Inspired by the magazine that shares its name, the National Geographic Museum celebrates the natural and human world in all its glory. The Washington, D.C. location features a selection of rotating special exhibits that encapsulate some of the magazine’s central concerns – art, nature, culture, history, and ecology. Showcasing over 127 years of history and countless award-winning photographs alongside priceless artifacts and objects from around the globe, the National Geographic Museum is a must-see attraction for visitors.

Looking for National Geographic Museum Discount Tickets?

We’ve got you covered – National Geographic Museum admission is available with the below money saving options, so you can choose the attraction pass that’s right for you: 1. Explorer Pass – Choose as you go. Includes admission of up to 5 attractions. 2. Build Your Own Pass – Select the attractions you want to visit prior to visiting. See all available passes, attractions & prices – Learn more.

Tips for Visiting the National Geographic Museum

  • Because exhibits at this museum are constantly changing, we recommend checking out the National Geographic website before you go to see what’s currently on display.
  • You can’t bring food or drink inside, so hydrate thoroughly before you go. If you really get thirsty or hungry, check out the NGS Café.
  • It takes about 2 hours to fully explore all exhibits, so plan accordingly.
  • Save on admission to the National Geographic Museum with a Washington DC Explorer Pass®.
  • Keep in mind that the museum will not check any bags, so if you have large bags try to leave them at the hotel.
  • Certain exhibits do not permit photography, so be sure to check before you snap a photo.

When to Visit

It’s best to go when the museum opens to avoid crowds and explore freely without the stress of tons of people. Of course, if you can’t make it there at 10:00 am, a visit after 3:00 pm should be less crowded as well.

What to Bring

  • Comfortable shoes
  • Money for the gift shop
  • A camera that takes good pictures in low lighting

What to Do

The National Geographic Museum is a comprehensive and rich museum, filled with many items, artifacts, and photographs. Here is a selection of our favorite exhibits for you to start your explorations with. Keep in mind that exhibits rotate regularly, so be sure to check their site for current exhibits before you go.

Indiana Jones and the Adventure of Archaeology

It’s hard to estimate how many archaeologists were first inspired to their profession by Indiana Jones, but suffice it to say that this iconic character has been a leader in his field for generations. See real artifacts and props from the Indiana Jones film franchise come together in this immersive exhibit.

Monster Fish: In Search of the Last River Giants

Based on the Nat Geo WILD series Monster Fish, this exhibit showcases nearly 20 of these mammoth specimens through sculpture, photography, and aquariums filled with impressive creatures. Hailing from around the globe, these fish are certainly a sight to behold. The nature lover in all of us won’t want to miss this exhilarating exhibit.

Rotating Series of 3D Films

See the world of National Geographic come alive around you in this fascinating, rotating film series. High quality 3D films feature a wide variety of subjects, often intersecting with one of their current exhibitions. Check online for the current film at the time of your visit.

Nearby Attractions

Although it’s located in an area filled with residences and hotels, the National Geographic Museum is still within an easy Metro ride or short walk of many great attractions. Here are a few of our favorites.

  • Dupont Circle, home to great indie shops, bars, and restaurants.
  • The White House, where you’ll find one of the best photo opportunities in town.
  • The George Washington University, among the best educational institutions in the region.
  • The Phillips Collection of Modern and Post-Impressionist art.
  • The Crime Museum, an informative and fun destination that's a kid-favorite in the District.
  • The Smithsonian American Art Museum, a great little specialized institution.

Places to Eat Nearby

You’re in luck if you’re looking for dining options near this attraction, as the National Geographic Museum is fortuitously located in the midst of a great dining area. Check out these for some variety, or just explore to find your own.

  • James Hoban’s is the perfect destination for delicious, authentic, and affordable Irish cuisine.
  • Looking for something super healthy and eco-friendly? Check out Sweetgreen.
  • If you’re in the mood for a bit of a caffeine perk, try Afterwords Café (located in Kramerbooks).
  • Take the family someplace a little fancy with a visit to Old Ebbitt Grill.
  • Traveling with teens? Take them to Buffalo Billiards, where they can enjoy a game of pool while you eat in peace.
  • Try some of the best pizza in the District at Pizzeria Paradiso.
  • Check out Georgia Brown’s for a little taste of the American South.

Save on Admission

History lovers simply can’t miss a visit to this popular attraction! And remember, with the Washington DC Explorer Pass® you can save up to 40% on combined admission to the National Geographic Museum, plus more top Washington, D.C. attractions. Washington DC Explorer Pass