Michael Jackson toured the Smithsonian's National Air and Space and American Indian museums, arriving with his children before the buildings opened to the public.
"He wanted to show them the sights," Raymone Bain, a publicist for the 48-year-old pop star, told The Washington Post.
At the air and space museum, Jackson lingered over the 1903 Wright Flyer, the first heavier-than-air powered aircraft to make a sustained flight with a pilot aboard, during his visit Wednesday.
His children enjoyed robots R2-D2 and C-3PO from the "Star Wars" movies.
Jackson will be in the Washington region for a few days. Bain said the singer has been looking for a vacation home.