- Most of The Mall's museums close at 5:30 p.m. daily. Use the Metro stop by the Smithsonian Castle. If you drive, park in the deck behind Union Station (less than $20 per day), or try for one of the coveted free spaces near the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial or the Tidal Basin area.
- Make reservations in advance to tour the Capitol at www.visitthecapitol.gov.
- Need to get to the Lincoln end of The Mall from the galleries and museums? Save your feet and grab a cab for a one-way break (about $5).
- Are your kids plane crazy? The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center near Dulles Airport has more than 300 aircrafts too big to fit at The Mall location.
- Join the queue to see the flag early in the day to avoid a long wait.
photo: The Smithsonian in an Hour: If you have only a short time to explore The Mall, go to The Commons of the Smithsonian Castle. This small display features an artifact from each of the institution's museums.