The Phillips is renowned for its status as the country’s first museum of modern art; its possession of post-Impressionist masterpieces, Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party above all; its Mark Rothko Room; its Phillips After Five monthly socials; and for launching so many romances that the museum for a time was tracking them. (How fitting that the museum’s cafe is called Tryst at the Phillips, this Tryst being the second and only other location of the original in Adams Morgan.)
Couples and other museumgoers love the main building’s sense of intimacy as much as the art on view from the permanent collection, everyone from Bonnard to Jacob Lawrence. Founder Duncan Phillips once lived in this Georgian Revival mansion, even after he and his wife turned it into a museum in 1921. The house retains a homey feeling, with small rooms leading one to another, fireplaces in each, and windows looking out on the Dupont Circle neighborhood.
New wings added over the years are elegant additions and allow room for a sculpture garden, the Rothko Room and the Wolfgang Laib Wax Room, a tiny closet-size room whose walls are entirely covered in fragrant beeswax.
Metro: Dupont Circle on the Red Line. Q St. exit.