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Best Hidden Gems in Washington DC, 28 Options Found

The image of five marines and a navy corpsman raising an American flag atop Mount Suribachi during World War II is known to every American schoolchild. Seen in person, the bronze 78-foot statue is sure to stir emotions. The sculpture near Arlington National Cemetery, commemorates the 6,800 soldiers who died during World War II in order to capture the tiny Japanese island of Iwo Jima. Today, the memorial is dedicated to all U.S. Marines who died in battle. A Marine Parade is held at 7p Tuesdays throughout the summer.

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Brookside Gardens is a public garden located inside Wheaton Regional Park. It is open for public visits without any charge. Spread across 500 acres (202 hectares), major features of the garden include an aquatic park with ponds and a gazebo, a azalea garden, a butterfly garden and a children’s garden. Some of the other highlights include a dazzling fragrance garden, a Japanese tea house when visitors can sip on a variety of tea, a nature center, a lovely woodland walk, and much more.

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The creators of Glenstone held three elements above all else when forming this unique gallery: art, architecture, and landscape. The gallery is situated on 200 acres of old foxhunting grounds, and nature plays heavily on the gallery's building and gardens. The gallery houses several contemporary art collections, the main collection of which focuses on post World War II work. To visit the fascinating Glenstone, you will need to reserve a time to visit the gallery, which you can do online, or by calling the gallery. The establishment provides free tours through the gallery, as well as through the outdoor sculpture gardens.

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If you're looking for something to do on a lazy Sunday afternoon, head to the Tidal Basin. Set in picturesque and scenic surroundings, its truly a visual treat. Located between the Thomas Jefferson Memorial and Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, it covers a vast area of 107 acres. Tidal Basin is also utilized as a means for flushing the Washington Channel. It is maintained and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

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This pleasant park is situated just north of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. With its flat terrain and location right on the water, the park attracts cyclists and boaters, but its biggest draw is probably the close proximity to the airport (a mere 400 feet away). People come to watch the planes land and take off, flying in low right above them. An added bonus is a nice view of the Washington skyline.

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Along the city's waterfront is the wonderful Yards Park that opened in September 2010. A stunning example of how urban planning can play such a vital role in ensuring that city-dwellers enjoy their time in the city, this park comes replete with fountains, a pool, jogging tracks, biking trails, waterside lawns, shopping spots, cafes, bars and more. A special platform has been constructed to host outdoor events like concerts, community get-togethers, dog shows and festivals.

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President Wilson lived in this Georgian-Revival house after he left office, creating a comfortable, unpretentious residence with his second wife, Edith. He is the only president to remain in Washington after office. The couple collected items from all over the world, filling their home with eclectic wares. There is a baseball signed by Great Britain's King George V and a silent movie projector given to the Wilsons by the actor Douglas Fairbanks. The bedroom is modeled after the couple's White House sleeping quarters.

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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.

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