The best museums in Washington D.C. in 2022

These are the top 50 best museums in Washington D.C., United States, ranked by their rating and popularity in 2022. Click a museum for more information about the museum, including visitor information, exhibitions and reviews.

For a complete overview of museums in Washington D.C., their exhibitions and discount cards & passes, see our overview page with all museums in Washington D.C..

These are the best museums in Washington D.C.:

  1. National Museum of African American History and Culture1

    National Museum of African American History and Culture

    Washington D.C.
    Part of the Smithsonian Institution, this architecturally imposing building houses a remarkable museum exhibiting the diversity of the African American experience throughout history - see exhibits on slavery, segregation, as well as examples of visual and performance arts. Though the admission is f
  2. National Museum of American History2

    National Museum of American History

    Washington D.C.
    Perfect for history lovers, but great for curious individuals with no historical background too. Built in 1964, it educates the general public in a fun way ever since. The museum tries to get the message of "what it means to be an American" through with various exhibits. These exhibits range from
  3. White House3

    White House

    Washington D.C.
    The Neoclassical mansion is the official residence of the President of the United States. The first President to be seated there was John Adams, moving in after the building was finished in 1800. The president’s seat was not always known as the White House. It was called "President’s Palace", "Pres
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  5. International Spy Museum4

    International Spy Museum

    Washington D.C.
    The International Spy Museum is a private non-profit museum which documents the tradecraft , history, and contemporary role of espionage . It holds the largest collection of international espionage artifacts on public display. The museum opened in 2002 in the Penn Quarter neighborhood of Washington,
  6. National Air and Space Museum5

    National Air and Space Museum

    Washington D.C.
    The largest collection of aircraft and spacecraft in the world is available in this breathtaking, admission-free museum in the heart of Washington. It is an interactive museum and a very family-friendly one. It was opened in 1976 and it is located near the Capitol Building. Among its most impress
  7. National Museum of Natural History6

    National Museum of Natural History

    Washington D.C.
    This museum, operating since 1910, is the world's most visited natural history museum. It also welcomes the highest number of visitors per year out of all the museums in the United States in general. Managed by the Smithsonian Institute, the museum features anything and everything related to natur
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  9. Ford's Theatre7

    Ford's Theatre

    Washington D.C.
    Opened in the 1860s, this theater is known as the place of Abraham Lincoln's assassination in 1865. While performing Our American Cousin, one of the stage actors shot the president in the head. The theater still stages plays and also organizes historic tours which will inform you about the history o
  10. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum8

    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

    Washington D.C.
    The permanent exhibition of this museum introduces its visitors to the history of the Holocaust. It presents the topic in a considerate manner but with lots of factual information. The exhibition is divided into three floors, each presenting a different chapter from the history of Holocaust (the fir
  11. National Gallery of Art9

    National Gallery of Art

    Washington D.C.
    Established in 1937, this originally private museum houses a grand collection of paintings, drawings, sculptures, and other works of art from all eras - from Gothic masters to contemporary art. It includes works by van Gogh, Gauguin, Monet, and Cézanne. The museum organizes free docent-led guided
  12. Smithsonian Institution Building10

    Smithsonian Institution Building

    Washington D.C.
    Built in 1855, this beautiful building serves as headquarters for the Smithsonian Institution. It earned its nickname (The Castle) righteously; the astounding Gothic and Romanesque architecture truly do remind everybody of historic European castles and churches. Today it mostly consists of administ
  13. Folger Shakespeare Library & Theatre11

    Folger Shakespeare Library & Theatre

    Washington D.C.
    Situated only a short walk from America's greatest landmarks, this institution is dedicated to one of the greatest English playwrights - William Shakespeare. It houses a research library with a large collection of Shakespeare's plays and a theater staging most of them. You can also join a docent-le
  14. House of the Temple12

    House of the Temple

    Washington D.C.
    Opened in 1915, this is definitely a must-see sight for all fans of Dan Brown's books. Housing a library, archives and museums, this Masonic temple offers guided tours so don't miss the opportunity to learn all about the building as well as the Freemasonry order.
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  16. Museum of the Bible13

    Museum of the Bible

    Washington D.C.
    The Museum of the Bible is a museum in Washington D.C. which documents the narrative, history, and impact of the Bible . It opened on November 17, 2017, and has 1,150 items in its permanent collection and 2,000 items on loan from other institutions and collections. The museum claims it is nonsectar
  17. Hirshhorn Museum14

    Hirshhorn Museum

    Washington D.C.
    Part of the Smithsonian Institution, this majestic building was designed by an American architect Gordon Bunshaft. The museum houses a grand collection of contemporary and modern art, focusing primarily on the post-WWII period. See works by Picasso, Pollock, and Francis Bacon. You should not miss v
  18. Smithsonian American Art Museum15

    Smithsonian American Art Museum

    Washington D.C.
    The Smithsonian American Art Museum (commonly known as SAAM , and formerly the National Museum of American Art ) is a museum in Washington, D.C. , part of the Smithsonian Institution . Together with its branch museum, the Renwick Gallery , SAAM holds one of the world's largest and most inclusive col
  19. President Lincoln's Cottage16

    President Lincoln's Cottage

    Washington D.C.
    Opened to the public in 2008, this cottage served as a hideaway residence of the 16th President of the US, Abraham Lincoln, and his family. Take a guided tour and walk through exhibits on Lincoln's life and legacy. To get into the complex, you have to enter through Eagle Gate.
  20. National Portrait Gallery17

    National Portrait Gallery

    Washington D.C.
    Part of the Smithsonian Institution, this portrait gallery contains exhibitions focused on famous Americans. Its key exhibit is surely the Hall of Presidents. The building is also interesting in its style - be sure to note the entrance porch designed to resemble Athenian Parthenon and the wavy glas
  21. National Museum of the American Indian18

    National Museum of the American Indian

    Washington D.C.
    Located on the National Mall, this museum is dedicated to spreading knowledge about native people - learn more about the history, culture, and art of Native Americans. The museum is home to artifacts from the entire Western Hemisphere and houses also a space for contemporary Native performances. The
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  23. National Museum of the United States Navy19

    National Museum of the United States Navy

    Washington D.C.
    From exhibits in the old boathouse to the ship outside, there is a lot to see in this often-missed museum of naval history. Permanent exhibitions include, for example, exhibits on American submarines and artifacts from various wars and even polar explorations. Due to being located in a military fac
  24. DAR Museum20

    DAR Museum

    Washington D.C.
    This unique museum houses a great collection of historical relics and items used prior to the Industrial Revolution - travel back in time and see numerous captivating exhibits. If visiting with children, be sure not to miss the New Hampshire Toy Attic where children can play with replicas of histor
  25. Old Stone House21

    Old Stone House

    Washington D.C.
    The Old Stone House is the oldest unchanged building in Washington, D.C. , United States . The house is also Washington's last pre- revolutionary colonial building on its original foundation. Built in 1765, Old Stone House is located at 3051 M Street , Northwest in the Georgetown neighborhood. Sent
  26. Renwick Gallery22

    Renwick Gallery

    Washington D.C.
    Built in 1859, this museum is home examples of American craft and decorative arts, both contemporary and traditional. There is a number of guided tours you can join, including an entertaining scavenger hunt. Weekends tend to be crowded so plan your visit on a weekday if possible, especially if visit
  27. African American Civil War Memorial23

    African American Civil War Memorial

    Washington D.C.
    The African American Civil War Memorial Museum , in the U Street district of Washington, D.C. , recognizes the contributions of the 209,145 members of the United States Colored Troops (USCT). The eponymous memorial, dedicated in July 1998 by the African American Civil War Memorial Freedom Foundation
  28. Bureau of Engraving and Printing24

    Bureau of Engraving and Printing

    Washington D.C.
    Housed in a majestic neoclassical building, BEP is the place where all the dollars get printed. Join their free guided tour and learn everything about US paper currency while watching the fascinating process of printing money. Hop into the visitor center to explore other money-related exhibits.
  29. United States Navy Memorial25

    United States Navy Memorial

    Washington D.C.
    Built in 1987, this memorial is dedicated to all who have served in the US Navy. The plaza is adorned with a "Granite Sea" (a map of the world) and with a statue of Lone Sailor. The outdoor wall of the memorial is decorated with various famous quotes from the history of the US Navy.
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  31. National Building Museum26

    National Building Museum

    Washington D.C.
    This gem of Renaissance Revival architecture houses a wonderful architectural museum which wants to improve the quality of the built environment. Explore exhibits on architecture, design, and engineering. If visiting with children, head to the Building Zone where young visitors are introduced to the
  32. Frederick Douglass National Historic Site27

    Frederick Douglass National Historic Site

    Washington D.C.
    Previously known as Cedar Hill, this house was once the home of one of the most prominent African Americans, Frederick Douglass. Walk through this statesman's estate, see engaging exhibitions, or watch an educative film in the auditorium. The only way to visit the inside of this historic house is a
  33. National Geographic Society28

    National Geographic Society

    Washington D.C.
    The headquarter building of this world-famous magazine houses a marvelous museum which offers varied temporary exhibits and holds exclusive events. The museum also includes a permanent exhibition displaying the magazine's "greatest hits". Every time you visit, you are in for some breathtaking pictur
  34. Octagon House29

    Octagon House

    Washington D.C.
    The oldest museum of architecture in America is housed in this beautiful historic building that is a noteworthy sight by itself. Unlike usual museums, this one invites you to touch and try every object you encounter. Its mission is to present how architecture can reflect people who created it.
  35. Freer Gallery of Art30

    Freer Gallery of Art

    Washington D.C.
    Located on the National Mall, this gallery forms the National Museum of Asian Art and houses a collection containing more than 26 000 objects from various countries and time periods. See examples of Egyptian, Persian, Korean, and Chinese art. The museum offers a range of free walk-in guided tours -
  36. National Gallery of Art - East Building31

    National Gallery of Art - East Building

    Washington D.C.
  37. National Museum of African Art32

    National Museum of African Art

    Washington D.C.
    Part of the Smithsonian Institution, this museum is devoted to showcasing African art and culture. Housing the largest collection of African art in the US, you will have a chance to see more than 9000 wors of both traditional and contemporary African artists. If interested, you can join a docent-led
  38. Woodrow Wilson House33

    Woodrow Wilson House

    Washington D.C.
    Visit this historic house and explore the private life of the 28th president of the United States - Woodrow Wilson. Built in 1915, this house was initially bought by Wilson as a gift to his wife. Join a guided tour and see all the original furnishings including a wall-sized tapestry and a historic p
  39. Dumbarton Oaks34

    Dumbarton Oaks

    Washington D.C.
    Housed in a historic estate, this museum focuses on Byzantine and Pre-Columbian art. You can also explore some exhibitions featuring European art. Once here, you should not miss visiting the astounding gardens which surround the place. If you want to learn more, you can join one of the docent-led g
  40. Mary Mcleod Bethune Council House35

    Mary Mcleod Bethune Council House

    Washington D.C.
    The Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site preserves the house of Mary McLeod Bethune , located in Northwest Washington, D.C. , at 1318 Vermont Avenue NW. National Park Service rangers offer tours of the home, and a video about Bethune's life is shown. It is part of the Logan Circ
  41. Kreeger Museum36

    Kreeger Museum

    Washington D.C.
    The Kreeger Museum is a modern and contemporary art museum located in Washington D.C. It is located in the former home of David Lloyd Kreeger and Carmen Kreeger. The Kreegers were highly involved in the Washington, DC arts and cultural community.
  42. The Phillips Collection37

    The Phillips Collection

    Washington D.C.
    Supposedly the first museum of modern art in America, this building is home to a truly remarkable collection of more than 3000 works of art - marvel at works by world-renowned artists such as El Greco, Van Gogh, Monet, and Picasso. As a part of the museum, you can also visit the original Phillips ho
  43. Petersen House38

    Petersen House

    Washington D.C.
    Located across the street from Ford's Theatre, this is the house into which Abraham Lincoln was carried after he was shot at. Despite the aid provided by the Petersen's family, the 16th President of the US died there on April 15, 1865, at 7:22 am. The house has been turned into a museum which you ca
  44. National Museum of Women In the Arts39

    National Museum of Women In the Arts

    Washington D.C.
    The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA), located in Washington, D.C. , is "the only major museum in the world solely dedicated" to celebrating women's achievements in the visual, performing, and literary arts. NMWA was incorporated in 1981 by Wallace and Wilhelmina Holladay . Since opening i
  45. Art Museum of the Americas40

    Art Museum of the Americas

    Washington D.C.
    Art Museum of the Americas (AMA) , located in Washington, D.C. , is the first art museum in the United States primarily devoted to exhibiting works of modern and contemporary art from Latin America and the Caribbean . The museum was formally established in 1976 by the Organization of American States
  46. Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens41

    Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens

    Washington D.C.
    Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens is a decorative arts museum in Washington, D.C. , United States. The former residence of businesswoman, socialite, philanthropist and collector Marjorie Merriweather Post , Hillwood is known for its large decorative arts collection that focuses heavily on the House
  47. Sewall-belmont House and Museum42

    Sewall-belmont House and Museum

    Washington D.C.
    The Belmont–Paul Women's Equality National Monument (formerly the Sewall House (1800–1929), Alva Belmont House (1929–1972), and the Sewall–Belmont House and Museum (1972–2016)) is a historic house and museum of the U.S. women's suffrage and equal rights movements located in the Capitol Hill neighbor
  48. Tudor Place43

    Tudor Place

    Washington D.C.
    Tudor Place is a Federal-style mansion in Washington, D.C. that was originally the home of Thomas Peter and his wife, Martha Parke Custis Peter , a granddaughter of Martha Washington . Step-grandfather George Washington left her the $8,000 in his will that was used to purchase the property in 1805
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    Artechouse DC

    Washington D.C.
  50. Pope John Paul Ii National Shrine45

    Pope John Paul Ii National Shrine

    Washington D.C.
    The Saint John Paul II National Shrine is a national shrine in Washington, D.C. , sponsored by the Knights of Columbus . It is a place of prayer for Catholics and welcomes people of all faiths. The Shrine houses a permanent exhibit called A Gift of Love: the Life of Saint John Paul II and is home to
  51. Arthur M. Sackler Gallery46

    Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

    Washington D.C.
    The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery is an art museum of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. , focusing on Asian art. The Sackler Gallery and the Freer Gallery of Art together form the Smithsonian's national museums of Asian art in the United States . The Freer and Sackler galleries house the l
  52. 47

    National Law Enforcement Museum

    Washington D.C.
    The National Law Enforcement Museum is a mostly-underground facility located adjacent to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC's Judiciary Square (400 block of E Street, NW). The museum covers American law enforcement through interactive exhibits, historical and contempora
  53. Arts and Industries Building48

    Arts and Industries Building

    Washington D.C.
    The Arts and Industries Building is the second oldest (after The Castle ) of the Smithsonian museums on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Initially named the National Museum , it was built to provide the Smithsonian with its first proper facility for public display of its growing collections. T
  54. Anderson House - Society of the Cincinatti49

    Anderson House - Society of the Cincinatti

    Washington D.C.
    Anderson House , also known as Larz Anderson House , is a Gilded Age mansion located at 2118 Massachusetts Avenue , NW , on Embassy Row in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington, D.C. It now houses the Society of the Cincinnati 's international headquarters and a research library on 17th- and
  55. Mexican Cultural Institute50

    Mexican Cultural Institute

    Washington D.C.
    Amazing institution dominating the Spanish-speaking neighborhood is truly a local cultural hub. Exhibitions or shows - something everyday.

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