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National Building Museum

National Building Museum

Museum and Historic and Protected Site
Downtown-Penn Quarter-Chinatown, Washington
  • Stars
  • Tips
    Theresa D.
    "The architecture of the building alone is worth the walk!"(9 Tips)
    "mini golf closes at 3pm on the weekends"(3 Tips)
    Danika B.
    "hands down my favorite museum in DC or anywhere!"(2 Tips)
    Jonathan C.
    "History of Washington DC exhibit"(2 Tips)
Tips and Reviews icon108 Tips and reviews
  • architecture
  • mini golf
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  • Matt W.
    Matt WetzelMay 30, 2014
    Hidden museum gem in DC. One of most beautiful museum buildings I've been to. There is a small fee, but well worth the admission. In fact, its better than some of the other free Smithsonian museums.
  • Stephanie
    StephanieAugust 24, 2016
    The large open space within has recently been activated over the years thru architect led installations. The supporting exhibits have also improved in quality and content. Certainly worth a trip.
    Upvoted Sep 3
  • Hannah L.heart icon on user image
    Hannah LuddyJanuary 11, 2017
    Excellent exhibits, particularly the one on wood and the one on dolls loaned from the Victoria and Albert museum. Great for kids-- lots of space and interactive stuff just for them.
  • Danielle D.
    Danielle DaSilvaJuly 12, 2018
    My favorite museum in DC. Rotating exhibits are well presented, and truly unique. Go in the summer when they bring in a new interactive exhibit that fills their atrium.
  • Elizabethheart icon on user image
    ElizabethJune 23, 2015
    What a gem! Two great spaces for the kids and lots of interesting exhibits for the adults. Each summer they roll out something unique as well.
  • Devin B.
    Devin BoyerJanuary 29, 2018
    The exhibits themselves are pretty small, but the building itself is incredible! Definitely hop on a free guided tour to learn the history! Also seems to be a great place for kids
  • Allison K.heart icon on user image
    Allison KasicOctober 9, 2015
    The actual museum is eh but each summer they do something awesome like a giant maze, ball pit, or mini golf course in the middle of their main room.
  • Danika B.
    Danika BrownMarch 31, 2015
    Take the tour so you can get the scoop on the history of this building. The exhibits are always fascinating, and the gift shop is a great place to get an unusual design-gift.
  • Christina R.
    Christina RitchieAugust 6, 2019
    One of the best museum gift shops! Items aren’t cheap, but unique pieces you won’t see in other souvenir shops. And it has a nice, albeit tiny, cafe/coffee shop.
  • JH H.heart icon on user image
    JH H-DSeptember 17, 2019
    Don’t know if the admission is worth it if there isn’t a huge exhibit going on. The architecture inside is stunning though
  • Affinia Hotel Collection
    Less than a 10 minute walk from The Liaison, this museum allows you to channel your inner architect, highlighting design, engineering, construction, urban planning, and of course, architecture.
  • Rebecca W.heart icon on user image
    Rebecca WAugust 13, 2015
    The great hall is incredible. They always have awesome exhibits on building and green energy and such. I highly recommend.
  • Georgi G.heart icon on user image
    Georgi GeorgievApril 29, 2016
    Amazing building! Exhibitions are on interesting topics, but it's missing some je ne sais quoi. I think it can certainly improve.
  • Alison
    AlisonAugust 25, 2012
    Been here 5+ times
    The Building Zone is a great little play area for kids. It's billed as suitable for ages 2-6, but my one-year-old was able to enjoy it as well.
  • Amy C.heart icon on user image
    Amy CummingsJuly 22, 2018
    You have to pay to see most of the exhibits, so go when there’s a featured exhibit like the Fun House!
  • Dara F.
    Dara FisherDecember 26, 2012
    An awesome first stop in DC--a great exhibit on DC's urban planning history will get you oriented well to the layout of the city.
  • Boxfire Press
    Boxfire PressJune 15, 2011
    Well off the National Mall, this is one of DC's best kept museum secrets. The history of DC exhibit is fantastic, but be sure to check out the Lego brick buildings upstairs until September 2012. Read more
  • Cidomar B.heart icon on user image
    Beatifull place to visit, specially with children. Very didatic.
  • Vivian K.heart icon on user image
    Vivian KongJuly 14, 2015
    For all ages - free admission if you want to just check out the gorgeous space/structure.
  • Elizabeth
    ElizabethJune 30, 2013
    Play the indoor architectural mini golf! Just remember, mini golf closes at 3pm on the weekends and 4pm weekdays.
  • Jeremy C.heart icon on user image
    Jeremy CNovember 27, 2015
    Stop by around Thanksgiving to check out 'construction' exhibit 4 free. Building itself is a great, spacious place to chill after doing the National Mall.
    LAMPS PLUSAugust 17, 2011
    The National Building Museum in DC examines the impact of the built environment on our lives. Ancient Native tipi designs to the future of sustainable architecture, all housed in a landmark structure.
  • Wired
    WiredAugust 8, 2012
    The museum offers insight into the history and future of the world we create for ourselves, with lots of things for kids and adults to do.
  • Jennifer N.heart icon on user image
    Jennifer Newton-BatemanSeptember 8, 2017
    Fabulous building and interesting exhibits related to architecture and construction.
  • A P.
    A PJanuary 8
    SakuSaku Flakerie is selling pastries at the cafe inside the museum Thursday to Sunday.
  • Kathryn F.
    Kathryn FoxJanuary 25, 2012
    The Building Zone play area is no longer free. It's $3 per person, including adults, for a 45 minute session.
  • Ashley B.
    Ashley BrooksAugust 8, 2014
    The inside is absolutely gorgeous. There were only two exhibits open when we toured the museum so there wasn't much to see...
  • Liz C.heart icon on user image
    Liz Caselli-MechaelSeptember 2, 2014
    Been here 5+ times
    Some exhibits close earlier than the museum- check in advance!
  • Timothy R.
    Timothy RobsonJuly 4, 2011
    The best book store/gift shop in DC, and the most interesting special exhibitions. Members get a discount in the shop. Read more
  • M Squared Real Estate
    M Squared Real EstateAugust 19, 2011
    This building has one of the best interior rooms in DC, if not the country. Anyone interested in the architecture of Washington DC should visit.
  • Ken
    KenApril 27, 2013
    The building zone for kids is well worth the $3!
  • Claire L.
    Claire LormanDecember 29, 2010
    the best museum in dc! the great hall is a great place to sit and relax. they also gave great design outreach programs!
  • Leia W.
    Leia WelchJuly 11, 2014
    House&home exhibit for free from monday to friday!
  • Nemanja M.heart icon on user image
    Nemanja MarjanovicSeptember 30, 2018
    Museum shop. And there was an exhibition called Eviction which was great.
  • Nemanja M.heart icon on user image
    Nemanja MarjanovicSeptember 30, 2018
    Museum shop. And there was an exhibition called Eviction which was great.
  • Dominic O.heart icon on user image
    Dominic O'ConnorFebruary 16, 2014
    I'm biased but the exhibit about Los Angeles is great
  • Mark K.heart icon on user image
    Mark KupasrimonkolJuly 14, 2015
    Probably the most underrated museum in DC. Those columns!
  • Yessica P.heart icon on user image
    Yessica PalaciosJuly 13, 2015
    The best ball pool for al ages!!!
  • Megan J.heart icon on user image
    Megan JantosMarch 22, 2015
    If you are looking for playmates come on weekend or weekdays before lunch
  • ed P.heart icon on user image
    ed PoprikJuly 24, 2016
    Love the collection of paper buildings! Brings back memories.
  • Presidential Libraries
    Presidential LibrariesJanuary 24, 2011
    From 1982-1988, President and Mrs. Reagan participated in the annual "Christmas in Washington" program, a chance to celebrate the holiday season with Americans across the country.
  • Katylou M.
    Katylou MJanuary 21, 2012
    Been here 10+ times
    If you have kids under 6 it's definitely worth becoming a Family Member
  • Miguel
    MiguelJune 9, 2014
    Great unknown museum. Also great for kids.
  • Charla P.heart icon on user image
    Charla PayneDecember 12, 2015
    Loved the displayed beach this past summer. We had a blast!
  • Bridget G.
    Bridget GriffinJune 25, 2014
    They were building a maze which once completed will be really neat!
  • Rachel L.
    Rachel LAugust 13, 2018
    Great for kids
  • Joe P.
    Joe PopeJanuary 27, 2010
    Great place to take toddlers when the weather is bad. Huge indoor area to run around and a fantastic kids play area. Read more
  • Shelby A.
    Shelby AnnNovember 24, 2012
    It was awesome. Kids love this place and never want to leave!
  • Tim F.
    Tim FJuly 1, 2012
    Fantastic views from up on the 2nd, 3rd floors.
  • Martin C.
    Martin CuellarJuly 16, 2011
    Been here 10+ times
    $3 per person for just the Building Zone. $8 per person for the whole place.
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