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High season in the National Air and Space Museum is from March to August, when it’s much more crowded than other months of the year. December and January is the period with the lowest number of tourists in the city.
Public holidays, school holidays and important events attract more visitors to the museum.
Weekends are always busier than weekdays: expect to see the biggest crowds on a Saturday.
Prefer Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday for the visit (Friday is more crowded).
Our best advice is to come in the morning, but not at the opening time - come slightly after, at 11:00. The early birds will already be on their way out of the museum, the museum group tour will have started at 10:30, and you’ll be enjoying your crowd-free visit.
Another way to avoid crowds is to arrive after 6:00pm on the days with extended opening hours (you can check them here).
The days after Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s are busier than the days preceding those holidays. A couple of days after Thanksgiving is the BUSIEST period of the year.
The Museum’s crowd peak is between 2:00pm and 4:00 pm.
If you have decided before your visit to see an IMAX film, buy tickets for a show as soon as you arrive at the Museum. Pick a show time later in the day (when you plan to finish your visit), that way you will have 45 minutes to enjoy the show and rest before heading to other tourism sites.
Don’t have lunch at noon, especially if you come on a peak-season day: have lunch before or after to avoid the crowds and use this time slot for exploring the museum while others are eating!
Photo credits to m01229 via Flickr
The entrance is free (though Planetarium and IMAX sessions have admission fees).
A visit to the Smithsonian usually involves a lot of walking. Wear comfortable shoes.
You are allowed to make photos, but tripods and monopods are not permitted without prior approval.
A limited number of non-motorized wheelchairs are available on a first-come, first-served basis at the Welcome Center.
Buy tickets for the IMAX and Planetarium films online or upon your arrival at the Museum: because sessions are often sold-out by the afternoon on busy days.
By Metrorail: The Museum is near Metrorail (subway) stops on the blue, orange, yellow, and green lines. The closest Metrorail stop is at L’Enfant Plaza.
By Metrobus: Metrobus stops are located right outside the Museum entrance on Independence Avenue, SW, and along 7th Street, SW.
By Car: Parking is available in several local lots, including two blocks south of the Museum at 6th and C Streets, SW.