Many of Washington, DC's major attractions are open for the public and do not require tickets or advance reservations, including the museums of the Smithsonian system and the National Zoo, the National Gallery of Art and the national monuments and memorials. However, you may be able to take advantage of free tours and programs and discounts on ticketed attractions and other programs by contacting the museums prior to your visit. Here are some general guidelines for groups:
Smithsonian Museums: Many Smithsonian museums have group tours which can be arranged by appointment only. Group rates are available for dining, films, flight simulators, the planetarium, and the butterfly pavilion. Visit their website for a list of museums that require registration and for suggested tours and itineraries.
National Gallery of Art: Free one-hour tours for groups of ten or more adults must be booked at least four weeks in advance. Foreign-language tours must be scheduled at least eight weeks in advance. Call (202) 842-6247. Additional programs and educational info for school tours may be found at nga.gov/education/school.
National Zoo: Admission to the National Zoo is free and reservations are not required for groups. However, Friends of the National Zoo (FONZ) offers groups of 15 or more people packages by advance reservation. For package details, visit nationalzoo.si.edu or call (202) 633-4480.
U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum: Admission to the Museum is free. Groups of 40 or more people are required to schedule their visit, however, no reservations are needed for group visits to Remember the Children: Daniel's Story. If you have fewer than 40 people in your group, please go to Plan A Visit to learn more about visiting the Museum. Passes to enter the Museum’s Permanent Exhibition are not required September through February. Visit ushmm.org or call (202) 488-0400 for additional information.
Arlington National Cemetery: While the cemetery is free to visit, groups of 20 or more receive a discount for guided tours on ANC Tours with free re-boarding throughout the day. Visit anctours.com for more information.
The Bureau of Printing & Engraving: Tours for groups of 10 or more people run every 15 minutes from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. There is a 50-person maximum. Group tours MUST be scheduled in advance with the tour office. Group reservations are free. Complete a Group Reservation Request Form and fax it to (202) 874-6331. Visit moneyfactory.gov for more information.
The Corcoran Gallery of Art: The Corcoran accommodates groups of 8 to 75 for its permanent collections and most special exhibitions. Discounted pricing may apply; groups must purchase tickets a minimum of 4 weeks in advance to be considered for discounting. Group dining is also available in the on-site Café des Artistes. For additional information regarding group visits, call (202) 639-1730 or visit corcoran.org
Folger Shakespeare Library: School visits are offered on select days throughout the year from 10:30 AM-12 noon. Groups are limited to 50 participants, and a $75 fee is required. Group discounts are available on ticket orders for ten or more people for most Folger performances. Tickets must be purchased in advance by calling (202) 675-0367. Free public group tours do not require reservations. Private group tours o f 15 or more may also be scheduled for a base fee of $100. Group size may not exceed 60 people, and groups over 25 people will be charged additional fees. For more information, visit folger.edu.
Hillwood Museum: Groups of 10 or more people may book a docent led tour, please complete the Group Tour Request Form. For an additional cost, Hillwood can create a unique tour for your group—focusing on specific items in the collection, in the gardens, or in a foreign language. For group inquiries please call (202) 686-5807 or email [email protected].
International Spy Museum: Groups of 15-90 can pre-reserve to ensure availability and to receive a discount on tickets. Visit spymuseum.org for more information.
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts: Groups of 20 or more benefit from special advantages like discounts and access to tickets before they go on sale to the public when they book performance tickets through the Group Sales office. For more information, visit kennedy-center.org or call 1 (800) 444-1324. You can also arrange a guided tour of the facility.
The Kreeger Museum: The Kreeger Museum can accommodate school tours of up to 48 students. Tours are free; however, if the school would like to include a workshop taught by a professional teaching artist, a small cost applies. For further information, call 202-337-3050 x24 or visit kreegermuseum.org.
Library of Congress: The Library offers a variety of guided tours for reserved groups with at least 10 participants who must give advance notice by contacting the Visitor Services Office, or calling (202) 707–0919. These tours are designed for organizations and schools (fourth-grade level and above). Reserved group tour times are offered Monday through Friday and are subject to availability. Tour requests must be submitted at least 2 weeks prior to visit. Visit loc.gov for more information.
Madame Tussauds Washington D.C.: Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more. More information is available at madametussaudsdc.com, or call 1(888) 923-0334 for reservations.
Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens: Groups of 20 or more adult or student groups (K- 12) are eligible for the discounted student group rate at Mount Vernon. For more information, visit mountvernon.org.
The Crime Museum: Reservations for groups of 20 or more at the museum can be made by phone at (202) 393-1099, by email at [email protected], or by using the group reservation form online. Once you have completed the reservation form, you will be contacted within 24 business hours by a member of the Group Sales team. Chaperones are required and are provided complimentary admission at a 1:15 ratio. Bus drivers and tour directors also receive complimentary admission. For more information, visit crimemuseum.org.
Newseum: Groups of 10 or more will receive an automatic discount when purchasing tickets online. School groups interested in classes or educational programs should contact the Newseum's education department at [email protected] or by calling (202) 292-6650. Rates and additional information may be found online.
Washington Monument: Washington Monument admission is free, but does require a ticket. If you wish to reserve tickets, you may do so at a $1.50 service fee by visiting the National Park Service ticket website at recreation.gov, or by calling 1 (877) 559- 6777 for group reservations. **IMPORTANT: The Washington Monument is currently closed for repairs due to earthquake damage it sustained in 2011. Please check back here for updates.
Washington National Cathedral: Reservations are required for groups of 13 or more who will be arriving by motorcoach or by other larger vehicle such as a mini-bus or 15-passenger van. (Motorcoach parking is available in the garage on site.) Groups with a reservation to tour the Cathedral must be guided by a Cathedral docent or a Cathedral-certified guide. Tours are given Monday through Saturday; no tours are offered on Sunday. Download a group request form and visit nationalcathedral.org or call (202) 537-6207 x5 for more information.