- The Smithsonian Institution, commonly known as 'America's attic', is the world's largest museum complex and research organization. Most of the Smithsonian's 19 museums and the National Zoo are located in DC, most on or near the National Mall. Organize your Smithsonian experience in DC starting at the institute's easy-to-locate red sandstone Gothic castle on the Mall (known locally as the Smithsonian Castle). Ongoing video presentations, touch screens, maps and a helpful staff will help you create a personalized plan. If the larger museums have already been visited (the Castle, Natural History, Air & Space and American History), then check out the others (African Art, American Indian, Anacostia, Freer, Sackler, Hirshhorn, Portrait, Postal and Renwick Gallery). These smaller museums do not usually receive tour buses, so even during peak season (February through July) they are not crowded and always enjoyable. Many of the museums and the zoo have evening events, either free or affordable. Nearly each of the Smithsonian's museums (and the National Zoo) has a Metro station nearby.
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