DC Date Ideas: The Best Museum Datesby Billy Gray on May 15, 2013
While the nation’s capital may get crazy at rush hour, Beltway residents and visitors never have to pay for admission to some of the city’s biggest and best museums, theaters and must-see landmarks.
In some cases, freedom’s just another word for suffocating crowds. But decent timing can help you and your date beat the hordes as you take in some of the country’s premier artistic, literary, and historical attractions.
Freer and Sackler Gallery
1200 Independence Avenue, SW
These manageable and gorgeously appointed galleries house the Smithsonian’s Asian, Egyptian and Near Eastern collections. Paintings, ceramics and sculptures pack a punch, but the Agnes E. Meyer Auditorium’s free offerings of Asian chamber music and dance troupes give the traditional galleries a run for their money.
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
700 Independence Avenue SW
The Air and Space Museum next door conveniently nabs the bulk of tourists, letting you and your date observe over 11,000 pieces of modern and contemporary art in relative peace. The sculpture garden is particularly serene and liable to spark romance.
Kennedy Center Millennium Stage
2700 F Street NW
As alluring as free art galleries are, gratis music halls are even more of a perk of the cultural DC dating scene. The Millennium Stage offers nightly free performances from the likes of the DC Youth Orchestra, the University of Maryland Musical Theatre Program and Dynami, a Greek dance troupe from Georgetown University.
The Library of Congress
10 First Street SE
Libraries may not have the sexiest reputations, but this is the world’s largest, with over 155 million items spread over 838 miles of bookshelves. The 116-year-old Thomas Jefferson Building on East Capitol Street is the crown jewel of the LOC’s four-building campus, and a must for amorous bibliophiles.
National Postal Museum
2 Massachusetts Avenue NE
As the USPS seems to teeter on the verge of extinction, learn about more auspicious moments in its history with this small, rarely crowded archive. Admittedly not for everyone, this museum will instantly seal the deal for couples with a shared affection for stamps; its stamp collection is the largest in the world.
1661 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
An under-the-radar jewel box just an antique vase’s throw away from the White House. The Smithsonian’s American arts and crafts collection is due for a boost in popularity thanks to artisan madness, and will appeal to couples who might otherwise have spent their time scouring Etsy.
Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
600 Independence Avenue SW
Arguably the best and most broadly accessible of the Smithsonian network, the perpetually packed Air and Space Museum offers an encyclopedic take on the nation’s flight history, from the Wright brothers to moon rocks. Visit the companion museum near Dulles to battle smaller crowds as you take in the Enola Gay, the Concord and other aviation all-stars.