National Portrait Gallery, Washington DC

4.7
Part of the Smithsonian Institution, National Portrait Gallery displays portraits of famous Americans. The gallery began with Charles Willson Peale's private collection of portraits, formerly called American Pantheon or Peale's Collection of Portraits of American Patriots. Since the gallery's inception in the 1960s, the collection has grown exponentially with acquisitions from around the world and a triennial portrait competition. Be sure to visit the Robert and Arlene Kogod Courtyard, an architectural marvel with a glass roof. Make National Portrait Gallery a part of your Washington DC vacation plans using our Washington DC trip itinerary planner .
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National Portrait Gallery Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
2,572 reviews
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4.7
TripAdvisor
  • Joined with the American Art Museum, this museum is also located near the International Spy Museum, as well as Ford's Theatre and the Peterson House. If you are in the area, don't miss this museum! Th...  more »
  • We're fortunate in having been able to visit Washington, D.C. several times, and on each occasion we've greatly enjoyed coming to this wonderful Gallery. First, it's very accessible : you take the Met...  more »
  • The highlight is the presidents portrait gallery which is what most people go to see but there is so much more. One thing that I think is confusing is this collection and the American art museum are i...  more »
Google
  • Fun fact: Features the only complete presidential portrait collection outside the White House 🇺🇸. Honestly did not think I would enjoy this, my wife made me go and I loved it. The Faces of Battle exhibit (it will rotate out so go soon!) is exceptional. The exhibit on cats is hilarious as well and it's all free!
  • I love this museum. I has some really great pieces. You could be here for a couple of hours and not fully see the whole museum. I recommend give yourself a good 3-4hours to look at all the exhibits, I definitely will next time.
  • Awesome! We only had 1.5 hours before close and we didn't even finish one floor.... And we were going pretty fast. I would estimate about 3 to 4 hours to see it all. We started with the presidential portraits. There is an eclectic collection of paintings, statues and photos. The interior courtyard is pretty amazing as well. Admission is free, but there is a quick bag inspection. It is open later than most museums (7pm). It is across the street from the Spy Museum.
  • Great experience, tons to see and do, even for kids. Don't just assume it's only standing around and looking at portraits. They often have events and special showings and things you can participate in. Easy to get to and lots to see and do near by.
  • Great quality, some of the best in D.C. for art. Loved the war photography as well as the contemporary section. Unfortunately the presidential portrait gallery was closed for maintenance

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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.
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