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D.C. For Art Lovers

Gallery of Art, Museum of the American Indian, the Phillips Collection, and more.

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Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 3.2 miles
Duration: Half day

Overview :  Visiting Washington, D.C., can feel like the school trip from hell: No matter who you are, no matter what you're interested in, you're... more »

Tips:  The 19 museums in the Smithsonian system and the National Zoo offer free admission.

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Points of Interest

The National Museum of the American Indian, the Mall's newest landmark, could do a better job teaching Native American history and culture, but it does have beautiful craftwork, such as beaded Lakota buckskin dresses and Cherokee wasp-nest masks. Plus, the museum's Mitsitam Native Foods Café is the standout cafeteria on the Mall. Buffalo burgers, ... More

Just down the hill from the Capitol--but a galaxy away--is the National Gallery of Art. The I.M. Pei-designed East Building, its pink marble bringing a rosy glow to the otherwise alabaster Mall, houses a modern art collection with Calder sculptures that will thrill your kids (look for a fish fashioned out of wire, perched on tiny hands). The... More

The Penn Quarter is a former no-man's-land that's now ground zero for the gallery scene, concentrated on Seventh Street. The neighborhood also encompasses Chinatown, the place to eat bohemian-style. Chinatown Express has a free sidewalk show: You can watch chefs in the window stretching and cutting soup noodles, then go in and slurp.
746... More

Adults have to pay to get into the Phillips Collection in Dupont Circle--it's not part of the free Smithsonian system--but it's worth it, and your teens will identify with all of those rebellious Impressionists.

This is the one stop on the tour that you may be too far to walk to. It's about a 10-minute drive from Chinatown Express or the National... More

Set in the converted 1839 General Post Office, the boutique Hotel Monaco has palatial hallways and rooms with 20-foot ceilings, DVD players and the bounciest beds your kids will ever jump on.
700 F St. NW
Doubles from $229

D.C.'s best barbecue is at Capital Q, which specializes in Texas-style brisket.
707 H St. NW
Lunch or dinner for four $30
Monday-Thursday 11am-9pm
Friday-Saturday 11am-10pm
Sunday Noon-8pm

Slightly fancier, the Spanish tapas bar Jaleo has enough variety to please even the most finicky squirt, and its brightly colored murals are nothing if not artistic.
480 Seventh St. NW
Dinner for four $60
Sunday-Monday 11:30am-10pm
Tuesday-Thursday 11:30am-11:30pm
Friday-Saturday 11:30am-Midnight