You Can Now Get Married at the Smithsonian! Here’s Our Quick Guide to the New Venues

The Smithsonian Castle is among the Smithsonian spaces now available to rent for weddings. Photo by Robert Lyle Bolton via Flickr.

We’d been hearing murmurings for months, but it’s official: The Smithsonian has finally opened for social events—and that includes weddings.

While corporate sponsorship and cohosting of events have long been allowed in many of the Smithsonian-affiliated spaces, directors of each museum now have the discretion to expand their rental offerings by choosing to allow more broadly defined corporate, meeting, and nonprofit events, as well two new categories of events: “personal social events for adults such as weddings, memorials, anniversary celebrations and birthday parties” and “personal social events for youth such as birthday parties, prom parties, etc.” (Note: “Political activities,” according to the press release, are still not permitted.)

The new policy is a pilot program that will be test-driven for three years to start, and not all museums are adopting the new rules.

But here is a list of museums, galleries, and other spaces that are now available for Smithsonian weddings, along with their capacities and a few other details.

(Two quick notes: First, this list does not include the capacities of theaters or meeting rooms. Second, the max capacity ranges represent the maximum capacities of the smallest spaces to the total combined spaces. So for example, the smallest venue space at the Smithsonian American Art Museum/National Portrait Gallery allows for 50 standing and 40 seated, and the largest space (or combination of spaces) allows 1200 standing and 850 seated.)


Smithsonian American Art Museum/National Portrait Gallery

*These two distinct museums share the venue space.
8th and F Streets NW.; 202-633-7980
Indoor and outdoor options.
Max capacity: 50-1200 standing; 40-850 seated* (*range represents the maximum capacities of the smallest space to the largest or total combined spaces.)


Anacostia Community Museum

1901 Fort Place SE
*The ACM will close for renovations soon, and will reopen for special events in the fall. Currently, the main gallery (inside) allows for up to 300 guests standing, 200 seated; the patio/terrace allows for 70 standing and 50 seated, and the grounds outside allow for tented events of up to 350 guests.


Arts and Industries Building

900 Jefferson Drive, SW; 202-633-2020
Indoor and outdoor.
Max capacity for weddings: 200-2,000 standing; 120-1,200 seated.
Outdoor capacity (Enid A. Haupt Garden): 150 standing; 130 seated.


Freer | Sackler Galleries

Freer; Jefferson Drive at 12th Street SW;
Sackler; 1050 Independence Ave SW;
Capacity at Freer: 200-250 standing; 150 seated
Capacity at Sackler: Inside: 200-300 standing; 80-100 seated


Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden

Independence Ave and 7th St. SW; 212-916-1338
Indoor and outdoor.
Max capacity: 1,000
Sculpture Garden: 350 standing; 250 seated


National Air and Space Museum

Independence Ave at 6th St. SW; 202-633-2345
Max capacity for weddings: 500-2,500 standing; 230-700 seated.


National Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center

14390 Air and Space Museum Pkwy, Chantilly, Va 20151; 703-572-4051
Max Capacity: 75-5,000 standing; 50-500 seated.

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National Museum of African Art 

950 Independence Avenue, SW; 202-633-4649
Max capacity for weddings: 100-700 standing; 80-180 seated.


National Museum of American History

Constitution Avenue, NW Between 12th and 14th streets; 202-633-3306
Indoor, outdoor, and rooftop.
Max capacity for weddings: 80-500 standing; 70-350 seated.


National Museum of the American Indian

Fourth Street & Independence Ave., SW; 202-633-7020
Indoor, outdoor, and rooftop.
Max capacity: 100- 3,500 standing; 80-350 seated


National Museum of Natural History 

10th St. & Constitution Ave. NW; 202-633-1650
Max Capacity for weddings: 300-3500 standing; 50-350 seated.


National Zoo

3001 Connecticut Ave., NW; 202-633-3067
Indoor and outdoor.
Max capacity for weddings: 250 seated (200 seated with a dance floor.)
Indoor: 50 standing; 125 seated (100 seated with dance floor)
Outside/tented: 125 seated (100 seated with dance floor)


Postal Museum

2 Massachusetts Ave., NE; 202-633-1667
Max capacity for weddings: 300-900 standing; 100-350 seated


Renwick Gallery

1661 Pennsylvania Ave NW; 202-633-8534
Max capacity for weddings: 450


Smithsonian Castle

1000 Jefferson Drive, SW; 202-633-2020
Indoor and outdoor.
Max capacity for weddings: 75-375 standing; 40-150 seated (not including garden).


Still looking for a venue? Check out our most-recommended vendors and venues here


Amy Moeller
Editor, Washingtonian Weddings

Amy leads Washingtonian Weddings and writes Style Setters for Washingtonian. Prior to joining Washingtonian in March 2016, she was the editor of Capitol File magazine in DC and before that, editor of What’s Up? Weddings in Annapolis.