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National Portrait Gallery

One half of the Smithsonian’s Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture (along with the adjacent American Art Museum), the National Portrait Gallery was established by a 1962 Act of Congress, dedicating it to depictions of people who have made significant contributions to the history, development and culture of the United States. The museum’s collection includes 19,400 works ranging from paintings and sculpture to photographs and drawings.

Highlights among the permanent exhibits are Gilbert Stuart’s 1796 “Lansdowne” portrait of George Washington, paintings of civil rights leaders like Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King, Jr., a bronze bust of Franklin D. Roosevelt, and photos of celebrities like Marilyn Monroe and Shaquille O’Neal. You can take a break from viewing the Gallery’s works at the Courtyard Café, which opens with the museum and closes at 6:30 p.m.

The Gallery’s light-filled Greek Revival building, which housed the nation’s Patent Office from 1840 to 1932 and was completely renovated in 2006, is considered a National Historic Landmark. The Gallery’s south (and main) entrance is on F Street, while the north entrance, on G Street, serves tour groups and provides access to the store shared with the American Art Museum. On the building’s lower level, the two museums also share the state-of-the-art, 346-seat Nan Tucker McEvoy Auditorium, which stages lectures and films as well as music, theater and dance performances.

The Gallery offers no dedicated parking, but is located above the Gallery Place-Chinatown Metrorail station, which serves the Red, Yellow and Green Lines.

Tours & Tickets

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Big Bus Washington DC Hop-On Hop-Off Tour, Washington DC, null
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Big Bus Washington DC Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

4 star rating: Recommended 533 Reviews

As the authorized concessionaire of the National Park Service, the Big Bus tour is the official sightseeing tour of the National Mall. Explore the most popular ...  Read more

Location: Washington D.C., District of Columbia
Duration: Varies

From USD $39.00
Washington DC Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour and Attractions Pass, Washington DC, Hop-on Hop-off Tours
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Washington DC Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour and Attractions Pass

3 star rating: Worth doing 43 Reviews

Explore the best of Washington DC at your own pace with this 48-hour hop-on hop-off bus pass and admission to up to five city attractions. Admire famous ...  Read more

Location: Washington D.C., District of Columbia
Duration: 48 hours from time of voucher exchange

From USD $89.99
Washington DC Super Saver: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley and Monuments by Moonlight Tour, Washington DC, ... 
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Washington DC Super Saver: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley and Monuments by Moonlight Tour

4.5 star rating: Recommended 59 Reviews

Explore Washington DC at your leisure on a hop-on hop-off trolley and see the city's landmarks illuminated on a guided night tour with this super saver combo. ...  Read more

Location: Washington D.C., District of Columbia
Duration: 1 day (approx.)

From USD $78.00
Washington DC Wine-Tasting Tour by Pedicab, Washington DC, Hop-on Hop-off Tours
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Washington DC Wine-Tasting Tour by Pedicab

This unique tour by pedicab lets you taste Washington DC’s finest wines, Champagne or liquors while seeing some of the city’s most famous historic ...  Read more

Location: Washington D.C., District of Columbia
Duration: 60 minutes (approx.)

From USD $108.99

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