WHAT: "Degas and the Dance," 144 ballet-themed paintings, drawings and sculptures by Edgar Degas borrowed from collections around the world.

WHEN: Feb. 12 through May 11.

WHERE: Philadelphia Museum of Art.

TICKETS: On sale now. Admission, which includes an audio tour, is $20 (plus a $3 service charge for each ticket bought online or by phone). Info: 215-235-7469, www.philamuseum.org.

GETTING THERE: The drive from D.C. is about two hours. Exhibit patrons recieve a 15 percent discount on Amtrak (800-872-7245, www.amtrak.com); refer to code V504 when making reservations. One-way tickets regularly start at $45.

WHERE TO STAY: Ten Philly hotels have package deals that include lodging and two VIP exhibit passes ("VIP" meaning you don't have to wait in line). The cheapest weekend package rates are at the Downtown Courtyard (21 N. Juniper St., 888-887-8130; rooms from $139); the Wyndham at Franklin Plaza (17th and Race streets, 215-448-2000; from $149); and the Best Western Center City Hotel (501 N. 22nd St., 215-568-8300; from $149).

INSIDER'S TIPS: Though the museum is usually closed on Mondays, the exhibit is open on Feb. 17, April 21 and on May 5. . . . Discounted tickets of $15 are available for weekday admittance at 3 and 3:30 p.m. . . . Take advantage of a Greater Philadelphia Tourism weekend promotion in which you pay for a night's stay and get a second night free. Rooms start at $109. The promotion runs through the end of March. Info: 800-537-7676, www.gophila.org.

SMITHSONIAN TRIPS: Two Smithsonian programs are running trips to the exhibit.

The Smithsonian Resident Associate Program (202-357-3030, www.resident associates.org) has a one-day excursion on Feb. 22 that includes a tour, a three-course lunch, a ticket to a performance of "Carmina Burana" at the Pennsylvania Ballet and round-trip bus transportation for $179 (plus $19 program membership for non-members).

Smithsonian Journeys (877-338-8687, www.smithsonianjourneys.org) is sponsoring a four-day trip Feb. 27 to March 2 to privately tour the exhibit with art historian William Kloss. The $1,500 "Weekender" package includes upscale accommodations, meals at ritzy clubs and three additional private art tours in town.

DEGAS IN D.C: Can't make it to Philly? The National Gallery of Art (Constitution Avenue between Third and Ninth streets NW, 202-737-4215, www.nga.gov) displays more than 70 works by the artist.

DEGAS AROUND THE WORLD: If Degas really captures your fancy, consider a visit to Paris, where the artist was born and spent most of his life, or to New Orleans, where he stayed with family in the 1870s.

In Paris: Degas lived in the hilltop neighborhood of Montmartre, considered the mecca of 19th-century artists. If you can stand wandering past the strip joints and sex shops of Boulevard de Clichy, you'll see Degas's former stomping grounds. Better yet, have guide Arthur Gillette take you on an art tour of the neighborhood (011-33-45- 34-51-67, www.jack-travel.com; from $57), which includes a stop at the residence where he died in 1917 . . . The artist is buried in the Montmartre Cemetery (20 Avenue Rachel), along with Emile Zola and Alexandre Dumas . . . Degas's work is prominent at the Musee d'Orsay (1 Rue de Solferino; admission about $6.50).

In New Orleans: Degas's mother was born in Crescent City. The family manse, where he lived for five months, is now a B&B called the Degas House (2306 Esplanade Ave., 504-821-5009; from $125). Tours of the mansion and the neighborhood by appointment only ($10 suggested donation) . . . The restaurant Brennan's (417 Royal St., 504-525-9711) is housed in a building Degas's great-grandfather, Vincent Rilleaux, built in 1795. Today, it's known as the birthplace of eggs Benedict.

INFO: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 215-763-8100, www.philamuseum.org. Greater Philadelphia Tourism, 215-636-3300, www.gophila.com.

-- Elissa Leibowitz

Degas's dancers, including "Spanish Dancer," take center stage in Philly.Left, a detail from "Orchestra Musicians," at Philly's blockbuster exhibit .