National Portrait Gallery, Washington DC

4.8
Part of the Smithsonian Institution, National Portrait Gallery displays portraits of famous Americans. The gallery began with Charles Willson Peale's private collection of portraits, formerly called American Pantheon or Peale's Collection of Portraits of American Patriots. Since the gallery's inception in the 1960s, the collection has grown exponentially with acquisitions from around the world and a triennial portrait competition. Be sure to visit the Robert and Arlene Kogod Courtyard, an architectural marvel with a glass roof. Make National Portrait Gallery a part of your Washington DC vacation plans using our Washington DC trip itinerary planner .
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National Portrait Gallery Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
2,925 reviews
Google
4.8
TripAdvisor
  • We visited here mainly to see Barak and Michelle Obama‚Äôs portraits. Seeing their portraits is worth the trip to this gallery alone! We went mid-week and there was just a short, 2 minute line! After se...  more »
  • For many of us, the reason for visiting DC is to attend a conference. We attendees are busy with meetings all day. Few of the sights, other than the monuments, are open in the evening so I love that t...  more »
  • I have been to the Portrait Gallery many time and to the hall of Presidents, but I have never been moved by any of the portraits as I was moved by Obama's portrait. Maybe it is our current political c...  more »
Google
  • Lovely Gallery. Very good exhibits with some permanent options that are a must see. The president's gallery is amazing and gives you great idea of all the previous president's of the United States of America. They have added Obama which is hang at the end of the exhibit. It's free and great place to take the kids and adults alike. Got everything from modern art to older masterpieces. The building itself adds to the wonder add it's designed is extraordinary. The detailed work that was taken to build the Gallery makes it the perfect place to house the amazing art that you will see.
  • The gallery is pretty rad! Not only is there a huge portrait collection of historical US figures, but also an equal number of exhibits that address present-day aspects of our culture and society. In all honesty, I was expecting wall-to-wall pictures of old, rich, slave-owning white men. However, I was very impressed at the diversity of subject matter and artists found amongst the gallery's halls. All in all, well worth the trip and another testament to the Smithsonian's continuous reputation for quality and relevance.
  • Came here on a whim, and was blown away! An amazing collection of American portraits. The building's architecture and interior design are beautiful to behold aside from all the art housed within. The lockers are secure and a great place to store your items so that you can walk throughout the museum without lugging all your things around (however, there is no security personnel assigned to watching over the lockers, so leave items at own risk). There's a great patio area in the center of the museum, lots of families and school groups gathered there. A fantastic museum, cannot be missed!
  • I've heard about the National Portrait Gallery but never felt much interest in going until my last visit to DC. I took my 18 year old son (who would usually rather be playing basketball, baseball or video games than going to an art museum) so I didn't really know what to expect. in fact, if it hadn't been for the heat and humidity I'm not sure we would have even gone, but we figured if nothing else it would provide a break from the heat. I am so glad we decided to go! Four and a half hours later we left. I couldn't believe how much we enjoyed this museum. The portraits of the presidents are the "big selling point" on the museum, but just a small fraction of what the museum has to offer. There are so many preserved portraits from our nations past that it's easy to lose track of time just going through the galleries on the first floor. But there is so much more as you continue through the museum. There are some permanent exhibits and some that are temporary, but there is something to interest anyone. We really enjoyed the entire museum and I only wish I had taken the time to visit it on one of my prior trips to DC. If you are interested in history of our country, are a fan of art or just curious then this should definitely be a planned stop on your visit. Bonus: it's opens a bit later than most other museums (I think it opens at 11 am), but it stays open until 7:00 or 7:30 which is later than almost all other museums.
  • One of my favorite places in DC. Wide variety of art. Activities for kids and special cultural events (check the website for schedule). Very helpful docents. Regularly offers Art Tours, in American Sign Language. Atrium is a gorgeous, open, sunny place to relax that tends not too be too crowded. There are lots of nearby restaurants, so I'd skip the overpriced cafe. Otherwise, definitely an activity I love doing with both visitors or DC locals.

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