National Gallery of Art
The two architecturally opposed buildings that make up this museum jointly contain one of the world’s most extraordinary art collections. The domed Neoclassical West Building, completed in 1941 by John Russell Pope (who also designed the Jefferson Memorial), houses an array of classical masterworks by Vermeer, Monet, Rembrandt, and van Gogh—as well as the only da Vinci in America (a late 15th-century portrait of Ginevra de’ Benci). The starkly linear, pink-marble East Building, completed by I. M. Pei in 1978, is—appropriately—home to more modern masterpieces by the likes of Picasso, Matisse, Pollock, and Warhol. There’s also a wonderful collection of iconic mobiles and stabiles (moving sculptures) by Alexander Calder.
Tip: If the weather’s nice, have lunch in the gallery’s sculpture garden, then take the kids for a spin on the Mall’s beautiful 1947 carousel nearby.