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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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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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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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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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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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Constructed in the mid-1700s, this Georgian manor was owned by George Mason, a statesman and one of the authors of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Guided tours of the house feature the elaborate interior woodcarvings and period furniture. Outside the house, visitors can walk through formal boxwood gardens, with a view of the Potomac River. Various outbuildings, the kitchen, schoolhouse and laundry room can be seen as well. Visitors can try their hand at archaeological excavation and have a chance to discover original artifacts.

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This palatial townhouse on Embassy Row is a showpiece of the collections, interests, and lavish decor of Ambassador Lars Anderson and his heiress wife, Isabel. Housing an exhibit of revolutionary artifacts, the museum also offers some quirkier displays such as murals of Anderson's favorite motorcar tours of the city. But the biggest draw is the decor, which, from the grand ballroom to the original furnishings, gives a clear sense of how the cream of society once lived. Free chamber recitals are performed weekly.

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