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Visitor Information
We invite family members and other visitors to the Clinical Center to feel at home in our facility. We hope that the links available from this page will help answer many of your questions about how to get here, where to stay, and how to find your way around the hospital and community. A list of Clinical Center telephone numbers is available from this Web site. You may also want to try the "Topics A-Z" tool, an alphabetical index to all visitor- and patient-related subject areas— and don't forget you can always Contact Us.

Getting Here:

Heightened Security Access

    Photo of Clinical Center entrance

    Due to heightened security measures, Patients and Visitors arriving at the main entrance to the Clinical Center will be asked for a valid photo ID (drivers license, state ID, passport, high school/college ID, etc.). Bags and luggage will be inspected. You will be issued a Visitor Pass that should be worn at all times in the Clinical Center and while on the campus. If you are unable to wait in line for this procedure, please inform the security staff who will notify a member of the Clinical Center's Hospitality Staff to come and assist you. More information is available at visitor/heightensecurity.shtml

Driving Directions



Public Transportation

    Buses and Taxis
    Buses and taxis are available from the Clinical Center to Washington, D.C., and the surrounding areas. A Metro bus schedule is available at the admissions office reception desk or at one of the three Hospitality desks located at the main entrance, the main elevators, or admissions. Taxis may be called from the information desk or the phones in the main lobby. Staff at the transportation desk can also call a cab for you Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. At other times, admissions staff can assist you. During bad weather, place your call early. If you have trouble getting a cab, ask at admissions for help.


    Metro, a mass transit service operating in the Washington, D.C., area, is available to provide transportation to the heart of Washington, D.C., and the immediate area surrounding the city. You may obtain a Metro subway schedule from the Red Cross volunteers or the Hospitality Service desk on the first floor. The stop closest to the Clinical Center is "Medical Center" on the Red Line located on the NIH campus near the National Library of Medicine. You may phone Metro for information by calling 202-637-7000. The NIH campus shuttle makes routine stops at the Metro Station. See Directions to the Clinical Center from Medical Center Metro Station.

Shuttle Services

Places to Stay:

Hotels & Motels

    There are several motels near NIH, and the Clinical Center admissions section can provide you with a list of local accommodations and may help arrange for temporary housing. Rooms are also available in private homes registered with the admissions desk. Some of these homeowners will accept roomers for a night or two; others will accept them only for a stay of a week or longer. These rooms are only available to relatives of inpatients.

The NIH Children's Inn

    Photo of Children's Inn

    The Children's Inn at NIH is a family-centered residence on the NIH campus serving pediatric patients and their families who travel here for treatment at the Clinical Center. The Inn provides a home-like atmosphere of private sleeping rooms with baths, common living areas, playrooms, kitchen and laundry facilities, a computer center, and a library. The Inn operates on a self-help basis with the resident children and their families helping themselves and each other. Family members do their own shopping, cooking, laundry, and supervise their children as they would at home. The first reservation to stay at the Children's Inn must come to the Inn through the patient's social worker. Thereafter, returning patients may call the Inn directly for reservations at 301-496-5672.

Edmond J. Safra Family Lodge

Other Options

    Rooms in private homes
    Rooms are also available in private homes registered with the admissions desk. Some of these homeowners will accept roomers for a night or two; others will accept them only for a stay of a week or longer. These rooms are only available to relatives of inpatients.

    Inpatient relative/guardian program
    Some Institutes have programs that assist relatives/guardians to stay in the area while the patient is hospitalized. Contact your social worker for information about these programs.

While You're Here

Floorplans (Directions inside the Clinical Center)

Visiting Hours and Guidelines

    Visiting hours are generally from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. On some units hours may vary, and there may be age restrictions for visitors.

    Children are encouraged to visit during regular Clinical Center visiting hours. Children under age 14 must be accompanied and supervised by a familiar, responsible adult. At the discretion of the nurse, adolescents between the ages of 14 and 18 may visit unaccompanied. Visitors may visit in the unit and common rooms (lounges, cafeterias, playrooms) within the Clinical Center and in the room of the patient they are visiting. Visitors who have been recently exposed to an infectious disease (for example, impetigo, chickenpox, tuberculosis, hepatitis) may not visit. Visitors with cold or flu symptoms are discouraged from visiting. Any visitor who becomes disruptive may be asked to leave.

Hospital Recreation Facilities

    The Recreation Therapy section located on the 14th floor of the Clinical Center offers patients and their families a variety of recreation facilities and resources including a patient library with internet access, a gymnasium and weight room, craft room, relaxation room and pediatric playroom. Visitors may also access additional resources located on many of the patient nursing units by checking with their unit Recreation Therapist.

Cafeterias and Coffee Shops

    There are two dining centers open to the public: one on the second floor and another on the B1 level. Hours of operation are posted outside each dining center. An Atrium Cafe with Cyber Lounge is open from 7:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and the second floor dining center is open from 6:30 a.m. - 8 p.m. Your companions may also wish to shop or dine in Bethesda, located about 2 miles from the Clinical Center. The Hospitality staff can provide you with information on shops and restaurants in the local Bethesda area.

    Two dining centers are available for patients and family members: the second floor dining center is open Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.; Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Another larger dining center is located on the B1 level and is open from 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Hours of operation of the Building 10 dining centers are posted here.

    For additional information about the NIH Food Services Program please go to the Food Services web site

    Second Floor ACRF Dining Center

    Building 10, B1-Level Dining Center

Gallery, Gift Shop and Book Store

    Photo of paintings in art gallery

    Looking around the first floor of the Clinical Center, you will notice art galleries. These galleries, on view 24 hours a day, feature sales of artwork by artists from the Washington, DC, area, with occasional exhibits from around the country. Each artwork sale benefits patients with a 20 percent donation contributed to the Patient Emergency Fund. The Red Cross office in the hospital's north lobby has price lists for all the galleries. Price lists and other information about the galleries are available from the Office of Facility Management (B1L410) between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Art may be bought by contacting the Office of Facility Management at 301-496-2862. Feel free to browse through the galleries to enjoy the current display and, perhaps, to purchase a favorite piece.

    A concession stand operated by the Maryland Business Enterprise Program for the Blind sells items such as stationery, books, sundries, greeting cards, snacks, and sodas. Located on the B1 level, the shop is open Monday through Friday.

    Another gift shop on the B1 level is managed by the NIH Recreation and Welfare (R & W) Association. It sells greeting cards, gifts, and provides photo processing services. A dry cleaning service is also available.

    A book store, operated by FAES (Foundation for Advanced Education in Science), also on the B1 level, provides textbooks for staff members enrolled in the NIH graduate school program. However, a selection of general interest books is also available. Feel free to stop by and browse.


    Photo of chapel
    The Clinical Center chapel is available for persons of all faiths. On a weekly basis there are 17 religious services scheduled for Jewish, Roman Catholic, Protestant and Moslem faiths. Persons of other faiths, and those who have their own spiritual practices, use the Chapel for meditation.

    Religious services are held at these times:

    • Catholic: Daily at 11:15 a.m. Holy Communion is distributed at the bedside upon request. The Blessed Sacrament is reserved in a small chapel on the 8th floor. This chapel is open weekdays for meditation.
    • Jewish: Friday at 4:30 p.m.
    • Islamic: Monday through Friday at 1:30 p.m.
    • Protestant: Sunday at 10 a.m., devotions on Thursday at 12:30 p.m. Holy Communion is distributed on the first Sunday of each month. Bedside Communion is available upon request.

What to do in the DC Area

    The Clinical Center is located in the Bethesda Area, just 10 miles from downtown DC and a few minutes from the heart of Bethesda. There are a variety of restaurants, unique shops, many art galleries, specialty shops, seasonal events and entertainment in Bethesda. A free trolley will transport you around the Bethesda area. On July 1, 2002, the state of Maryland designated downtown Bethesda as an Arts and Entertainment District.

    It is easy to get from the NIH to Washington DC for a wealth of sights and museums via the Metrorail. Just north of the NIH is Rockville Pike which has a large assortment of stores and restaurants and a few hotels.

    Below are links to sites which have information about area activities, dining, shopping and entertainment. You may also get a lot of information from or DC Pages. We hope you are able to enjoy our area while here and we will be glad to assist you with any sightseeing plans.

    Bethesda Area
    Rockville Area

    Montgomery Mall
    White Flint Mall

    Movie Theaters
    United Artists Bethesda
    White Flint Theater

    White House
    Sightseeing Tours

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