The District lays claim to a score of well-curated museums, but that's still no excuse to totally ignore the expansive collection at the Baltimore Museum of Art (10 Art Museum Drive, Baltimore, Md.).
BMA holds the largest collection of Henri Matisse in the world, plus several iconic paintings by Pablo Picasso, Paul Cézanne, Rembrandt van Rijn, Jean Baptiste Siméon Chardin and Vincent van Gogh.
Unlike Smithsonian art museums which often split collections by region, the BMA has several different wings so museum-goers can get a taste of art and culture from all over, as opposed to just Europe (we're looking at you, National Gallery).
The museum is currently showcasing Print by Print: Series from Dürer to Lichtenstein. The exhibit illuminates how prominent artists like Canaletto, Picasso, Ruscha, Lichtenstein and more have used pattern-making as a template for expressing both elegance and narrative. Print by Print runs through March 25, 2012.
Other exhibits worth checking out are Candida Höfer: Interior Worlds; Hand Held: Personal Arts from Africa, and Embroidered Treasures: Textiles from Central Asia.
Höfer photographs spacious architecture; last year he came to Baltimore to take pictures of some of the city's architectural gems, like the George Peabody Library and the Walters Art Museum.
After strolling around the museum, pay a visit to the attached restaurant, Gertrude's (pictured), which is hosting Holiday Afternoon Tea on selected days during December, by reservation.
The menu (see PDF here) includes a pot of tea with a selection of finger sandwiches like turkey-cranberry and cucumber-avocado, as well as sweeter snacks (think cranberry scones and lemon macaroons). Click here to reserve a spot or check out their general menu.
Museum admission is free; hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Wednesday through Friday, and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. on weekends.