Tips and Tricks for Your Summer Museum Visit

Posted on Fri, July 13, 2018

Summer break brings visitors to the Washington, DC, area, from just down the road and all around the globe. If you’re planning a stop at our Museum on your next vacation, we’ve got some tips to help you make the most out of your visit!   

The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center at Sunset

The glass and steel architecture of the National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center looking beautiful in the reflective glow of a Virginia sunset.

  1. Not just one, but two: We have multiple locations—our National Mall building and our Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia near Dulles International Airport. Both are accessible via public transportation. (You can even store your luggage at our Udvar-Hazy Center, if you want to visit on your way to the airport!)
  2. Check the schedule: Our National Mall location has extended hours on select dates throughout the summer. Check our website for the latest information.
  3. H20 is a go: You’re allowed to bring water into the Museum! There are even stations where you can fill up a reusable bottle.
  4. Take a lunch break: We have family-friendly food options at both of our locations. There is a grab-and-go café at our National Mall building, with sandwiches, salads, and snacks. There is a McDonald’s at our Udvar-Hazy Center.
  5. Don’t skip the SPF: Our Museum in Washington, DC, can get crowded in the summer—and that means a longer security line outside of our entrance. Make sure to account for that, and don’t skip the sunscreen!
  6. Snap a selfie: We have free public wi-fi! Make sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and share your pictures with #AirandSpace.
    Visitors in the Public Observatory

    Astronomy educator Katie Moore assists a small group of youngsters in the Museum's Observatory, where they are observing sunspots through a device known as the Sun Gun.

  7. Stop and see the Sun (safely): Did you know that you can use telescopes at our Museum in Washington, DC? You can find our Phoebe Waterman Haas Public Observatory near the Independence Avenue entrance. Stop by to observe the Sun and try out a telescope, with the help of our expert astronomy educators.
  8. Enjoy the big screen:  From a 3-D journey into space, to the latest Hollywood blockbuster, there’s always something new to see at our IMAX theaters or planetarium. There are showtimes throughout the day!
  9. Do some summer reading: Our mobile-friendly website has tons of resources to help make your visit even better. Check out web exhibitions, stories about our renowned aerospace collection, and up-to-date maps of both locations.  
  10. Ask questions: Stop by our Welcome Desk, sign up for a docent-led Museum tour, or learn the forces of flight from an Explainer. Our staff is here to help!

Paper Airplane Contest

Boy participates in a paper airplane contest in the National Air and Space Museum's How Things Fly gallery.

Whether you’re an aviation enthusiast, a space geek, or anywhere in-between, we hope you enjoy your visit! Have additional tips to share? Leave your own travel recommendations in the comments!


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