Museums oftentimes are the most memorable places to visit, but they can also be among the
most expensive. Entry fees of $15 to $20, per person, are not uncommon — which makes the
greatest American museum of them all, the Smithsonian Institution, also the best deal. The
Smithsonian’s Washington, D.C. museums and National Zoo are free.
Established in 1846 by a
grant from James Smithson, a British scientist, the Smithsonian Institution has grown into
the world’s largest museum complex. Among its more than one dozen individual museums are
the National Museum of African Art, National Museum of Natural History, National Portrait
Gallery, National Zoological Park. and the National Air and Space Museum. Some, like the
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, feature permanent displays, while exhibits in the
Arts and Industries Building are always changing; the National Postal Museum even offers
For more information, call (202) 633-1000, or go to http://www.si.edu/museums.