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3 Days of Arts & Culture in Washington, DC

National Gallery of Art - Museums in Washington, DC

Sample DC's thriving arts and culture scene – from bookworm adventures in Thomas Jefferson's library to live performances and much more – with this three-day trip itinerary.

Experience the richness of arts and culture in Washington, DC.

Day 1: Get the Lay of the Land

@markalanandre - View of Washington, DC from the top of the Washington National Cathedral

Morning

Hop on Old Town Trolley or an Big Bus Tour double-decker bus to get the lay of the land. Make sure to stop to tour the Washington National Cathedral, including the Bishop’s Garden.

@melissa_ym - Library of Congress - Thomas Jefferson Building

Afternoon

Start the afternoon off at the National Gallery of Art for two museums in one. The West Building features more classical paintings and sculpture, including works from Da Vinci, Money and Van Gogh; the East Building hosts the gallery's extensive modern art collection. Next, explore the world’s largest and finest collection of Shakespeare materials, rare books, manuscripts and works of art at Folger Shakespeare Library on Capitol Hill. Then take part in gallery talks and turn the pages of books from Jefferson’s library at the Library of Congress.

Evening

For dinner, head to Dupont Circle and try one of the many acclaimed restaurants in this happening neighborhood.

Day 2: Hidden Gems

Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens - Upper Northwest - Washington, DC

Morning

Start your morning at Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens in Upper Northwest, the grand estate of Post Cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post. Take a docent-led tour of dazzling collections of Russian Imperial artifacts and French decorative art. Wander through 13 acres of formal gardens and stop for lunch in the café.

Afternoon

Make your way to The Kreeger Museum, a hidden gem tucked away on Foxhall Road among mansions near the Embassy of France. Surrounded by beautiful grounds, the former residence houses a stunning personal art collection, including works by Monet, Renoir, Picasso, Miro and Calder.

Evening

Treat yourself to a chef’s table seating at any of these must-try restaurants in the culinary capital. Cap off the evening with a private tour of the monuments by moonlight.

Day 3: Fresh Food, Modern Art & a Show

Morning

Hit the FRESHFARM Market just west of Dupont Circle for organic fruit, vegetables, cheese, meats, bread and even gelato. Samples are deliciously tempting – pick up a pint of creamy, dreamy chocolate milk from Clear Springs Creamery.

Afternoon

Just a few steps away is The Phillips Collection, America's first museum of modern art, featuring a permanent collection from revered artists such as Renoir and Rothko, Bonnard and O'Keeffe, van Gogh and Diebenkorn.

Evening

For an evening out, catch a show at the venerable Kennedy Center, an outdoor performance at Wolf Trap or a sophisticated classic from Shakespeare Theatre Company.

Looking for more ideas for your visit to Washington, DC? Explore even more adventures and itineraries here.

3 Days of Arts & Culture in Washington, DC