National Building Museum

National Building Museum

Museum and Historic Site · Downtown-Penn Quarter-Chinatown
401 F St NW (at 5th St. NW), Washington, D.C. 20001, United States
Closed until 10:00 AM tomorrow (Show more)
  • Mon–Sat
    • 10:00 AM–5:00 PM
  • Sun
    • 11:00 AM–5:00 PM
Credit Cards:
Yes (incl. American Express)

The National Building Museum is America’s leading cultural institution devoted to the history and impact of the built environment. We do this by telling the stories of architecture, engineering, and design.


Based on 526 votes

People like this place

  • What you need to know
    Danika B.
    "hands down my favorite museum in DC or anywhere!"(5 Tips)
    Daycation DC
    "Don't miss the two indoor mini golf courses here on the first floor!"(4 Tips)
    Theresa D.
    "The architecture of the building alone is worth the walk!"(7 Tips)
    Jonathan C.
    "History of Washington DC exhibit"(2 Tips)
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88 tips and reviews.

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  • mini golf
  • museums
  • architecture
  • tours
  • marble columns
  • exhibits
  • urban planning
  • books
  • free admission
  • café
  • cherry blossoms
  • scenic views
  • blues music
  • landmarks
  • chai
  • barbecue
  • beach
  • beer
  • coffee
  • dinner
  • Allison K.

    The actual museum is eh but each summer they do something awesome like a giant maze, ball pit, or mini golf course in the middle of their main room.

    Allison Kasic · October 9
  • Lauren B.

    Ball pit is wayyyy too expensive and long. Exhibits are nice but scattered

    Lauren Bacon · September 23
  • Jeff A.

    Beach is overcrowded

    Jeff Amlin · August 31
  • Rebecca W.

    The great hall is incredible. They always have awesome exhibits on building and green energy and such. I highly recommend.

    Rebecca W · August 13
  • Jack F.

    "The Beach" is the place to be!

    Jack Fonseca · July 28
  • Vivian K.

    For all ages - free admission if you want to just check out the gorgeous space/structure.

    Vivian Kong · July 14
  • Mark K.

    Probably the most underrated museum in DC. Those columns!

  • Yessica P.

    The best ball pool for al ages!!!

    Yessica Palacios · July 13
  • Darius J.


  • Elizabeth

    What a gem! Two great spaces for the kids and lots of interesting exhibits for the adults. Each summer they roll out something unique as well.

    Elizabeth · June 23
  • Pablo R.

    be prepared for a lot of vacant space

    Pablo Ramos · May 11
  • Danika B.

    Take the tour so you can get the scoop on the history of this building. The exhibits are always fascinating, and the gift shop is a great place to get an unusual design-gift.

    Danika Brown · March 31
  • Megan J.

    If you are looking for playmates come on weekend or weekdays before lunch

    Megan Jantos · March 22
  • Chris t.

    Not free $8, interior hall is though. Terrible use of space, so much potential.

    Chris the vegetarian · December 30, 2014
  • Liz C.

    Some exhibits close earlier than the museum- check in advance!

    Liz Caselli-Mechael · September 2, 2014
  • Joe H.

    Cool Place!

    Joe H · August 9, 2014
  • Oliver G.

    Kids paradise. And coffee.

    Oliver Griswold · August 9, 2014
  • Ashley B.

    The inside is absolutely gorgeous. There were only two exhibits open when we toured the museum so there wasn't much to see...

    Ashley Brooks · August 8, 2014
  • Leia W.

    House&home exhibit for free from monday to friday!

    Leia Welch · July 11, 2014
  • Bridget G.

    They were building a maze which once completed will be really neat!

    Bridget Griffin · June 25, 2014
  • Affinia Hotel Collection

    Less than a 10 minute walk from The Liaison, this museum allows you to channel your inner architect, highlighting design, engineering, construction, urban planning, and of course, architecture.

    Affinia Hotel Collection · June 12, 2014
  • Miguel

    Great unknown museum. Also great for kids.

    Miguel · June 9, 2014
  • Matt W.

    Hidden museum gem in DC. One of most beautiful museum buildings I've been to. There is a small fee, but well worth the admission. In fact, its better than some of the other free Smithsonian museums.

    Matt Wetzel · May 30, 2014
  • Joanie O.

    Make sure to check out the gift shop!

    Joanie O'Sullivan · April 5, 2014
  • Andrew M.

    A few fun rooms for the little ones but that's about it.

    Andrew M · March 22, 2014
  • Dominic O.

    I'm biased but the exhibit about Los Angeles is great

    Dominic O'Connor · February 16, 2014
  • Chris F.

    Don't use the fountain as a restroom after all you can drink special events, you'd think that wouldn't be a tip and would be common sense, but it isn't

    Chris Ford · February 5, 2014
  • Tamara

    Has the largest columns in the world.

    Tamara · August 10, 2013
  • Daycation DC

    Don't miss the two indoor mini golf courses here on the first floor! Each hole featured a local sponsor that designed and constructed it with the theme of “Building the Future.” $5 per course. Read more

    Daycation DC · July 19, 2013
  • Elizabeth

    Play the indoor architectural mini golf! Just remember, mini golf closes at 3pm on the weekends and 4pm weekdays.

    Elizabeth · June 30, 2013
  • Ken

    The building zone for kids is well worth the $3!

    Ken · April 27, 2013
  • Nisa M.

    Great place for a meeting. Culture and convenience.

    Nisa Muhammad · March 20, 2013
  • Peter H.

    You gotta get some marble columns!

    Peter Hill · February 17, 2013
  • Kristin V.

    You've gotta get yourself some marble columns!

    Kristin Visaggio · February 17, 2013
  • Jerry J.

    I absolutely love the bldg!

    Jerry Jay👊🏾Roc · January 21, 2013
  • Dara F.

    An awesome first stop in DC--a great exhibit on DC's urban planning history will get you oriented well to the layout of the city.

    Dara Fisher · December 26, 2012
  • Shelby A.

    It was awesome. Kids love this place and never want to leave!

    Shelby Ann · November 24, 2012
  • Alison

    The Building Zone is a great little play area for kids. It's billed as suitable for ages 2-6, but my one-year-old was able to enjoy it as well.

    Alison · August 25, 2012
  • Wired

    The museum offers insight into the history and future of the world we create for ourselves, with lots of things for kids and adults to do.

    Wired · August 8, 2012
  • Tim F.

    Fantastic views from up on the 2nd, 3rd floors.

    Tim F · July 1, 2012
  • Lori B.

    Take the free tour!

    Lori Bonicelli · April 22, 2012
  • BigRoe #.

    Parking sucks..... ballz

  • R

    Activities for kids!

    R · April 6, 2012
  • Steve M.

    The Unbuilt Washington exhibit is amazing.

    Steve Minard · February 12, 2012
  • Tina T.

    The lego room is so much fun

    Tina Terrell · January 28, 2012
  • Kathryn F.

    The Building Zone play area is no longer free. It's $3 per person, including adults, for a 45 minute session.

    Kathryn Fox · January 25, 2012
  • Katylou M.

    If you have kids under 6 it's definitely worth becoming a Family Member

    Katylou M · January 21, 2012
  • GoGayDC

    The Twentieth Annual SLDN National Dinner is here on March 3, 2012.

    GoGayDC · December 28, 2011
  • Tim D.

    No strollers in exhibits rule is dumb

    Tim Doyle · November 27, 2011
  • DealChicken

    Great for family fun or school field trips!

    DealChicken · November 7, 2011

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