Visiting the Smithsonian

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Aerial view of Castle and surrounding Smithsonian museums.

As we gradually reopen the museums, we’re putting safety first and requiring free timed-entry passes. See our reopening schedule to plan your visit. Outdoor gardens and exhibitions are open.

Free Timed-Entry Passes

  • Smithsonian visitors, regardless of age, must have a free timed-entry pass to enter our museums and zoo.
  • Visitors can acquire timed-entry passes by reserving them online or by phone at 1.800.514.3849, ext. 1.
  • Visitors can reserve passes up to 30 days in advance.
  • Visitors will be able to secure up to six passes maximum for personal use only.
  • For the safety of our visitors and staff, groups larger than six are strictly prohibited.
  • All children (under the age of 18) must be accompanied by an adult chaperone. At least one adult chaperone is required to accompany up to five children.
  • Passes may not be sold or transferred. Passes are valid only for the issued date and time and void if altered.
  • Visitors can choose to print timed-entry passes at home or show their timed-entry passes on their phone or other mobile device. Printed and digital passes will be scanned at the entrances.

Now Open

National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia
Open daily 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. 

Reserve Free Passes

National Museum of African American History and Culture
Wednesday through Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Reserve Free Passes

National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian American Art Museum
(passes permit entry to both museums)
Wednesday through Sunday 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Reserve Free Passes

Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum
Wednesday through Sunday 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Reserve Free Passes

Smithsonian Gardens and Outdoor Exhibitions
Haupt Garden open daily dawn to dusk
Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden open daily 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
All others open 24 hours

(no passes required)

Reopening Friday, May 21 

National Museum of American History
Friday through Tuesday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Reserve Free Passes

National Museum of the American Indian (DC)
Wednesday through Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Reserve Free Passes

Smithsonian's National Zoo
Open daily 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Reserve Free Passes

Know Before You Go: Guidelines for Visiting

We ask that all visitors, including those who have been vaccinated against COVID-19, follow these safety measures to protect everyone’s health. Visitors who do not adhere to safety policies and guidelines may be asked to leave.

If Sick, Stay Home

We’re asking all visitors who are sick or feel unwell to please stay home. If you are at increased risk of severe illness, you may also want to consider staying home.

Face Coverings

Visitors ages two and older are required to wear a face covering during their visit. Face coverings may be removed while eating or drinking in designated spaces.

Face coverings should fit properly, covering the nose, mouth, and chin with no large gaps on the outside of the face, and they should have at least two layers. Face shields are not permitted as a substitute for a face covering but may be worn over a face covering or mask. Face coverings or masks with an exhalation valve are not permitted.

Social Distancing

Please maintain a safe social distance of six feet or more between households or groups at all times. There will be social-distancing signage and directions throughout our facilities.


Please wash and sanitize hands frequently during your visit and practice good hygiene. Hand-sanitizing stations will be available throughout our facilities. 

Personal Belongings 

We encourage you to limit the number of personal belongings and bags you bring into our facilities as they will be subject to a thorough search. Limiting the items you bring will increase your speed through security checkpoints, helping us all maintain a safe social distance. Please note that we do not offer coat or bag storage.

    Reopening the Smithsonian

    Keeping Us All Safe 

    As the Smithsonian reopens, safety comes first. We’re putting new safety measures in place to protect the health of our visitors, staff, volunteers, and collections based on guidance from the CDC and local governments:

    • We’re limiting the number of people in our museums, galleries, restrooms, elevators to allow for safe social distancing.
    • We’re requiring that visitors wear face coverings at all times.
    • We’re providing hand-sanitizing stations for visitors throughout our facilities and conducting more frequent and enhanced cleaning. 
    • We’re implementing safe social distancing, including one-way paths and directional guidance.
    • We’ve installed protective safety shields at bag-check screening stations and registers.
    • We’re evaluating our exhibits, interactives, and indoor spaces on a case-by-case basis. Some of these features may be closed or operate at limited capacity.
    • Our staff will stay home when sick, wear face coverings, practice social distancing, and wash hands and practice good hygiene.

    Tours & Programs

    • Your visit will be guided by way-finding signage to allow for social distancing.
    • All on-site public tours and programs are currently suspended.
    • The Smithsonian continues to offer virtual programs and experiences. Please check our Online Events Calendar for specific dates and details.

    Please note: 

    COVID-19 is an extremely contagious disease that is believed to mainly spread from person-to-person contact. The Smithsonian is doing its part to mitigate transmission intensity, and we ask you, our visitors, to do the same and help us reduce the spread of COVID-19. You must follow all posted instructions while visiting the Smithsonian, including instructions about wearing face coverings and social distancing. Despite these measures, the risk of contracting COVID-19 could increase by visiting the Smithsonian. By visiting the Smithsonian, you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19.  

    The Smithsonian reserves the right to modify its hours of operations, capacity, or visitor guidelines as circumstances require and to deny entry or access to any person who fails to follow these guidelines or whose conduct puts Smithsonian staff, visitors, or property at risk.