Let’s face it, the weather in the DC-metro area is not always cooperative. With fickle weather swings (hello, the rainiest summer we’ve seen!), it is not always easy to enjoy the outdoors.

So here’s a list of our top places to visit in DC when you have to be inside:

Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery:  When the forecast for Washington, DC calls for nothing but humid, gloomy days, we often retreat to the atrium in the National Portrait Gallery.  It is hands down one of the best places in the city to shoot photos indoors. We recently spent an afternoon there snapping pix with one of our fave photographers, Alex Vactor. We love the water features, marble, and beautiful greenery all made for stunning backdrops. Not to mention the cafe inside sells sangria and other boozy refreshments on Saturdays.

The US Botanic Garden:  We love the Botanic Garden because of the variety, though it is fairly small for a DC attraction. The desert room is lovely with prickly pears and agave that transport you to another place momentarily.  Not to mention the interactive children’s garden/playground, rotating exhibits, and holiday festivities. You can easily spend hours here.

Union Market: So the old standard is Eastern Market, which yes has it’s charm. However, you can’t beat Union Market on a cold or rainy day. You can spend hours tasting culinary blends of Korean and Mexican tacos and vegan treats that are to die for. Plus, there’s always the cutest pop-up shops mixed in with politics and prose. We love to meet up with friends to explore. If you happen to brave the weather and walk around the unassuming outside, you may catch a mural or two worth seeing.

The Hirshhorn:  This is not the run of the mill museum, but often an immersive experience. The Hirshhorn has a knack for exhibiting ground breaking artists and legends of the art world. Ai Weiwei and Yayoi Kusama to name a few have graced the halls of this building. This museum is free, but for some exhibitions you do need tickets ahead of time.

The Willard:  We love going to the Willard for two things. First the spa. The Red Door Spa to be exact, which has the best hot stone Swedish massage around. This is our go-to place to unwind.  The second is Peacock Alley for afternoon tea. Petit fours and scones so buttery you’ll never forget them are served over 3-5 courses with tea pairings.

Artechhouse: Where technology, science, and creativity meet in one space. Artechhouse is a one of a kind visual wonder that immerses you in each exhibit. Every once it a while you can purchase tickets to attend a shared meal described as an immersive food experience. You can dine while visions appear and sounds play. All are connected to the theme of your meal.

Where are you favorite places to visit when the weather won’t cooperate? Let us know in the comments!