The Must-Visit Art Galleries In Washington DC

Photo of Lauren Gruber
19 October 2016

Best known for its historical and political status as the capital of the United States, Washington DC is home to some of the country’s best museums and cultural heritage sites. The city holds a range of incredible collections, from Impressionist paintings to ancient bronze statues from China. We profile the must-visit galleries in Washington DC.


The National Gallery of Art

The National Gallery of Art hosts one of the world’s greatest collections of paintings, sculptures and other artwork dating from the 13th to 20th century, including some of the most famous artwork in history. Browse through paintings and works by da Vinci, Van Gogh, Jackson Pollack. The East Building, designed by I.M. Pei, houses mostly modern and contemporary art on its four levels, and you can find works by Picasso and Mattisse accompanied by art by living greats like Rachel Whiteread. You’ll also find refurbished 19th century French galleries that are home to Monet, Renoir and Picasso. Admission is free.

©Al E./Flickr

Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden

Located on the National Mall, the Hirshhorn holds the world’s finest collections of modern and contemporary art. Patrons can find works by Francis Bacon, Man Ray and Willem de Kooning. Be sure to also browse their acquired pieces by Ai Weiwei and Bernd and Hilla Becher. Their beautiful reflection pool is a great place for picture takingm as is their sculpture garden that features Rodin’s The Burghers of Calais.


Foundry Gallery

The Foundry Gallery showcases some of DC’s emerging and most accomplished artists. The artist co-op gallery offers diversity of original works at more affordable prices. Every month presents a new exhibit of works in different styles and mediums, and you can also catch a solo show by a member artist. The alternative gallery experience features artist talks, workshops and demonstrations while getting to know local, innovative artists.

©Timothy Kim/Flickr

Freer Gallery of Art

Freer holds a huge collection of art from China, Korea, South Asia and Japan, as well as southeast Asia. The palazzo-style building holds a collection that spans 6,000 years of history and over 25,000 objects, including Japanese ink drawings and Chinese paintings. Buddhist sculptures and Korean ceramics can also be found inside. Be sure to check out the collection of Iranian metalworks and Chinese bronze sculptures in the Sackler Gallery. Admission is always free.


The National Museum of Women in the Arts

The National Museum of Women in the Arts is the only museum in the world exclusively dedicated to showcase the work of over 1,000 female artists of different nationalities. Throughout the gallery, you’ll find works by Frida Kahlo, Flemish painter Clara Peeters and Georgia O’Keeffe. Their upcoming exhibit ‘Pathmakers: Women in Art, Craft, and Design, Midcentury and Today,’ showcases female artists’ contribution to postwar visual culture and use of craft material. Admission is $10 for adults, but free for those 18 and under.

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