D.C. Best Theater and Performing Arts Venues

Second only to New York City in number of theater productions annually, DC has a respectable performing arts scene where each season, nearly 80 professional area theaters stage more than 350 productions. Spearheading this movement is the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts which hosts approximately 3,000 events a year to more than two million people. In recent years, DC has experienced a growth of independent theaters, performance spaces, and troupes with more compelling productions.

2700 F St NW, Washington, DC 20566, USA
Overlooking the Potomac River, the Kennedy Center stands as a living memorial to President John F. Kennedy and an iconic landmark for arts in America. Its marble facade, sky-high ceilings, and crystal chandeliers exude grandeur, not to mention the central eight-foot bronze bust sculpture of JFK. With its Opera House and seven other stages presenting a variety of musical and theatrical performances—as well as a free event every day at 6 p.m. at the Millennium Stage—there’s no excuse not to enjoy the artistic expression of the human spirit while visiting D.C. As quoted by JFK and inscribed in the walls along the River Terrace, “This country cannot afford to be materially rich and spiritually poor.”
Tivoli Theatre, 3301-3325 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20010, USA
Built in 1924, the Tivoli was one of DC’s most elegant movie palaces until 1976 when it closed doors. For nearly 25 years, the theater remained neglected. Then in 1999 the building was renovated as part of a revitalization effort of the Columbia Heights neighborhood. All of its original exterior design was retained and inside was renovated to match. Today, the theater is mixed-use but its focal occupant is the GALA (Grupo de Artistas Latino Americanos) Hispanic Theatre, a local non-profit committed to sharing Hispanic culture through the arts. GALA currently uses only the former balcony of the Tivoli and therefore, it’s a very small venue—it feels incredibly intimate and there is no such thing as a bad seat. More importantly, you are up close to the performers—you can see every facial expression, every dance move. Performances are in Spanish, and although my knowledge of Spanish is not good enough to survive a play, I love coming to the GALA to see the flamenco performances that take place at least twice a year. Dance knows all languages! Check the website for event schedules and to purchase tickets. The GALA is located in a neighborhood full of restaurants that are perfect for catching a pre or post performance meal. Metro stop: Columbia Heights
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