National Archives Museum

#13 in Best Things To Do in Washington, D.C.
National Archives Museum picture
uschools/Getty Images

Key Info

700 Pennsylvania Ave. NW

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Museums, Free Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.2scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

A treasure trove of the United States' founding documents, the National Archives Museum is high on travelers' to-do lists and almost always has long entrance lines. But once you do get inside, you'll see the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, along with one of the surviving copies of the Magna Carta and the Emancipation Proclamation. Other interactive and kid-friendly exhibits fill the museum, which is located off the Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter Metro station on the Green and Yellow lines.

If you love history, you'll enjoy visiting this museum. Reserving free passes on Recreation.gov's website comes with a service fee of $1.50 per ticket, but travelers say paying for advance tickets will save you from having to wait in a long line to enter. Also, leave your camera in your hotel room since photography is not permitted anywhere inside the building.

Though the museum welcomes visitors every day from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., travelers are not permitted to enter after 5 p.m. Ticketholders have access to all of the museum's exhibits, as well as a gift shop, a cafe and restrooms. Complimentary weekday guided tours can also be arranged in advance through Recreation.gov. For more information about the National Archives Museum, visit the property's website.

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More Best Things To Do in Washington, D.C.

Lincoln Memorial
Vietnam Veterans and Korean War Veterans Memorials
Type
Time to Spend
1 of 25
#1 Lincoln Memorial

Although the Lincoln Memorial is just one of the District's many monuments, the larger-than-life Honest Abe is also among travelers' favorites. History buffs might enjoy the man of few (albeit powerful) words' two famous speeches, the second inaugural address and the Gettysburg Address, which are both etched into the memorial's opposing walls. Meanwhile, art history and architecture aficionados will enjoy admiring the building's striking design by Henry Bacon, complete with 38 Doric columns, 36 of which signify the states in the Union at the time Lincoln passed away.

Though most agree the Lincoln Memorial is worth checking out during the day or at night, many recent travelers say the most captivating time to visit is after dark when the attraction is lit and less crowded. Plus, evening temps will make peak summer visits more comfortable.

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