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!
If you’re planning to visit Washington DC this fall, you’re in luck! October and the following fall months offer visitors plenty of things to do, including a host of unique festivals, area attractions, and popular events in DC. The Wink hotel. is situated conveniently close to the best of everything the capital city has to offer, making it the perfect base for your next visit. Here are five of our fall faves to consider.
1. Sauf Haus Bier Hall & Garden Nothing says fall quite like a classic beerfest! Luckily, right here in Dupont Circle you can find a lively two-level Beer Garden featuring a rooftop hall serving up authentic German beer and food. Best of all, they’re open all year round, so you can enjoy the atmosphere of Oktoberfest any time you’re in town. And you get some modern extras, like live acoustic music on Thursdays and plenty of TVs for watching your favorite fall sports. Prost!
2. Wunder Garten If you prefer an outdoor setting to enjoy the fall weather while toasting, this climate-controlled patio features not only classic German and Austrian beer, but local brews as well as wine, cider, and snacks. There’s even a firepit serving up delicious S’mores. And if you want something more filling, CaliBurger DC delivers their tasty offerings to you right at Wunder Garten. We call that wunderfull!
3. All Things Go Fall Classic For a fabulous fall festival, visit one of the District’s coolest neighborhoods, Union Market, for this music event that also features plenty of delicious local food to savor. Musical performances this year include Maggie Rogers, Carly Rae Jepsen, Billie Elish, BØRNS, and Betty Who.
4. H Street Festival One of the best parts of DC is its many distinctive neighborhoods. What started as a block party has grown into one of the most popular and diverse fall events in DC. The festival offers distinct stages featuring music, dance, fashion, arts, poetry, and more, all celebrating the many cultures and heritages that combine to create our nation’s capital. Choose to simply be a spectator, or get involved at the many interactive art and exhibitor stations set up along the 11 blocks that this event encompasses. There is truly something for everyone here!
5. Snallygaster Another fall festival option is Snallygaster, showcasing more than 300 craft ciders and beers from more than 120 breweries at booths spread out along famed Pennsylvania Avenue. This highly-anticipated event also features a fantastic selection of DC’s popular food trucks accompanied by a great lineup of live music. You’ll have a monstrously good time!
If you’re planning a fall visit to Washington DC, our conveniently located hotel provides you with the perfect base to enjoy all that the area has to offer. For more information on these or other fall events
If you’re considering attending one of Washington DC’s impressive universities, then you’ve come to the right place. At The Wink, not only is our hotel situated conveniently near to all of these impressive establishments, but we can offer you an insider’s guide to not only the universities themselves, but all of the fun and exciting things to do and see while you’re in town!
A bit more about the area’s top three educational institutions.
1. George Washington University
At the impressive capitol campus located in the heart of the famed Foggy Bottom neighborhood, George Washington University places you mere blocks from many of DC’s most popular attractions, including the White House, the National Mall, and the many incredible free Smithsonian museums. Instead of dining halls, students here get a meal card that they can use to eat at dozens of local restaurants or buy groceries, making their meals incredibly unique and enjoyable. This means you get to explore the local food scene while attending college – and you can get a taste during your visit at one of their over 105 area dining partners.Choose one to try for yourself, with options including sushi, freshly-made brick oven pizza, and the ever-popular Foggy Bottom Pub. And don’t forget that GW also offers the 26-acre Mount Vernon Campus, which you can explore via bus ride from the visitor center. Learn more about Life at GW.
2. Georgetown University
You’re likely to be impressed immediately by the “Georgetown Bubble” – the impressive, historic neighborhood surrounding the university which offers everything a student needs, all within walking distance. Before or after your campus tour, consider stopping for lunch at The Tombs, on the edge of campus to enjoy not only amazing food, but a glimpse of the archetypal Georgetown experience, particularly when students gather at night to unwind while watching a Hoya game. For dessert, consider stopping by the mouthwatering Georgetown Cupcakes – where the line is definitely worth the wait! While you might be blown away by the locale and worried about the cost, keep in mind the university’s impressive commitment to meet the entire financial need of each undergraduate they admit.Learn more about what it means to be a Hoya.
3. Howard University
Did you know that Howard University produces more African-American Ph.D.’s than any other university in the world? And its proud history of breaking barriers stretches all the way back to its founding in 1867 – including incorporating five white female students into its classes during its first year.You may want to start with a virtual tour to get a feel for Howard Life and what the student experience is like,but nothing beats being able to actually visit in person. Many alumni consider the best part of living on Howard’s campus to be the social life,which you can get a glimpse of during a campus tour – or simply ask current students about it while you are there. And as long as you’re in town, nearby attractions off-campus include the Smithsonian Butterfly Habitat Garden, the renowned 9:30 Club intimate concert venue, and the African American Civil War Memorial & Museum.
Contact us at The Wink to learn more about our convenient hotel located near Howard University (2.1 miles away), Georgetown University, (1.6 miles away) and George Washington University (.6 miles away) – and start planning your college visit to DC today!