National Building Museum, Washington DC

3.6
Tour a museum for architecture, design, engineering, construction, and urban planning when you visit National Building Museum. View detailed drawings, rare photographs from the early 20th century, and original building fragments. Take your younger kids to the Building Zone to build a fort, or construct a soft-block arch in the museum's Great Hall. Tour the building itself, which is a National Historic Landmark and was completed in 1887. The museum's shop is considered the "best museum shop" by several publications, including The Washington Post and National Geographic Traveler's blog. Work out when and for how long to visit National Building Museum and other Washington DC attractions using our handy Washington DC day trip planning site .
Create an itinerary including National Building Museum
map
National Building Museum Reviews
Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 3.5
550 reviews
Google
4.1
TripAdvisor
  • I have lived in the DC area for decades, but had never visited until out of town guests came. The building is amazing, totally bizarre for its use as an office building, but impressive for a major eve...  more »
  • ... this building is somewhat discordant with itself, the outside being quasi-industrial and the inside sporting a magnificent colonnade, with gilded accents.. nonetheless, it is a perfect frame for l...  more »
  • Arguably, my most favorite building in DC is The National Building Museum designed by General Montgomery Meigs and devoted to building and design. “It was built to house the U.S. Pension Bureau and as...  more »
Google
  • This place is amazing for kids. I have lived here basically all my life and walked by this building numerous times. It just never made my list of places to go. Finally went there with my daughter. Great kid activity area for building stuff. They have a special area with building materials for the kids but you need to get tickets and get them early. You can reserve your 45 minute time slot for every hour. We got there when it opened on the weekend and the 45 minute time slots where full until noon and you have to pay. Tldr: great cool building, lots of stuff for kids.
  • This is such a historic building and phenomenal museum because of how much you can learn just by taking the free, self-guided tour! Sure you can pay for a docent to take you around, and I encourage you too (especially as you'll learn a LOT more and see restricted areas), but if you're strapped on time and wanna enjoy a quiet tour, this is the place to do it. If you have little ones this is also a top choice on the museum list, as there is little to break, a massive Blue Room to play in, and the Builder's Corner. Not to mention the massive, carpeted atrium with interactive building options. Being immediately above the Judiciary Square Metro stop also makes this an ideal option no matter the weather!
  • Super neat museum. The architecture in the building itself and its history are fascinating. Was kind of underwhelmed with the great, but few exhibitions for adults. I have heard it is better to go with kids.
  • This space is huge, and interesting, but seems to be lacking in overall structure and organization. It kind of feels like a bunch of separate galaries, rather than a museum. There's a fee to get in here as well. Interesting exhibits, none the less, but pretty expensive for the total experience.
  • Historic, grand location often used to host elegant political events, trade shows and private parties. A White House favorite for entertaining political leaders and VIPs. Headquarters for the design industries, a favorite for tourists, small shops on site, services offered for children, with handicap accessible ramps. A paid valet parking area is available during special events. Located 3 blocks from the Judiciary Square Metro stop and 4-5 blocks away from the Gallery Place Metro stop. Small eateries are within a 3 block radius. History lovers will be in heaven.

Plan your trip to Washington DC

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it

    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.

Where to stay in Washington DC

Most visitors to Washington, D.C., end up in the East End, the old downtown district containing most of the city's major cultural attractions. For a more authentic Washingtonian experience, consider staying at a smaller hotel just a little north or east of this busy area. Neighborhoods outside downtown offer less expensive accommodations and affordable street parking, as well as opportunities to meet more locals and fewer tourists. Alternatively, try a hotel in Georgetown, packed with high-end shops and Colonial architecture.
Live like a local, find unique places to stay
Millions of travel reviews on TripAdvisor

Plans in Washington DC by other users

8 days in Washington DC BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, teens, kids, fast-paced, popular PREFERENCES: July, teens, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Fast-paced 19 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM July, teens, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums, wildlife, hidden gems PREFERENCES: July, teens, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 9 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES March, teens, popular PREFERENCES: March, teens ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 43 days in United States BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA August, culture, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: August, culture, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 60 days in United States BY A USER FROM MOROCCO July, popular PREFERENCES: July ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 24 days in United States BY A USER FROM DENMARK July, culture, beaches, historic sites, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: July, culture, beaches, historic sites, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 8 days in Washington DC BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM March, popular PREFERENCES: March ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 29 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES February, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife, slow & easy, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: February, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy 30 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM February, popular PREFERENCES: February ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 39 days in United States & Niagara Falls BY A USER FROM ISRAEL March, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: March, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 23 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, popular PREFERENCES: May ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Washington DC BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES February, relaxing, historic sites, museums, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: February, relaxing, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium
View more plans