Art – Part Open

Best Museums in Washington D.C.
PHOTO: MARIA P / YELP
  • Some areas of The National Art Gallery are open. Including The West Building, Ground Floor galleries, and The Sculpture Garden.
  • The Sculpture Garden offers a relaxing setting, flowing with modern sculpture and art. Perfect for outdoor culture.
  • Exhibits currently on show include True To Nature and Degas at the Opéra.
  • With 4.5 stars out of 679 reviews on Yelp, the gallery has proven to be a favorite of local, national, and international visitors alike.

CHECK OUT: Top family vacations across the United States.