Ratner Museum is a fine art museum, housing various paintings done in crayons, water colors and pencils. The frequently changing exhibits include wood work, sculptures, cloth designing and much more. The museum spans across three buildings, comprising of a conference room, a public library and children's literature center. There are various concerts, tours and lectures on various topics, that take place in the museum. So if you want to spend your day appreciating works of art and culture, Ratner Museum is your place to be.
The thriving Downtown Bethesda neighborhood is located at the intersection of the Wisconsin Avenue, Old Georgetown Road and East-West Highway. It features some of the most vibrant areas in the city, including the Bethesda Row, a hub for arts and culture. Besides a range of eating establishments and entertainment centers, Downtown Bethesda is also home to one of the Madonna of the Trail monuments and the Capital Crescent Trail.
The National Gallery houses an extensive collection of European and American art in two spectacular buildings. In the grand, neoclassical West Building, Rembrandt, Rubens and Gainsborough are well-represented. The permanent collection includes works from the 13th to 20th Centuries, including a section devoted to Impressionism. An underground concourse with a cafeteria, an excellent gift shop and a walled-in waterfall takes you to the East Building. Designed by I.M. Pei, this triangular building is a key city landmark and home to famous pieces of art and other temporary exhibitions.
The dinosaur skeletons on the ground floor of the National Museum of Natural History are sure to please the kids. But there is something here for everyone. The famous Hope Diamond is on display as well as a live coral reef, a walk-through mine and an insect zoo with thousands of live specimens. The Discovery Room encourages kids to touch, smell and taste the exhibits. If your feet need some rest, sit back and enjoy a film in the museum's Samuel C. Johnson IMAX Theater in the National Museum of Natural History.
The gorgeous U.S. Botanic Garden conservatory presents botanical variety, from the desert to the tropics, along a series of calm and gently meandering paths. A particular waterfall and garden display the flora of the dinosaur age. Seasonal displays include Christmas greens and poinsettias in December and January, chrysanthemums in autumn and blooming flowers at Easter. A part of the United States Botanic Garden (USBG), the National Garden, was opened in October 2006 and includes the carefully-designed Butterfly Garden.
The Smithsonian American Art Museum is takes you on a journey of discovery of iconic American art and the artists that created it from the 17th Century to the present day. The building itself is of heritage value and designated a National Historic Landmark. The expansive collection is spread out over multiple levels and there is a spacious courtyard where you can take a break. Discover the works of Edward Hopper and Georgia O'Keefe on the first floor; the works of Gilbert Stuart and Albert Bierstadt on the second, and Franz Kline and Andy Warhol on the third. Various art movements and periods are well demonstrated in the carefully curated exhibits, like New Deal Art, and provide an engaging narrative for the visitor to follow. Docent-led tours are a great way to discover the highlights in an interactive way. The Renwick Gallery, the main buildings sister wing, is also worth a visit.
As the principal medical research organization in the United States, this state-of-the-art facility in suburban Maryland is an exciting place. The facility is also home to the National Library of Medicine, the largest reference center devoted to a single subject in the world. The library pioneers the use of communications satellites and computer-assisted publishing to communicate to doctors and researchers across the country. The NIH Visitor's Center offers films, exhibits and a model laboratory. Tours of the library are also offered.
Exhibitions featuring works of prominent local artists and those from around the world are held all year around. Galleries are located on the first and second floors. Impressive collections of other well-known museums are made available for viewing as a result of its association with them. Interesting educational programs are conducted for both children and adults. An on-site cafe is open during summer afternoons on weekdays.
Denizens Brewing Co. takes pride in the local beers that they serve. Brewed on site, every brew of theirs has a character of its own. The place has a gorgeous outdoor seating area that provides just the right environment for enjoying a chilled glass of Southside Rye IPA, American Red Ale, the Pumpkin Porter or Belgian-Style Tripel. Denizens Brewing Co. also has a delicious BBQ menu to go with their brews.
Set among the fashionable Foxhall Road estates in upper northwest Washington, the former residence of Carmen and David Kreeger holds a marvelous collection of 19th and 20th-century art. Artists such as Picasso, Van Gogh, Kandinsky and Rodin are represented, among many other artists. A fine collection of African art is also housed here. The museum grounds also feature a sculpture garden. The Kreeger Museum requires some advance planning to visit since reservations are required to join the docent-led tours, but the effort is well worth it.