Experience Art in Nature at the National Sculpture Garden

National Sculpture Garden on the National Mall in Washington DC

Who doesn’t love awesome sculptures outdoors? That’s my favorite art to enjoy, and the National Sculpture Garden, although not as large as some other outdoor sculpture museums, doesn’t disappoint.

Visiting the museums on the National Mall can be exhausting. There’re too many to see in a week, much less a day. And the walking! But the museums and monuments on the National Mall are our nation’s national treasures. There’s amazing science, history, natural wonders, and of course, amazing art and sculpture. The National Sculpture Garden provides a wonderful oasis to explore while relaxing and resting up in a beautiful garden setting with fountains, art and enough shade to find a comfortable bench.

You’re likely to encounter dog walkers and joggers, as well as tourists, families with strollers and bikers at the National Sculpture Garden. This is truly a sculpture park of the people. In all, there are 21 sculptures in this 6-acre park.

Inside the sculpture garden you’ll enjoy splendid views of large-scale sculptures from artists in the National Gallery’s renowned collection, including Alexander Calder, Louise Bourgeois, and Roy Lichtenstein. My favorites? The metal tree, of course (“Graft,” Roxy Paine, 2008-2009, stainless steel and concrete). But also AMOR (“AMOR,” Robert Indiana, 2006, polychrome aluminum).

And I loved the whimsical metal rabbit (“Thinker on a Rock,” Barry Flanagan, 1997, bronz) and what I could tell at first glance was a Lichtenstein (“House 1,” 1998, fabricated and painted aluminum). But shout out to the delightful giant eraser that only folks who used to type on actual old-fashioned typewriters would recognize (“Typewriter Eraser, Scale X,” Claes Oldenburg and Cooseje Van Bruggen, 1999, painted stainless steel and fiberglass)!

The National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden is the most recent addition to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. in the United States.

Know Before You Go to the National Sculpture Garden

The closest Metro stations to the National Sculpture Garden are the Federal Triangle Metro station, located on the Blue, Orange, and Silver lines; the Archives/Navy Memorial station on the Green and Yellow lines; and Smithsonian Station. There is exceptionally limited parking on the street.

You can spend an hour enjoying this cozy sculpture garden.

Getting there: The National Sculpture Garden is located on the National Mall at Constitution Avenue, N.W., between 12th and 14th Streets, Washington, D.C., tucked between the National Gallery’s West Building and the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History.
Hours: 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., including holidays with the exception of December 25
Website: National Gallery of Art

Check out other attractions on the National Mall in the articles below:

Looking for more great things to see and do in and near DC?

Do you enjoy art outside? Check out these sculpture gardens!