Museums After Hours: D.C.'s Best Kept Secret | Travel | Smithsonian
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Top Cities for the Cultural Traveler: Washington, DC Washington, DC: Top Cities for the Cultural Traveler

Museums After Hours: D.C.'s Best Kept Secret

If you like visiting the capital's museums by day, you'll love what they offer after five

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Washington, D.C. is home to over 50 museums, making it the perfect destination for visitors looking to soak up history, science and culture. The Smithsonian museums alone draw over 30 million visitors each year. But many out-of-towners don't know that some of the area's best museum offerings happen after regular hours. Over the last few years, more and more D.C. museums have begun opening their doors after five for thematic events, musical performances, special curator-led tours and, of course, cocktails and mingling.

National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden: Jazz in the Garden

By Day: A part of the National Gallery of Art, the National Sculpture Garden, located on the National Mall, includes world-class works by sculptors like Claes OldenburgLouise Bourgeois and Joan Miró.

By Night: Each Friday evening during the summer months, visitors to the National Sculpture Garden are treated with one of the best free jazz concerts in the city. Jazz in the Garden, now in its 14th season, runs from 5:00-8:30 p.m. and features all styles of jazz, from blues fusion to Afrofunk. Arrive early to stake out a picnic spot on the grass or dip your feet in the circular fountain at the garden's center. Snacks are welcome and refreshments, including pitchers of sangria, are sold at stands around the garden.

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