Most Powerful Portraits : The Hall of Presidents at the National Portrait Gallery and National Museum of American Art  features the likenesses of 42 commanders in chief, including a surprisingly endearing portrait of Richard Nixon by Norman Rockwell.
Best Museum Space : The Phillips Collection , housed in a gallery space that blends contemporary architecture with rooms in the former Phillips family home, displays the works of Degas, Cézanne, Van Gogh, and Matisse alongside art by Americans Whistler, Homer, Hopper, and O’Keeffe.
Best Theater Venue : The city’s first Regional Theatre Tony Award winner received a makeover in 2010; Arena Stage  now has three theater venues, including its original theater-in-the-round, now under a glass-enclosed cantilevered big top.
Best Free Show : Millennium Stage, in the Grand Foyer of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts , showcases America’s talent for free, no ticket required, daily at 6 p.m. On any given evening, audiences might see a children’s storyteller, a Grammy nominee, a university dance troupe, or a one-act play.
Best Under-the-Radar Tony Award Winner : The theater cognoscenti know Signature Theatre , but many of its own neighbors aren’t familiar with this gem, founded to showcase the works of Stephen Sondheim. Signature has gone beyond playing a little night music to staging new works and reworking often ignored books, including a critically acclaimed revival of Chess in 2010.
Best Place for a Movie Opening : The decor — what looks to be circa-1970 with smooshed red seats and the funk of 40 years — is nothing to gush about, but the AMC Loews Uptown ’s curved 32- by 70-foot single screen and 850 seats with a balcony still remains the best place to catch a midnight opening in DC.
Most Impressive Parade : The Army calls their evening performances “tattoos,” while the Marines call them “parades.” Regardless, the Corps’s Friday Military Parades  at Marine Barracks 8th and I are unforgettable.
Best Biking Trail : The gentle uphill climb of the Capital Crescent Trail  from Georgetown to Bethesda, Maryland, is a workout, but a treat waits at the end: Dolcezzo Gelato is just a few blocks down on the left on Bethesda Avenue.