So you have have a couple of hours of free time in DC and you don’t know what to do. Well because our content is so awesome, we thought we would share some of the info we put in all our mobile event apps. Because you might not have tons of time to wander, the following are concentrated around the hopping Penn Quarter, right near the Convention Center.
1) The Smithsonian American Art Museum–8th and F St., NW. Not to be confused with the National Museum of American History on the Mall, the Smithsonian American Art Museum boasts a lot of sculpture, a lot of paintings, a whole lot of awesome. Over 37,000 pieces – the best of American art – including celebrated works by Winslow Homer, Albert Bierstadt, Thomas Moran, Hiram Powers, and many others. The collection is housed in the historic Old Patent Office building and is shared with the National Portrait Gallery which displays portraits and sculpture of people who have made significant contributions to American history, development and culture. Accordingly, the collection contains images from every historical era (from Pocahontas to Betty Friedan), with excellent biographical descriptions below each portrait so you can learn about each subject. Plus all the official Presidential portraits are here, and you can check out the latest additions to the museum – the show stopping official portraits of the Obamas.
2) Jaleo–480 7th St., NW. Looking at paintings always makes us hungry, but even if we weren’t we’d make room for the tastiest tapas in town from superstar chef Jose Andres.
3) The Smith-901 F St., NW. Or if you want modern comfort food in high energy setting, check out the NY transplant, The Smith. This NYC import boasts 200 seats, brasserie decor, an awesome bar, and food options like burgers, mac and cheese and chicken pot pie.
4) Ford’s Theatre–511 10th St., NW. Yes, you thought you knew what happened that famous night in April. Well, turns out there’s a lot more to it than you thought. The fascinating on-site museum examines the tumultuous times that accompanied Lincoln taking office, the lives of the conspirators, and displays items like Booth’s diary, the gun he used and the clothes Lincoln wore. Across the street, visit Petersen House, where Lincoln was taken after he was shot, and where he died the next morning.
5) National Museum of Women in the Arts-1250 New York Ave., NW. Opened in 1987 and ironically housed in what was once an all-male Masonic temple, this museum is devoted to recognizing women’s achievements in the arts. It is a hidden jewel with a well-earned architectural award under its belt for a magnificent restoration and majestic setting. Most of the permanent collection is modern, with works by Georgia Keefe and Judy Chicago among those on display. But don’t miss 17th and 18th-century portraits by Lila Cabot Perry and Sara Miriam Peale.
6) Blagden Alley Speakeasies–Enter on M St. between 9th and 10th Sts. All that walking giving you a thirst? Head to Blagden Alley where you’ll find, tucked amidst two tiny square block of renovated manufacturing buildings and interior brick paved alleys, three speakeasies worth seeking out. First kid on the block, The Columbia Room, set the millennials buzzing with elevated cocktails and hard to find locale that earned it a “Best Cocktail Bar in DC” nod from The Washington Post and the Spirited Awards “Best American Cocktail Bar”. It’s also got a backyard Punch garden for good weather drinking (124 Blagden Alley, NW). Second to the party is Dabney Cellar, located just underneath the Michelin-starred The Dabney (see entry; 1222 9th St., NW), and serving modern riffs on “colonial” cocktails, plus fantastic bar bites like charcuterie, oysters, cheeses and assorted small apps (we would expect the food to be good because it comes out of the fabulous Dabney kitchen). And the newest addition is Calico, a 3,000 square foot patio, featuring lots of string lights, local draft beers, massive cocktails and elevated bbq fare. Round this out with some coffee bars and you don’t have to go very far to have an all day dining experience.
Photo © Calico