The Portrait Gallery is committed to providing access to all visitors. This page contains information to help you plan your visit so that is as easy and comfortable as possible.

Please note that masks are optional. 

For information about virtual and in person tours and programs, visit: Access Programs Online

If you have any further questions after reading this page, please contact Visitor Services at 202-633-8300 or email: 

graphic image of a service dog  Service Dogs

Service dogs are welcome. The SI follows the U.S. Department of Justice’s ADA requirements for service dogs.  The dog must be trained to assist a person with a disability. Visitors are not allowed to bring emotional support animals into Smithsonian museums.

 Wheelchair icon  Visitors Who Use Wheelchairs or Other Mobility Devices

Arriving and Parking

The museum can be accessed via two entrances. Only the entrance at 8th and G Streets is wheelchair accessible; it has two ramps, one on either side of the stairs. The F and 8th Street entrance is stairs only. 

Limited metered parking is available on the streets around the museum. Red Top meters are reserved for drivers with disabled parking placards. For more information about the Red Top Meter Program, check the  District Department of Transportation website.

ADA parking spaces are available at nearby parking garages. View the map of their locations.

Visitors using the MetroAccess paratransit service should tell the driver to go to 800 G Street, or the corner of G and 8tth Streets.

Getting Around in the Museum

Elevators serve all areas of the building. All restrooms and water fountains are wheelchair accessible. Family/companion care restrooms are located on the first and second floors near the F Street elevators.

Wheelchairs are available for your comfort. To borrow one, ask the security officer stationed at the G Street entrance.

Person walking with a cane, icon  Visitors Who are Blind or Have Low Vision

Mobile Information Service:

aira logo  

Navigate the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum with Aira - a free app that connects you with sighted agents who provide verbal descriptions on demand. This subscription service is free when visiting the museums and connected to our Wi-Fi. To learn more, download the Aira app.  

Audio Portrait Descriptions

The Portrait Gallery has developed audio descriptions of select portraits from our signature exhibition, “America’s Presidents.” Developed for people who are blind or partially sighted, these descriptions use precise, evocative language to convey the visual appearance of art, and are equally enjoyable for anyone seeking closer observation. The descriptions can be accessed on the Audio Portrait Descriptions page or on the SmARTify app. 

smartify logo

To get the app:

  • Download the app from the Apple or Android store
  • Open the app and tap on the “Explore” icon
  • Find the National Portrait Gallery and scroll to “Trending Tours”
  • Select “Visual Description tour of select portraits in America’s Presidents”

drawing of a brain within a head  Visitors with Developmental and Sensory Disabilities

While the Portrait Gallery is less busy relative to other Smithsonian museums, it can nevertheless become a bustling space at certain times. If you or your companion are sensitive to noise or crowds, consider bringing noise cancelling headphones. The third-floor galleries, especially the Luce Foundation Center, tend to be quiet, no matter the day or time. Family restrooms on the first and second floors also provide a private space to recharge.

The following resources can help in planning your visit: