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National Archives Museum Tickets in Washington: how to buy and prices

The documentary memory of the United States rests in this museum with more than 15 billion files and some of the most important historical documents of the country.

Matías Rodríguez

Matías Rodríguez

9 min read

National Archives Museum Tickets in Washington: how to buy and prices

National Archives Museum, Washington DC | Sebastian Pichler

Among the activities to see and do in Washington DC, one of the most important is to visit the National Archives Museum, which is home to the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Rights and 15 billion other records.

Located next to the National Mall, very close to the best monuments of Washington DC and whose visit can be combined with a visit to the Capitol, this museum is one of the most important in the U.S. capital, as it keeps the memory of the founding of the country and the national archives of its short but intense history.

The most complete option

Washington DC National Archives Guided Tour

A guided tour in a private group to learn all the secrets of the National Archives Museum.

Discover the history of the United States and its documentary memory on a two-hour tour of the museum with the assistance of an expert local guide.

On this tour you will discover the main documents of the National Archives Museum and the history behind them all. On this two-hour tour of one of the best museums in Washington DC, you will understand how the power of the United States was built in a short period of time.

This private group tour with an expert local guide will bring you up close to the museum' s more than 15 billion archives, making it the largest documentary memory in the country.

Recommended if... You are interested in discovering the history of the United States and the secrets of its founding.

How much do tickets to the National Archives Museum in Washington DC cost?

National Archives Museum| ©Viator
National Archives Museum| ©Viator

Admission to the National Archives Museum in Washington DC is free, although at the time of booking or upon entry, you will be required to pay the non-refundable token fee of €1 for service charges, a custom that also applies to visits to other Washington DC attractions and museums.

Reservations are also not required to tour this museum, so you could go directly on the day of your visit, although I recommend that you reserve your spot at the museum and schedule your visit in advance, especially if you plan to travel to Washington DC during the summer or during the months of March through May.

Note that tours can be booked 90 days in advance, so if you plan to organize an itinerary to tour Washington DC, you have plenty of time to do so.

  • Price... Admission to the museum is free.
  • Location... 701 Constitution Ave, Washington.
  • Hours.... Daily from 10:00 am to 5:30 pm.

Book a visit to the National Archives Museum

What types of tickets are available? Are there skip-the-line tickets to the National Archives Museum in Washington DC?

Flag of the United States| ©Tim Mossholder
Flag of the United States| ©Tim Mossholder

Tickets to the National Archives Museum are free, so they are not segmented and there are no different types of tickets. You can book tickets in advance online or show up directly at the museum, in both cases you will pay the nominal fee of 1 euro.

There are no skip-the-line museum tickets, so if you plan to visit Washington DC in April or during peak season months, I recommend that you book in advance to avoid long waits.

Because of the museum's location near the National Mall, some of the Washington DC bike tours or monument tours also offer a guided tour of the National Archives Museum.

Book a tour of the National Archives Museum

Are tickets to the National Archives Museum in Washington DC included in any of the city's sightseeing passes?

National Mall Skating Rink| ©Erman Akdogan
National Mall Skating Rink| ©Erman Akdogan

Tickets to the National Archives Museum are free, so they are not included in the Washington Sightseeing Pass, although it does include other nearby tours, so if you book it you can make the most of it by touring the museum on your own after a nearby visit.

Near the National Mall you can visit the International Spy Museum, which is included in the Sightseeing Pass, or the Madame Tussauds DC Museum, which has among other attractions the wax sculptures of all the presidents in U.S. history.

The Washington Sightseeing Pass also includes bike tours on the National Mall and nighttime scenic bus tours of the city, which is one of the best things to do in Washington DC at night

You can buy this pass for 1, 2 or 3 days and use it indefinitely in the more than 15 attractions included during its validity or buy the Flex Pass for 1, 2 or 4 attractions within 60 days. With either of the two options of the tourist pass you can save money and time by not waiting in line at most of the attractions.

Book the Washington Sightseeing Pass

Are there tickets that include the guided tour of the National Archives Museum in Washington DC and is it worth it?

National Museum of American History| ©Carol M. Highsmith
National Museum of American History| ©Carol M. Highsmith

Admission is free and there are no different types of tickets, so they do not include the guided tour, although it is possible to book a guided tour to tour the National Archives Museum in Washington DC.

It is certainly worth the assistance of an expert local guide to get the most out of the museum and learn its secrets and the best samples of its collection, among which are those of the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

Like a visit to the war memorials in Washington DC, the National Archives Museum takes on a whole new meaning when you take a guided tour of the museum without missing a single detail.

Book a tour of the National Archives Museum

Are there special tickets for children?

Girl celebrating| ©Thomas Park
Girl celebrating| ©Thomas Park

If you are visiting Washington DC with children, you can visit the National Archives Museum, but not because there are special or discounted tickets for minors, but because all tickets are free.

However, a visit to this museum may not be of great interest to children, as all of its exhibits consist of documentary archives and an in-depth tour of U.S. history.

If you want a kid-friendly experience, I recommend a visit to the White House and its stories, a tour of the city's Smithsonian Museum or a food tour of Washington DC

Book a visit to the National Archives Museum

Why is it worth buying tickets online instead of at the box office?

Capitol facade| ©Louis Velazquez
Capitol facade| ©Louis Velazquez

While tickets are free and can be purchased at the box office moments before your visit, the National Archives Museum requires that online reservations require visitors to indicate the date and time of their tour, so to avoid problems I recommend that you reserve your spot online.

If you plan to visit Washington DC at Christmas or during the peak tourist months, I also recommend that you book in advance to avoid queues at the box office.

Note that if you book tickets online in advance, you will not have to print the tickets or pick them up anywhere, but you can present the ticket from your cell phone or other digital media, in order to reduce pollution and paper waste.

Book a visit to the National Archives Museum

Opening hours of the National Archives Museum in Washington, D.C

View from the Clock Tower of the Old Post Office| ©Ben Schumin
View from the Clock Tower of the Old Post Office| ©Ben Schumin

The National Archives Museum in Washington DC is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., so it has ample hours for you to combine your visit with another activity.

If you plan to take a morning cruise on the Potomac River in Washington DC or take a tour of Georgetown, you can easily tour the museum in the afternoon, as admission is open until 4:30 p.m., one hour before closing time.

Book a tour of Georgetown

How much time do you need to visit the National Archives Museum in Washington DC?

Night Tour Bus| ©Mateo D
Night Tour Bus| ©Mateo D

You are free to tour the National Archives Museum and there is no set visiting time, but if you take a guided tour you will be able to see the entire museum in approximately 2 hours.

This guided tour includes a visit to the best documents of the archive, a review of the history of the founding of the United States and a tour of its architecture, which is one of the most classic in Washington DC.

If you are planning a short stay in the city, a guided tour could help you optimize your time and focus your visit on the best objects in the museum. If that is your case, here is a list of things to see and do in Washington DC during a 2-day visit.

Book a visit to the National Archives Museum

Best time to visit the National Archives Museum in Washington DC

Washington in the fall| ©Dez Hester
Washington in the fall| ©Dez Hester

If you plan to visit Washington DC during the fall, you will be in the city during the best time to visit the National Archives Museum.

During these months, the influx of tourists decreases significantly and you can stroll around the city in a quieter way and enjoy the museums with less crowds.

During the fall you can even get same-day tickets at the box office and find better prices for guided tours and other tours of the city.

How to get to the National Archives Museum in Washington DC?

Capitol and Lawn| ©SridharSaraf
Capitol and Lawn| ©SridharSaraf

The National Archives Museum is located in an area adjacent to the National Mall, near the White House, the Capitol and the George Washington Monument, so all means of transportation that will take you to that area will be useful to access the museum.

The most common option is to use the 38B bus line and then combine with the 33 bus to Constitution Ave.

. You can also opt for the 32 and 36 bus lines and then walk three blocks to the front door of the museum or you can take one of theWashington DC hop on-hop off tour buses, which have a stop in front of the museum.

You can also visit the site if you have rented a car or drive a private vehicle, although given the limited parking space, I do not advise you to approach the National Mall area by car.

Book a hop on-hop off tour bus in Washington DC

What you can't miss at the National Archives Museum in Washington DC

George Washington Monument| ©Olof Nyman
George Washington Monument| ©Olof Nyman

At the National Archives Museum in Washington DC you can learn about the intense history of the United States through the country's documentary memory, such as the country's Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights and Federalist Papers.

You will also be able to visit the public vaults that house the enormous granite figures of George Washington and John F. Kennedy, see the original Emancipation Proclamation that led to the elimination of slavery and a copy of the Magna Carta of 1297.

A guided tour of the National Archives Museum will also show you the reasons why Washington, D.C. is considered a city of mysteries and secrets and how the United States became an unprecedented world power in such a short period of time.

Tips for visiting the National Archives Museum in Washington DC

Historic document| ©Taylor Flowe
Historic document| ©Taylor Flowe

The National Archives Museum is one of the best museums in Washington DC, so the first thing I advise you to do is to visit it to learn how the United States preserves its documentary history, as well as some of the most important archives on which the democratic principles of the country are based.

I also recommend that you take your time to get to know it, since it has more than 15 billion documentary archives that, without a doubt, you will not be able to know in its entirety, although you can review in broad strokes.

If you have the possibility, it is best to take a guided tour, which lasts approximately 2 hours, so that the most important information of the museum is explained to you.

If you plan to travel to Washington DC during the summer months or high season or at Christmas, I advise you to book your ticket online in advance, which you can do up to 90 days before your visit to secure your place, avoid queues and unnecessary delays.