Tag Archives: Where to See Art Outside in DC

Art Al Fresco: Where to Enjoy Creative Works Outdoors Around DC


You don’t always have to go into a museum to enjoy great works of art. They are outdoors in gardens, along our landscapes, and even throughout city streets, so you can enjoy a nice day outside along with large scale sculptures, provocative installations, fun and interesting murals, even fairy houses. Here are some great places to see them around the DC area. Happy Art-ing!

National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden
Where: 7th & Constitution NW | National Mall, DC
When: Daily, 10am – 5pm
Admission: Free
The museum’s outdoor area is always fun to stroll (or glide) through with large-scale installations and sculptures adding beauty, creativity, and and whimsy to the National Mall. See a giant typewriter eraser, a gleaming silver tree, and Lichtenstein’s optical illusion house among the many impressive works.


* * * 


King and Queen in the Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden

Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden (Currently closed for renovation)
Where: National Mall, DC
When: Daily, 9am – 5:30pm
Admission: Free

Enjoy the outdoor area at the modern art museum on the National Mall. Take a stroll through the works, and check out this FAQ for more about visiting. You can pop in for free daily from 10am – 4:30pm. And to make the most of your time, visit the lovely garden between the Hirshhorn and Arts & Industries Building and the Enid A. Haupt Garden behind the castle.


* * * 


The Kreeger’s outdoor area is especially cool for kids

Kreeger Museum
Where: 2401 Foxhall Road NW | Foxhall, DC
When: Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – 4pm
Admission: $15/adult, $10/senior & military, free for kids

The small art museum in DC’s Foxhall-Palisades neighborhood is perfect for an art fix with kids that’s gratifying without being overwhelming. It includes a five-acre outdoor area showcasing all kinds of large-scale installations that are beautiful, interesting, even quirky and fun. There is a fountain/pool with seating and sculptures around it,  a small patch of woods with art and a trail that loops around, and a grassy expanse with works that you’ll all enjoy.  There’s even a piece “climbing” on the side of building, another snaking up a tree, and one that plays solar powered music.  The museum is open Tuesday – Saturday with timed-entry sessions that need to be reserved in advance.  Read more about the Kreeger in this KFDC post.


* * * 


Annmarie Sculpture Garden
Where: 13470 Dowell Road | Solomons, MD
When: Mon-Fri, 9am – 5pm | Sat, 10am – 5pm | Sun, 12-5pm
Admission $5
The grounds of the arts center in Calvert County are filled with all kinds of creative works, from large abstract sculptures to “tree pops” and birdhouses to .  In spring and summer, their annual Fairies in the Garden exhibit is delightful to tour.  Some of the bigger works are part of the permanent collection, and many more are on loan from the Hirshhorn, National Gallery of Art, and other private collections. A stroll among all of it along a looping path is lovely, relaxing, and kind of magical. And the Fairy Lolly is the sweetest kids’ play area! Indoor galleries feature even more art and artsy activities.  See more about Annmarie here.


* * * 


Where:  12100 Glen Road | Potomac, MD
When: Thursday – Sunday, 10am – 5pm
Admission: Free

This one is for the T(w)een Scene, as Glenstone requires visitors to be at least 12 years old.  The indoor/outdoor modern art museum sprawling gloriously over 300 acres in Potomac showcases modern works inside a gallery and outside around the beautiful grounds. Take advantage of the Guaranteed Entry program, which admits students and one accompanying adult without having to reserve tickets. Be sure to note that they don’t allow children under 12 at all, but it’s a wonderful place to visit with tweens and teens! Read more about Glenstone in this KFDC post.


* * * 


Some of the Statehood murals near The Atlas on H Street

DC Murals Tour
Where: Around DC
When: Ongoing
Admission: Free
You can find art by local artists all over the city on sides of buildings, temporarily boarded-up storefronts, even right on the street. MuralsDC, an initiative from the DC Department of Public Works, is an excellent resource for locating, learning about, and touring local murals. You can refer to the digital map and find tours of collections, including the 51 Murals for DC Statehood and U Street Corridor Walking Tour.


* * * 


There’s art to enjoy in the garden at the REACH

The REACH at the Kennedy Center
Where: 2700 F Street NW | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: Daily
Admission: Free
The beautiful grounds of The REACH, part of the Kennedy Center, are open and free for visitors to explore. Not only are there a few works of art located around the area, the artfully designed buildings are impressive to view. You can stroll around, check out the sculptures and structures, and take in vistas of the Potomac.


* * * 


Wooden jangseung totem poles at Meadowlark

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens
Where: 9750 Meadowlark Gardens Ct | Vienna, VA
When: Daily, 10am – 4pm Nov 1-March 25 | 10am-7pm, March 2-Oct 31
Admission: $8/adult, $4/age 6-17 & seniors, free/5 & under

While Meadowlark’s 95 acres are a horticultural gem in Northern Virginia, its gardens features some wonderful artistic works as well. There are some large sculptures to admire as you wander around.  And some of the gardens works of art themselves — the Korean Bell Garden, for instance, features the bell  a couple of pavilions, and a pretty fountain flowing through it.  Part of the joy in viewing it all is coming upon them as you stroll outdoors. Read more about Meadowlark in this KFDC post.


* * * 


Mirror Mirror, a past installation at the Alexandria Waterfront

Pop-Up Art Installations
Where: Old Town Waterfront | Alexandria, VA
When: Ongoing
Admission: Free

You can almost always count on some kind of interesting art installation to be on view at the Old Town

Alexandria Waterfront. Interstellar Influencer is the current work at the end of King Street, behind the Torpedo Factory, right next to the Potomac River is an open space, where unique, large-scale art is regularly featured. It’s fun to stop by and see it — sometimes interact with it — and enjoy being by the water. Of course, you can make a longer outing of it in Old Town and visit the Torpedo Factory, stroll around King Street, and maybe even do some secondhand shopping.


Do you know of other great places around DC to see art al fresco?  Let us know in the comments!


Leave a Comment

Filed under Art, DC, Maryland, Outdoor, Virginia