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!
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.
1. Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden
Offering breathtaking contemporary architecture accompanied by jaw-dropping art displays, the Hirshhorn is known for showcasing alternative forms and perspectives of contemporary and modern art. The third-floor Lerner Room offers incredible views of the city’s skyline, and the spectacular Sculpture Garden is simply a must-see. From Auguste Rodin’s The Burghers of Calais to David Smith’s Cubi XII and Yoko Ono’s Wish Tree, there are plenty of works to enthrall and stir visitors of all ages. It’s even worth braving the cold to see!
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.