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The Smithsonian Tours

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192 Reviews
The Smithsonian
With 19 museums, nine research centers, and the National Zoological Park, it's no surprise the Smithsonian Institution is one of the most famous collections of museums in the United States and around the globe. Whether you're a history buff, a science lover, or an art enthusiast, you'll definitely want to spend at least a few hours—or maybe even a few days—in these world-renowned collections.

The Basics
Since 10 of the Smithsonian museums are located on the National Mall, you'll see them on most Segway, bus, bike, and walking tours of Washington, DC, some of which include free time to enter the museums of your choosing. Many visitors get their bearings on a guided city tour and then head back to the Smithsonian Castle, home to the Smithsonian Visitors Center, to pick up free guides and maps before heading to a museum. Great news: all of the museums are free, though be aware you'll need a timed entry pass for the National Museum of African American History and Culture (bookable online and offered with some tours; a small number of same-day walk-up passes are also available on weekdays).

Things to Know Before You Go
  • Cameras are allowed, but leave the selfie sticks and tripods at home, as they're prohibited.
  • Avoid bringing large bags and packages, as they'll be subject to a lengthy search process. Lockers are available for small items at some museums.
  • All museums are wheelchair accessible.
  • You can grab a cup of coffee at the Smithsonian Visitor Center cafe.
  • To avoid crowds when exploring a museum, start on the top floor and move toward the ground floor, rather than starting at the first level.

How to Get to the Smithsonian
All of the museums are easily accessible via public transportation, with most on the National Mall and a few others in convenient downtown DC locations.

When to Get There
The museums are open year round, and each has its own hours. You can expect to have company no matter the season, though the busiest times tend to be weekends, holidays, and during the National Cherry Blossom Festival. To avoid the biggest crowds, start your visit early in the morning on weekends or later in the day on weekdays.

What to See at the Smithsonian
It's impossible to see everything, so do a little research before you go to decide which site is at the top of your list. Is it the Hope Diamond at the National Museum of Natural History? The flight simulators at the National Air and Space Museum? The rare giant pandas at the National Zoo? Or perhaps you have to see the collections at the National Portrait Gallery, the Freer Gallery of Art, the National Museum of the American Indian, the National Museum of American History, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, or the Renwick Gallery. Each has something special, so choose what's most appealing to you.
Address: 1000 Jefferson Drive SW, Washington D.C. 20013, USA
Hours: 10am - 5:30pm daily. Closed Dec 25
Admission: Free
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27 Tours and Activities to Experience The Smithsonian

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Big Bus Washington DC Hop-On Hop-Off TourBus Tours

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Big Bus Washington DC Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

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Discover the most popular sights in Washington, DC on this relaxing hop-on hop-off bus tour. Drive past many of the top attractions in the nation’s capital — including the White House, the Washington Monument, the National Mall, historic Georgetown, and Arlington National Cemetery, and choose where you want to get off and explore in more detail. Select a 1- or 2-day pass, then hop on at any of the stops on two different routes and get to know the city with a combination of both live and audio commentary. The 2-day option includes admission to Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum.
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From  
$39.20 
$49.00
$9.80 savings
From  
$39.20 
$49.00
$9.80 savings
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures

Washington DC Hop-On Hop-Off Trolley + Arlington Nat'l Cemetery, Water Taxi UpgradeAudio Guides

Washington DC Hop-On Hop-Off Trolley + Arlington Nat'l Cemetery, Water Taxi Upgrade

star-4
Take a hop-on hop-off Washington DC trolley tour to explore the nation’s capital at your own pace. The route encompasses the city’s top attractions, including the White House, Lincoln Memorial, and Arlington National Cemetery (if option is selected). This is the only tour to take you into the Arlington National Cemetery (if option is selected). Just hop off at any stop when you want to explore, and then hop back on the trolley to continue around the city. When booking, select a silver, gold, or platinum pass, depending upon your interests.
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  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From  
$49.00 
From  
$49.00 
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  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures

Day Tour of Washington DC Small Group Full-day Tours

Day Tour of Washington DC Small Group

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Experience the history and culture of the nation’s capital on this comprehensive, half-day, small-group tour. Travel in a comfortable vehicle complete with phone chargers, umbrellas, and a flat-screen TV, and see Washington DC’s monuments, museums, and memorials with a guide. See the US Capitol building, the White House, the Mall and more. Avoid the hassles of driving, or navigating public transportation and leave the logistics to your guide.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From  
$61.65 
Price varies by group size
From  
$61.65 
Price varies by group size
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures

Half-Day Grand Tour of Washington DCHalf-day Tours

Half-Day Grand Tour of Washington DC

star-4
Get a panoramic look at Washington DC on this sightseeing tour that provides a comprehensive introduction to the United States capital and its historical and cultural landmarks. Listen to live narration as you see dozens of attractions, such as Lincoln Memorial, the exterior of the White House, Washington Monument and the National Mall, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, and the Smithsonian buildings.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
$53.42 
From  
$53.42 
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Night Tour of Washington DC Small Group Half-day Tours

Night Tour of Washington DC Small Group

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Washington DC’s monuments and landmarks light up after dark, perfect for dramatic views and memorable photos of the capital city. Explore the sights from the National Mall to the White House and key memorials as your guide provides informative narration about each site. Hop off at select sights to get an up-close look with your small-group and guide. This tour includes transport between locations.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From  
$61.65 
Price varies by group size
From  
$61.65 
Price varies by group size
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures

Washington DC Monuments Bike TourMountain Bike Tours

Washington DC Monuments Bike Tour

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See the historical sights of Washington DC with an up-close view of significant monuments on a bike tour by comfortable cruiser. Ride an easy route over flat terrain from the National Mall to the Potomac Tidal Basin and view DC landmarks including the Washington Monument, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, and Jefferson Memorial as you explore the attractions with a knowledgeable guide.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
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$46.00 
From  
$46.00 
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Washington DC Super Saver: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley + Monuments by Moonlight TourSuper Savers

Washington DC Super Saver: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley + Monuments by Moonlight Tour

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Explore the best of Washington, DC on this narrated, hop-on hop-off trolley tour. Visit more than 100 points of interest among DC’s top attractions—like the White House, the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument, to name just a few. Depending upon your interest, select a silver, gold, or platinum pass, then board at any of the stops and get to know the nation’s capital in customized fashion, with live onboard commentary from a professional tour conductor. A guided moonlight trolley tour to the same landmark locations, illuminated for the evening, is also included.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From  
$85.00 
From  
$85.00 
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures

Washington DC Private Tour with Spanish or Portuguese OptionHalf-day Tours

Washington DC Private Tour with Spanish or Portuguese Option

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Explore the famous sites of Washington DC on this private tour. Choose from a morning or afternoon departure, then climb aboard a luxury vehicle and enjoy an educational and entertaining account of the nation’s capital with a private guide. Travel around and through the plethora of famous war memorials, monuments, and landmarks. From DC’s residential neighborhoods to Arlington, Virginia and back, experience this comprehensive tour of the city. Hotel pickup/drop-off included.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
$410.96 
per group
From  
$410.96 
per group
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Private Washington DC Day Trip from New YorkDay Trips

Private Washington DC Day Trip from New York

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Visit Washington, D.C., on a private, full-day trip from New York City with a chauffeured minivan that accommodates up to six passengers. Enjoy the ride in comfort and style, then spend a day exploring the capital’s most important sites. See the United States Capitol and the moving tombs of the Arlington National Cemetery, then continue to the White House and Presidential memorials. Visit the museums and monuments that line the National Mall before returning to New York.
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  • 15 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From  
$1,127.40 
per group
From  
$1,127.40 
per group
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  • 15 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures

Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour of Washington DC: Monuments, Landmarks and MemorialsBus Tours

Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour of Washington DC: Monuments, Landmarks and Memorials

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Explore the most popular sites in Washington, DC on this hop-on hop-off bus tour. Visit many of the top attractions in the nation’s capital — like the White House, Washington Monument, the National Mall, historic Georgetown, Arlington National Cemetery and more. Select a 1- or 2-day pass, for access to three separate routes and get to know the city in custom fashion, with live and recorded narration.
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  • 1 hour to 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
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$49.00 
From  
$49.00 
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  • 1 hour to 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Free Cancellation

Washington DC Legend Daytime Comprehensive TourDay Trips

Washington DC Legend Daytime Comprehensive Tour

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Explore the most famous monuments and war memorials of Washington, DC on this comprehensive, guided, full-day sightseeing tour. Climb aboard a mini bus with a small group and enjoy an educational and entertaining narrated history of the US capital. Travel around and through the plethora of famous memorials and monuments, with stunning views of the United States Capitol, the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, the White House, Arlington Cemetery, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial and many other landmark locations. Hotel pickup and drop-off included.
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  • 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
$82.20 
From  
$82.20 
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  • 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Washington DC Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour and Attractions PassBus Tours

Washington DC Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour and Attractions Pass

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This hop-on hop-off Washington DC bus tour includes three different loops with live commentary plus a night bus tour and admission to up to five total attractions. Use your 48-hour pass to explore memorials and monuments such as the US Capitol, Vietnam Veterans Memorial and Lincoln Memorial. Choose entry to attractions including the International Spy Museum and Madame Tussauds, or select a full-day bike rental.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
$69.00 
From  
$69.00 
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Washington DC Capital Sites Bike TourMountain Bike Tours

Washington DC Capital Sites Bike Tour

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Washington DC is full of historical sites and while it’s easy to explore on foot or by bus, this 2-wheel tour option gives travelers access to some of the city’s most popular landmarks. Check out the Lincoln Memorial, White House, Supreme Court and the Capitol on this Capital Sites Bike Tour. Your friendly guide shares plenty of history, facts, and city knowledge on this easy bike ride through the nation’s capital.
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  • 3 hours
From  
$46.00 
From  
$46.00 
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  • 3 hours

Sites by Segway In Washington DCPrivate and Luxury

Sites by Segway In Washington DC

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Experience Washington DC like never before on this guided small-group Segway tour. Learn about the history of the nation’s capital, and one of the most popular destinations in the US, while gliding around the city. See iconic landmarks like the United States Capitol, National Mall, Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument and many more—a perfect overview of the city for first-time visitors or anyone wanting to see the sites. Guided Segway training plus bottled water and snacks are included. Dress in weather-appropriate clothes with flat, closed-toed shoes.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From  
$66.00 
From  
$66.00 
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation

The Washington DC Sightseeing Day Pass: Save Big at 15+ Monumental AttractionsSightseeing Passes

The Washington DC Sightseeing Day Pass: Save Big at 15+ Monumental Attractions

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Discover the highlights of DC with a sightseeing pass that includes convenient hop-on hop-off bus transportation and the chance to visit more than 15 different attractions. There is so much to see in DC, it can be hard for travelers who are short on time to fit it all in. However, with this pass, you can experience everything without worrying about wasting time getting from one place to the next.
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  • 1 to 3 days
  • Free Cancellation
From  
$89.00 
From  
$89.00 
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  • 1 to 3 days
  • Free Cancellation

The Washington DC Sightseeing Flex Pass: Capital Savings at 15+ AttractionsSightseeing Passes

The Washington DC Sightseeing Flex Pass: Capital Savings at 15+ Attractions

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See Washington DC your own way with the Washington DC Sightseeing Pass, which lets you choose between 1, 2, or 4 attractions, museums, and tours that you can visit at your own pace over a 7-day period. The pass includes entrance to some of DC's top attractions such as the International Spy Museum, as well as access to niche tours (think ghost walks and historical tours), and discounts at DC restaurants.
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  • 30 days
  • Free Cancellation
From  
$52.00 
From  
$52.00 
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  • 30 days
  • Free Cancellation

Private Tour of Washington DCDay Trips

Private Tour of Washington DC

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I offer very personal guided tours of Washington DC, in French, Spanish and English.  I am a professional guide, member of the Guild of Guides in Washington DC. When not guiding, I work as an archaeologist and as a cultural heritage consultant internationally. A curious urban explorer, passionate about art, history and D.C.’s hidden tales, I arrange customized boutique tours for international visitors, local diplomats, corporate small groups and private families. Let's transform your time in Washington DC into an unforgettable experience. Contact me now !
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  • 2 to 10 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
$65.00 
Price varies by group size
From  
$65.00 
Price varies by group size
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  • 2 to 10 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Castle to Capitol: Museums of the National Mall Walking TourArchitecture Tours

Castle to Capitol: Museums of the National Mall Walking Tour

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Take a stroll along America’s ‘front yard’ during this guided, small-group walking tour of the museums of the National Mall in Washington, DC. Go on a walk on the east side of the National Mall, between the United States Capitol Building and the Washington Monument, with a historian guide, and learn about the design and stories behind each museum. This tour also includes admission to the Smithsonian Castle.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From  
$40.00 
From  
$40.00 
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures

Washington DC After DarkHalf-day Tours

Washington DC After Dark

star-4
There's a certain magic to Washington DC that can only be experienced at night. It's a time when the powerful Lincoln Memorial is bathed in soft white light, and the Washington Monument, Capitol, and White House appear even more grandiose. Along with a knowledgeable local guide, take a tour of Washington DC well after the sun has gone down, and feel the buzz, magic, and pulse of America's capital by night.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
$53.03 
From  
$53.03 
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Washington DC National Mall and Museums Pedicab TourPrivate Sightseeing Tours

Washington DC National Mall and Museums Pedicab Tour

star-4
Explore Washington DC's must-see sights on a fun pedicab ride. Your informative guide will pedal you past some of the capital city's must-see sights. See the U.S. Capitol, the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument at the National Mall. Pass by the Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Chinatown, the National Archives Building and the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum. Play some trivia games with your guide and small group of fellow travelers for the chance to win a prize.
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  • 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From  
$100.69 
From  
$100.69 
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  • 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Free Cancellation

Customized Private 5 Hour Tour From Pick Up to Drop Off Half-day Tours

Customized Private 5 Hour Tour From Pick Up to Drop Off

Create a unique touring experience of your own with the Custamized Private Tour! The tour features a guaranteed private experience for just your group or family. Visit anywhere in D.C! The itinerary is flexible and extendable at your request. Extra pay applies after 5 hours locked down.
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From  
$103.58 
Price varies by group size
From  
$103.58 
Price varies by group size
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures

Downtown DC Tour for Small or Large GroupsHalf-day Tours

Downtown DC Tour for Small or Large Groups

Explore Washington DC's historical highlights without getting lost on this walking tour, a great choice for first-time visitors. An in-the-know guide whisks you around the nation's capital to see the places that shaped American history, including the Capitol, the White House, the National Mall, the FBI Building, and the Washington Monument. Admission to Ford's Theater National Historic Site is also included.
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  • 4 hours
From  
$465.76 
From  
$465.76 
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  • 4 hours

Rides & Tours on the National Mall Private Sightseeing Tours

Rides & Tours on the National Mall

This is a private tour in the open. If you like the outdoors, this is for you. The tour will be designed for you.
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
From  
$123.08 
per group
From  
$123.08 
per group
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation

Monumental Electric Bike TourMountain Bike Tours

Monumental Electric Bike Tour

star-5
Washington DC’s historic center spans a large area and can be difficult to see on foot. This electric bike tour allows you to cover more ground and cycle past highlights such as the Smithsonian museums, the Capitol Building, the White House, and Tidal Basin. With a motor to assist as you pedal, you’re free to concentrate on the city’s notable sights and listen as your guide points out hidden treasures you might not notice on your own.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
$79.00 
From  
$79.00 
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Frequently Asked Questions

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What are The Smithsonian hours of operation?
A:
The Smithsonian hours of operation: 10am - 5:30pm daily. Closed Dec 25. Buy tickets in advance on Viator. If you book with Viator, you can cancel at least 24 hours before the start date of your tour for a full refund.
Q:
What's the best way to experience The Smithsonian?