The National Gallery of Art – East Building- with Your Little Ones

The Cherry Blossom Festival has started, and that means that the best time of the year in D.C. is here! 🌸💕

To properly start the celebration, we went to check out the Free Lunch Time Concert: The 6821 Quintet at National Gallery of Art last week.

Classic concert with a toddler? Am I crazy? 🤩 Yes, maybe a little bit. But I didn’t want to miss this chance to give my 20-months old lady to enjoy a live classical music for the first time in her life. I mean, how often do you get to find a concert with internationally-renowned musicians during the daytime that is free and without age-restriction and so close to your neighborhood?? That must be pretty rare!

It was also our first time to visit the new wing (East Building) of the National Gallery of Art. We took the Circulator (National Mall Line) from Union Station and got off at stop number 2. The building is right next to the main building (West Building) of the National Gallery of Art and they are actually connected inside through a cool looking tunnel-like Walkway, which is also a piece or art. 

The concert was held at its auditorium on the concourse level. I was a little nervous to see the formal setting but relieved to see there were a good number of babies and toddlers.

The music was great! My toddler seemed to be interested in the instruments like violin and cello that she saw for the first time in her life. She also loved clapping hands with everyone else at the end of each piece. I personally loved the music because some pieces were by a Japanese composer. It was a right way to celebrate the Cherry Blossom festival. I wish I could write more about this 45-minute concert but we only got to stay for 15 minutes until my toddler found the stairway to the stage and wanted to go up and down (of course). After the concert, we had a little lunch at the Terrace Cafe at the Upper Level Atrium and wandered around the gallery with my toddler and her little friend.

Fun spots to check out with your kids-

1.The Big Blue Rooster– the Roof Terrace

2. The room with mobiles – East Building Tower Gallery 606

3. Cascade Waterfall and the Cafe- on the Concourse Level

1.The Big Blue Rooster– the Roof Terrace

You can even spot this huge rooster on the roof terrace from outside of the building. It is that big! It is by the German artist Katharina Fritsch. As tempting as it looks, the rooster is not to be touched or ridden 😉 The roof terrace itself is a modern open area that is perfect for little kids.

2. The room with mobilesEast Building Tower Gallery 606

This little room in the gallery is full of interesting looking objects by Alexander Calder. There are a number of hanging mobiles on the ceiling and at children’s height level. Fish, dogs, giraffe… They are so colorful and fun to watch. But if you have little runners, you might end up running after your little one and stopping them from touching the art 😀 That is exactly what happened to me and I left the gallery sweating!

 3. Cascade Waterfall and the Cafe – on the Concourse Level

This spacious cafe area (very kid-friendly) is located right next to the Cascade Waterfall. You can see the water falling through the glass and it is a total eye-catcher for little kids. It is also next to the walkway to the West Building, which is decorated with tons of sparkling little LED lights.

The building has elevators and is stroller-friendly, but I found it somewhat confusing which elevator to take. The super modern architecture of the building was way too complicated for me with three different towers and so on. If you could drop your stroller and use stairs/escalators, your trip inside of the gallery will be much easier.

If you have time, do check out the gift shop on the concourse level as well. They have a great selection of children’s books about art and museums.

I hope you enjoy your visit!


Museum Information

The National Gallery of Art West Building
Located between 3rd and 9th Streets along Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20001

Accessible Entrance is on the 4th Street side.

Hours : Mon-Sat 10am-5pm Sunday 11am-6pm

Circulator Stop: No.2 on the National Mall Line
Metro Stop: Archives–Navy Memorial–Penn Quarter on the Green and Yellow lines.

#DCwithKids #toddlerlife #WashingtoDC #Smithsonian #SmithsnonianMuseum #PortraitGallery #ArtforKids #springbreak

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