Smithsonian Institution Building, Washington DC

Constructed of Seneca red sandstone in a faux Norman style that combines elements of late Romanesque and early Gothic architecture, Smithsonian Institution Building houses a visitor center and the administrative offices of over a dozen specialized museums. Nicknamed the "Castle" and finished in 1855, this building consists of a central section, two extensions, and two wings. Four large and five smaller towers are primarily decorative. Two galleries on the second floor contain the visitor information area, which offers free Wi-Fi, interactive displays, and maps. Use the visitor center's computers to find answers to most common questions about this complex of museums, or walk through the northern entrance to visit the tomb of the institution's founder, chemist and mineralogist James Smithson. Plan to visit Smithsonian Institution Building and other customer-reviewed, writer-recommended Washington DC attractions using our Washington DC itinerary planning site .
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Smithsonian Institution Building Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
3,504 reviews
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  • It’s gorgeous that looks just like a castle & facing Smithsonian American history museum. It has everything you need to know where all the Smithsonian museums are. Loved the digital version of the mus...  more »
  • We didn't really know about the history of the smithsonian but the story is interesting. What a great national treasure.  more »

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10 days in Arlington, Washington DC & Kill Devil Hills BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, kids, popular sights PREFERENCES: June, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 60 days in United States BY A USER FROM CANADA June, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: June, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 43 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 3 days in Washington DC BY A USER FROM CANADA June, teens, kids, popular sights PREFERENCES: June, teens, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 25 days in United States BY A USER FROM SAUDI ARABIA August, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: August, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 16 days in Washington DC SEE PLAN September, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: September, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium
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