Imagine the scolding you’d get if you stepped into the Rothko Room at the Phillips Collection with a teetering gin martini, or if you stood before Leonardo da Vinci’s Portrait of Ginevra de’ Benci at the National Gallery of Art while cracking open a PBR.
Works of art and booze don’t typically go hand in hand, but at these new immersive exhibits, drinking is not only encouraged, it also enhances the overall experience — literally.
Spirit of Autumn at ArTecHouse
The only thing more autumnal than this futuristic exhibition in Southwest Washington would be a swimming pool full of decorative gourds and pumpkin spice latte. In the main exhibition, digitized leaves dance on the walls and respond to your movements when you stand in front of a sensor. Throw your hands in the air, and a pile of leaves gathers and disperses.
In a hallway, a mass of leaves are projected onto the floor, responding to your steps as if they were schools of fish. The display, dizzying but delightful, leads to a room full of picnic tables and fake red and orange leaves scattered on the floor. Guests are encouraged to take a seat and color in the outline of a leaf, which gets projected onto the walls in the main hall display. About 700 leaves appear at a time, so good luck finding yours.
The bar, located on a mezzanine that provides a bird’s-eye view of guests frolicking and twirling, serves a small selection of wine and brandy ($8-$10), as well as possibly the city’s coolest cocktail: an augmented-reality riff on a pisco sour ($12). The drink comes topped with an edible wafer with a leaf pattern. Hover over the drink with your camera using the ArTecHouse app, and the leaves on your screen will rise and swirl out of the glass.
Admission: $12-$20. 1238 Maryland Ave. SW. Through Nov. 5.
The Future of Sports, a sprawling playground on H Street, will appeal to athletes, sports lovers and anyone with an Instagram account. The hands-on exhibit comes from Nicole Pinedo, the daughter of professional soccer player Mario Pinedo and the founder of Made in the District, a multimedia production company.
Guests can wander around a 10,000-square-foot maze of rooms, each inspired by a different sport, and engage with props: The monochromatic basketball court includes bleachers for spectators as people grab a ball and play (no dunking, please); a room with a football tossing stand is reminiscent of the classic arcade game; and a millennial-pink tennis court that beckons with a pair of rackets and a basket full of balls.
Once you’ve left your mark on the graffiti-covered “Autograph Room,” sidle up to the bar and drink to your achievements. The cocktail list is full of aptly named concoctions ($9): Try the Slam Dunk (vodka, soda water, pineapple juice), the Touchdown (tequila, pineapple juice) and the Knockout (Redbull with vodka) before finishing your day with a round of ping-pong.
Admission: $15-$20. 700 H St. NE. Through Nov. 30.