Your ultimate guide to Washington, DC

Discover Washington, DC's best things to do, restaurants, theater and nightlife

Things to do

The 14 best free things to do in DC

The best free things to do in DC, from the zoo to concerts to major attractions to screenings. All completely gratis!

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Where to eat in Washington, DC

Restaurants

The best pizza in Washington, DC

Whether you like a thick-crust pie or a classic Neapolitan, here’s where to find the best pizza Washington, DC has to offer

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Restaurants

The best brunch in DC

Whether your weekend plans involve visiting the best museums in DC, exploring the town while on one of many cool Washington, DC tours or working through your best Washington DC attractions bucket list, you’ll need to make some time for a proper DC brunch. From eggs to pancakes and Mimosas, these spots serve some of the best eggs, pancakes and mimosas in the city. RECOMMENDED: See the best restaurants in DC

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Restaurants

The best food trucks in Washington, DC

DC’s mobile food vendors keep on truckin’, serving ever-more creative fare. Here are 10 food trucks worth following.

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Restaurants

The best seafood restaurants in DC

Looking for seafood restaurants in DC? Try these top catches, from raw bars to crab shacks to die for (and get messy in).

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Things to do in Washington, DC

Things to do

50 things to do in Washington, DC

The ultimate guide to things to do in Washington, DC, from DC’s best restaurants and shops to museums and sightseeing

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Music

The best live music and concert venues in DC

If you want to catch a gig in Washington, DC, you needn't look far. The city has no shortage of dedicated venues, but some nightclubs and bars and lounges such as the Eighteenth Street Lounge, also offer live music. The perennially popular 9:30 Club on V Street hosts some of the biggest-name acts that come to town. But you’ll need to be quick—shows can sell out in minutes. Smaller music venues include Black Cat, which has two stages, varied bookings and a bar that occasionally hosts special events, such as vinyl sales.

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Things to do

Events in DC all year round

Check out these annual events in DC, from festivals to concerts, parades, fairs, tour days and more

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Things to do

The best museums in DC

From the International Spy Museum to the Smithsonian set, the best museums in DC offer plenty of culture in Washington

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Music

The best jazz clubs in Washington, DC

Known as the home of Duke Ellington and Shirley Horn, among other illustrious jazzers, the capital has long had a thriving jazz scene. Historically clustered in the U Street Corridor, jazz clubs are now scattered throughout the city. Some of the city’s best bars, including the trendy Eighteenth Street Lounge, lend a stage to jazz musicians, and the Kennedy Center is a good bet for high-profile artists. For blues, R&B and related genres, consult our list of the best live music venues.

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Arts and culture in Washington, DC

Art

ConnerSmith

Since Leigh Conner and Jamie Smith opened their gallery in 1999, they have been showing prints, photographs, paintings and sculptures by the kind of cutting-edge artists Washingtonians usually travel to New York to see. The pair’s expansive gallery on Florida Avenue, NE, is unrivalled in DC—the massive, flexible space has played host to Leo Villareal (whose LED-based light sculpture Multiverse is in the National Gallery of Art’s collection) and video artist Federico Solmi. Strong shows by DC’s younger artists have been well received.

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Museums

Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden

This spectacular, aggressively modern cylindrical building by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill enlivens the predominantly neoclassical architecture lining the Mall. The purpose of the structure, which was completed in 1974, was to house self-made Wall Street millionaire Joseph Hirshhorn’s collection of 20th-century painting and sculpture. The museum now presents art in a range of media, including works on paper, painting, installation, photography, sculpture, digital and video art. 

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Art

Phillips Collection

This mansion was opened as a gallery in the 1920s by Marjorie and Duncan Phillips as a memorial to his father. The building was remodeled in the 1960s and underwent further renovation in the ’80s, when an extension increased its space by almost 20,000sq ft. In 2006, the museum unveiled its Sant Building, another expansion project that added airy galleries for modern art, an outdoor sculpture terrace and café, an art and technology laboratory and an auditorium. The museum’s signature painting, Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party, enjoys pride of place in the permanent collection galleries. There, significant Van Gogh oils rub shoulders with Steiglitz prints and a solid selection of works by Picasso, Paul Klee, Bacon, Vuillard and Rothko—that is, if a traveling show hasn’t deposed them temporarily. 

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Art

Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

The Sackler contains some of the most important holdings of Asian art in the world. It has more flexibility than its neighbor, the Freer Gallery, whose mandate forbids the exhibition of anything from outside its collection. The Sackler, on the other hand, stages international loan exhibitions of Asian art (a recent show featured Ai Wei Wei). Connected to the Freer by an underground passageway, the Sackler was built up around a 1,000-piece Asian art gift from Dr Arthur M Sackler. Visitors enter through architects Shepley Bulfinch Richardson and Abbott’s first-floor granite pavilion (a similar pavilion, by the same firm, is at the National Museum of African Art). You then head below ground into a maze of overlapping bridges and long passageways that give the feel of an ancient temple. 

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Art

National Gallery of Art

Pittsburgh investment banker and industrialist Andrew Mellon was born the son of a poor Irish immigrant but went on to serve as US Treasury secretary from 1921 to 1932. In 1941, he presented the National Gallery’s West Building as a gift to the nation. Mellon’s son, Paul, created the gallery’s East Building in 1978. Mellon junior, who had donated over 900 artworks during his lifetime, bequeathed $75 million and 100 paintings—including works by Monet, Renoir and Cézanne—on his death in 1999. 

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Art

David Adamson Gallery

A longtime Downtown favorite, David Adamson Gallery decamped to Logan during the great gallery exodus of 2004. Now a stand-alone exhibition space that’s separate from its internationally recognized printmaking studio, the gallery continues to exhibit the fruits of its printmaking collaborations with contemporary art heavyweights such as Renate Aller and Chuck Close. One of Washington’s blue chip spaces.

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Washington, DC neighborhood guides

Things to do

Capitol Hill

A strollable hood, with bars and restaurants luring a youthful, politics-obsessed crowd

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Things to do

Dupont Circle

Where exuberant nightlife confronts the diplomatic set

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Things to do

Foggy Bottom

Upscale playground for the federal contingent, Foggy Bottom offers culture and cuisine by the Potomac

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Things to do

Georgetown

Find boutique shopping and space to breathe in one of DC's most celebrated historic enclaves

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Things to do

U Street Corridor

Discover one-of-a-kind stores in the Northwest’s hip anti-strip

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