Museum: National Gallery of Art
The NGA’s collections run from hands-down classic to mind-bogglingly modern. Warm up your inner art historian in the West Building with a Da Vinci or a Van Gogh. Head to the East Building to ponder the avant-garde. Nerd bonus: Traveling between the buildings takes you through a “Twilight Zone”-esque underground installation called “Multiverse.” It’s not the only work that will make you feel like you’ve entered another dimension. We’re looking at you, Sol LeWitt. M.S.
1st: National Gallery of Art: 4th Street and Constitution Avenue NW; 202-737-4215. (Archives)
2nd: Newseum: 555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW; 888-639-7386. (Arch-ives)
3rd: Hirshhorn: Independence Avenue and 7th Street SW; 202-633-1000. (L’Enfant Plaza)
Readings: Politics and Prose
When husband and wife Bradley Graham and Lissa Muscatine bought P&P in 2011, they knew running it would be a balancing act. “We wanted to preserve it as the iconic and treasured institution it had become,” said Muscatine. “We also needed to make sure it was relevant and modern in the ways it needed to be to survive.” New offerings (such as this winter’s trip to India’s Jaipur Literature Festival) now accompany the always-smart slate of author appearances. Nobel Prize-winner Orhan Pamuk reads on Nov. 19. F.Z.
Gallery: Hillyer Art Space
The Hillyer is one of the best places to spend First Fridays, the gallery crawl in which all of Dupont’s art spaces put out wine and crackers. A $5 cover will get you live music, art shows that are weird enough to satisfy but not so weird that you have no idea what they’re about, and the chance to rub elbows with D.C.’s young and beautiful. Go during the day to check out the socially progressive, sometimes interactive work without the crowds. F.Z.
1st: Hillyer Art Space: 9 Hillyer Ct. NW; 202-338-0680. (Dupont Circle)
2nd: Long View Gallery: 1234 9th St. NW; 202-232-4788. (Mt. Vernon Square)
3rd: Gallery Plan B: 1530 14th St. NW; 202-234-2711. (U Street)
Theater (Big): Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
This category is like Goliath vs. Optimus Prime: The Kennedy Center is six theaters. Other spaces are dwarfed by such real estate and the quantity of world-class performances it accommodates. Touring Broadway shows stop here, as do such hard-core theater-nerd companies as Druid Theatre Company (now presenting “DruidMurphy,” a three-play cycle about Irish emigration). The Millennium Stage hosts a free show every day at 6 p.m. Also free: a stroll on the terrace overlooking the Potomac. F.Z.
1st: Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts: 2700 F St. NW; 202-467-4600. (Foggy Bottom)
2nd: Arena Stage: 1101 6th St. SW; 202-488-3300. (Waterfront)
3rd: Shakespeare Theatre Company (Sidney Harman Hall): 610 F St. NW; 202-547-1122. (Gallery Place)
Theater (Small): Woolly Mammoth Theatre
Big plays make early stops at this 265-seat theater. “Clybourne Park,” staged at Woolly in 2010, won a Pulitzer in 2011 and a Tony in 2012. Mike Daisey workshopped “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs” here; he’ll debut another original monologue, “American Utopias,” at Woolly next spring. “Our job is to be out on the front edges of the American theater looking for that next exciting voice, that next aesthetic innovation,” says managing director Jeffrey Herrmann. F.Z.
1st: Woolly Mammoth Theatre: 641 D St. NW; 202-393-3939 (Archives)
2nd: Folger Theatre: 201 East Capitol St. SE; 202-544-7077. (Capitol South)
3rd: Atlas Performing Arts Center: 1333 H St. NE; 202-399-7993.
Movie Theater: Landmark E Street Cinema
E Street’s well-chosen selection of indies, foreign films and revival pics attracts the nerdiest film fans in the city. (We mean that in the most positive of ways.) Also, cellphones never work in this underground location, so the urge to kill in-movie texters vanishes. K.P.K.
1st: Landmark E Street Cinema: 555 11th St. NW; 202-452-7672. (Metro Center)
2nd: Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse: 2903 Columbia Pike, Arlington; 703-486-2345.
3rd: AFI Silver Theater: 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring; 301-495-6700. (Silver Spring)
Written by Morgan Schneider, Fiona Zublin and Kristen Page-Kirby