Day 1 You'll See:
- White House Area Walking Tour
- Renwick Gallery
- Bureau of Engraving and Printing
- National Building Museum
- Monuments and Memorials Tour
Day 2 You'll See:
Day 3 You'll See:
Enjoy this 3-day tour of our nation's capital highlighting all the finest art and architecture related buildings, monuments, and attractions. See some of Smithsonian's finest galleries and museums, visit D.C's 'Millionaire's Row', and of course, catch a glimpse or two of the president's home.
White House Area Walking Tour
During this tour you may move from room to room at your own pace, the entire tour probably taking anywhere from 20-45 minutes, depending on how much time you want to spend exploring all the presidential details. The typical route of the tour sees visitors along the ground-floor of the home and through the doors of the Vermeil Room and Library, up to the stairs to the State Floor, and then through the East, Green, Blue, Red, and State Dining Rooms. See the North Portico Lobby, famously guarded by a U.S. Secret Service Tour Officer who can also double as a wonderful answer provider to any questions you may have about the home, security, or the president. This is the perfect intro to D.C., the upcoming inauguration, and all the seemingly endless iconic American photo ops.
Renwick is a branch of the Smithsonian American Art Museum dedicated to exhibiting the American contemporary craft. This gallery celebrates 'makers taking both innovative and time-honored approaches to work'. As the name may suggest, this National Historic Landmark was designed by James Renwick Jr, a celebrated DC architect. Inside you will 'explore unique craft objects by contemporary artists to learn about the process, material, and technique' of each. See Between Worlds: The Art of Bill Traylor, the Grand Salon, and Nick Cave's Sound Suit during your visit, as well as the Museum Store. There are Collection Highlight Tours each Monday through Saturday at noon, as well as customizable group tours and school tours (for grades 1-12).
Bureau of Engraving and Printing
During your visit, you will be able to walk along the gallery overlooking the production room and see millions of dollars being printed. View historical exhibits teaching you about the importance of the BEP, and view an informational film about its history and function. The exhibits will dive further into currency production, and you can see them all during a group tour. Group tours run every 15 minutes between 11 am and 1 pm and end in the gift shop where you can buy various currency products.
National Building Museum
Designed itself in the renaissance revival style, the National Building Museum boasts 75-foot tall Corinthian Columns as well as a 1200 foot terra Cotta Frieze within the architecturally stunning Great Hall. This fantastic museum works to 'transform the understanding of the history and impact of architecture, engineering, landscape architecture, and design' through various exhibits, educational programs, and special events. The museum has appealed to all ages and interests and allows for self-guided tours or docent-led activities for groups and field trips. Explore the Animals Collection, House and Home, PLAY WORK BUILD, and so much more inside!
Monuments and Memorials Tour
This monumental tour includes the following major attractions throughout DC:
The Washington Monument
Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
World War II Memorial
Korean War Memorial
US Marine Corps War Memorial
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Library of Congress
There are 3 main buildings that make up the Library of Congress: The John Adams Building, James Madison Memorial Building, and the Thomas Jefferson Building. Within the Thomas Jefferson Building, you will find the exhibits, some popular ones including Exploring the Early Americas, Hope for America and Mapping a Growing Nation: Independence to Statehood. You can take a free 1-hour guided tour of this building, or take topic-specific tours that range in subject from music and performing arts to history and culture. There are also special tours such as Shall Not be Denied: Women Fight for the Vote and Exploring the Early Americas.
Capitol Hill Tour
From the elegant stoicism of the Rotunda to the subtle glamour of the expertly manicured lawns, Capitol Hill has the creative aesthetics to match any world landmark. The neoclassical architecture resembles many of D.C.’s other sites such as the Jefferson Monument and the White House. Tours focusing on the art of the Brumidi Corridors at the Capitol Building are offered Monday through Friday. Tours of the Capitol Building are available Monday through Saturday and explore everything from the Crypt and Rotunda to the National Statuary Hall, beginning and ending at the Visitors Center which is in itself a masterpiece. Standing at three-quarters the size of the Capitol Building, the Visitors Center was built underground so as not to detract from the majestic, classic beauty of the Capitol. There you will find exhibits and galleries featuring collections of artifacts and art, two theaters showing orientation films, gift shops, and food service areas.
Smithsonian American Art Museum
American art reflects the country's melting pot philosophy with international influences making a unique and unparalleled style. The earliest pieces date back to 17th century Puerto Rico and follow the line of chronology through the Hudson River School, Folk art, collections from Latino and African American artists, and more culminating in the contemporary movements of today. See works by John Singleton Copley, Thomas Moran, Horace Pippin, Thomas Cole, and Georgia O’Keeffe among others in the permanent collections while revolving exhibitions feature topics in media art, American Masterworks, and direct carving figures. The Luce Foundation Center and offers a deeper and more concentrated look at the American spirit with thousands of pieces once part of personal collections while the Renwick Gallery showcases great works of art in the building that once held the original museum.
National Portrait Gallery
Welcome to the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, the Smithsonian Institute first founded in 1962, first opened to the public in 1968. This historic art museum focuses on images of famous Americans, people of outstanding character and achievement, whether good or bad. This is the place to see artists, politicians, scientists, inventors, activists, performers, and many other 'visionaries and villains' particularly important to the American story. The outside of the gallery displays grandiose Greek Revival Architecture by Norman Foster, the inside displays a 'multi-faceted and ever-changing story of America'. Explore our national identity with the various permanent and rotating exhibits either on your own or with a docent-led tour.
Embassy Row Driving Tour
Considered Washington's premier residential address at one point, Embassy Row will greet your group next. This neighborhood stretches from Massachusetts Avenue to Dupont Circle toward the National Cathedral. Notorious for its many mansions, this street has garnered the nickname "Millionaires' Row. Today, with most of the socialites long gone, the elaborate, historic and repurposed mansions on Embassy Row house many, but not all, of the districts more than 175 foreign embassies, residences, chanceries, and diplomatic missions; how many flags do you recognize? There are also several colorful rowhouses and gorgeous historic homes within the mix!
The National Cathedral, the sixth-largest in the world, is also the second-largest in the United States, and the highest as well as fourth-tallest structure in D.C. The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered the final Sunday sermon of his life here. Among its countless fine architectural details and notable features are a number of intricate stained glass windows paying tribute to a company of great Americans, an intriguing resident collection of gargoyles and grotesques, a “Great Organ” – the largest pipe organ in Washington, D.C. – a statue of George Washington and a fantastically executed mural of Jesus’ burial.
National Gallery of Art
The National Gallery of Art was conceived and given to the people by Andrew W. Mellon, an art collector and financer from Pittsburg. When the gallery first opened it held a mere 126 paintings and 26 sculptures given from Andrew Mellon's personal collection. It has grown quite a bit since then, today featuring countless significant works of art from the Renaissance to the present-day. Explore the gallery's collection, exhibits, and onsite Sculpture Garden with various guided tours, audio tours, and educational programs available, or perhaps with a free gallery talk led by museum educators and curators. School groups, in particular, will have options for guided encounters filled with open-ended discussions, allowing students to view, question, and discover the world of art and art history, and how they relate to our culture. Some of the highlights from the collection include the following: