National Gallery of ArtDistance From Washington Reagan National Airport: 4.5mi
Constitution Ave, NW
Phone: (202) 737-4215
Hours: Mon.-Sat 10:00 am – 5:00pm, Sun 11:00 am – 6:00 pm; Closed December 25, January 1
Floors of green and gray marble, columns of Tuscan, walls of Italian limestone and Italian travertine all make up the West Building of the National Gallery of Art. Designed by John Russel Pope, it contains Western European and American art, spanning between the periods of 13th and 20th century. Highlights include Leonardo da Vinci’s Ginevra de’ Benci, the only da Vinci painting in the Western hemisphere, collection of Italian paintings and sculptures, French Impressionist, and special exhibitions. Literally thousands of breathtaking canvases and sculptures are housed in this original building. The East building, designed by I.M. Pei, exhibits twentieth -century art within its angular architecture. Designed as a group of triangles, the East Building showcases free films, lectures, and concerts. One of the world’s top ten art museums.
Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington National CemeteryDistance From Washington Reagan National Airport: 4.6mi
Virginia side of the Memorial Bridge, Arlington
Once the estate of Robert E. Lee, the beautiful landscape that now comprises Arlington National Cemetery is a testament to the service rendered to our nation by its citizens.
National Museum of Natural HistoryDistance From Washington Reagan National Airport: 4.5mi
10th Street and Constitution Avenue NW
Phone: (202) 357-2700
Hours: Daily 10:00 am- 5:30 pm; Closed December 25
Get into the spirit of exploration, and take a tour of 575 million years of history! The National Museum of Natural History encompasses everything from dinosaurs, diamonds and dioramas; this massive museum is filled with 118 million items. Exhibits cover the entire spectrum of the life sciences, minerals, botanicals, and zoological and geological materials. The Dinosaur Hall, exhibits on the evolution of human fossils, live Insect Zoo, bird displays, plants, rocks, and gems. The Sea Life Hall contains live marine life, plus a living coral reef. The Discovery Room is a big hit with children, of every age, with its hands-on activities and exhibits. Children can explore everything from the texture of an elephant tusk to an arrowhead. Plus, the Natural History Museum’s costume room allows children to try on costumes from around the world. On your visit, remember to also check out the Johnson IMAX 2D/3D Theater.
National Air and Space Museum
National Air and Space MuseumDistance From Washington Reagan National Airport: 4.3mi
Sixth Street and Independence Avenue SW
As a member of the Smithsonian complex, it houses a wide assortment of aerodynamic treasures. The museum exhibits the history of aviation and the space age; presenting the history of flight from the earliest yearning and attempts to fly, to World War II rockets, to modern space probes. The politics, physics, and art linked to man’s dream of flying are explored within the 23 additional galleries. This museum presents visitors with the hands-on opportunities to design aircrafts, and inspect a model of Skylab. For a cosmic experience visit the Albert Einstein’s Planetarium located within the museum. Projected onto a towering five-story high screen the Langley Theater features Imax films on air and space travel. Visiting the Langley Theater means glide through the sky on everything from a hot air balloon to a fighter jet.
National Museum of American HistoryDistance From Washington Reagan National Airport: 4.7mi
14th Street and Constitution Avenue
Phone: (202) 357-2700
Hours: Daily 10:00 am – 5:30 pm
For the enjoyment of children, the Museum of American History presents the Hands On History Room, Hands On Science Center, Lemelson Center, and the ABC’s of American History. In the Hands On History Room, history is placed directly in the hands of children. At this exhibit they will be able to participate in activities such as sending a message by telegraph, and riding on a high wheel bicycle. Children can unravel some of the mysteries of science in the Hands On Science Center. It is here where young “Experimenters” can examine DNA, measure distances with a laser, discover the chemical properties of common household items, measure radioactive hotspots, explore magnetisms, and much more. The Lemelson Center develops programs targeted to expand the study and exploration of invention and innovation among children. The museum fills its rooms with the affluence of American history; Ranging from George Washington’s false teeth to the star-spangled banner, this museum showcases cultural and technological developments of the US. The machine exhibit, located on the ground floor, showcases such objects as railroad locomotives to atom smashers. In contrast the second floor displays people in their home-life, relationships, and community life. As a whole the museum’s various floors and galleries, depicts all aspects of the American history.
National Archives in Washington DC (photo by NCinDC)
The National Archives building is only 4 miles away from the Regan airport which makes for a quick trip for those short on time. Records kept here include the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and the Constitution. Large historical photo collections can also be viewed by the public in this building.
The National Zoo is only 7.4 miles away from the airport but is a time consuming activity so we would recommend this for travelers who have a little more time to spend. Founded in 1899, this zoo is one of the only zoos in the country to house Giant Pandas.
The White House is only 3.9 miles from the Ronald Reagan National Airport and makes a great stop for anyone including travelers who are short on time. On the other hand, if you want to take a tour of the White House you will need to have more time than just a couple hours. Though few of the many rooms are accessible to the public on this tour, one of the nation’s best-known homes historical structures cannot be skipped.
International Spy Museum
With the International Spy Museum only 4.2 miles from the Ronald Reagan airport, it makes for a great destination for people who are short on time. Each visitor assumes an identity upon entering, and can choose to complete an assigned "mission" throughout the course of their visit, as well as test themselves on the details of their new life via workstations and museum employees.
Capitol City Brewing
Capitol City Brewing is only 4.3 miles from the airport and offers a historic place for travels to sit back and relax. Washington DC’s first brewery since prohibition, there are three locations for guests to enjoy handcrafted brews with others.
DC by Foot tour
Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument (photo by David Baron)
A variety of tours are offered by this company, depending on the sights desired and take a substantial amount of time and so are recommended for those will more time to spend. The Lincoln’s Assassination tour and the More Than Just Monuments tour are two of the most popular.
Great Falls Park
Great Falls Park is 17.9 miles from the Ronald Reagan airport and so requires more time for travel but is worth the drive if you have the time. This 800 acre area houses not only a beautiful park with fifteen miles of hiking trails and a large picnic area, but also the remains of the nation’s first canal and the Potomac River’s Great Falls.
Lucky Bar is 5.2 from the Reagan airport and is a great place for the sport enthusiast. Open seven days a week, this sports bar offers an extensive beer list, as well as a full menu and great place to dance. Opening early on game days, this location shows many different sporting events and offers daily food and drink specials in an always-electric atmosphere.
Politics and Prose Bookstore
The Politics and Prose Bookstore is 8.5 miles from the airport and overs a unique experience for those who want to sit and relax. This bookstore that doubles as a coffeehouse and hosts live events like debates, readings, and panel discussions as well as classes on various topics from poetry to photography.
Good Stuff Eatery
Only 4.2 miles from the Ronald Reagan airport, Good Stuff Eatery is a great place to grab a bite to eat. Owned and operated by Top Chef Spike Mendelsohn and his family, this new restaurant specializes in delicious burgers, fries, milkshakes and salads.
Although this is not a comprehensive list by any means, these activities and locations showcase just how much variety the Washington DC area has to offer the millions of people that visit each year.