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National Portrait Gallery

Happy Friday, friends! I’m excited to spend a weekend here in DC before I head to New York, New York next weekend to spend some time with some of my best gals up there.

I’ve been making an effort to share more of the fun things I do around DC here on the blog—even when I just have iPhone photography like in today’s post (#shotonaniPhone7). So I thought to kick off the weekend, I’d share a fun day I spent in the city a few weeks ago in case you’re looking for something to do in DC during these chillier months: I went to the National Portrait Gallery.

I’m not the only one that’s been flocking to the National Portrait Gallery lately as Barack and Michelle Obama’s official portraits were recently unveiled. This was the impetus for the trip, but like any good Washingtonians, brunch was in order first. Luckily, right round the National Portrait Gallery, there are some amazing brunch spots—we went to Oyamel, but I would also recommend Jaleo, China Chilcano, and Zatinya, all of which are Jose Andres restaurants. Fun fact—the Georgetown campus I went to is right up the street, so I have a special place in my heart for the Penn Quarter/Chinatown/City Center area of DC.

national portrait gallery

national portrait gallery

national portrait gallery

After enjoying a few blood orange mimosas, it was time for the National Portrait Galley. Entry is free, and we first checked out the American Origins Exhibit, which was fascinating! It’s a series of 18 alcoves that takes you through America’s story, starting with the Native Americans and ending with the Gilded Age. I thought it was really well done, and we spent a significant amount of time enjoying the exhibit.

We then went and checked out the America’s Presidents Exhibit, which recently re-opened. At present, Michelle Obama’s portrait is actually on the first-floor near the American Origins Exhibit, right off the atrium near the gift shop. There’s a long line you can hop in if you want a quick un-obstructed picture with or of the painting, but I chose to just walk by and see if from afar.

The Presidents Exhibit is on the second floor off the atrium. When we went on Saturday, there was a long line forming off the atrium to get upstairs. We decided to bypass the line and walk up the stairs—it was then we realized the line was only for if you wanted an unobstructed picture with the portrait. We were able to see the portrait just as well from the side of the line, and didn’t spend 30+ minutes waiting in line. Once we saw Obama’s new portrait, we walked around the rest of the exhibit, enjoying each of the other Presidents’ portraits—I loved Kennedy’s, Bush’s, Jefferson’s (duh!), and Washington’s especially.

We didn’t stay to check out any of the other exhibits, but you could easily spend a whole day at the National Portrait Gallery, and I hope to get back soon!

PS—if you’re looking for a fun place to grab drinks after, try Penn Social or Hill Country BBQ.

national portrait gallery

Leave a Comment


  1. Definitely a place I hadn’t considered visiting before! But now I think I’d love it!

    Published 3.6.18
    • Katie wrote:

      Add it to the list for sure!

      Published 3.7.18