Wondering which museums to visit during your next stay in Washington, D.C.? The Wink places you near a number of the capitol city’s best. To help you with your itinerary, here’s our take on four of our favorites – with something to interest everyone on our list. While many people think of the Smithsonian Museum museums when they think of D.C., the Smithsonian is actually a collection of eleven different galleries and museums and located on the National Mall, along with six other museums and the National Zoo situated in other locations within the National Capital Area. Here are our top picks.
Air & Space Museum
A popular favorite for all ages, this iconic museum follows the history of flight within twenty-three distinct galleries that exhibit hundreds of impressive aircraft, rockets, missiles, spacecraft, and other objects related to art of flight. The museum even has an onsite planetarium and IMAX theater for incredible flight-related experiences. And if you don’t get enough of air and space during your visit here, a short drive to Chantilly, VA, will bring you to the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, which showcases additional flight-related artifacts from the museum, including a Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird and the space shuttle Discovery, all in an open setting that also features lots of interactive and virtual reality experiences where you can truly discover the joy of flight for yourself.
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
If you haven’t visited this moving memorial to the horrific Holocaust of World War II, you should. Situated adjacent to the iconic National Mall, this epic museum is dedicated to making sure that we remember those heart wrenching events – and never let such a thing happen again. The museum’s ongoing mission is to help citizens and leaders alike remember the survivors and victims, confront hatred in all its faces, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity by strengthening democracy worldwide. With a full program of events and activities, permanent and special museum exhibitions, and an incredible view into history, no one will leave this museum untouched by its message.
African American Museum
Not to be confused with the National Museum of African Art, which is another fabulous museum to see, the National Museum of African American History and Culture focuses on the rich diversity of the complete African-American experience. Exhibits include photos and film documenting everyday Black life through the years, Nat Turner’s Bible, a Southern Railway car from the time of segregation, records of the Double Victory Military Experience, Michael Jackson’s famous fedora, and extensive works by various African-American artists.
National Museum of Natural History
The museum dedicated to recording and understanding the natural world truly has something for every interest. Presenting the complete story of our planet and all the life that has inhabited it throughout the ages, the huge edifice is home to the largest collection of natural history items in the entire world. Must-see highlights include the fascinating Hall of Human Origins, the ever-popular Last American Dinosaurs, the Hope Diamond in the Mineral Sciences exhibit, a full display of Egyptian mummies, the skeletons of Bone Hall, approximately 590,000 preserved specimens of Mammals, the changing tides of life in Ocean Hall, the skeletons of Bone Hall, the beautiful Butterfly Pavilion, daily tarantula feedings at the O. Orkin Insect Zoo, and other interactive experiences. Everyone will find something jaw-dropping to see here.
Whichever Washington DC museums you choose to visit – whether one or more of the Smithsonian Museums, the Holocaust Museum, or one of the many others in the area – our hotel places you conveniently close by. Make your reservations for the The Wink’s distinctive accommodations today!
Ah, spring! What a glorious time of year. Flowers start to bloom – and so do many trees. Here in Washington, DC, the cherry blossoms take center stage with the world-famous cherry trees of the tidal basin, and the staff at The Wink has a few special spring events that are among our favorite highlights.
1. Official Cherry Blossom Festival
Nothing says spring in DC like the official Cherry Blossom Festival. Spanning several weeks from March 20 through April 14, this annual commemoration of the original gift of 3,000 cherry tress from the Mayor of Tokyo in 1912 has become an important DC tradition. With incredibly diverse, creative events celebrating arts, culture, nature, and the city’s multicultural community, most events are free. The hardest part will be deciding when to attend and what to see and do from the inspiring list of celebrations!
2. Cherry Blossom Parade
Everyone loves a parade, and the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade® is one of the most popular springtime traditions in DC – and the highlight of the Cherry Blossom Festival itself. Enjoy a vantage point along Constitution Avenue between 9th and 15th St NW for free – but plan to arrive early to ensure a good view of the huge, multicolored balloons,extravagant floats, marching bands gathered from all over the US, celebrity entertainers such as Honorary Grand Marshal Anthony Anderson of ABC’s hit show “black-ish,” and performers including the Washington Redskins Cheerleaders. It’s a one-of-a-kind, not-to-be missed event! Taking place on Saturday, April 13, the parade runs from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm.
3. Bloom Watch
While most people know about the Cherry Blossom Festival and Parade, what a lot of folks don’t realize is that not only can you come when there isn’t a planned festival event to enjoy these glorious blooms – but you may actually get better views with fewer crowds! The best places to see the beautiful cherry blossoms include behind the Capitol Building, on the grounds of the Washington Monument, at the United States National Arboretum, in Stanton Park, and along the tidal basin. Not surprisingly, the best times to visit are during the week, when there are fewer people flocking to the area. Check in on the bloom watch to find out if there will still be beautiful blooms to see outside of the official festival season – and when the peak blooming is predicted to occur this year.
4. Anacostia River Festival
The official closing event of the Cherry Blossom Festival, the Anacostia River Festival offers a unique taste of local Washington, DC culture on Sunday, April 14th. This free celebration includes a lineup of live music and arts, while impressive activities include the chance to canoe along the River, ride in the bike parade, and play family-oriented lawn games. Explore and discover Southeast DC’s impressive offerings at this fun event for all ages!
5. Passport DC
Not going to make it to DC in time for the cherry blossoms this year? Never fear – there are still plenty of spring events here to enjoy. One of our favorites is Passport DC, where Washington DC’s many embassies and cultural organizations take part in exceptional events throughout the entire month of May, offering open houses and exclusive programs that showcase the international culture of this incredible city with a variety of exhibits, performances, and more. Running throughout the entire month of May, you’ll find everything from embassy tours and flower shows to European cultural celebrations and the National Asian Heritage Festival on Saturday, May 18.
Enjoy spring in DC with just a little bit extra at The Wink from March 14th to April 21st!
Cherry O-Donuts Packages helps you to enjoy Washington like a local, with two $8 metro passes to get you to your destination, a to-go breakfast of cherry blossom themed donuts and freshly brewed Illy Coffee, and a donation to support the Cherry Blossom Festival itself, helping to preserve and protect these iconic trees. Even if you miss the festival and plan to visit in May, our friendly and knowledgeable staff can provide you with the best insider tips for getting the most out of your time with us in DC.
Artistic connoisseurs and cultural enthusiasts from around the globe visit Washington DC for good reason. A walk through the city’s arts and culture scene is a trip around the world and throughout history, offering up the best modern shows and art alongside longtime classics and historic masterpieces. Washington offers such an incredible range of international collections, shows and exhibitions that it may seem overwhelming. To make creating your itinerary and deciding which things to do in DC just a bit easier, we’ve compiled a list of four of our favorites for you.
2. National Gallery of Art
Offering two buildings of extensive collections, the National Gallery of Art also features the breathtaking and dynamic light sculpture experience, Multiverse by Leo Villareal. Enjoy it while taking the moving walkway from the East to the West Building. The West Building was created with a rotunda modeled on the ancient Roman Pantheon and offers works displayed by period and nation of origin within galleries decorated to reflect each country and era. The modernist East Building exhibits more contemporary art within a spellbinding setting of spare lines and soaring shapes. And don’t miss the gallery’s impressive outdoor sculpture garden, featuring a fabulous fountain in warm weather that becomes an ice rink during the winter months. It’s a work of art in itself!
3. Freer Gallery of Art & Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
For those fascinated by Asian art and opulence, these two neighboring museums offer vibrant, colorful collections to meander through, showcasing over 40,000 objects dating from the Neolithic period through modern times – complemented by an impressive selection of American artworks of the aesthetic movement, including the celebrated Peacock Room. From America to Asia, the exquisite artwork, impressive research and dynamic programs at this lesser-known cultural gem offer a world of their own. We can’t get enough of the Chinese jades and ancient bronzes displayed in the Sackler Gallery!
4. The Kennedy Center From concerts and ballets to Broadway shows and musicals, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is a spellbinding memorial venue that pays living tribute to JFK’s passion for all things creative. Step inside the Hall of States to be greeted by flags from each of the 50 states. Take a trip to the Terrace Level Theatre Lab to see Shear Madness, a record-breaking comedy whodunit with more than 13,200 performances under its belt. Don’t worry if you aren’t able to get (or afford!) tickets in advance; the Millennium Stage here offers free performances with no ticket required virtually every day. Genres celebrated at the Kennedy Center include chamber and classical music, dance in all its forms, opera, vocal concerts, choirs, orchestras, musicians and more. There’s always something wonderful playing here!
If none of these incredible establishments strikes the right cultural chord for you, we can easily suggest many more unique and wonderful theater venues and museums to enjoy. And don’t forget to check out our own list of local attractions for more information on things to see and do, places to eat and drink, and shopping galore in Washington, DC.
We may be partial, but at The Wink, we think that Washington DC offers some of the best things to do during the holiday season. So if you’re looking for Christmas lights, you’re in luck. Here are our top five favorite holiday light displays and events in DC.
The National Christmas
Obviously, this one tops our list. With the famed tree lighting ceremony held on November 30th, the Christmas season kicks into gear in Washington DC. The ceremony itself includes A-list performers, but never fear. Even if you miss the initial lighting, you can watch it happen again every evening at 4:30 p.m. – with accompanying musical performances throughout the holiday season. The tree stays lit until 10:00 p.m. each night, but you can visit President’s Park on the White House Ellipse starting at 10:00 a.m. to enjoy the decorations. Don’t forget to take time to take in the surrounding trees, each decorated with handmade ornaments representing all 50 US states and 6 territories.
Even for those who don’t love animals, this free light exhibit powered by Pepco is worth experiencing at least once. The National Zoo offers over 500,000 LEDs, animated light installations, laser light shows, live musical performances, holiday shopping, a Gingerbread Village and much more from November 23rd – January 1st. Of course, if you do love animals the way we do, there’s the added bonus of viewing the zoo’s exceptional collection while they are in nighttime mode – an entirely new set of behaviors for many nocturnal types. The exhibit is closed Dec. 24, 25 & 31 for the holidays
For something a bit different, discover an incredible, curated exhibition of outdoor light-art. The season shines in a truly unique way, set against the impressive and historic backdrop of the oldest neighborhood in Washington DC. The 5th year of this popular holiday event runs from December 1st through January 6th, with the art works sparkling with brilliant lights from 5:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. each night.
Season's Greenings: All Aboard!
The holiday means different things to different folks, and at the US Botanic Garden, this year it means trains! Their popular holiday show, Season's Greetings, showcases recreations of classic train stations from all over the country – made from plant materials. Stations include St. Louis' Union Station, New York City's Grand Central Terminal, Washington, D.C.'s Union Station and more. Lots of blooms are also displayed at the Conservatory, including a special exhibit of both heirloom and new poinsettia varieties. The show runs from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., free of charge, from November 22nd – January 1st. On select Tuesday and Thursday evenings,the Conservatory is open until 8:00 p.m. with live seasonal music.
Christmas Wreaths at Union Station
Speaking of trains, DC’s Union Station is the perfect place to get in some holiday shopping. You’ll be greeted by three colossal Christmas wreaths, along with thousands of twinkling lights, holiday decorations, and music throughout. Festive food, drink, gifts, and their own holiday model train display are highlights here, along with the spectacular Norwegian Christmas Tree – gifted from the people of Norway.
When it comes to lodging in DC during the holiday season, naturally we suggest The Wink.We think it’s the best place to stay in the capitol city, not just for enjoying holiday lights, but for all your business and pleasure travel. Happy Holidays!
We get it. No matter which side of the issues you are on, you want your voice to be heard – and you want to make your presence known. That’s why The Wink is the perfect place to stay when you’re in DC to make a difference. We have years of experience in helping out guests get to and from important events, protests and marches in the nation’s capital – and we have lots of helpful insider tips to share. After all, we live here!
March for Life
Date: Friday, January 18th, 2019
Location: Rally held on the National Mall at 12th St, between Madison Drive & Jefferson Drive. March follows starting between 12th and 14th Streets at Constitution Avenue, and works its way up to the Supreme Court and Capitol Building.
Time: Rally starts at 12:00 p.m.; March starts at 1:00 p.m.
Getting There: Take the Metro to either Federal Triangle, Smithsonian or Metro Center and walk to the rally site.
The world’s largest pro-life event is gearing up for an impressive turnout in 2019. Sharing a vision for a culture of life, supporters will participate in the 46th annual march dedicated to showing their wholehearted support for an end to abortion. This year the event will be preceded by a live podcast with Ben Shapiro starting at 10:00 a.m., followed by a musical opening with Sidewalk Prophets before the rally. After the rally and march, there will be Silent No More testimonies outside of the Supreme Court. Then, it’s time to head over to the March for Life Expo, where you can connect with pro-life ministries and organizations, network with like-minded folks, get free stuff and much more!
Date: Saturday, January 19th, 2019
Location: The March starts outside of the White House. The rest of the route is still pending; check their website for the latest updates.
Time: 10:00 a.m.
Getting There: Take the Metro to either Farragut West Metro Station or the McPherson Square Metro Station, both on the Blue and Orange Lines, and walk to the Pennsylvania Avenue side of the White House.
The Women’s March just announced the date for their annual march, and women across the nation are once again planning to descend on DC to show their support. The mission? To gather the power of the many diverse women that make up our great nation’s communities together in order to generate marked political and social change. This women-led movement also inspires youth and men to come out and show their support, while encouraging new organizers and activists to get involved in their own local communities through synchronized marches and ongoing events. Women’s March is also focused on education regarding women’s issues through trainings, outreach programs and activities across the country, with a focus on dismantling existing systems of oppression through nonviolent protest and resistance while building inclusive programs and groups directed by dignity, self-determination and respect.
General Tips and Information
With hundreds of thousands of people attending these events, there are some general things that it’s helpful to know when you are planning for your event. Luckily, we have all the inside info.
2. Buy your card ahead of time, and have it ready before you walk into the station and in your hand before you enter the fare gate.
3. Don’t wait for the gate to close after the person ahead of you; simply keep walking and tap your card as you pass.
Obviously, we think our conveniently located Washington hotel offers you with the best place to stay in DC, not just for attending your event, but so that you can squeeze in some time to enjoy all that the Dupont Circle area has to offer during your stay. We also have an incredibly helpful staff ready to point you in the right direction for your march – and for fabulous dining and local attraction options. We even offer valet parking onsite, in case you decide to drive in to town and then take the metro. No matter which side of the issues you’re on, we have your back!