Best Washington, D.C. Venues for Live Music
By Lola Mendez
After taking a spin around the District with Fat Tire Tours, unwind at one of these local venues for live music in Washington D.C. On any given night you can expect all sorts of performances going on around the city from R&B, jazz, classical, Latino music, and some of the top international artists at intimate venues. These are some of the best Washington D.C. venues for live music.
Location: 2007 14th St NW
It’s only fitting to start this list with a venue named to honor D.C. native and legendary musical artist, Marvin Gaye. Marvin is a bistro with live music performances on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. Local artists grace the stage to share their talents with patrons who dine and dance as they listen to the tunes. Shows typically begin at 7 PM during the week and 8 PM on weekends. There are regular performances by fan favorites including Dante’ Pope, Zach Cutler, Future Band, and Kameleon Beats. Check out Marvin’s event calendar to see who is playing during your stay in the District.
Location: 901 Wharf Street SW
World-renowned artists travel to D.C. to grace the stage at The Anthem at The Wharf. The venue seats 6,000 and maintains an intimate ambiance that is irreplicable at larger venues. Every single space in the house—seated or standing—faces the stage. There are no bad seats here as none have obscured views. The space was specifically built for musical performances, so it’s optimized for acoustics, unlike sports stadiums. The first-ever show was the Foo Fighters. Famed artists have been performing here ever since. There are events almost nightly. Be sure to check the calendar of events well in advance to get your tickets as concerts tend to sell out at this special music venue in D.C. On the day of the show, arrive a bit early to enjoy the happy hour specials. You can take a water taxi back to your Georgetown hotel after the evening’s festivities as the last one always waits to depart until after the show ends at The Anthem.
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Pearl Street Warehouse
Location: 33 Pearl St SW
The Wharf is also home to Pearl Street Warehouse—one of the best spots to rock out in the nation’s capital. The music venue has Americana vibes and is reminiscent of the legendary music halls of the south. You’re never more than 25-feet from the stage so every seat is front row, up close and personal with the action. The lineup includes an array of rock, country, and blues artists. Check out who’s playing during your trip while you plan your D.C. vacation.
Location: 1301 U St NW
This wine bar pairs their selection of wine from around the world with live musical performances throughout the week. BIN1301 has open mic nights where you can be one of the first to hear the songs of local talent along with some of D.C.’s most celebrated musicians and vocalists joining in for jam sessions. Sunday brunch is brought to life with a live soul performance by Debora Bond. On Monday, enjoy the all-night happy hour while listening to Jazz Soul Hop Artists Bee Boisseau serenade the crowd.
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Location: 815 V St NW
The 9:30 Club is a standing room only music venue and has been a pioneer in the music scene in the District since it opened in 1980. It was even deemed the best big room by Rolling Stone. Hundreds of famed musical artists have performed here from The Police to Radiohead. The all-ages 1,200-capacity club has frequent shows, but as it’s one of the most popular music venues in D.C., you’ll need to snag your tickets well in advance. Check the upcoming shows here.
Location: 512 N. Highland Street
If you love classical music, you won’t want to miss catching a house concert at the mid-century Sevareid House. The owner, Janet, is a lover of all things music and has opened her home for intimate musical events—most performances take place in her living room or backyard. Many are instrumental groups, but you never know who may drop by for a show.
The Black Cat
Location: 1811 14th St NW
D.C. musical rock legend Dave Grohl is a part-owner of The Black Cat all-ages music venue, which opened up in 1993. There are several stages within the venue, including the Mainstage, a 7,000 square-foot performance room, and Backstage, which is a smaller space usually reserved for up-and-coming artists and DJ events. The roster of events includes everything from famous rock acts to underground alternative groups. Many performances are just $10-$20. Check the calendar to see what’s going on during your visit to D.C.
U Street Music Hall
This underground nightclub is dubbed UHall by frequent patrons. U Street Music Hall is the best Washington D.C. venue for electronic dance music. Uhall boasts great sightlines and a seriously powerful sound system. It was even named one of the best dance clubs in the States by Rolling Stone.
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Location: 1353 H St NE
Don’t let the name of this music venue fool you—no overnight guests are allowed as this isn’t actually a hotel. RockNRoll Hotel is located in a building that was once a funeral parlor—it could be haunted. The events calendar is jam-packed with local and national indie and alternative acts, including a few tribute bands.
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