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DC Art Lovers Guide

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Do you love fine art? You will be blown away by the volume and the quality of art in and around the capital city. If you love art, this city has it. The good news is the art galleries are built around the national buildings and historic sites so you can add history to your art experience. Talk about art overload.

Good for
  • Art and Architecture Lover

11 Places

1 City Tip

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11 Places

The Phillips Collection

Art Museums

National Gallery of Art

Art Museums

Corcoran Gallery of Art

Art Museums

National Portrait Gallery

Art Museums, History Museums

John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Theatres

Smithsonian Institution Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Art Museums

National Museum of Women in the Arts

Speciality Museums

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Monuments & Statues

Lincoln Memorial

Monuments & Statues

National Mall

Historic Walking Areas, Parks

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Art Museums, Gardens

DavidTAC's City Tips

  • The subway is a good, clean and cheap way to get around.
  • Save
    The Phillips Collection
    Art Museums
    See more photos
    DavidTAC Says:

    This was the real gem in DC. The collection is outstanding and lists not just a who's who in art, but master works like Renoir's Luncheon of the Boating Party, the Rothko Room, Van Gogh's The Road Menders, El Greco's The Repentant St. Peter. We were there between shows so we didn't even see everything and this beautiful gallery, set in the Phillips mansion just blew me away. Plan at least 3 hours here.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Must See
    • Friends
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Go for a coffee and treat in the funky Mondrian-inspired cafe. Great place to re-energize yourself.
    From the community
    Ranked #27 of 458 things to do in Washington DC
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • A wonderful art museum that marvels without overwhelming 05/12/2017
    • Revealing Renoir 03/12/2017
    • The Phillips Collection
    Address:
    1600 21st St NW
    Washington DC, DC 20009-1003
    Phone:
    +1 202-387-2151
    Other:
  • Save
    National Gallery of Art
    Art Museums
    See more photos
    DavidTAC Says:

    This is the real deal. Every capital city deserves a vast art gallery housed in a beautiful building. But this one will blow you away. From the small Leonardo to Van Gogh's Self Portrait to the stunningly Rembrandt room to the Verneers and of course, Singer Sargent and Picasso's Family of the Saltimbanques. Plan for a day (although we came back for a second day!). I kid you not, they have a lot of art.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Must See
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Hungry? there are two restaurants - fancy French or a cafeteria that serves a variety of foods, along with an Italian expresso-gelato shop. Right beside one of several bookstores.
    Plan to stay:/
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #2 of 458 things to do in Washington DC
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Nothing like it 10/12/2017
    • National Gallery for a Reason 10/12/2017
    • National Gallery of Art
    Phone:
    +1 202-737-4215
    Hours:
    Sun
    11:00 - 18:00
    Mon - Sat
    10:00 - 17:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Corcoran Gallery of Art
    Art Museums
    See more photos
    DavidTAC Says:

    Sadly this gallery has been closed when the Smithsonian tOok over. Not sure what its status is? It does have a very solid collection housed in an elegant building.

    Good for
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Plan to stay:/
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #127 of 458 things to do in Washington DC
    • Nice gallery 20/08/2017
    • Good Space for Special Expos 18/07/2017
    • Corcoran Gallery of Art
    Address:
    500 17th St NW
    Washington DC, DC 20006-4899
    Phone:
    +1 202-639-1700
  • Save
    National Portrait Gallery
    Art Museums, History Museums
    See more photos
    DavidTAC Says:

    There are actually two museums here - The National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian Museum of Art. Both are worth seeing. The National Portrait Gallery houses a fabulous collection, from Karsh photos to portraits of the presidents. Check out Bill Clinton by Chuck Close!

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • History Buff
    Tips
    • Stop for lunch or a coffee in the elegant atrium. Simply captivating to sit and enjoy.
    Plan to stay:/
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #18 of 458 things to do in Washington DC
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Much More Enjoyable than Expected 10/12/2017
    • Surprising, magnificent. 08/12/2017
    • National Portrait Gallery
    Address:
    F Street NW
    Smithsonian Institution
    Washington DC, DC 20560
    Phone:
    +1 202-357-2700
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    11:30 - 19:00
    Other:
  • Save
    John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
    Theatres
    See more photos
    DavidTAC Says:

    This elegant building puts on a vast array of opera and music events but there is something timeless in wanding around the building, as well as the outside. I took in an opera here and even sitting outside looking at the Potomac during intermission was enjoyable.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • When attending an opera remember that men are in suits and women in gowns. Wish someone had told me!
    Plan to stay:/
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #29 of 458 things to do in Washington DC
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Wonderful Venue 03/12/2017
    • Great theater to see a show 26/11/2017
    • John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
    Address:
    2700 F St NW
    Washington DC, DC 20566-0002
    Phone:
    +1 800-444-1324
    Hours:
    Mon - Fri
    10:00 - 17:00
    Sat - Sun
    10:00 - 13:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Smithsonian Institution Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
    Art Museums
    See more photos
    DavidTAC Says:

    The Sackler/Freer has a wonderful Asian art collection as well as some beautiful Whistler paintings but the creme de la creme is Whistler's Peacock room - a room restored from its 1908 original state. Truly a time capsule.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Must See
    • Friends
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #44 of 458 things to do in Washington DC
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Asian Exhibits that will wow you without a crowd 10/12/2017
    • Small Museum - excellent collection 06/12/2017
    • Smithsonian Institution Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
    Address:
    1050 Independence Ave SW
    Washington DC, DC 20013
    Phone:
    +1 202-633-1000
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:00 - 17:30
    Other:
  • Save
    National Museum of Women in the Arts
    Speciality Museums
    See more photos
    DavidTAC Says:

    Another complete surprise is the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Why? Housed in an absolute gem of a historic building, you will find a beautiful, rich collection of women artists from well-known Frida Kahlo, Alice Neal, Joan Mitchel, Mary Cassatt to so many lesser known artists. Of course the surprise is that these artists deserve much more attention. So don't miss this museum.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Must See
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Check out the gift shop. Lots to look at and of course, buy, buy, buy!
    Plan to stay:/
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #79 of 458 things to do in Washington DC
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Beautiful buidling, highly interesting collection 06/12/2017
    • Excellent small museum 10/11/2017
    • National Museum of Women in the Arts
    Address:
    1250 New York Ave NW
    Washington DC, DC 20005-3970
    Phone:
    +1 202-783-5000
    Hours:
    Sun
    12:00 - 17:00
    Mon - Sat
    10:00 - 17:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Vietnam Veterans Memorial
    Monuments & Statues
    See more photos
    DavidTAC Says:

    I am not a big war memorial fan but I was almost moved to tears here, seeing so many people looking for names. This really sets the somber and reflective mood.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • History Buff
    Plan to stay:/
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #7 of 458 things to do in Washington DC
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Moving but sad 10/12/2017
    • Tribute to fallen soldiers 09/12/2017
    • Vietnam Veterans Memorial
    Address:
    5 Henry Bacon Dr NW
    Washington DC, DC 20242
    Phone:
    +1 202-426-6841
    Other:
  • Save
    Lincoln Memorial
    Monuments & Statues
    DavidTAC Says:

    Totally awe inspiring and moving. Go for the serenity (yes despite the crowds) and the mood. Somber and reflective. Felt like a cathedral in Europe. Grand but not grandiose.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • History Buff
    Tips
    • Go at night to catch the excitement.
    Plan to stay:/
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 458 things to do in Washington DC
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Stunning 11/12/2017
    • Inspiring 10/12/2017
    • Lincoln Memorial
    Address:
    2 Lincoln Memorial Cir NW
    Washington DC, DC 20037
    Phone:
    (202) 426-6841
    Other:
  • Save
    National Mall
    Historic Walking Areas, Parks
    See more photos
    DavidTAC Says:

    Need a break from all that art or in some cases, going from the National Gallery of Art to the Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden, you need to cross this giant park. Its quiet, moving with all the history and a good work out. This is where so many folks just chill. Enjoy it!

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Couples
    • Family
    • Like a Local
    • Nature Lover
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #10 of 458 things to do in Washington DC
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Take time to walk along the mall. 10/12/2017
    • Heart of DC 09/12/2017
    • National Mall
    Address:
    Constitution Ave NW
    Washington DC, DC 20565
    Phone:
    +1 202-426-6841
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    00:00 - 23:59
    Other:
  • Save
    Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
    Art Museums, Gardens
    See more photos
    DavidTAC Says:

    When we were here part of the museum was closed but the real treat, apart from looking at the beautiful building from the exterior is to wander through the beautiful sculpture garden. It is small and confined but elegantly positioned art makes it such a refreshing visit.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Friends
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nature Lover
    Plan to stay:/
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #60 of 458 things to do in Washington DC
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Favorite Museum in DC 04/12/2017
    • Enjoyed it in the past...Not this time... 29/11/2017
    • Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
    Address:
    7th St & Independence Ave. SW
    Smithsonian Institutions
    Washington DC, DC 20560
    Phone:
    +1 202-633-1000
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:00 - 17:30
    Other:
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