New Orleans has jazz, Nashville has country, Chicago has the blues. But Washington DC has the best music venues. Whatever style of music you’d like to hear while you’re visiting the capital, you’ll be spoilt for choice with so many stadiums and arenas jostling for your custom. And even if you’re visiting with the family, there are lots of options to enjoy the nightlife in Washington DC…


If you haven’t heard of the Fillmore, where have you been? First, there was the Fillmore West in San Francisco, and the Fillmore East in New York. Now impresario Bill Graham has opened up a club in the suburbs of DC. Variety is the spice of nightlife when it comes to their approach to booking acts, but if you want to experience a bit of rock heritage, you’ll want to come on over to this popular DC spot.

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9.30 CLUB

When it comes to punk bands, if you can name them, chances are they’ve played here. Nowadays the venue has moved post-punk and plays host to some big names, including the likes of Snoop Dogg, Adele and others. And there’s a tempting selection of microbrews on offer while you enjoy the support act.

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If you’re looking for a place to go in Washington DC to enjoy some live music, It doesn’t have to be all about guitars, drums and microphones. At the Velvet you’ll often find a local DJ chancing their arm on the decks. The stage is upstairs and indie bands often get booked to come and play here.

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These days Georgetown is the well-to-do suburb that’s home to many politicians. But explore a little deeper and you’ll discover this gem on 1073 Wisconsin Avenue. Blues Alley claims to be the oldest club in the USA, and lots of big-name jazz artists and crooners have played here. You can easily spend an entire evening here listening to all the smooth tunes.

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How about this for a roll call…Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday. They’ve all played at the Howard. It closed in the 1980s but is now back to its former glory. To go with the jazz, there’s gospel and soul on offer. Our tip: don’t miss the weekend gospel lunches.

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This place deserves a visit just for the name alone. What else would you call a bar in the Adams Morgan district? There are live performances here every day of the week, so you can tap your feet to home-grown blues, R&B and bluegrass whenever the mood takes you.

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Welcome to the new kid on the block. This is DC’s latest and largest standing room venue, with state-of-the-art sound and visual systems to match. International stars and DJs come here to try out the acoustics and strut their stuff, head here if you’re looking for something fun to do in DC.

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Home to the National Symphony Orchestra and the Washington Opera, the John F Kennedy is the venue of choice if you’d like to hear something big and orchestral while you’re in DC. It holds festivals throughout the year, often showcasing the work of particular composers.

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Formerly known as the Verizon Center, you can choose from four shows a week at this stadium, with many international artists flocking to this arena. There are family theatre performances too, which are ideal if you’re looking for nightlife in Washington DC with kids.

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There are so many cool venues to listen to live music in DC. Start your day on board our Big Bus tour where you’ll see all the iconic sights, then hop off when you fancy a bite to eat at one of the Best Restaurants in Washington DC before enjoying the nightlife at one of these fantastic locations.