Phillips Collection

Top choice in Washington, DC

The country's first modern-art museum (opened in 1921) houses a small but exquisite collection of European and American works. Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party is a highlight, along with pieces by Gauguin, Van Gogh, Matisse, Picasso and many other greats. The intimate rooms, set in a restored mansion and adjacent former apartment building, put you unusually close to the artworks. Download the free app or dial 202-595-1839 for audio tours through the works.

The Rothko Room, which has four of the abstract expressionist’s pieces, is also worth a peek.

Admission to the permanent collection is free during the week, with a $10 admission fee on weekends. Special exhibitions always require paid admission ($12) regardless of the day, which also includes admission to the permanent collection on days that charge.

The Phillips' Sunday chamber-music series has been making sweet sounds since 1941; concerts start at 4pm October through May, and tickets cost $45.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Washington, DC attractions

1. Embassy Row

0.05 MILES

Want to take a trip around the world? Stroll northwest along Massachusetts Ave from Dupont Circle (the actual traffic circle) and you pass more than 40…

2. Society of the Cincinnati

0.06 MILES

The Society of the Cincinnati is a private patriotic group that educates the public about the Revolutionary War. Who knew? What’s key here is the chance…

3. Indonesian Embassy

0.07 MILES

The Indonesian Embassy sits in the old Walsh-McLean House. Gold-mining magnate Thomas Walsh commissioned the home in 1903. He embedded in the foundation a…

4. Studio Gallery

0.08 MILES

Studio Gallery shows contemporary works by more than 35 emerging DC-area artists. Paintings, sculpture, mixed media and video are represented. The…

5. Luxembourg Embassy

0.11 MILES

Congressman Alexander Stewart built this show-stopper of a home in 1909 in the grand court style of Louis XIV. In 1941 the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg…

6. Spanish Steps

0.19 MILES

You're walking up 22nd St, between Decatur Pl and S St NW, and suddenly an enchanting staircase appears. The Spanish Steps, as they're known, were modeled…

7. Mansion on O Street

0.22 MILES

This 100-room 1892 mansion is part inn, part gallery, part cluttered antique shop and part private event space. The decor is like a wedding at Castle…

8. Turkish Ambassador’s Residence

0.22 MILES

Edward Everett, inventor of the grooved bottle cap, commissioned the imposing 1914 manor that is now the Turkish Ambassador’s Residence. George Oakley…