20 of the Best off the Beaten Path Museums in D.C.
Art Museum of the Americas is one of 20 of the Best off the Beaten Path Museums in D.C..

1. Art Museum of the Americas

6.9
201 18th St NW, Washington, D.C.
Art Museum · Northwest Washington · 6 tips and reviews

DCistDCist: All told, a permanent gathering of about 2,000 paintings, sculptures, installation pieces, prints, drawings and photographs are on display. Read more.

Lillian & Albert Small Jewish Museum is one of 20 of the Best off the Beaten Path Museums in D.C..

2. Lillian & Albert Small Jewish Museum

701 3rd St NW (at G St.), Washington, D.C.
History Museum · Downtown-Penn Quarter-Chinatown · 2 tips and reviews

DCistDCist: Today, the Adas Israel congregation is the oldest synagogue structure in Washington and hosts a treasure trove of Jewish historical items specific to the Washington, D.C. area. Read more.

3. The Women's Equality National Monument

144 Constitution Ave NE, Washington, D.C.
Monument · Northeast Washington · 1 tip

DCistDCist: Until earlier this year known as the Sewall-Belmont House and Museum, this Capitol Hill mansion has served as a seat of the women’s suffrage and equal rights movements since 1929. Read more.

Blind Whino is one of 20 of the Best off the Beaten Path Museums in D.C..

4. Blind Whino

8.4
700 Delaware Avenue SW (at H St SW), Washington, D.C.
Art Gallery · Southwest - Waterfront · 9 tips and reviews

DCistDCist: It’s an old Baptist church the congregation abandoned for two decades after moving to new digs. A group of artists found the building and covered it in a vibrant mural. Read more.

Textile Museum is one of 20 of the Best off the Beaten Path Museums in D.C..

5. Textile Museum

2320 S St NW (23rd St), Washington, D.C.
Art Museum · Kalorama · 7 tips and reviews

DCistDCist: This museum is dedicated to rugs, flags, and other pieces of textile art. The museum’s regular collection includes rugs dating back to 3,000 BCE and specializes in pieces from Asia. Read more.

Anacostia Community Museum is one of 20 of the Best off the Beaten Path Museums in D.C..

6. Anacostia Community Museum

8.2
1901 Fort Pl SE, Washington, D.C.
Museum · Southeast Washington · 5 tips and reviews

DCistDCist: Likely the most overlooked of the Smithsonian Institutions, it is also one of the closest things we have to a museum of D.C. history—with a particular emphasis on the neighborhood where it sits. Read more.

National Bonsai and Penjing Museum is one of 20 of the Best off the Beaten Path Museums in D.C..

7. National Bonsai and Penjing Museum

9.0
Washington, D.C.
Garden · National Arboretum · 10 tips and reviews

DCistDCist: Yeah, this is exactly what you think it is: a big museum full of 150 of the sickest freaking bonsai trees you will ever see. Ensconced in pagodas, water features, and beautiful Chinese architecture. Read more.

8. Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office Museum

437 7th St NW, Washington, D.C.
History Museum · Penn Quarter · 2 tips and reviews

DCistDCist: Most people know the short history of Clara Barton: The Civil War nurse who founded the Red Cross. This museum is the office where Barton and a few others helped an estimated 22,000 families reunite. Read more.

DC Fire & EMS Museum is one of 20 of the Best off the Beaten Path Museums in D.C..

9. DC Fire & EMS Museum

439 New Jersey Ave NW, Washington, D.C.
History Museum · Downtown-Penn Quarter-Chinatown · 1 tip

DCistDCist: Housed on one floor of a working fire station, there are artifacts from helmets to old-fashioned fire trampolines (or whatever they’re really called). Some of them date back to the 18th century. Read more.

Laogai Museum is one of 20 of the Best off the Beaten Path Museums in D.C..

10. Laogai Museum

6.9
1734 20th St NW (at S St NW), Washington, D.C.
History Museum · Northwest Washington · 4 tips and reviews

DCistDCist: The Laogai is a brick-and-mortar indictment of China’s long-standing forced labor camps. The museum offers a fascinating, multi-media look at the prison camps that allegedly still operate there today. Read more.

Marian Koshland Science Museum is one of 20 of the Best off the Beaten Path Museums in D.C..

11. Marian Koshland Science Museum

525 E St NW (at 6th St NW), Washington, D.C.
Science Museum · Penn Quarter · 7 tips and reviews

DCistDCist: An Earth Lab, a Life Lab, and an Idea Lab comprise this STEM haven. Interactive games and experiments are the focal point here, with a liberal dose of current events and state-of-the-art tech. Read more.

The Octagon House is one of 20 of the Best off the Beaten Path Museums in D.C..

12. The Octagon House

1799 New York Ave NW (at E St NW), Washington, D.C.
Structure · Connecticut Avenue - K Street · 5 tips and reviews

DCistDCist: The Treaty of Ghent, which formally ended the War of 1812, was signed within its walls. A small museum inside the mansion preserves original artifacts. Read more.

James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library is one of 20 of the Best off the Beaten Path Museums in D.C..

13. James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library

908 Charles St (Univ. of Mary Washington), Fredericksburg, VA
College Library · Downtown Fredericksburg · 3 tips and reviews

DCistDCist: Did you know Monroe was a soldier in the American Revolution and was almost killed in the famous Battle of Trenton? And of course that’s to say nothing of the Monroe Doctrine. Read more.

14. Drug Enforcement Agency Museum

700 Army Navy Dr, Arlington, VA
Museum · 1 tip

DCistDCist: Drug concealment artifacts capture the eye and a detailed photographic history of illegal drugs and the war against them in America provide a rich education. Read more.

Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum is one of 20 of the Best off the Beaten Path Museums in D.C..

15. Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum

6.5
105 S Fairfax St, Alexandria, VA
History Museum · Old Town · 4 tips and reviews

DCistDCist: Martha Washington and Robert E. Lee used to pop in to this drug store, which boasts a massive collection of antique medical equipment and herbal remedies that were used centuries ago. Read more.

Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is one of 20 of the Best off the Beaten Path Museums in D.C..

16. Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum

8.2
213 N Talbot St, Saint Michaels, MD
History Museum · 12 tips and reviews

DCistDCist: Their website declares it as being “dedicated to preserving and exploring the history, environment and people of the Chesapeake Bay.” They do it with things like a replica crab-processing plant. Read more.

National Museum of Civil War Medicine is one of 20 of the Best off the Beaten Path Museums in D.C..

17. National Museum of Civil War Medicine

7.2
48 E Patrick St (N Maxwell Ave), Frederick, MD
History Museum · Downtown Frederick · 8 tips and reviews

DCistDCist: Lay down your bullet-biting stereotypes and learn a little something. Learn about the ways in which the war incubated the modern hospital and plenty of other medical advances we take for granted. Read more.

National Capital Trolley Museum is one of 20 of the Best off the Beaten Path Museums in D.C..

18. National Capital Trolley Museum

7.2
1313 Bonifant Rd, Colesville, MD
History Museum · 6 tips and reviews

DCistDCist: This is about as interactive as museums get. Visitors can ride preserved streetcars out into the wooded areas around the museum. Trolleys from as far as Belgium and Germany round out the collection. Read more.

College Park Aviation Museum is one of 20 of the Best off the Beaten Path Museums in D.C..

19. College Park Aviation Museum

6.7
1985 Corporal Frank Scott Dr, College Park, MD
Museum · 9 tips and reviews

DCistDCist: Wilbur Wright trained the first army pilots right here, across the street from the University of Maryland campus and six blocks or so from R.J. Bentley’s. Read more.

National Museum of Health and Medicine is one of 20 of the Best off the Beaten Path Museums in D.C..

20. National Museum of Health and Medicine

7.2
2500 Linden Ln (The Forest Glen Annex), Silver Spring, MD
History Museum · 15 tips and reviews

DCistDCist: Preserved bodies displaying exotic diseases and other conditions do appear in the collections. There’s plenty more to see, like historical artifacts on vaccinations and wartime medicine. Read more.