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National Portrait Gallery, Washington DC

4.8
Art Museum · Hidden Gem · History Museum
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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

TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
3,546 reviews
Google
4.8
TripAdvisor
  • The National Portrait Gallery takes up about half of each of the three floor of the old Patent Office Building. (The other half is the Smithsonian American Art Museum.) One of my favorite exhibits.....  more
    The National Portrait Gallery takes up about half of each of the three floor of the old Patent Office Building. (The other half is the Smithsonian American Art Museum.) One of my favorite exhibits.....  more »
  • Make sure to visit the Hall of Presidents, as well as see the amazing Michelle Obama painting on the floor above. Fantastic artwork and a great gift shop, as well as a wonderful atrium to take a... 
    Make sure to visit the Hall of Presidents, as well as see the amazing Michelle Obama painting on the floor above. Fantastic artwork and a great gift shop, as well as a wonderful atrium to take a...  more »
  • Don’t miss. Right at Gallery Lace Metro, red, yellow, green lines. Adjacent to art museum, via a beautiful enclosed courtyard. Free. Opens late, but stays open light. Obama portraits are a draw... 
    Don’t miss. Right at Gallery Lace Metro, red, yellow, green lines. Adjacent to art museum, via a beautiful enclosed courtyard. Free. Opens late, but stays open light. Obama portraits are a draw...  more »
Google
  • The National Portrait Gallery was a really nice experience. There are themed galleries as well as the presidential gallery. If I remember correctly there are 3 floors to explore. There are elevators for those that can't or don't want to walk. It is completely FREE and no ticket required. If you bring a bag it must be worn on the front of your body so that you don't accidentally damage an exhibit.
  • This is a fantastic part of the American Art Museum and a must see in Washington D.C.! It is free to enter and includes a ton of important people and little descriptions of what they did in life which I appreciated. The rooms were all well decorated, and the portraits were cool to see. I would come back.
  • This is the best art gallery in DC in my opinion. It’s beautiful, unique and calming. There’s an atrium in the center that provides a dreamy place to sit and rest. My favorite thing about this gallery, however, is that there’s conservationists you can watch at work. When you walk into this museum it’s like being in a different world. Each space creates such a unique atmosphere and is breathtaking to say the least.
  • The Gallery is amazing, you will probably spend 2 hours there. It has very beautiful portraits, one of my favorites was Gilbert Stuart painting of George Washington and everything related to Abraham Lincoln as well as the amazing portrait of the Supreme Court Justices! Wow what a place to put on my memory box! I loved it!
  • I really enjoyed the National Portrait Gallery which shares buildings with the American Art Museum (they each have a side on both buildings). The Hall of Presidents was excellent. I really enjoyed seeing the 2022 Potrait Contest and enjoyed voting for my favorite Portrait. There is a 50 year Anniversary exhibit for the Watergate Scandal and we almost visited on the actual anniversary so that was cool. There are a lot of different portraits of Americans on display and they are pretty randomly spread out between the rooms. All in all, expect to spend 1 1/2-2 hours at this part of the museum. I will say, some teens and kids who are not the most intellectually driven may find it boring as there are not interactive exhibits.

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