My favorite museum that I visited in Washington DC is National Museum of African-American History and Culture. Long name, right? HUGE museum would be an understatement. What I noticed before even going is that the museum is not the easiest to get into. Being that the National Museum of African-American History and Culture is the newest of the Smithsonian 19 museums and galleries, this museum is certainly a popular one to visit. Since opening in late 2016, the museum has had close to 2 millions visitors to date. And all these visitors want to visit just as much as you do. With this much traffic, the museum has had to take protocol to get visitors in and out in a timely manner.
This is the first thing you need to know. Tickets are FREE, but you must have a timed Entry Pass, or a few other options are available to get in the day of, but I’ll discuss all the options individually below.
Timed Entry Pass
As this post is published, the timed entry passes are going live 3 months in advance! Just look at the image below (posted 8/04/2017 on nmaahc site). So, if you know when you want to go, it would be a good idea to request a couple of days while you’re there, but you need to be on this like white on rice! I’m currently planning on being in DC late March, so planning in November/December to hopefully get the day that I want to go. Click HERE to get a timed entry pass.
Same Day Passes
So same day passes go QUICK. I actually called and was instructed to be online prior to 6:30 am because they go that quick. They go LIVE at 6:30 am for the day of and cannot be obtained via the phone. This is your second best option, it would decrease the chance of you having to wait in line (I’ll get in to this below). Get a same-day pass HERE.
Walk-ups (Week Days Only)
Walk-ups is your only other option. Online you’re instructed that walk-up tickets will be handed out at 1 pm. Keep in mind that this is week days only. This is what we had to do. I got in line about 11:15 am, we waited about and hour and a half before they started handing out the passes (so prior to 1 pm like it is stated on their site, but I am sure this varies each day). We had about 10 people in front of us and at least 100 behind up. Yes, 100. It literally went around the building and I couldn’t see the end of the line. I am not sure how many people got turned away, but I would HIGHLY recommend getting there early like we did to ensure you can actually get in (even that isn’t promised).
The museum is literally right by the Washington Monument. Of course you can drive, but I seen that parking wasn’t as easy and some parking areas were pricey. Personally, we took the metro, I highly recommend this option if you plan on staying in the National Mall area. Everything is in close enough distance to walk, now they’re not exactly right next to each other, but a little cardio never hurt. 😉 Every passenger has to have a metro card, to get on and off the train, even children (4 and up). There system is older and with what seems to be constant updates to the transit is can be a bit frustrating to figure out. However attendants are in every station, so any questions that need to be asked they can answer. To see how much fares for the metro, head HERE. You can also purchase your metro card ahead of time.