Welcome to Washington, DC, home of hundreds of museums and art galleries. There is so much to do and see (and eat) in this city it’s hard to even begin to plan your itinerary. May we suggest adding some art-gazing to your DC to-do list? Whether you’re looking for a wide scope of American art through the ages, family fun, cultural-artistic exploration, or something totally out of this world, we think these three galleries are the best of the best.
Smithsonian American Art Museum
a Comprehensive View of American Art
If you’re in DC and you want to see a wide variety of American art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum is your gallery go-to. According to their website, the SAAM is the nation’s first collection of American art. The collection spans across two locations: one a National Historic Landmark in “the heart of Washington’s downtown cultural district,” and the Renwick Gallery, which hosts the museum’s collection of contemporary and decorative art.
These two buildings are home to photography, modern folk art, African American art, Latino art, and even video games, from the colonial period all the way to today. As one would expect from the Smithsonian, the museum is a leader in national education programs and research.
They offer fun activities for kids, as well as guided tours, and they are wheelchair accessible—a great stop for the whole family!
Check out their calendar of events here.
IA&A at the Hillyer
Contemporary Art in an International Capital
Formerly the Hillyer Art Space, IA&A at the Hillyer is International Arts & Artists’ contemporary art center based in DC. IA&A features local, regional, and international artists. A non-profit organization, IA&A is “dedicated to increasing cross-cultural understanding and exposure to the arts internationally through exhibitions, programs, and services to artists, arts institutions, and the public.”
This intimately-sized gallery offers a scope of contemporary art from all over the world in an effort to represent DC as the culturally vibrant international hub that it is. They also feature a variety of programs and events, which you can find here. This space is so beautiful that people book their weddings here!
Their exhibitions for fall 2019 can be found here.
Science Meets Creativity in a New Age Gallery
400,000 visitors have come to see Artechouse’s (Art + Tech + House) exhibitions since June 2017, and it’s no wonder. No other gallery in DC features such cutting-edge technology. Artechouse houses the first U.S. Augmented Reality bar, which serves drinks through a mobile app—but that’s just the bar. The art itself is just as “futuristic,” except that it’s here and now. This gallery’s mission is to “inspire, educate, and empower the creation of new, experiential and exploratory art form.” They see no boundary between technology, science, and the arts, and they aim to connect audiences to the arts in a revolutionary way. If you’re interested in an art experience that rivals no other, do yourself a favor and check out their current exhibition, Infinite Space by Refik Anadol. Details here.
A Place to Stay in DC
Come sleep with us at our bed and breakfast in DC and enjoy our delicious homemade breakfasts.