Washington, DC is full of great places to catch a show. From the large to the legendary to the holes in the wall. There are too many great concert venues around DC to mention so we’ve picked a few of our favorites. What’s your the best show you’ve seen in DC?
Located in an alley off Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown, this hideaway music hall opened in 1965 and quickly became part of DC’s Legendary Blues and Jazz Scene. Its seen the likes of Tony Bennett, Dizzie Gillespie, Dr. John and more. For a genuine blues and jazz experience, this legendary venue can’t be missed.
The original 9:30 Club opened in 1980 at 930 F Street in Penn Quarter (hence the name). It was a haven for the underground punk and hardcore movement of the 1980s anchored by DC natives like Fugazi and Minor Threat. Then, in 1996 it moved a few blocks north to 915 V Street into an old radio station. It quickly became a legendary music hall and was recently named the best Big Room Music Venue in the country by Rolling Stone as well as perennial Nightclub of the Year winner via Pollstar. The list of artists that have performed there includes greats like Bob Dylan, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Smashing Pumpkins, Radiohead, Adele, and beyond. The stories and history behind the 9:30 Club are equaled only by the experience of seeing a show there. The room bounces and the acoustics are near perfect. No matter where you stand, you feel you are within an arms reach of the band. Make no mistake about it, the 9:30 Club is the DC Music Lovers mecca. Find out more of this club’s awesome history from Consequence of Sound’s Oral History.
Lincoln Theatre and Howard Theater
The Lincoln Theatre and Howard Theater are the main reasons why the U Street neighborhood became known as Black Broadway. They opened in 1924 and 1910 respectively and both hosted DC native Duke Ellington at various times. Both are on the National Historic Register and have seen performances from legends like Louis Armstrong, Lionel Hampton, Ella Fitzgerald, Cab Calloway, Billie Holiday and more. If you’re serious about Jazz and Blues history, these two theaters are must sees.
Honorable Mention: Wolf Trap and the Birchmere
And very Honorable Mentions indeed. Though they aren’t located in DC, they are just a short trek out of the city. Alexandria’s Birchmere has been a haven for artists big and small like Mary Chapin Carpenter, Lyle Lovett, Jerry Jeff Walker, Dave Matthews, Vince Gill, John Prine, Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstad, and more since 1966. Wolf Trap located in Wolf Trap National Park opened in 1971 has hosted everyone from Hall and Oates, the Doobie Brothers and the Grateful Dead to the Counting Crows, Diana Ross, and Crosby Stills & Nash. All in its iconic Filene Center (above)