Add a Smithsonian Bucket List to Your Next Trip to D.C.

It makes sense that most of the nation’s treasures live in museums within the capital district. The Smithsonian Museums are a complex of galleries, gardens, a zoo, and of course, 19 museums (11 of them located right on the National Mall itself). They all pay tribute to the finest art, cultural finds, scientific innovations, and natural wonders in all of America. Free to the public, they’re an accessible and excellent way to appreciate the history of the United States. 

No visit to D.C. is quite complete without at least a glimpse of their collections. Depending on your personal preferences, you’ll want to budget your time in the areas that interest you most. Plus, some of the best hotels in Washington, D.C. are located within a short walk of the Smithsonian complex, keeping you right in the heart of the action.

Smithsonian Bucket List Favorites

Charles Lindbergh’s Airplane – The Spirit of St. Louis carried Lindbergh across the Atlantic and into history.

Hope Diamond – Whether beautiful bauble or a cursed object, it’s certainly an awe-inspiring sight.

Lunar Module – View the craft used in many of the Apollo missions.

Constitution and Declaration of Independence – Only a handful of copies of these founding documents are in existence. See them in person for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Peacock Dining Room – Once a London dining room, this exhibit is a marvel of reconstruction and artistry.

Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers – A pop culture icon, the slippers join other movie memorabilia like Indiana Jones’s whip and hat.

Zoological Park – Take a break from the preserved wonders of the museums to see 163 acres of live animal exhibits, including the rare giant pandas.


Grand Hyatt Washington – Located 1 mile from the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum. This hotel offers spacious guestrooms and suites and also features an exercise room, on-site restaurant, and Starbucks Reserve.

Pod DC Hotel – The Pod Hotel is a new type of hotel, with 245 efficiency-minded rooms. They’re small but stripped of all the extraneous things most travelers don’t use. With comfortable beds, USB charging ports, and modern designs, the Pod is perfect for seasons travelers looking to save a bit of cash.


District Taco – They serve up lively Mexican food in a laidback setting that offers plenty of locations around the district. This particular location is on F Street, quite close to the Mall.

Mitsitam Café – Most of the museums have their food court or buffet for a quick bite without needing to leave. This eatery, located at the National Museum of the American Indian, is one of the best and offers a range of traditional and culturally relevant dishes of the native peoples.

Old Ebbitt Grill – Practically a D.C. institution, this historic restaurant caters to the movers and shakers of Pennsylvania Avenue and offers local seafood and other American specialties in a Victorian-era tavern setting.


Fly – Thurgood Marshall, Ronald Reagan, and Washington Dulles are airports serving the greater D.C. area. The Metro and bus can take you right to the district’s center from all of these airports.

Ride – The Metro is excellent, and there are plenty of convenient stops that will bring you right to the Mall. There’s also a streetcar and bus system serving this part of D.C.

Drive – It’s best to avoid bringing a car into the heart of D.C. if you’re not familiar with the streets. Limited parking is also a factor. You can rent a car from the airports or at a dedicated car rental office. The Beltway road of I-495 will bring you to all points in D.C. 

Victoria Brewood
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Hi I'm Victoria, a British girl from Manchester. After graduating from university I decided there was more to life than the hours between 9 and 5, so I packed my journalism degree into my suitcase to travel the world and find a way to make money at the same time. I now call London home, although I still travel whenever I can. I hope to inspire you to be your own boss, live life and see the world.

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