National Portrait Gallery

DC Diary: Museum Hopping

Today I head home from my little trip to DC. It was a good amount of time in the city, although there is more that I need to come back to see. I didn’t get to go to Alexandria, as previously planned due to holiday hours for the water taxi, and we didn’t want to rush. There are also so many more museums I want to see and ones that I want to spend more time in. But, 2 full days in DC was a nice little trip and I’d never been here during the holidays.

Yesterday was rainy for most of the day so it worked out well that it was our museum day. We hopped around to a few different museums. We didn’t spend a great deal of time in any of them, but hit up the attractions and exhibits we most wanted to see. As mentioned above, I’ll have to come another time to see the museums more thoroughly and check out more museums. The only ones I remember from previous trips are the Air & Space Museum and Natural History, both of which we didn’t go to this time around.

We started off the day at the International Spy Museum. I thought this one was going to be more museum like in the traditional sense, but it was more exhibit-like and a little gimmicky. First off, we had to pay for admission which is fine but I didn’t know that because I thought it was going to be like the other Smithsonian museums which are free. It was one of those small museums that has lots of rooms that are maze-like and you have to see everything to get to the next room etc. Some of it was informative like how spies from centuries ago wrote coded messages or how more modern spies do dead drops etc. By the way, my family and I were able to identify all the signals in the interactive games – clearly we watch too much TV. Some of the exhibits were too gimmicky for me and then there was a whole floor dedicated to just the different James Bond movies. Don’t get me wrong – I love James Bond – but it wasn’t exactly what I thought the museum would be like.

International Spy MuseumInternational Spy Museum - Aston MartinInternational Spy Museum - Cardano GrilleInternational Spy Museum - Cardano Grille 1International Spy Museum - EnigmaInternational Spy Museum - James Bond

The museum wasn’t too bad, but of everything I saw yesterday it definitely wasn’t the best of the bunch. I honestly think we spent too much time here, but that’s just my opinion.

Next, we went across the street to the National Portrait Gallery. We mostly wanted to just see the Presidents’ portraits, so we didn’t stay too long. There was a line to see Obama’s portrait and the vibrancy of it did not disappoint.

National Portrait Gallery - George WashingtonNational Portrait Gallery - Abraham LincolnNational Portrait Gallery - Barack ObamaNational Portrait GalleryNational Portrait Gallery - Michelle ObamaNational Portrait Gallery - Female Justices

Then we walked a few blocks to Chinatown to grab some lunch. We were lucky because it stopped raining when we went to get lunch and didn’t start raining again until we got to the restaurant.

Washington DCWashington DC - Chinatown

Then we took a cab to the Museum of American History. We mainly went here because they have a special superhero exhibit which ended up being really small and we were done looking at it in just a few minutes. But while we were there we went upstairs to The Star Spangled Banner exhibit which has all the information on the National Anthem and how Francis Scott Key penned the song and about the infamous flag that he saw. They have the actual flag for you to see! No photos were allowed inside this exhibit, I’m sure to prevent the flag from deteriorating, but it was a really cool exhibit.

Museum of American History - BatmobileMuseum of American History - SuperheroesMuseum of American History - Superheroes 1Museum of American History - Superheroes 2Museum of American History - Superheroes 3Museum of American History - Star Spangled BannerMuseum of American History - Christmas Tree

Then we walked over the National Gallery of Art because we wanted to spend some time there before they closed at 5pm. I didn’t realize the museums close so early here! We explored a few of the different wings. Modern/abstract art isn’t really my thing – there was one piece that had bits and pieces of debris all over the floor and loose silver balls. My mom seriously asked me if that was art or if someone broke something. I always love art museums so I was happy to explore this one. I realized that Matisse is definitely one of my favorite artists and I bought a print of his “Open Window” painting seen below from the gift shop.

Washington DC 1Washington DC - climbing plantsNational Gallery of Art - Matisse - Pot of GeraniumsNational Gallery of Art - Hanging IslandsNational Gallery of Art - Salut TomNational Gallery of ArtNational Gallery of Art 1National Gallery of Art 2National Gallery of Art 3National Gallery of Art - Matisse - Open Window, Collioure

Then we cabbed it back to the hotel where we got some much needed rest before walking around waiting for a table for dinner. It was a long wait, but luckily the rain stopped and it was actually pretty pleasant out and not cold at all, so I didn’t mind walking around. I wanted another shot and a boomerang of the cute smores truck. When we got out of dinner there was a thick fog which looked pretty cool mixed with all the twinkle lights everywhere. I took this shot of my dad walking ahead in the fog, which came out cool especially since his coat is black.

Canopy by Hilton The Wharf - Lobby at night
Hotel lobby at night

Washington DC - The WharfWashington DC - The Wharf - Smores TruckFoggy Washington DC

That concludes my mini vacation to Washington DC! I’ll tell you about my road trip home and all the food we ate in tomorrow’s post. Hopefully the drive home will be uneventful and with a lot less traffic than the ride down here. My plan tonight is to relax and do a ton of laundry because the next few days will be busy busy!

Welcome to my blog! I'm a teacher during the day and lifestyle blogger by night. I love pop culture, entertainment/TV/movies/music, food, beauty, travel & fashion!

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