Smithsonian Institution Building, Washington DC

Castle · Hidden Gem · Government Building
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
3,538 reviews
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  • This is a very cool building that looks like a castle. It's right on the mall and has nice gardens behind it. It is worth checking out.  more »
  • Visiting the National Mall never gets old. This trip I visited the gardens outside the rear of the castle. Some of the trees were in full bloom, the weather cool, but enjoyable. You always find...  more »

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