Best Way that Art in D.C. Is Better (Yes, Better!) Than New York’s

It’s mostly free
OK, New York, we’ll concede to you on a hundred different points—among them, better style, a bigger art scene, and more delicious bagels. What you don’t have, though, is the opportunity to hop to three different art museums in one day and spend zero dollars. Unless they come on a pay-what-you-can day, New Yorkers and visitors have to cough up between $18 and $20 for adult admission at each of the city’s major museums. That’s a lot of bagels. One can quibble that some of those museums take admission in the form of “suggested donations,” but it’s rare that the price suggestions aren’t taken. Art tourists in D.C., on the other hand, have access to world-class collections at the National Gallery, American Art Museum, Portrait Gallery, the Hirshhorn, and other museums that are accessible to all, a fact that hasn’t gone unnoticed in the recession. According to Forbes Traveler, with 4.96 million visitors last year, the National Gallery of Art was the most-visited art museum in America in 2009.