Washington DC Hidden Gem Attractions

Washington DC Hidden Gem Activities

Best Washington DC Hidden Gem Attractions

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Tours, activities and experiences bookable on Tripadvisor, ranked using exclusive Tripadvisor data including reviews, ratings, photos, popularity, user preferences, price, and bookings made through Tripadvisor.
Showing results 1-30 of 53

What travellers are saying

  • PROS
    • Beautiful exhibits
    • Very green and verdant
    • Relaxing and refreshing
    • Bubbling water outside
    • Great and surprising location
    • Easy access to other “stuff” such as our U.S. Capitol

    CONS
    • Hot and humid inside the tropical forest

    “I VISITED THIS PLACE”…
    … because I suggested the idea to Mrs. Place and Sister Place, since they were coming with me on one of my runs through everything that there is to see and do at our National Mall.

    As for me, I split the time also viewing our nation’s Capitol Building (from as close as permitted) and discovering and exploring the James A. Garfield and Ulysses S. Grant statues- you can see my reviews and “helpful” photos of those three attractions.

    TIPS
    This place is unusual and unexpected to find here- it is definitely worth a visit, so go there.
    Written 7 August 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • whiskeysix
    North Carolina301 contributions
    Hillwood Estate houses an impressive and beautiful collection of Russian, French, and English objects of art and furniture.

    We arrived at opening as walk ins, and spent an hour and a half walking around the beautiful, well maintained grounds and visiting the current Princess Grace dress exhibit. You can make your tour reservation online. After the home tour, we visited the cafe. We didn’t realize we should have made reservations there as well because they were full, but it was no problem because the to-go window was perfect! We spent almost three and a half hours enjoying the estate and resting at lunch.

    There is a lot of shade and places to rest. There are elevators as well for those who need it.

    Hillwood Estate participates in the Blue Star Museums program which runs through Labor Day. My family and I very much appreciated the complimentary access to the home and grounds.

    I had been planning to visit this place for years and don’t know why I waited so long. What a hidden gem! I highly recommend visiting!
    Written 12 August 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • William L
    Motley, MN45 contributions
    I spent an afternoon in and around the Basilica of the National Shrine and I could've spent another couple days and still not gotten my fill of this place. The exterior was gorgeous, nestled alongside Catholic University of America, which in itself is a very cool place. I only spent a short time around the exterior but will definitely spend more time when I go back. Inside it seemed that every turn led to new wonders and awe-inspiring beauty. I have been here before and have watched Mass online from the National Shrine, but I was still absolutely blown away by all that I saw. It reminded me of something a roommate once told me when I asked why the Church doesn't have simple churches; "beauty, along with truth and kindness, is one of the three transcendentals that lead to God. As such, Catholic churches seek to exalt God by expressing his glory through architecture."

    Food is available but I am not sure exactly when (I was there around lunch time and it was closed off, possibly for a private group), and daily Mass and Confession is offered, although it took me a while to find the confessionals.

    Overall, an absolutely jaw-dropping place and probably my favorite place to visit in D.C.
    Written 9 August 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Anne B
    61 contributions
    We stopped at the US Arboretum on our way into DC with my extended family and two nieces under the age of three. There was lots of room for the girls to run and play. The bonsai exhibit was phenomenal. The only downfall was the signage is a little bit unclear. It could’ve been difficult if we weren’t able to read a math effectively. My parents are planning to come back and spend additional time when they have the chance.
    Written 27 July 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • TXMARTINS
    Atlanta, GA3,371 contributions
    Previously when I visited there had been a ton of shops at the bottom. You can now enter the free museum on the lower level & still access the tower. Most of the building is now a Trump Hotel.
    Written 16 January 2020
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Alex .
    Nashville, TN173 contributions
    Probably one of my favorite of the museums! Surprisingly diverse history and lots to see. Not that crowded, especially compared to the museums on the mall, it's basically empty. Right next to Union Station.
    Written 1 August 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • MidwestKathM
    Detroit, MI542 contributions
    Check The Phillips Collection off the bucket list! On past visits to DC, with and without kids, we always focused on the National Mall and the Smithsonian museums. It's only been in the past few years that I've come to know about some of the hidden gems in and around our nation's capitol. The Phillips is one of them!! Duncan Phillips and his mother Eliza and then his wife Marjorie put together a fabulous art collection, housed in their home as a way to honor his father Duncan Sr. and his brother Jim. This is one fabulous house art museum (with a couple of additions through the years). For me, Renoir's The Luncheon of the Boating Party is the piece de resistance!! Add in works by Georgia O'Keeffe, Jacob Lawrence, Degas, Van Gogh, Braques, and so many other "modern" artists of the day. It is quite a collection that is a pleasure to see displayed throughout the 1897 house and the 1907 Music Room. When we visited, they were hosting the Picasso: Painting the Blue Period exhibition, which garnered much interest. Not a huge Picasso fan, but I still found the exhibition interesting and extensive. To gain entry, we had to reserve our timed tickets; special exhibits included in the ticket price. If you drive to the museum, be forewarned that parking on the street can be difficult to find, and meters are generally for only two hours.
    Written 26 May 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • leesung s
    Bozeman, MT2 contributions
    i thought the union market was amazing when I was there I was a bit shy about being in dc but it all turned out really well
    Written 10 July 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • bigwawao
    New York City, NY9,899 contributions
    On a trip to DC, I saw a banner that they were showcasing Korean Art Wasn't able to visit at that time. When I went back, the Korean Art display was gone. However, the visit was still great.

    The Smithsonian Asian Museum, known also as Freer Museum after its patron, is a small museum dedicated to Asian arts. It also has a nice small garden that you can enjoy.

    As we all know by now, a lot of Asian arts revolve around religion and when I was there it was no different.

    BTW, being a Smithsonian museum, entrance is free.
    Written 30 July 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • CloCro
    Houston, TX210 contributions
    So glad we went out here, so peaceful and gorgeous gardens. The cherry blossoms had just a few people around, which was nice. We got some of our best photos here!
    Other gardens were beautiful as well. Worth it!
    Written 30 May 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • shabaron
    Rockville, MD70 contributions
    This is a piece of history that is often overlooked. You should make the effort to visit this out of the way gem while in DC. The tour is in depth and entertaining. I was annoyed that the private board that runs this place still has a mask MANDATE in place.
    Written 2 May 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • bigbyrd61
    29 contributions
    The house itself is a work of art that you don’t want to miss! There is no entrance fee but to see the house you have to take the guided tour (start 15 minutes after each hour and last about one hour). The docents are volunteers but extremely knowledge, friendly and thorough. This home is a headquarters for the society of Cincinnati-fascinating history there as well! Don’t miss this!
    Written 14 August 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • PROS
    * Great and fun monument- five or six times life size
    * Commemorating our greatest scientist and brainy mathematician
    * Fun to see and admire the detail
    * Climbing on it is a must
    * Take a photo while sitting in his "lap" and send it to National Academy of Sciences
    * Across the street from Vietnam War Veterans Memorial

    CONS
    * Less well known
    * Less frequently visited (maybe these both are good things)

    "I VISITED THI PLACE"...
    ... because I had wanted to do that for many years on my occsional visits to the monuments circuit tour at night, but never quite made it. This time, I did- during the morning hours, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself in analyzing and photgraphing the sculpture, and of course being photographed while sitting in his lap (see my photos which show my legs and shoes over and parallel to his).

    TIP
    * Of course do it
    * If after ke2000h or other off hours, parking can be directly on Constitution Avenue or one of the small cross streets of the mid20's.
    * Read the explanation postings on the side of the tiny plaza
    * For sure have your photo taken as described, and then submit it to the National Academy of Sciences (no- I didn't do that).
    Written 8 July 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • James G
    Greater Johannesburg, South Africa154 contributions
    I have not been into this location but have been on the grounds several times activating this park for ham radio. I think the most difficult thing for most people might be that it is up on a hill. Great view of the city from Southeast.
    Written 19 May 2021
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • lalocadr19
    Hollywood, Florida6,546 contributions
    Went here last summer, before it closed for renovation. I love the museum plenty of portrait to see, so many women artist.

    Of my favorite Frida Kahlo I can definitely watch the portrait and enjoy the exhibit. There are also a couple of African American portrait which are great to see. I love the rubber art and the animals exhibition.

    There also a woman room which has beautiful neon light and arts. Beautiful museum great to see and enjoy when it open again.
    Written 19 March 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.