New York City might be the biggest city in the United States of America, but Washington DC is the most important. Home to the president and a long list of iconic landmarks and buildings like the White House, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the Smithsonian, Washington Harbor, and the historic streets and architecture of Georgetown, DC is a very special place for every American and a popular tourist destination with travelers from all around the world. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.


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There are many great things to do in DC. Visitors can check out the various aforementioned monuments, stop off for a photo session at the National Mall, explore the city's many museums, relax along the banks of the Potomac River, or lose themselves in the archives and exhibits of the Smithsonian. Another wonderful way to enjoy DC is to take a river cruise, and there are various DC cruise options to check out on your next trip to the nation’s capital.

Best DC Cruises

Whether you’re looking for a fun way to ring in the New Year, a romantic idea for a date night, or simply a unique and enjoyable way to appreciate the beauty and history of Washington DC, booking your spot on a Potomac River DC cruise is always a great idea. Cruises are often among the highest rated activities in DC and there’s nothing better than getting out on the water and admiring the city from a brand-new angle. So, if you’d like to make the most of your next trip to America’s capital city, read on to learn all about the best DC cruises.

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2.Washington DC New Year's Eve Dinner Cruise

Washington DC New Year's Eve Dinner Cruise
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Washington DC is one of the best places in America to spend New Year's Eve. There's nowhere quite like the nation's capital when it comes to celebrating the arrival of January 1 and the clean slate of a brand-new year, and this Washington DC New Year's Eve Dinner Cruise is an awesome way to make the evening even more memorable. Leaving from Pier 4, this cruise lasts for four hours and sets off at 9pm along the Potomac River. Passengers will be able to take their seats on board and enjoy a world class fine dining experience as the seconds pass by and midnight draws nearer. After the meal, you and your fellow travelers can take to the dance floor and start getting in a festive mood as the cruise passes by iconic landmarks like the Washington Monument and Woodrow Wilson Bridge.

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3.Washington by Water Monuments Cruise

Washington by Water Monuments Cruise
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The Washington by Water Monuments Cruise is an excellent way to appreciate some of DC's greatest landmarks and points of interest from the cozy comfort of a small cruise ship. This is an affordable DC cruise along the Potomac River, passing by a long list of highly-photographed touristic sites like the Washington Monument, the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, the Arlington Memorial Bridge, and the Lincoln Memorial. During the full length of this cruise, the captain will provide full narration, sharing interesting information about each landmark while also regaling passengers with exciting stories about the capital's history and cultural significance.

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4.Spirit of Washington DC Sunset Dinner Cruise with Buffet

Spirit of Washington DC Sunset Dinner Cruise with Buffet
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Behold the beauty of Washington DC bathed in the glow of the sunset on the Spirit of Washington DC Sunset Dinner Cruise with Buffet. This cruise, which lasts for around three hours in total, provides a warm and friendly welcome to everyone who steps aboard. Passengers will be able to make full use of the luxury amenities and features of the vessel for the full duration of their trip as they sail past famous Washington sites like the Washington Monument. A full, delicious buffet is served on board and a live DJ will also be cruising right along with you, playing a wide variety of classic and modern tunes and providing the perfect setting for a fun dance party with friends, family, or loved ones.

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5.Spirit of Washington DC Scenic Lunch Cruise

Spirit of Washington DC Scenic Lunch Cruise
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Climb on board the outstanding Spirit of Washington for a DC cruise you'll never forget. Marvel at the city's many landmarks including the Capitol Building and Washington Monument as you sit down for a 2-hour buffet lunch, with a wide array of tasty hot and cold treats available at all times. When you've finished eating, a live DJ will be on board playing a mixture of the latest hit songs for some lively dancing sessions across the ship's multiple dance floors. If you'd prefer something a little more educational, head to the observation areas and admire the scenery as the captain shares interesting and educational stories about the city.

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4 Best Washington (DC) Cruises

Attraction Spotlight: Newseum

Located in Washington, D.C., the Newseum is a museum that is dedicated to promoting and expressing the freedoms that are featured in the First Amendment of the Constitution, as well as the history and evolution of communication and related technologies.

In 2000, the Virginia-based organization and facility known as the Freedom Forum, planned to move the Newseum to Washington, D.C. The Freedom Forum used this museum as a way to promote and educate people about the First Amendment and the freedoms that come from that amendment.

In October 2002, the Freedom Forum’s founder, Al Neuharth, as well as a few executives, opened the Newseum on historic Pennsylvania Avenue. One of the most notable elements of the Newseum include the First Amendment inscribed on a pink marble tablet that is located on the front of the building.

The Newseum has an array of permanent attractions spread out across their multi-level museum.. Some of the highlighted permanent attractions include:

Hank Greenspun Terrace on Pennsylvania Avenue is located on the Museum’s sixth floor and features a panoramic view of Pennsylvania Avenue. Below, visitors can look down at the famous street and historic Washington, D.C.

Journalists Memorial is a memorial dedicated to reporters, editors, broadcasters, photographers, and any other type of reporter who lost their life while doing their job. The names of these reports are inscribed on two large glass structures, as well as other kiosks and panels.

Cox Enterprises First Amendment Gallery explains and provides examples for the rights of the First Amendment. Each of the five freedoms addressed in the First Amendment is showcased through a historical moment.

CONUS 1 Satellite Truck is the satellite truck that changed how local stations would produce and report local news. The CONUS 1 truck as created by Hubbard Broadcasting and CONUS Communications in 1984.

Bloomberg Internet, TV and Radio Gallery showcases how electronic media has evolved and changed throughout the ages. One of the highlights of this gallery is the Edward R. Murrow exhibit that features the CBS News broadcaster reflecting on his career.

Berlin Wall Gallery displays eight sections from the original Berlin Wall, which was taken down. This exhibit reflects how the combination of information and news helped the destruction of the Berlin Wall.

In addition to the wide variety of permanent attractions, the Newseum regularly displays a variety of special attractions throughout the year. In order to find an updated list of special attractions at the Newseum, check out the Newseum’s official website.

Education is extremely important to the Newseum. That’s why the Newseum has an entire website dedicated to providing people with free educational opportunities. Titles, the website has a ton of free resources that can be used as learning tools to gain knowledge and insight about the First Amendment and media literacy. Some of the resources on the Newseum education website include; activities, lesson plans, primary sources, interactive webpages, and latest news topics.

In addition to their education website, the Newseum offers a variety of educational opportunities on-site. These educational programs are available to students, educators, and professionals. General visitors and field trips are welcome to download one of their various activity guides to fully engage and get the most out of their visit at the museum. Aside from the variety of activity guides, the Newseum offers various classes including:

Fighting Fake News Class allows students to learn the signs of fake news and what they can do to combat it.

Media Ethics for Educators teaches educators a variety of ethics used in journalism, and how they can in turn teach these ethics efficiently to their students.

For more information about any of the educational opportunities at the Newseum, check out the Newseum’s official website, or visit or contact them during their hours of operation.

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555 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C., USA, Phone: 202-969-3037

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Attraction Spotlight: National Gallery of Art

Andrew W. Mellon, who was born in 1855 and passed away in 1937, gave the National Gallery of Art to the people of America. Originally from Pittsburgh, he was both a collector and financier who in 1921 moved to Washington, DC. There, he served as the Secretary of the Treasury. Throughout his time in public office, Mellon felt that the United States deserved an art museum of epic portions similar to what other nations had.

In a letter written to President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936, Mellon made an incredible offer of donating his magnificent art collection to a new museum. As part of the offer, he even used his own money for the construction of the building that would in 1937 become the National Gallery of Art.

Once finished, the museum was beyond what anyone could have imagined. Having hired world-renowned architect, John Russell, the design was spectacular. All four entrances of the building have formal public entrances and the main floor is beautifully centered around a rotunda reminiscent of ancient Roman times. Barrel-vaulted sculpture halls are located to the east and west of the rotunda, which lead into breathtaking garden courts. To the north and south are interconnecting exhibition galleries with public spaces used today for a variety of reasons.

The West Building was completed using state-of-the-art technology for the time, which boasts a light pink Tennessee marble interior, rotunda columns, polished limestone that covers the walls on the primary floor, and Italian marble rotunda columns. To illuminate the space, Russell included skylights covering the entire three-acre rooftop in his design.

Mellon was strongly convicted that people visiting the National Gallery of Art should have a learning experience while enjoying various collections. Therefore, exhibits are broken down by national origin and period in stunningly beautiful decorated galleries. As an example, the Italian Renaissance galleries feature hand-finished plaster walls detailed with door and base moldings, built-in display niches, and Italian travertine wainscot. In comparison, the Dutch 17th century galleries were designed with wood paneling that captures the essence of the original setting.

At the time the National Gallery of Art opened for public viewing, the collection consisted of just 26 sculptures and 126 paintings. However, only two years later, the museum expanded its collection thanks to Samuel H. Kress who donated 18 Italian sculptures and 375 paintings. Then in 1943, Lessing J. Rosenwalk offered an impressive collection of drawings and prints, which eventually reached 22,000. Of those, over 350 woodcuts were from the 15 century.

The National Gallery of Art was further enhanced when a collector of American and French art, Chester Dale, lent seven American paintings and 25 Italian paintings from the 18 century to the early portion of the 20th century. He went on to donate 23 American and old master paintings, giving the gallery more credence. Over time, additional collectors made donations, making the National Gallery of Art an extremely important place that people can visit and enjoy.

One of the most recent changes to the gallery came in 1966 when it reached an agreement with the National Park Service to create a garden specifically for sculptures. The garden opened in 1999 and to this day, it remains a focal point. Included is a circular reflecting pool and fountain, which serve as the main feature. During the winter months, the pool is transformed into an ice skating rink. Surrounding the fountain are comfortable benches that provide visitors with a place of meditation.

Ironically, Andrew Mellon and John Russell both died in August 1937, just 24 hours apart. Although they had the opportunity to enjoy much of the work completed on the gallery, they unfortunately never lived to see its full potential.

The National Gallery of Art is a popular venue for various events and programs, including enrichment and educational programs available in person and online. Starting in 1942, the public was treated to free Sunday evening concerts featuring musicians and ensembles from around the world, as well as the National Gallery Orchestra. To this day, these same programs are offered during the fall and winter months.

Almost daily, public tours are available for anyone interested in learning about specific exhibits or the gallery itself. As part of this, trained staff members give talks along with tours of different collections and special exhibitions. To ensure that everyone receives the same five-star treatment, on specific days and at certain times, tours are offered in foreign languages. There are also self-guided audio tours for anyone interested in the West Building collections, as well as exhibitions on temporary display.

The highly-acclaimed lectures and films are another key offering of the gallery. Presented on a regular basis, both are available at no cost in the auditorium of the East Building, as well as sometimes in the West Building Lecture Hall. On weekends, films that connect to gallery exhibitions are screened in the East Building.

Students, teachers, and children are provided wonderful opportunities. Various programs are designed to reach groups of visitors who are excited about the gallery by using family activities, teacher workshops, volunteer opportunities, high school seminars, school tours, films for children and teens, and an annual teacher institute. The goal is to get children and adults to the gallery so they can learn about art in creative and engaging ways.

The National Gallery of Art is home to some of the finest art collections in existence. Whether looking at pop art or Byzantine altarpieces, everything is stunning. Although the gallery features a broad range of collections, paintings are among the most popular. The gallery began with Mellon’s prominent collection of 121 old master paintings.

In addition, Chester Dale donated French and post impressionist’s paintings, along with paintings from the School of Paris. Thanks to many additional bequests and donations, the gallery has one of the finest collections of American paintings in the country.

Sculptures are another huge part of the National Gallery of Art. Although the gallery opened with just 40 sculptures, the collection is significant. Expanding the sculpture collection was Samuel H. Kress and his brother Rush, who working in conjunction with Joseph Widener donated an incredible collection. This gallery remains one of the most respected of all Italian sculpture collections in America.

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This remarkable collection includes works by some of the most famous sculptors in the world such as Sansovino, Saint-Gaudens, Rossellino, Nadelman, Adriaen de Vries, Gauguin, and many other greats. Visitors can see fine collections up close and personal made form plaster, wood, marble, silver, bronze, ceramic, paper-maché, unbaked clay, and terracotta that date back to 100 BCE.

Additional collections at the National Gallery of Art include prints, drawings, decorative arts, photographs, and media arts, each leaving a distinct impression.

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The National Gallery of Art also boasts the Center for Advanced Study in Visual Arts. This center was an integral part of the East Building opening back in 1978 and it continues to bring scholars together so that art and architecture can be better understood and appreciated.

Commonly referred to as CASVA, the center routinely hosts visiting scholars from around the globe thanks to fellowships and sponsored professorships. Specific to members’ research, different meetings and symposia are organized. In addition, volumes related to its seminars, symposia, and long-term research projects are published.

In the East Building is a major art research library, which features a massive collection of 400,000 plus books, documents, and periodicals, all relating to architecture, and the criticism, history, and theory of art. However, the main emphasis is on Western Art from the Middle Ages to present time. Included are exhibition catalogues, monographs, and a rare book collection. The department is also home to roughly 13 million photographs, microform images, slides, and negatives, also of Western architecture and art.

Another fascinating aspect of the National Gallery of Art is the perfectly manicured gardens both inside and outside of the West Building. The Garden Courts on the interior boasts tropical foliage that provides visitors a place of tranquility. On the outside are magnificent fountains and lush landscaping that enhances the building’s aesthetics.

Because plants have been a key part of certain exhibitions for more than five decades, great care is given to growing vegetation. In fact, one of the essential elements of the East Building is plants, with the atrium featuring towering trees. After the Sculpture Garden opened in 1999, horticulture became prominent in the overall design.


The National Gallery of Art also has a division dedicated to conservation with the goal of studying and preserving works in different collections. Housed within the conservation division are specialized departments, including those for the treatment and care of paper, photographs, frames, objects, textiles, and paintings. This allows gallery caretakers and other professionals to properly maintain collections so that people can enjoy them for years to come. Through study, experts gain insight into proper and changing methods of care.

Visiting the National Gallery of Art

For anyone interested in experiencing all the greatness associated with the National Gallery of Art can come to Washington, DC. The gallery is located between 3rd and 9th streets, running alongside Constitution Avenue NW.

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6th and Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20565, Phone: 202 737-4215

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