This summer, as a result of a rare and unexpected planetary alignment in the art universe, the nation's political capital will briefly be the nation's art capital as well. There will be five not-to-be-missed shows in town. The two biggies are the comprehensive retrospectives of Mary Cassatt's Impressionist paintings at the National Gallery of Art (June 6September 6) and Georgia O'Keeffe at the Phillips Collection (April 17July 18). The Corcoran will have the first retrospective to focus exclusively on the sculpture of the late Roy Lichtenstein (June 4September 26), and the Hirshhorn Museum is presenting a survey of Brice Marden's meditative abstract paintings and recent works on paper (May 27September 6). Finally, at the National Portrait Gallery, there's a selection of photographs by the German-born artist Hans Namuth, best remembered for his pictures of Jackson Pollock at work (April 30-September 6). Book a room at the atmospheric Hay Adams, the Renaissance Mayflower (order a martini), or the celebrity-haunted, fashionably minimal George. Dine at the all-organic Restaurant Nora, near the Phillips Collection and a favorite of the Clintons' and Gores'. And enjoy Washington's apolitical culture while you can.
DETAILS Hay Adams Hotel (800-424-5054; double rooms start at $220); Renaissance Mayflower hotel (800-336-0200; rooms start at $119); the Hotel George (800-576-8331; double rooms start at $149); Restaurant Nora (202-462-5143; entrées, $19 to $28); Amtrak (800-872-7245).