Visiting with Groups

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Group visiting the Air and Space Museum

Begin your Smithsonian exploration at the Smithsonian Visitor Center in the Institution's first building, popularly known as the Castle, which is open daily 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Most of our museums are walking distance from the Castle (the entire span is less than two miles), and everything else is accessible by public transit.

Smithsonian Guide and Map
The Smithsonian's official Guide and Map is available online (Free PDF Guide and Map). This brochure is also available in ArabicChinese, French, German, ItalianJapanese, Korean, PortugueseRussian, and Spanish.

Group Discounts

The Smithsonian offers groups discounted packages to our restaurants, IMAX theaters, paid exhibitions, flight simulators, and Segway tours.

Dining at the Smithsonian

Enjoy dining in any of the museums' self-service food facilities. Spring and summer are peak visitation months when special arrangements for group dining may be advantageous.

In pleasant weather, visitors are always welcome to bring provisions to picnic on the grassy, tree-lined National Mall.

Smithsonian Field Trips

Need information on planning and scheduling a field trip? Visit Smithsonian Field Trips for more information.

Group Tours and Reservations

Many Smithsonian museums, the National Zoo, and Smithsonian Gardens offer group tours, which can be arranged by appointment only. Visit the museums' websites below for details:

Public Transportation

Metrobus and Metrorail Washington's bus and subway system link the city with communities in nearby Maryland and Virginia. Every subway station is equipped with an elevator and/or escalators. For information on Metrobus and Metrorail schedules as well as parking at Metro stations, call 202.637.7000 (voice) or visit the Metro website at DC Circulator operates commuter buses around the National Mall and monuments on its red line/National Mall route. For rates and schedules, visit the DC Circulator website at or call 202.962.1423.


The Smithsonian does not operate any parking facilities except at the National Zoo and the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. Parking is available for free at the Anacostia Community Museum.

Tour Bus Parking Near the National Mall
There are several areas where tour buses can park on a first-come, first-served basis. For information on bus parking sites, contact the National Park Service Mall Operations Office at 202.426.6841. On-street parking for buses is available at the Anacostia Community Museum.

Car or Van Parking Near the National Mall
On-street parking for cars and vans on Jefferson and Madison Drives on the National Mall is limited and the metered 3-hour regulations are enforced. Parking is available in nearby commercial lots and garages.

Parking at the National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
Free tour and school bus parking is available. Car or van parking costs $15 per vehicle; free after 4:00 p.m.

Parking at the National Zoo
Visit the Zoo's website for information on parking and online reservations.