I wasn’t able to keep up with blogging/vlogging all of my travels this summer as they were happening, but it doesn’t mean that I’m going to leave you out the loop. Especially if your’e a regular visitor here… then we’re pretty much digitally related. Back in July I took my second visit to DC (see my first visit to DC here) to see the National Museum of African American History for the first time. And yes… it is absolutely 1000% worth the hype. But before I get into how much I loved the things I saw, let me back track and tell you about how you can get in… because yeah it is a process.


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national museum of African American history

How To Get In To The National Museum Of African American History

WHAT’S THE 411: The National Museum Of African American History opened back in September 2016, and has had over 4 million visitors since its inception. The museum is one of the 19 Smithsonian restaurants, and does not charge. They do have tickets for entry, and due to the overwhelming popularity of the museum, they have had to instill a “timed entry pass”. So what does that mean… it can be rather difficult to get tickets to attend, especially if you are like me and like to do things randomly sometimes. But… all hope is not lost.

National Museum Of African American History

HOW TO GET TICKETS: If you go to the National Museum of African American History website, they have a few different ways for you to get timed entry passes, and I’ll break them down for you right here.

  • Same Day Online Timed Entry Passes: When I tell you that same day online timed entry passes are hard to get… I mean hard. Harder than getting OTRII tickets, harder than getting Lion King tickets… like really hard. Because these timed entry passes are still very much in demand (especially on the weekend) you are going to have to have fingers the speed of light. The tickets go up on the website at 6:00am for visiting on that day. I tried to get tickets this way on a Saturday morning, and had no luck. The entire day sold out in less than thirty seconds (tickets are free but you know what I mean). That is what led me to the other method of getting tickets (see the very last option below)

  • Walkups (Weekdays Only): If you are planning on visiting the National Museum Of African American History during the week, you will definitely have a far easier time than if you are going on the weekends. Walkup tickets start at 1:00pm. This month (September) the museum is trying a pilot program where they are allowing walkups the entire month (Monday – Friday) on a first come first served basis throughout the entirety of the day. This is to see whether or not the use of timed passes is still needed (they totally are still needed during the weekend for the time being). They will be going back to timed entry passes during the week in October, but you can still try the walk up method after 1:00pm.

  • Advanced Online Timed Passes: This is probably the best method to take if you know exactly when you are going to be going to the National Museum Of African American History. The tickets are released on the first Wednesday of every month, and they are for tickets three months down the line. So this past September (9/5) released tickets for December 2018. The next ticket release will be on October 3rd, 2018 for January 2019 tickets.

  • Ask A Stranger: This was the method I used when I went. I was already on my way to DC (left at 4:00AM) when it came time to try for the same day online timed entry passes. Therefore when I realized that they were no longer an option I was too far on my journey to turn around and go back home. A few of my friends that visited the museum before me, did mention that there were always people on the outside that had extra tickets they were giving away. The weather was really rainy and gross when I went, but there were also a ton of family reunions lined up on the outside (I went on a Saturday).

I never realized how much anxiety I get when I have to interact with strangers until it was time for me to try and ask someone whether or not they had extra tickets to spare. Thankfully Kwesi was able to muster up enough gumption to walk around get us two tickets for 10:00AM entry. Upon entering the museum I was surrounded from head to toe with African American history and culture. It was a lot to take in, and even though I spent well over five hours in the museum, I still didn’t see everything it had to offer. So yes… what everyone has said that has visited is very true: You need at least two days to see the entire museum.

Besides that, I suggest you wear comfortable walking shoes/sneakers because your feet will hurt trying to see everything. Definitely bring yourself some snacks, because we almost starved to death trying to cover every inch of the museum. And the line at the restaurant was obnoxiously long by the time we went to try and grab something to eat at 1:00PM.

I highly recommend visiting the National Museum Of African American History whenever you get a chance (make time if you don’t have time… it’s worth it)

’til next time,