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Top Rated Attractions in Washington DC

Search Radius (Miles)
National Gallery of Art

The National Gallery is the national art museum, established in 1937, houses an extensive collection of European and American art in two spectacular buildings. It boasts exquisite collections in the form of paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, sculptures, medals, and decorative arts, showcasing the development of Western Art to date. Designed by I.M. Pei, this triangular building is a key city landmark and home to famous pieces of art and other temporary exhibitions.

United States National Arboretum

Best known for its vast collection of azaleas, (a popular porch-flower), this 446-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.

Thomas Jefferson Memorial

Designed by John Russell Pope, this Roman-style monument to Thomas Jefferson, the nation's third president and author of the Declaration of Independence, is elegant and simple. Jefferson's 19-foot (5.79 meter) statue stands within, surrounded by some of his most inspirational writings. This is a perfect after-dinner destination. At night, the view of the Washington Monument across the tidal basin is one of the most attractive vistas in Washington, especially when the cherry blossoms are in bloom.

Freer Gallery of Art

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.

United States Botanic Garden

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 Phillips Collection

Nestled in the Dupont Circle neighborhood, the Phillips Collection is a century-old modern and contemporary art museum. Founded by the avid art collector, Duncan Phillips, the establishment is also America’s first museum of modern art. This former home of Duncan Phillips now houses several thousands of art works. Interestingly, the galleries here are frequently rearranged to make way for the works of newer artists and to facilitate newer experiences for the visitors. In addition to the famous exhibitions held here, the museum also offers award-winning educational programs for people of all ages. An impassioned ode to the power of art, this museum is a must visit for all modern-art lovers.

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