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 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.
This 52-acre park is located north of the Reflecting Pool amid the capital's many famous monuments and memorials. A beautiful place for a stroll, the paths wind through the trees taking you to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, a lake and a memorial to the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Steeped in history, this is a must-see on any DC tour.
Best known for its vast collection of azaleas, (Washington's favorite porch-flower), this 444-acre (180-hectare) garden park has much else to offer. Fountains, pools and open space separate a series of focused gardens at the United States National Arboretum. The National Bonsai Collection, a gift from Japan, is a fascinating exhibit of tiny trees. Other notable sections are the aquatic garden (filled with lotuses of many varieties) and the National Herb Garden.
The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is located just down the street from the National Air and Space Museum. Visitors stroll up a rising, circular incline and view works by Calder, Rodin, and contemporary sculptors. Special exhibits have included works by such artists as Mircea Cantor, Rivane Neuenschwander, and Morris Louis. This unique building is home to many innovative and unusual exhibits and pieces of art. The museum's collection includes 4,000 paintings and 2,000 sculptures. Do not miss the sunken sculpture garden across Jefferson Drive. Auguste Rodin's Burghers of Calais is a must-see.
One of two Smithsonian museums that feature Asian art, the Freer Gallery houses more than 26000 works from all points of the Asian continent, including China, Japan, Korea and India. These works include Asian porcelains, Japanese screens and Islamic art. The works of American artists influenced by Asia are also featured. The most spectacular of these is James McNeill Whistler's Peacock Room, designed for a British shipping magnate and moved to the United States from London in 1904. The Sackler Gallery is interconnected with this gallery via underground exhibition space and houses an impressive collection of Chinese paintings, ceramics and jades.
Source Theater is entertaining the people of Washington DC with the richness of American dramas. Since 1977 Source Theater was one of the first art group to move to the 14th street which is infamous for the 1968 riots. Famous plays like Master Class and Love! Valour! Compassion! were performed here.
Nestled in the picturesque Kalorama neighborhood, Spanish Steps were constructed as a part of the City Beautiful Movement. This movement was an architectural reform movement in the United States of America during the late 1800s which encouraged architects to beautify the city by adding impressive structures to it. Robert E. Cook, a local architect, took inspirations from the Spanish Steps located in Rome and designed this beautiful structure in 1911. There is an elegant lion-head fountain at the top of the stairs which also promises splendid views of the city.
The Washington National Opera, founded in 1956, is currently housed in the Kennedy Center Opera House. General Director Plácido Domingo leads, what the Congress of the United States of America calls “The National Opera.” The Washington National Opera received this title due to its support of lesser-known works and its discovering of new talent. It is recognized for collaborating with leading foreign opera companies and its commitment to supporting new American opera.
Located near the Constitution Gardens is the Reflecting Pool. The Reflecting Pool, as the name suggests, lets you see the mirror images of the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument. It has great historical significance and has witnessed major political events. U.S citizens gathered here to listen to the speech delivered by Martin Luther King at the March on Washington. Every year thousands of tourists frequent the place and the calm and deep waters of the pool adds as a perfect backdrop for a family photograph.