Washington: Side Trips

Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center (National Air and Space Museum)

aircraft are displayed James S. McDonnell Space Hanger at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Alex Wong / Getty
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This remarkable museum, located 45 minutes west of D.C. near Dulles Airport, opened at the end of 2003 as a companion to the hugely popular and overcrowded National Air and Space Museum on the Mall. But it is in fact a far superior endeavor in almost every way. This museum has a huge amount of space all to itself in the middle of nowhere, and it revels in it. The massive, three-level hangar is like a zoo for flying machines: the Enola Gay, the Space Shuttle Enterprise, the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird and the Concord are all here, to name just a few. Free tours are offered daily. Bring sandwiches from Firehook Bakery or Marvelous Market (both have various locations around D.C.) to avoid having to eat the museum fast food.

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