Explore the Great Indoors Along the Northeast Culture Corridor
Let's be honest: On a gorgeous, balmy day in New York, how likely are you to prowl the halls of the Met when you could be strolling through Central Park, across the Brooklyn Bridge or along the High Line? Exactly.
So now's the time to culture-binge—not just in New York, but across the Northeastern Culture Corridor. To give you the tiniest taste of what’s on offer: NYC’s Whitney Museum has staged the first significant Warhol retrospective in the US since 1989 (and the exhibit is there only through March); DC's Library of Congress is hosting a fun movies series through March 3; Philadelphia's Longwood Gardens are home to a seasonal—and outrageously gorgeous—Orchid Extravaganza; and Boston's Museum of Fine Arts is wowing visitors with some of Ansel Adams' most iconic works (through Feb. 24).
For the best things to see and do in each city—plus sweet deals from local Hilton hotels—read on.
Some of our nation’s most venerable institutions are about to become some of its buzziest. The Library of Congress, for one, is hosting a free movie series in the James Madison Building’s Mary Pickford Theater, where you’ll be able to catch the likes of Beetlejuice and The Neverending Story through March 8.
For its part, the Kennedy Center will be hosting Lunar New Year celebrations on Feb. 7, when the Guangzhou National Orchestra Ensemble welcomes the Year of the Pig with a free performance of traditional folk music. A few days later at the Kennedy Center, the renowned National Ballet of China will perform the award-winning Raise the Red Lantern (Feb. 13–16).
Then there’s the National Gallery of Art, where you’ll be able to see the first Tintoretto retrospective in North America—Tintoretto: Artist of Renaissance Venice—in celebration of the painter’s 500th birthday as of March 10. For a dazzling display of a different kind, get (free) tickets to the opening ceremony of the National Cherry Blossom Festival at the Warner Theater on March 23. Having wowed audiences in Tokyo and Paris last year, the enigmatically titled performance (“Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon The Super Live") is making its North American debut here with a mashup of music, dance, imagery and special effects. And if you've got time to spare, know that this signature D.C. festival—for which Hilton is an official partner—runs through April 14, with all kinds of events throughout.
WHERE TO STAY
Capitalize on fun with a monumental offer that gets you up to 50% off Sunday stays. Hilton’s Weekend Like a Local package also gets you deals on an array of fab dining experiences—not unlike when the city’s embassies open their doors for the day to offer you a tasting tour of the world.
In this case, the cuisines range from the Michelin Guide favorites (the Balkan fare at Ambar and the globe-spanning small dishes at Hazel) to the beloved “vintage pizza bistro” Matchbox, where your Hilton stay gets you an exclusive prix fixe meal. And for those who prefer global tasting tours of the liquid variety, you’ll find a deal on one at the new City Winery.
To work up an appetite for (or simply work off) all of the above, stay at the Washington Hilton, where you’ll find a sprawling LivingWell Health Club. You’ll also find that you’re getting your steps in outdoors, blustery weather or not: This swank urban retreat is in Dupont Circle, one of the capital’s most vibrant and walkable neighborhoods.
For another vantage point on local life, stay at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Washington DC, Crystal City home to the Skydome Restaurant (the only revolving restaurant in DC, and one of the best for taking in the monuments). You’ll also get weekend access to the heated indoor pool and the area’s largest hotel fitness center.
NEW YORK CITY
Ever since it opened a few years ago to long lines and rave reviews, the re-imagined Whitney Museum by the Highline lent downtown cred to a venerable New York City cultural institution. But now, with the historic Andy Warhol – From A to B and Back Again exhibit, that buzz has gone off the charts. Don't miss these 350 or so career-spanning works by the pop art legend (now through March 31)—and if you’re in town March 7-10, head 10 or so minutes up the West Side to make the day a double-header. The city's hottest art fair—i.e., The Armory Show—is taking over Piers 92 and 94, where you’ll hobnob with collectors, gallerists and enthusiasts.
Culture vultures who want maximum variety will find that one of the best times to visit the Big Apple is NYC Must-See Week (now through Feb. 10), when you can score two-for-one tickets to countless cultural icons across town. Think New York City Ballet performances, NBC Studio tours and Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center concerts (among 55 or so additional options).
WHERE TO STAY
Beyond offering up to 50% off Sunday night stays, Hilton’s “Weekend Like a Local” package lets you take the biggest possible bite out of the Big Apple. You’ll find offers across the city’s food spectrum, from the iconic slices at Lombardi’s Pizzeria in Chelsea to the Michelin-starred Nordic fare at Agern in Grand Central. There’s also an offer for Stella 34 at Macy’s, which comes in handy when you go for the VIP shopping excursion at the department store that comes with your stay. Another experience you shouldn’t miss: the Roundabout Theatre Company’s revival of "Kiss me Kate" at the old nightlife icon Studio 54 (Feb. 14 - June 2). Roundabout's tickets are always among the hottest in town, and you’ll get yours at 30% off.
In the spirit of arts appreciation, stay at the striking Conrad New York, home to Loopy Doopy, a striking ten-floor installation—plus original artworks in every luxe suite (to say nothing of the painterly Hudson River vistas).
Alternatively, stay right in the middle of things at the New York Hilton Midtown, where you’re never more than a few blocks from the Broadway show of your choosing. Given that those walks are so short (and the air's so brisk), get your steps in at the hotel: It’s the largest hotel fitness center in Midtown (more than 8,000 square feet).
Call it the ultimate natural remedy for the winter blues: thousands of orchids of every shape, color and size artfully spilling from basins, floating overhead and flanking waterfalls at the Longwood Gardens’ Orchid Extravaganza (now through March 24). And if you haven’t gotten your floral fill, take heart: Philadelphia’s also home to the nation’s largest and longest-running flower show (March 2-10)—a local staple since 1829 (this year, expect floral design demos, DIY crafts sessions and high tea in an indoor garden).
If beer gardens are more your thing, the Convention Center essentially becomes an outsized version of one Feb. 15 and 16, when Big Philly Beerfest rolls in, along with 125 local and national craft beer brewers. Mid-February is also a banner time for theatergoers: Philly Theater Week runs Feb. 7-17, with loads of live theater, readings, panels, meet-ups and concerts.
WHERE TO STAY
As befits hotels in the City of Brotherly Love, the local Hilton properties are offering not only this deal for up to 50% off Sunday night stays, but discounts at “Weekend Like a Local” partners.
If, for example, you’d like to knock $5 off your Sunday admission at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, staying at a Hilton lets you do that. Or if the Big Philly Beerfest has put local brews on the brain, go try a free flight on Sundays at Love City Brewing (again, this comes with your stay). Not that liquid sustenance is all that’s on offer: Your weekend rate comes with everything from a free appetizer at City Tap House to free dessert at Botto’s Italian Line Restaurant. After your Sunday supper, make your evening a double-feature and head over to the 19th-century Walnut Street Theater—a National Historic Landmark said to be the nation’s oldest continuously running theater. Whatever’s on—perhaps Ken Ludwig’s a Comedy of Tenors or the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time—you’ll get $20 off.
In keeping with the cultured theme, stay on hallowed grounds of higher learning: The Inn at Penn, a Hilton Hotel is right on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania. Cozy up in the newly renovated rooms with iPads and complimentary Wi-Fi for supplemental reading on everything you’ve seen and done. Or just catch up on Insta. And no need to brave the cold for great food: On-site options include farm-to-table breakfasts at the University Club, French-inspired fare at Louie Louie bistro, and Pan-Asian at Pod.
Or check in to the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Philadelphia Center City—right on the Avenue of the Arts—and feel cozy as soon as you step inside: The signature welcome treat is a warm chocolate chip cookie, served up with views of downtown through a famed four-story atrium.
People who’ve seen Ansel Adams in Our Time at the Museum of Fine Arts say the exhibit alone warrants a trip to Boston. You’d better show up soon, though, because this collection of some of the photographer’s most iconic imagery is here only through Feb. 24.
But even if you don’t catch Adams, the season still packs plenty of special events, especially for foodies: There’s the Phantom Gourmet Wine & Food Phest (March 2), when 36 wines will be sampled alongside Phantom Gourmet's favorite foods at the Boston Center for the Performing Arts; Dine Out Boston (March 3–8 and 10–15), when you can make your way through prix fixe menus at some of the city’s best restaurants; and the Boston Beer and Cheese Fest (March 29–30), when 25 local craft beer and cider makers create pairings with 12 New England creameries in the Cyclorama at the Boston Center for the Arts.
For something even more out of this world, head to the Charles Hayden Planetarium, where the just-launched Destination Mars: The New Frontier (through April 30) portrays humanity’s epic endeavor to finally make reach the Red Planet.
WHERE TO STAY
Honoring the legendarily independent Yankee spirit, Hilton’s “Weekend Like a Local” package gives you the freedom to choose from all manner of lodgings and discounted experiences—on top of a deeply discounted room rate (up to 50% off Sunday nights).
So let’s say your dates don’t coincide with the Boston Beer & Cheese Fest—or you just can’t get enough of the local craft beer—you can use the 15% discount at any behind-the-scenes City Brew Tour. Bowling more your thing? Use your $20 gift card at the Kings Bowling alley for a night of retro-modern fun. Even within one beloved local restaurant group, you have a lot of choice: Whether you want to check out Strega Prime, Strega Waterfront, Strega Ristorante, Strip by Strega Boston or Nico Boston, you’ll get 15% off your bill on Sundays, when you can also score a free appetizer at any of seven nearby Burtons Grill & Bar locations.
For a historic stay in the heart of downtown, book yourself into Boston’s first skyscraper, the Ames Boston Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton. Behind the storied Romanesque facade, the modern, sleek rooms come with marble and glass bathrooms, high-tech amenities and grand vistas of the skyline.
Or if you’re traveling with kids, check out (and check into) the DoubleTree by Hilton Boston North Shore, home to one of the largest indoor water parks in New England. Where better than a lazy river to let your winter of culture soak in?