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Smithsonian Institution Building (The Castle)

History Museum
Southwest Washington, Washington
  • Fazal B.
    "visible landmarks in the National Mall of Washington D."(2 Tips)
    Eman A.
    "In love woth the architecture 😍 such a fabulous muisam."(6 Tips)
    Hilsdon Photography LLC
    "Beautiful gardens to sit and read a book in the morning."(8 Tips)
    Oscar F.
    "Great place to start cafe and wifi available here."(4 Tips)
91 Tips and reviews
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  • Markus T.
    Markus TarjamoDecember 14, 2014
    The building itself is eye-catching, and is on the mall, which is a pretty central location for the history lovers! Go inside! This museum provides a good amount of history for museum buffs!
  • Raj M.
    Raj MukherjeeJuly 8, 2013
    It is a great resource to begin the various museum visits. There are multiple smithsonian museums so be sure to grab a handy map from the info center located in the smithsonian castle.
  • Oscar F.
    Oscar FajardoMarch 11, 2016
    Great place to start cafe and wifi available here. Clean restrooms and maps of all sorts to start your adventure. There's people to help answer questions and also gift shops.
  • Smithsonian
    SmithsonianJune 7, 2012
    Our guides at the visitors desk can help you plan your visit. See a sampling of what each museum has to offer in the Commons and then take off with our mobile app as your guide (
  • Starlet S.
    Starlet SmithJune 3, 2012
    Has a room that shows you some artifacts from each surrounding Smithsonian Museum, so you can get a preview of each museum in case you're unsure of which one to visit first.
  • Ashley C.
    Ashley CookMay 15, 2012
    Great place to start when visiting the smithsonian buildings. Not very crowded on the day we came. Nice place to sit and cool off. They even have a panda cam from the zoo.
  • CJ R.
    CJ RSeptember 26, 2016
    If visiting the Smithsonian Institute is in your list, visit the Smithsonian Castle 1st Docent tours are held 2x/day @ 9a & 1:30p. The tour give you perspective into the history of the Smithsonian.
  • ToryBurch
    ToryBurchJune 26, 2013
    The world’s largest museum, The Smithsonian consists of 19 smaller museums and galleries and the National Zoo.
  • IWalked Audio Tours
    Originally to be constructed of white marble like similar DC bldgs but too costly. Founder James Smithson's tomb moved here upon being retrieved by Alexander Graham Bell in 1904.Full history via<LINK> Read more
  • Marc Kevin H.
    Marc Kevin HallJune 4, 2012
    Been here 5+ times
    The staff is exceptionally friendly. Two points of interest: the tomb of the Institution's founder, and a gallery with sample exhibits.
  • Markus v.
    Beautiful architecture and, if you're tired of Starbucks, there's a nice little cafe with a good atmosphere on the first floor...
  • Plaza S.
    Plaza ScienceMarch 19, 2014
    Fantastic place! You can see a photo of Yuri Gagarin's Space Suit on PlazaScience, the social network for people who likes science and photography Read more
  • loran j.
    loran jonakApril 1, 2015
    This is worth an hour at the beginning of your Smithsonian day. Maps for planning and they have some good items on display
  • Hannah L.
    Hannah LuddyJanuary 11
    Ask about the free tour to get a quick overview of the history plus some stories that aren't in the displays.
  • Hilsdon Photography LLC
    Beautiful gardens to sit and read a book in the morning. Nice and peaceful, with some really quiet corners.
  • Ros47 D.
    Ros47 DeltaAugust 15, 2014
    The claim to be one of the premier scientific and educational facilities on this planet is called into question by lack of ABBA exhibit. Earth will never get into Intergalactic Council this way.
  • Brent B.
    Brent BeemanJuly 4, 2013
    The visits are never long enough, and the memories last forever! What a cool collection of history.
  • Fazal B.
    Fazal BahardeenFebruary 3, 2012
    Heyy guys! Popular as The Castle, the Smithsonian Institution Building is one of the most visible landmarks in the National Mall of Washington D.C. Read more
  • Jenny B.
    Jenny Barnett RohrsApril 7, 2012
    Make sure you take in the movie at the Orientation Theatre. Helpful & cute narration by Ben Stiller.
  • Ross G.
    Ross GuthrieSeptember 7, 2013
    Make sure to check out the manicured garden on the Constitution Ave side of the building.
    HISTORYMarch 31, 2010
    The Smithsonian Institution was founded for the "increase and diffusion" of knowledge from a bequest to the United States by the British scientist James Smithson, who had never visited the US himself.
  • James H.
    James HilsdonAugust 19, 2012
    The gardens open early, so take advantage of the peace and quite before the crowds arrive :)
  • Jonathan L.
    Jonathan LiuSeptember 4
    The Smithson Crypt gives some good insight into the founding father of the Smithsonian Institute.
  • Manuel P.
    Manuel PadillaJuly 20, 2014
    I really love to know everything about history and it is the best place to do
  • John C.
    John CockerillApril 13, 2015
    The building itself is an attraction. Make sure to at least stop by the lobby
  • Shannon M.
    Shannon M.April 24, 2013
    This building has indoor seating to give your feet a break but is just an information center
  • Calvin W.
    Calvin WebsterJanuary 30, 2010
    This is, obviously, a good starting point for the national mall. Friendly staff help you get your bearings, and there is free wifi to check email and stuff.
  • Lydia S.
    Cool building! Gives you cool information about the museums and helpful tips!
  • Susan M.
    Susan MareckOctober 2, 2011
    Freer gallery free Asian films Friday evenings and Sunday. Afternoon, check out the schedule on line
  • AZ
    AZDecember 29, 2013
    Must go: Hope Diamond, Level 2. Beautiful diamonds there.
  • Mike K.
    Mike KarokiApril 21, 2014
    Lots of cool stuff to see and learn. Its probably a whole day event.
  • Michelle
    MichelleOctober 1, 2011
    Great meet up place for groups. Free street parking for up to 3 hrs.
  • DC Preservation League
    "Castle" built 1847-55 (James Renwick, architect); alterations by Adolph Cluss after 1865 fire; National Historic Landmark.
  • Eman A.
    Eman A.June 23, 2016
    In love woth the architecture 😍 such a fabulous muisam.
  • Aprendiz d.
    The gardens on the back are perfect for pictures!
  • Nita S.
    Nita SinApril 30, 2012
    Make sure to snap a picture of the Washington, DC physical mini map. It's quite cool.
  • Cicely L.
    Cicely LOctober 22, 2016
    Fun to go inside - a good preview of the rest of the museums.
  • Norie W.
    Norie WrightMarch 22, 2015
    Good snacks for a stop while touring DC.
  • Mary Kate K.
    Mary Kate KeapplerMarch 26, 2016
    Great spot to be in DC. Enjoyed every branch.
  • Kent C.
    Kent ComptonAugust 12
    I enjoyed the maps and computer-driven displays
  • Maggie M.
    Maggie MacGDecember 27, 2015
    Great diorama of the whole museum...
  • Donn M.
    Donn Miller-KermaniSeptember 18, 2011
    Check out the fabulous jewelry of Jackie O. Beautiful and classic.
  • Carmenza M.
    Carmenza MontagueSeptember 2, 2011
    Check out the new Bioluminescence exhibit at the Ocean Hall. Way cool!
  • Cengiz E.
    Cengiz EkenDecember 16, 2015
    Institute environment is great
  • Kate D.
    Kate DrafzFebruary 27, 2013
    Helpful if your a newbie to DC and arn't sure of where to go
  • Bilal
    BilalNovember 4, 2016
    If you _HAVE_ to eat at the cafe, the soup is better than the sandwiches. Otherwise avoid this place.
  • Savannah S.
    Savannah SmithNovember 14, 2015
    I was holding my phone and my selfie stick...(I wasn't planning to take a picture)and this man told me "you need to put that selfies!" Then he wouldn't let me go into a certain part.🙄
  • Sheri C.
    Sheri CarboneJuly 6, 2013
    You have to check out the architector, WOW.
  • Wrigley F.
    Wrigley FielderOctober 23, 2015
    Closed since 2004, Arts and Industries building still doesn't have enough funding to re-open.
  • Dan M.
    Dan MOctober 24, 2010
    Cafe is uber expensive but that means there's always food and seating.
  • Andrea C.
    Andrea CAugust 19, 2014
    Good place to stop for a bathroom break on the mall.
  • Bridget G.
    Bridget GriffinJune 25, 2014
    Great souvenir exhibits!
  • Russ A.
    Russ AvinaAugust 8, 2014
    Awesome architecture.
  • Claudio P.
    Claudio PalmasOctober 12, 2014
    A nice piece of architecture
  • B. G.
    B. GoldJanuary 16, 2013
    Friendly people , gorgeous place
  • Nicole S.
    Nicole SettleApril 23, 2015
    Was Azizslwwodsoqe twwwwwiw www Ssazuithe@wwwwwwwaddoias addoias s i waiqzkwaiqzkllllly dzzz woetaqoawwwdii saesws,o
  • Richard R.
    Richard ReynoldsAugust 6, 2014
    A wonderful piece of history!
  • Jean L.
    Jean LeconteMarch 12, 2012
    Check out Smithsonians tomb while your inside.
  • Pushkar B.
    Pushkar BhatAugust 2, 2010
    Checkout Madeline Albrights collection of Pins at The Castle. Interesting stories associated with each one of them.
  • André C.
    André CherinJanuary 21, 2016
    Very nice!
  • Holly S.
    Holly Spencer-DunnAugust 27, 2015
    Beautiful gardens! Loved it
  • Biz T.
    Biz TraveldudeMay 28, 2015
    Awesome place in DC
  • Brian B.
    Brian BurrowNovember 20, 2011
    Come with a couple days to spare.
  • Aaron B.
    Aaron BlackmonJune 9, 2013
    The turkey sandwich goes hard!!!
  • Stanley G.
    Stanley GreidingerMay 22, 2012
    Make sure to explore the gardens
  • Dirty B.
    Dirty BirdAugust 9, 2014
    You might as well pop in and see it
  • kathleen w.
    kathleen watsonDecember 1, 2013
    Found some stocking stuffers for the grand children for 2013!
  • Eric C.
    Eric CDecember 20, 2015
    Easy access to clean bathrooms.
  • Justin T.
    Justin TaylorJune 4, 2016
    The atmosphere is something to check out once. I wouldn't say it's necessary, and I wouldn't eat here. It's expensive canned processed meals.
  • David W.
    David WeathersbyOctober 16, 2016
    Historical part of the Smithsonian.
  • Gianna G.
    Gianna GallardoApril 14, 2011
    Been here 5+ times
    Check out the garden in the back.
  • Stephen P.
    Stephen PangJune 17, 2013
    Don't come here for value for money lunch.
  • Jon S.
    Jon SilvestriNovember 8, 2014
    Washington DC
  • Emily B.
    Emily BoulgerAugust 1, 2015
    Love the gardens
  • Paul V.
    Paul VannAugust 14, 2010
    Great place to discover something new about history, culture, yourself.
  • Tamela
    TamelaMay 24, 2012
    Check out the Hockey Team gear from "Miracle"!
  • Chad R.
    Chad RJune 19, 2011
    Check out the giant bird-eating tarantula.
  • Laura Harvey S.
    Laura Harvey StoutFebruary 20, 2011
    Easy to spot!
  • Aaron S.
    Aaron SmithMay 13, 2015
    Start here for your smithsonian visit but nothing to see. Just administrative offices. Expensive food. Skip it.
  • Carrie B.
    Carrie BurnsApril 10, 2010
    Corn dogs inside the castle...yum!
  • Jessica P.
    Jessica PorterJuly 28, 2009
    Check out the Smithsonian's very own loot pile from Night at the Museum II!
  • Travis B.
    Travis BernardJune 14, 2010
    Pablo makes a mean roast beef
  • Sarah T.
    Sarah TaylorJuly 27, 2009
    Been here 5+ times
    see the American Idol judges desk in the Great Hall
  • paipoi
    paipoiDecember 30, 2014
  • John S.
    John SmithJuly 28, 2015
    Начальный пункт для планирования посещений всех других музеев в округе...ну, если вы-американец :) Есть кафе, самая большая достопримечательность в здании.
  • Anilu M.
    Sólo es un lugar para conseguir información, no un museo, no se confundan como yo. Vale la pena entrar por la arquitectura del edificio.
  • Alexandre C.
    Alexandre CostaOctober 5, 2016
    Um café legal... Bom para informações e pausa na caminhada
  • Tatiana W.
    Tatiana WagnerFebruary 12, 2016
    Su arquitectura es impactantes
  • Raquel
    RaquelSeptember 8
  • Karina R.
    Karina RodriguezOctober 23, 2014
    Que hermoso!!
  • Ely T.
    Ely TorresinJune 1, 2014
    Lanchonete muito cara...
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