We had such a wonderful time at the National Portrait Gallery! This museum is absolutely beautiful and really family friendly!
There is a huge enclosed courtyard where my youngest was able to run around and burn off some energy before walking the museum. This courtyard hosts some really wonderful, free, family-friendly events (you can check the calendar here). But even without provided entertainment, it is a fun place for the kids to play.
There’s a small cafe located right off the courtyard, and though there’s a sign at the entrance of the gallery saying you are not allowed to bring in food or drink, I had a bunch of snacks in my purse and no one checked, and my kids sat eating at a table and no said anything.
There are so many beautiful paintings and portraits, but our favorite exhibit was ‘America’s Presidents‘.
After a while of walking, my youngest needed a break so we headed over to the kid’s playroom. The room is small and the activities are minimal, but my kids spent a solid 30 minutes playing and seemed to enjoy it. Next, we crossed the hall to do some crafts and enjoy story time, both of which happen daily. The kid’s playroom was a really nice touch and I really appreciated my son having a space to take a break in and play, but I would not travel to the Portrait Gallery just to visit the playroom.
Overall we had a truly wonderful time visiting The National Portrait Gallery, and we will definitely go back!
Just FYI, attached to the gallery is the Smithsonian American Art Museum (just cross the courtyard and you’re in SAAM!).
Know before you go:
– The gallery is really family-friendly, with plenty of room for strollers, a cafe, a kid’s room to play in, and a courtyard for more play.
-Admission is free
– Get there early for street parking which is only $2 per hour! If you’re unable to get street parking there are multiple parking garages less than a two minute walk away.
– There are lots of restaurants (Chinatown and it’s delicious restaurants are only a block or two away!) really close by as well, including Shake Shack which is directly across the street.
– Make sure to check the calendar and try to time your visit during one of their many free family fun days!