Things to Do

DC Has 4 Eye-Catching Immersive Exhibits Right Now. Which One Should You Check Out This Weekend?

Surround yourself with art, '90s television, and nature.

Van Gogh: the Immersive Experience. Photograph by Dan Swartz.

District residents have a thing for museums, and the city has become a prime destination for a rapidly growing genre: the immersive exhibit. Right now, there are four showy productions—and a 360-degree ode to Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera is coming in May. If you’re looking for a unique family activity (or something to do that doesn’t involve breathing in lungfuls of the pollen) one of these experiences might be what you’re looking for.


Van Gogh: the Immersive Experience. Photograph by Dan Swartz.

Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience

Where: 524 Rhode Island Ave., NE.
What you’ll find: A deep-dive into the life and works of one of the world’s most famous artists. Visitors can sit inside a 3D reimagining of the Dutch painter’s famous bedroom along the way to the main exhibit: a 15,000 square foot room of floor-to-ceiling projections showing more than 300 sketches, drawings, and paintings. Wander the periphery or hang out on bean-bag or beach chairs. After, there’s an optional virtual reality component (for an additional fee), a room where you can color your own Van Gogh reproductions, and a gift shop with oddities like a Van Gogh Rubik’s cube.
When: Daily through the end of May.
Cost: Tickets start at $36.
How long it takes: Usually 60 to 75 minutes.
Perfect for: Emily in Paris fans, lovers of sunflowers and starry nights, VR enthusiasts, and kids.

Photograph courtesy of the Friends Experience.

The “Friends Experience”

Where: 1025 F St., NW.
What you’ll find: Here’s a chance to live out your ‘90s dreams of sitting inside Monica and Rachel’s ridiculously large New York apartment, or on the orange couch at Central Perk. The exhibit takes “experiential” seriously—in addition to all the spots for photo ops, you can relive Ross, Rachel, and Chandler’s ill-fated attempt to haul a sofa up a narrow staircase.
When: Thursday through Sunday until June 5.
Cost: Tickets start at $42.
How long it takes: Typically about 30 to 45 minutes.
Perfect for: Nineties nostalgia seekers, pop-culture nerds, people who are “on a break.”

Photograph courtesy of Artechouse DC.


Where: 1238 Maryland Ave., SW.
What you’ll find: A multidimensional digital art show inspired by DC’s favorite springtime obsession. The Artechouse exhibit features a blend of visual, audio, and physical cherry blossom art in an interactive installation. Also, there are cherry blossom-themed drinks.
When: Daily through June 5.
Cost: Tickets go for $25—there’s a $5 discount for DC residents.
How long it takes: Tickets last one hour.
Perfect for: Anyone counting down the days until peak bloom, tech geeks looking for date ideas, cocktail fans.

Camille Seaman Antarctica, 2016. Featured in the COAL + ICE exhibition at the Kennedy Center.

Coal + Ice

Where: Kennedy Center (2700 F St., NW).
What you’ll find: A 30,000 square-foot exhibition space filled with photographs and video art exploring the coal industry’s contribution to climate change. The installation includes current and historical pictures of coal miners alongside images that illustrate climate change’s impacts on the planet.
When: The exhibit is open through April 22, but hours vary; check the website for details.
Cost: It’s free! No pre-registration is required unless there is a special event going on.
How long it takes: It’s self-guided, so make it as long or short as you want.
Perfect for: Engaged global citizens, National Geographic subscribers.

Kayla Benjamin
Assistant Editor