Washington, D.C. is full of history, information, and adventure. Not only is it a great city to visit, but it’s an amazing place to work and live. The country’s capital is well-known for its high-quality cultural institutions. Notably, there are many free museums in DC.

Museums can be an awesome place to learn about a city’s history and culture and the way our world was shaped. The diverse offerings mean there is something for everyone to enjoy. Visiting for free only makes the trip even better.
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Whether you live in D.C. or are just visiting, below are some of the free museums you should check out.

The Smithsonian Museums

In total, there are 17 museums, galleries, and even a zoo that make up the Smithsonian Institution. From the origins of man and the history and future of flight to historic and contemporary art, there is so much to learn and take in.

A facade of the Smithsonian Castle in DC

At every Smithsonian location, the admission is free, so you can explore until your heart’s content – or at least until closing time. There is so much to see and learn about the world, and the informative way that these museums are designed is valuable for all ages. The Smithsonian Museums should absolutely be on your to-do list when in the D.C. area.

The National Gallery of Art

Calling all art lovers! For those interested in both classical and modern pieces, this is the place for you. This museum spans across two buildings, and all of the art is organized by date. The artists include masters such as Da Vinci, Calder, and Degas. There are even hands-on activities for kids to participate in, so everyone can enjoy their art-viewing experience.

The grounds just outside include a six-acre sculpture garden. Here, both permanent works and traveling exhibitions are on display. Depending on the time of the year, visitors have the opportunity to see a whole new collection of work before even entering the building.

The National Air and Space Museum

If you’re interested in checking out the world’s largest collection of historic aircraft and spacecraft, then don’t miss the National Air and Space Museum. The original 1903 Flyer built by the Wright brothers is on display, among many other innovations. There are also space suits and rocks from the moon. You can truly get a sense of the technological advances humans have made in the arena of flight. It’s the perfect way to spend the day in awe and amazement.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Through artifacts, personal stories, and videos, you can learn about the history and events that happened during this incredibly tragic time of world history. There is a permanent exhibition, as well as special exhibits that go deeper into personal stories that occurred during this time. While admission to the museum is free, entry into the permanent exhibition is conducted through a timed pass from March through August. If you want to reserve your spot online, you have that option. Access to special exhibitions doesn’t require a timed pass.

The National Museum of American History

For those who are looking to see how the country was created, then you’ll want to check out this museum. It’s a great way to see the story of America.There are more than three million objects, so it’s easy to spend quite a while here. From the presidents and their first ladies to the evolution of transportation and business and iconic items such as the ruby red slippers from the Wizard of Oz, this museum has something for everyone. The history of the U.S. is long and complicated, but this space does what it can to show the things that influenced this nation.

The National Museum of the American Indian

This museum displays the diversity of history, culture, language, and traditions of indigenous peoples of both North and South America. From the tip of Patagonia to the outer regions of the Arctic Circle, enough information has been gathered to create this amazing and unique building.  

The main entrance of the National Museum of the American Indian

Numerous public programming events happen here year-round. The most exciting time to visit is during the month of November, because it  is Native American Heritage Month.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture

One of the newest Smithsonian buildings, this museum opened in September 2016. It is the only national museum that is dedicated to African American culture, life, history, and art. There are numerous exhibits housed in a large, impressive building that has quickly become an inspiring, educational and powerful place to visit.

U.S. Botanic Garden

If you enjoy nature and plant life, then you’ll want to check out the U.S. Botanic Garden. It was originally envisioned in the 1800’s and was officially established in 1820. It offers both indoor and outdoor exhibits, as well as a butterfly garden. There are many different areas to see, including a space dedicated to orchids and a room that showcases desert plant life. As well, there are 3 acres of plant life outside to check out.

The US Botanic Gardens with the Capitol in the background

When it comes to finding free museums in D.C. there are clearly many choices to experience. If your stay in D.C. is going to be longer than a typical vacation, you might consider renting an apartment close to one of the city’s many amazing landmarks.

Blueground will provide you with the perfect space. All Blueground apartments come fully-furnished and equipped. They are available for rent starting at one month, with flexible lease terms in D.C.’s most sought after locations. So, the only thing you have to do is show up and instantly you can start living like a local.  

Whether you are in the area for a short amount of time or living here permanently, there is always something fun and free to do. Rain or shine, visiting D.C.’s museums is an entertaining and informative way to spend a few hours.

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