The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., is one of America’s premier museums. Its wide-ranging collection includes: Girl with the Red Hat, by Johannes Vermeer; Improvisation 31 (Sea Battle), by Wassily Kandinsky, and Ginevra de’ Benci [obverse], the only painting by Leonardo da Vinci in America. I’ve visited many times — with new friends during college orientation, slipping away from conferences with colleagues, when I needed inspiration for my job across Constitution Avenue as a speechwriter to the Secretary of Labor.
The NGA is located at the northeastern end of the National Mall, near the U.S. Capitol building. There is a range of hotels within walking distance:
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, click here.
Waldorf Astoria Washington D.C.
This luxury hotel took over the Old Post Office Pavilion building that once housed the Trump International Hotel. It boasts spacious rooms, excellent service, and a spectacular lobby bar displaying an enviable collection of crystal decanters. The Waldorf is a five- to ten-minute walk to the National Gallery of Art; it is also within a mile of ten open Smithsonian museums on the National Mall. The closest Metro station is Federal Triangle on the Blue, Orange, and Silver lines.
Grand Hyatt Washington
This upscale hotel features spacious rooms and several restaurants. The Grand Hyatt is a 10- to 15-minute walk to the NGA; it is also a short walk from several Smithsonian museums. The closest Metro stop is Metro Center on the Red, Blue, Orange, and Silver lines.
Kimpton Hotel Monaco
This historic hotel occupies a 19th-century building that once housed the General Post Office. It features high ceilings, grand hallways, and a stunning lobby with complementary coffee in the morning and wine in the evening. It is a five- to ten-minute walk to the NGA. It’s also catty-cornered from the Capital One Arena. The closest Metro stop is Gallery Place.
Holiday Inn Washington
Capitol — National Mall
This pet-friendly midscale hotel has two restaurants, a spacious lobby, and a roof-top pool and bar. It is a five- to ten-minute walk to the NGA. The closest Metro station is L’Enfant Plaza on the Yellow, Blue, Orange, Silver, and Green lines.
Residence Inn by Marriott
Washington D.C. National Mall
This extended-stay hotel offers spacious rooms with full kitchens, a comfortable lobby with a gas fireplace, and complementary breakfast buffet daily and social receptions three nights a week. It is a 10- to 15-minute walk to the National Gallery of Art. The closest Metro station is Federal Center on the Blue, Orange, and Silver lines.
What to Know before You Go to the National Gallery of Art
The National Gallery of Art is located on the National Mall along Constitution Avenue between 3rd and 9th Streets NW. The closest Metro stop is Archives on the Yellow and Green lines. The NGA has no public parking facility, though there is a small lot for cars with handicapped plates or placards. There are also pricey garages and limited street parking nearby. Admission to the Gallery is free of charge. There are lots of complimentary one-hour tours.
The NGA has two main buildings. Generally speaking, the West Building exhibits more classical art, while the East Building displays more contemporary works. An underground Concourse connects the two main Buildings. There is also a Sculpture Garden with a seasonal Ice Rink.
There are several shops and cafés throughout the campus, and a fabulous Gelato Bar in the Concourse. If you’re looking for a nice dinner after a day exploring the Gallery, I recommend Charlie Palmer Steak at First Street and Constitution Avenue; it’s where my former boss used to take the speechwriting staff after stressful afternoons.
Allow two to six hours.