Washington, DC – 7 Major Museums – Highlights and Walking Tour – Podcast 013

(Click above to listen to the podcast. See below for information and pictures.)

Washington DC - 7 Major Museums
Washington DC – 7 Major Museums

Washington, DC can be a little overwhelming with so many world-class things to see and do available to you. This podcast highlights 7 of the don’t-miss top museums along the National Mall, and they are all free to visit. Pictures, links, and maps are included below to provide additional resources to help you enjoy the museums. The letters beside each of the museums highlighted below correspond to the letters on the screenshots of the maps.

The maps are also interactive on the walkli website www.walkli.com

Washington, D.C. -Museum Walk Map -Overview
Washington, D.C.- Museum Walk – Map 1

1-A-Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

Washington, DC – National Air and Space Museum

Begin your walk at 600 Independence Avenue SW at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC. If you want to visit, be sure to get here early in the morning, because this popular museum can get quite crowded. It is worth your time to see some of the highlights, including the Wright Brothers’ 1903 Wright Flyer, Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis, the Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia, and a lunar rock you can touch. Also, while all Smithsonian Museums are free, there is a charge to view the IMAX movies that are shown here.

For more information, access the official website at:


2-B-Smithsonian Castle

Washington, DC – Smithsonian Castle

Walk behind the National Air and Space Museum toward the National Mall and turn left, walking toward the Washington Monument. Walk to the Smithsonian Castle. The castle was the original Smithsonian Museum. It is on the National Register of Historic Places, and it now houses administrative offices and a café. The café serves delicious specialty sandwiches, soups, pastries, organic salads, antipasti, espresso/cappuccino, teas, bottled beverages, beer, wine, and novelty ice cream (seasonal). Open 8:30 am – 5:00 pm daily. The information desk provides information about all Smithsonian Museums.

For more information, access the official website at:


Washington, D.C. – Museum Walk – Map 2

3-C-United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Washington, DC – Holocaust Museum

From the Smithsonian Castle Information Center, continue walking through the National Mall in the direction of the Washington Monument. Walk to 14th Street and turn left. The Holocaust Museum will be just on your right. The museum’s permanent exhibit tells the history of the Holocaust from 1933 to 1945. It spans three floors. It presents a chronological narrative of the Holocaust through historical artifacts, photographs, and film footage. Throughout the exhibition, visitors will also encounter personal objects and the eyewitness testimonies of individual survivors. The Museum distributes identification cards at the entrance to the Permanent Exhibition to help personalize the events of the Holocaust. You will learn the fate of your assigned Holocaust survivor or victim at the end of your self-guided tour. Open 10 am – 5 pm daily, except for Yom Kippur and Christmas Day.

For more information or to reserve tickets in advance, access the official website at:


Washington, D.C. – Museum Walk – Map 3

4-D-National Museum of African American Culture and History

Head back toward the National Mall on 14th Street. The Smithsonian Museum of African American Culture and History will be on your left just before Constitution Avenue. This popular museum opened in 2016. Reserve your free tickets in advance if you want to make sure you can enter. The museum is devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture. The galleries explore slavery, segregation, and freedom. Featured artifacts include Harriett Tubman’s shawl and hymn book, Nat Turner’s Bible, a dress made by Rosa Parks, a white terrycloth robe worn by Muhammad Ali, and the track shoes and gold medals of Carl Lewis.

For more information, access the official website at:


5-E-Smithsonian Museum of American History

Just around the corner from the National Museum of African American History and Culture on Constitution Avenue is the Smithsonian Museum of American History. The large museum is one of the main highlights of the National Mall. It houses the First Ladies Gowns, the original Star Spangled Banner, Dorothy’s ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz, Thomas Jefferson’s desk, George Washington’s uniform, Edison’s light bulb, and many modern-era artifacts, as well. It also contains three excellent shops and two cafes for meals or snacks. It is open 10 am – 5:30 pm daily, except for Christmas Day.

For more information, access the official website at:


Washington, D.C. – Museum Walk – Map 4

6-F-Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Continue walking on Constitution Avenue in the direction of the United States Capitol and you will see the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History on your right. Enter from the National Mall side. Stop in if you want to visit any or all of the large exhibit halls including the: Hall of Geology, Gems, and Minerals – world’s largest emerald, Hope diamond, Star of Asia sapphire, and meteorites; Hall of Human Origins – human-like apes including Neanderthal; The Last American Dinosaurs on the second floor of the museum; and Ocean Hall – whale skeleton, 1500-gallon aquarium, and giant squid. There is also a live butterfly pavilion.

For more information, access the official website at:


7-G-National Gallery of Art

Washington, DC – National Gallery of Art – Degas Ballerina Sculpture

Continue walking on the National Mall in the direction of the United States Capitol. Turn left on 7th Street and right on Constitution Avenue. The National Gallery of Art will be on your right. Stop in here if you want to see some of the world’s most amazing art works for free. The museum is comprised of two buildings: West and East. The West Building is made of pink Tennessee marble and was designed by John Russell Pope, the same architect who designed the Jefferson Memorial. This building houses the European Masters’ paintings and sculptures including works by Degas, Van Gogh, Monet, Rembrandt, and da Vinci. It also contains works by American artists painted prior to the 20th century. The newer, geometrical, and much more modern, East Building was designed by architect I. M. Pei. This building contains modern and contemporary art, including works by Picasso, Matisse, Pollock, Warhol, Lichtenstein, Calder. Don’t miss the gift shop and cafe in the huge underground corridor that links the two buildings. There are nice, large, modern bathrooms down there, too. Open daily 10 am to 5 pm (until 6 pm on Sunday) except closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

For more information, access the official website at:



Podcast 014 of the One Perfect Day in Travel podcast series highlights 8 Major Monuments and Memorials in Washington, DC. You can go to it directly at this link:


For much more information about many more things to see and do in Washington, D.C., including five days of itineraries, hotel, and restaurant recommendations, check out Dr. Loe’s Amazon paperback ($8.99) or $5.99 Kindle book, Washington, D.C. 2018 below:

Washington, DC 2018 by Cindy Loe

Washington, DC 2018 – Kindle book


For a free 5-day suggested itinerary overview, see Washington DC menu link or click here:


What city would you like me to highlight next? You can contact me at:


Until next time, I hope all your travels are just perfect!


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