Washington sightseeing guide: Museums, galleries, monuments and memorials
The visitors are still here! The visitors are still here! If last week’s sightseeing guide didn’t give you enough of a game plan to keep Uncle Fred and kin off the couch, this week’s installment should do the trick: We’ve got the details on the area’s museums, monuments and memorials. Check out goingoutguide.com for other ideas, too, including the presidential and political tourist sites we featured here a week ago, as well as great spots for food and drink. And — who knows? — maybe the Going Out Gurus will steer you to a great Italian restaurant and Uncle Fred will finally pick up the check.
If we left out any of your favorites — which is certainly possible in a town as rich with history and culture as ours — let us know at email@example.com.
You might never again see so much money in one place, but don’t expect to get your hands on the real dough; you watch the whole operation from windows above the production floor.
Have a plan: During the peak visiting months (March-August) free tickets for the 40-minute tour are required, but you can’t get them in advance. They are distributed at the ticket booth on a first-come, first-served basis (four per person), and if you aren’t in line by 6:30 or 7 a.m., you will probably be out of luck. The ticket booth opens at 8 a.m., and tours run every 15 minutes starting at 9 a.m. (closing time varies according to the season). In off-peak months (September-February), no tickets are required, and the line forms at the 14th Street visitor entrance.
Insider tip: If you visit during off-peak months, you might even get a tour all to yourself, but if you don’t want to take any chances during peak months, request a tour through your senator’s or representative’s office. To find your representative, go to www.house.gov and enter your Zip code, or go to www.senate.gov and enter your state under “Find Your Senators.”
What’s in the neighborhood: Want to do a little more sightseeing and get a meal as well? Check out the Southwest Waterfront (Seventh Street and Maine Avenue SW), where you’ll find vendors hawking fresh fish and crabs. Then pop in one of the fish shacks and settle in for a tasty lunch or dinner.
Info: 14th and C streets SW. 202-874-2330. www.moneyfactory.gov.
Transit: Smithsonian Metro station.
The Corcoran is noteworthy for the diversity of its offerings — from photography, one of its core strengths, to the gilded Salon Dore, a celebration of 18th-century French excess.
Have a plan: Get out your wallet: This is one of the few museums in town that charges admission. (Also, it’s closed Mondays and Tuesdays.) You can buy tickets up to six weeks in advance (with a $2.75 convenience charge) by calling 800-745-3000 or online via Ticketmaster. Once you’re there, drop by the gallery’s atrium for tours Wednesday-Sunday at noon, Thursday at 7 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m.
Insider tip: Sign up for a 90-minute family workshop the third Saturday of the month. Upcoming classes include “Painting the Sun” (May 19) and “Seeing the Sea” (June 16). There are only 15 spots per class, so booking two weeks in advance is encouraged.