7 Immersive Exhibits Worth Visiting In Washington, D.C.
Imagine being able to step into your favorite works of art, TV film sets and dramatic documentary photography displays. That’s exactly what’s happening at museums and art centers around the world nowadays, as more of them produce immersive experiences meant to fully evoke the senses and allow audiences to enjoy these creative works with their entire being. Here’s a look at five of the most interesting immersive exhibits you can visit in Washington, D.C. right now—plus, another two that will be opening later this year.
Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience
Whether you’ve always been a huge fan of the artist or have recently become aware of his existence after watching Emily in Paris, Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience is sure to impress. After winding your way through a series of galleries with museum-like panels featuring his greatest works, the story of his intriguing and dramatic life and several life-sized recreations of several of his most famous paintings, you’ll enter the main gallery, home of the 35-minute immersive 360-degree digital projection finale. Sit back, take it all in and enjoy the visual adventure, highlighting some of his most unforgettable pieces that span his entire life and career. Open through May 2022. Tickets from $36.
Coal + Ice
Coal + Ice, a joint venture between the Asia Society and The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, aims to build awareness of the ongoing climate crisis by making it impossible not to visualize its effects on the environment and humanity. The exhibit, on display at the Reach Plaza at the Kennedy Center in a 30,000-square-foot tent, highlights photography and videos created by 50 artists from all over the world and serves as a staging area for panel discussions, musical performances and other events throughout the six-week series. Open through April 22, 2022. Free entry, though pre-registration is required through the website if you’re attending during an event.
Celebrate springtime in a whole new way with PixelBloom at Artechouse, an immersive experience designed to delight the senses. Grab a cocktail (or mocktail) at the XR Bar, then head straight into the main gallery and get comfy on one of the provided cushions as you let your mind wander and absorb the 22-minute floral projection showcase. Don’t miss the side galleries, which feature interactive exhibits—virtual petals on the floor open and close as you walk on them, while other colorful displays react to your movement. Open through June 5, 2022. Tickets from $25 per adult, $20 for seniors over 65, students, military members and first responders; $17 for kids ages 4–15; free for children ages four and under. DC Metro Area residents can show proof of residency and save $5 on weekday tickets.
The Friends Experience
The Friends Experience: The One in Washington, D.C. offers a museum-like setting, complete with behind-the-scenes stories about the popular 90s TV show and those who helped create it, plus 12 rooms of interactive set replicas. Re-create your favorite scenes—yell “PIVOT!” in your best Ross Gellar voice, hang out in Monica’s kitchen, pose in the famous Friends hallway, recline in Joey and Chandler’s BarcaLoungers, and chill in Central Perk, among other nostalgia-inducing photo-ops. You’ll also find exhibits dedicated to “The Rachel,”and a fully printed version of the letter Rachel wrote to Ross after their “we were on a break” fiasco—18 pages, front and back! Open through June 5, 2022. Tickets from $35, $31 for seniors, students and military members.
One With Eternity
Five years after Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s popular 2017 showcase, Infinity Mirrors, her latest exhibit, One With Eternity, will open April 1 at the Hirshhorn Museum, a Smithsonian hub of modern and contemporary art, featuring two immersive infinity rooms—her original and a newer rendition—as well as earlier paintings, sculptures and photographs. Open April 1–November 27, 2022. Due to limited capacity, free same-day timed tickets will be released on a first-come first-served basis Thursday through Sunday beginning at 9:30 a.m. Guests over age 12 may claim two each.
Mexican Geniuses: A Frida & Diego Immersive Experience
Mexican Geniuses: A Frida & Diego Immersive Experience aims to surround guests with impressive artwork via a 360-degree digital projection show featuring the masterpieces of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Learn about the lives of these intriguing and iconic Mexican artists, as well as the stories behind some of their most paintings, then find a spot to sit comfortably as the show begins. Open July 5—September 4, 2022. Tickets from $36.
Beyond King Tut: The Immersive Experience
Coming in June 2022 and expected to run through February 2023, Beyond King Tut: The Immersive Experience will open in Washington, D.C. and Boston (July 8–September 18) before traveling to other U.S. cities. Using immersive projection technology, guests will get a sense of what life was like 3,000 years ago—in lieu of artifacts, you can expect digital recreations of Tut’s world and life, his burial chamber and the many treasures found within his tomb 100 years ago. Open June 2022–February 2023. While tickets are not available yet, you can get on the waitlist to receive more information.
All details and policies mentioned were accurate as of press time.