Washington DC – Off the Beaten Path

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A common question we get from guests – especially repeat visitors –  at the Hamilton Crowne Plaza is where to find the “real” or “hidden” Washington DC. Here are a few of our secret treasures that most visitors to Washington never see.

Renwick Gallery

Home of the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum’s craft and decorative arts program, the Renwick is located near the White House at 1661 Pennsylvania Avenue. A current exhibition features furniture, toys and games made in the Japanese American Internment Camps during World War II.

National Portrait Gallery

Located at Gallery Place Metro, the National Portrait Gallery is another Smithsonian Museum that is often overlooked. The Gallery housed in the old Patent Office Building and was completely restored in 2000. Visit the Kogod Courtyard for a moment of peace, a snack or free Wi-Fi access.

Old Stone House

In the middle of Georgetown on M Street, you’ll find the oldest standing building in Washington DC – Old Stone House. Built in 1765, the house is constructed of local granite and is open Wednesday – Sunday from noon – 5 p.m.

Phillips Collection

A private art collection in Dupont circle, the Phillips Collection offers nearly 3,000 works by Degas, Cezanne, Gauguin, van Gogh, Matisse, Picasso, Calder, Rothko and more including Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party.

On the first Thursday of each month, the Phillips hosts Phillips after 5, combining live jazz, gallery talks, art and a cash bar. Philips after 5 are popular events and reservations are encouraged.

Hillwood Museum

On a twenty-five acre estate of formal gardens, the Hillwood Museum is the former home of Post cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post. She was also married to both E.F. Hutton and American Ambassador to the Soviet Union Joseph Davies. During her time in the Soviet Union, she acquired Russian imperial art including a large collection of Faberge eggs that are on display. Hillwood is located at 4155 Linnean Avenue, just off Tilden Street, about a 20 minute walk from Van Ness UDC Metro Station.

US National Arboretum

The National Arboretum offers a chance to feel like you’ve stepped out of the city. Visit the Asian collection – including a Korean Hillside – Fern Valley, the National Herb Garden, the National Grove of State Trees, holly and magnolia, dogwood, azaleas, bonsai,slow growing conifer collection, and much more. There’s a tram tour available to ensure you see the highlights

Take Metro to Stadium Armory and switch to the B2 Metrobus. Get off at Rand Street, just past the Arboretum sign on the right. It’s a 2 block walk to the Arboretum entrance.

Dumbarton Oaks

Given to Harvard by Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss, Dumbarton Oaks Library, Museum and Garden offers a haven for Washingtonians, visitors and scholars. The highlights of the museum include both the Pre-Columbian and Byzantine collections including a large number of Byzantine coins and seals.

The gardens are open daily except Mondays from 2 – 6 pm and introductory tours are available at 2:10.

Tours

If you have a specific theme in mind, there are often walking or specialty tours available including:

Spy tours from the Spy Museum that depart from Union Station and focus on famous espionage stories in Washington DC.

Georgetown has a variety of free walking tours  focused on spies, ghosts, celebrities and more.

Lincoln’s Assassination walking tours follow in the footsteps of the president and his assassin.

The Washington Post offers several scandal tour options based on recent (and not so recent) events.

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