Smithsonian Savvy: 23 Insider Tips for Museum Mastery

Planning a Smithsonian visit? Here are top tips to see the best of the world's largest museum complex.

The Smithsonian is more than a museum — it's a network of 19 museums, galleries, gardens, and a zoo.

Tip #1 Download the Smithsonian Mobile app for easy access to maps, tours, and essential visitor information.

#2: Most Smithsonian museums are open 364 days a year, so plan your visit for any day but Christmas.

Tip #3: Admission is free, but some museums require timed-entry passes due to high demand.

#4: Start at the Smithsonian Castle, the visitor’s center, to get oriented and plan your museum route. It’s the building that — wait for it — looks like a 12th century Norman castle.

Prioritize your route to focus on what interests you most. You likely won’t be able to see everything you want on one visit, so pick the museums and exhibits that appeal to you.

Avoid crowds by starting at the top floor of the museum and working your way down to the exit. This may seem counterintuitive, but I promise it works!

For more insider tips to plan your visit to the Smithsonian, click here.