Washington, DC is a major concert destination and stop for many artists as they tour the east coast. You can find concerts large and small and the perfect venue for every act.
Rob is joined by Brad Garrigues to talk tips for attending concerts in Washington, DC. Brad is an engineer in the Navy who has lived in several different U.S. and international cities and loves live music. Brad shares some of the concerts he’s attended in DC and tips for going to various live music venues.
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Use the embedded map below to see where each of the Washington, DC concert venues mentioned in the podcast is located.
The 9:30 Club is one of the best known Washington DC concert venues. It is a small to medium sized venue.Its name comes from its original location, 9:30 F Street NW; and is very beloved by people who attend concerts and who perform there.
The 9:30 Club was the first venue to use a stage on wheels. This may not seem like a big deal, however, with bigger acts, they push the stage back. With smaller acts, they pull the stage in. The room is always the perfect size for this reason. For general admission shows you want to get their as early as possible for the best view. You can be in the front row or back row, depending on how early you get there. If you are really early, you can get early access to the basement bar rather than wait in line outside.
Anthem is a brand new concert venue that opened in 2017 at the Wharf. You can get there from the Waterfront or L’Enfant Plaza Metro stations. Furthermore, It is very convenient and has a bar and restaurant on every floor. There are three floors and almost every show is general admission. There are great views from the front, but also all around the venue. There are also a limited number of actual seats but they can be hard to acquire. It’s a great chance to see popular artists in an intimate setting.
Black Cat caters to the indie artists. This is also known as a rock club. It is not for the huge performers, as the 930 club, but the smaller ones. It is on 14th Street NW. There are two floors that each have bars. The entire venue can fit fit 50-300 people, depending on how big the act is. Ticket costs go from $10-$30 per ticket. You can really see some neat bands who have not quite hit the mainstream yet.
U Street Music Hall
U Street Music Hall (or U-Hall) is very similar in size to Black Cat. It focuses on EDM (Electronic Dance Music), which has become popular in Washington DC.
Echostage also focuses on EDM (Electronic Dance Music). It is located on New York Avenue NE. This isn’t the “monumental” part of DC that most tourists think of. It can be hard to get an Uber after a show, so consider hailing a taxi if one drives past. There is a shuttle bus to Metro but reports are that it is not always reliable. Getting there is fine, getting back is a challenge.
Lincoln Theater is an old fashioned historic venue that will host smaller performers. Comedians and other performers will stop by and do a show as well. It is very accessible from the U Street Metro. There are seats inside and they sell food, beer and wine.
Hill Country BBQ
Bluegrass is a popular music genre in DC, but you won’t find lots of country music venues like you would in Nashville or Memphis. If you need a place to see country, you can see it at Hill Country BBQ. Even if you don’t care about music the BBQ alone might be worth the trip.
Jojo was a row house that turned into a jazz club. It has an emphasis on jazz music. There are Jazz performers every night. Food is cheap. You walk in through the basement. Upstairs, there is the restaurant and TVs to see what is going on downstairs. Downstairs is the venue when the jazz performances will happen. If there are no seats available, they will place you upstairs until something opens up. You can tip the artist, but you do not have to pay for a ticket.
John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
The Kennedy Center is known for orchestra, plays, and operas. However, there is more to see. There are different performing arts including biog productions like Hamilton. Every performer is very happy to be there as it is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Millennium Stage shows start at 6 daily. There are no tickets required but there maybe a line depending on the show. Kennedy Center is open to the public. You can also tour the building, which is fun to do before or even after a show.
Capital One Arena, FedEx Field & Nationals Park
These are the biggest Washington DC concert venues. Basketball and hockey are played at Capital One Arena as well as various concerts. There are also concerts at FedEx Field in Maryland. A little fun fact is Coldplay has played at FedEx Field before but once played at the 930 club in 2001. Nationals Park is where the Washington Nationals play baseball and hosts shows during the summer, like Taylor Swift who performed there in 2015.
Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts
In Fairfax, Virginia, Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts is a great place to see a summer concert. This is the summer home for the National Symphony Orchestra as well as other similar artists.
Merriweather Post Pavilion & Jiffy Lube Live
Merriweather Post Pavilion and Jiffy Lube Live are very similar Washington DC concert venues. Both venues are outdoors and have both seated areas and open lawns. Lawn tickets are the cheapest and fun for the summer months.
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