Washington, D.C., is a must-see for every traveler, but it’s especially memorable when shared with friends, family, and colleagues. While it’s known for its historic significance as the capital of the United States and its globally revered Smithsonian museums, Washington, D.C., is constantly evolving (and elevating!) its offerings for groups.
“Along with its epic, marbled memorials and monuments, Washington, D.C., offers world-class museums, waterfront neighborhoods, and fine dining,” says Theresa Belpulsi, Destination DC’s vice president of tourism, sports, and visitor services. “Whether this is your first trip to the nation’s capital, or you’ve been here before, there is always something new to see or experience that provides a deeper understanding of history and the human story.”
Get Creative in the Capital
“Arts and Ideals: President John F. Kennedy” is the newest permanent exhibition at the illustrious John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The immersive exhibition uses digital technology to explore the former president’s commitment to the arts and how the Kennedy Center carries on that legacy today.
Meanwhile, the National Museum of Women in the Arts is the first museum in the world solely dedicated to honoring women’s contributions to the creative industry. This fall, the museum will reopen and unveil the results of its first full renovation since 1987, adding thousands of square feet of gallery space and increasing accessibility for visitors. The museum will offer guided tours for groups to learn about the achievements of women artists from the 16th century onward.
Last summer, the Molina Family Latino Gallery at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History opened to the public. Dedicated to exploring the contributions of Latino Americans to the U.S., this gallery calls on artifacts and first-person storytelling to illustrate the history and diversity of Latino Americans. This is the first exhibition in what will become the National Museum of the American Latino, which is still in the planning stage of development.
Latest & Greatest
There are several new or updated museums and galleries in D.C. For instance, the National Air and Space Museum contains some of the most famous artifacts from the space race and attracts thousands of visitors annually. Last year, eight new galleries opened that share U.S. aviation history, covering topics like the Wright Brothers, the moon landing, and space exploration.
The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden sheds light on the ideas of our time. The sculpture garden has more than 30 works of art, including some from the original art collection of the museum’s benefactor, Joseph H. Hirshhorn, and is undergoing a revitalization process that will include new walking paths, green spaces, reflecting pools, and of course, world-renowned sculptures. Although the museum will be closed for the next two years to complete the renovation, it’s worth adding to future trip itineraries.
Opening this spring, the centerpiece of the new Capital Jewish Museum is the Adas Israel synagogue. The building will merge old and new, incorporating the original brick synagogue (the oldest in the region) into a modern structure of metal, glass, and concrete. The building has been preserved since the Civil War era and shares the stories of Jewish life in the nation’s capital.
The National Museum of American Diplomacy, scheduled to open later this year, will be a testament to the people, places, and practices that make up the nation’s history of international diplomacy. Learn about the U.S. Department of State, foreign embassies, and American leaders like Madeleine Albright, the first female Secretary of State.
Washington, D.C., is an excellent destination choice for group tours of all sizes. With stunning public spaces, new museums, and reliable and plentiful transportation options, there are many ways to experience the nation’s capital.
Don’t forget these popular, tried-and-true tour options
Monuments Bus Tour
Make sure you hit all the D.C. hot spots by hopping on a bus tour. See the Lincoln Memorial, U.S. Capitol, Washington Monument, and more.
Take in the sights while you cruise the Potomac River. Set sail with one of the district’s many comfortable, knowledgeable cruise services.
U.S. Capitol Building & Visitor Center
Tour the halls of the Senate and the House of Representatives, see the Rotunda, and learn about the history of the United States Congress, all while guided by a knowledgeable docent.
Featured Image: Molina Family Latino Gallery, Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History; Credit: Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History