Where Do You Park for the Smithsonian Natural History Museum?

If you’re planning a visit to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C., one of the first questions you might ask is, “Where do I park?” Finding parking in the city can be a challenge, but thankfully, there are several options available for museum-goers.

On-site Parking

The National Museum of Natural History does not have its own parking lot. However, there are several nearby parking garages that offer convenient access to the museum.

The closest option is the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center Garage, which is located just across the street from the museum. This garage offers hourly and daily rates and is open 24/7.

Tips for On-site Parking

– Arrive early: The museum opens at 10:00 am, so if you plan to park on-site, try to arrive before then to secure your spot. – Check prices: Different garages may have different rates for hourly and daily parking.

Be sure to compare prices before choosing a garage. – Consider alternative transportation: If you’re staying in a hotel or Airbnb in the city, consider using public transportation or ride-sharing services rather than driving yourself.

Off-site Parking

If you prefer not to park on-site, there are several off-site parking options available as well. The L’Enfant Plaza Garage is located about a half-mile from the museum and offers hourly and daily rates. The Union Station Parking Garage is also nearby and offers discounted rates for museum visitors.

Tips for Off-site Parking

– Plan ahead: Make sure to research off-site parking options ahead of time so you know where to go. – Wear comfortable shoes: Depending on where you park, you may need to walk a few blocks to reach the museum.

Comfortable shoes are a must! – Check hours of operation: Some off-site parking garages may have restricted hours of operation, so be sure to check before you go.

Street Parking

Finally, if you’re willing to search for a spot, there is street parking available near the museum. However, be aware that street parking in the city can be difficult to find and may have time restrictions or metered rates.

Tips for Street Parking

– Read signs carefully: Make sure to read all posted signs before parking on the street. Some spots may only be available during certain times or have specific restrictions.
– Bring quarters: If you plan to park at a metered spot, bring plenty of quarters with you to avoid having to search for change.


Whether you choose on-site parking, off-site parking, or street parking, there are several options available for visitors to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. By planning ahead and considering your transportation options, you can ensure a stress-free visit and focus on enjoying all the incredible exhibits and displays this world-renowned museum has to offer.