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.