If you love live music and live in D.C. there are many venues worth visiting alongside all the world-class culture, museums and galleries. The city has a rich music history. Soul and jazz icons like Marvin Gaye and Duke Ellington are examples of pioneering musicians that launched their careers here. Then there are the influential music scenes past and present. From hardcore punk in the 1980s to the 1990s punk and new wave scene and more.
The current scene is equally prolific, where you can find all types of music. Whether at a summer festival, a legendary club or a modern concert hall. Whatever music you’re into, it sounds better when you have good quality equipment. Whether it’s headphones for listening on-the-go or speakers at home in your apartment. Just like the wireless speakers that are featured in Blueground apartments, where guests have space to dance around like no one’s watching. Other than the speakers, these apartments are fully furnished and thoughtfully equipped in order to make your move as seamless as possible. If you like to collect vinyl there’s a number of independent record stores in D.C. Smash Records has been operating for over three decades. It stocks a catalog of punk, indie and hardcore music. Then there are more recent openings like Hill & Dale in the hip Columbia Heights neighborhood. It sells newly released and reissued records, from electronica to folk. As well as collection posters and music photography, ideal for a new addition to your interior decor.
For the live music experience, check out one of the can’t-miss festivals happening in D.C. from spring to summer. The Broccoli City Festival (April 25-27) is a multi-format festival featuring music acts like Childish Gambino, Teyana Taylor, and Ella Mai. As well as live art installations and curated food programming.
The DC Jazz Festival (June 14-16) programs both emerging artists and acclaimed musicians from the jazz world. Discover all things jazz through free concerts, events, and masterclasses at The Wharf on the Southwest Waterfront. While the Smithsonian Folklife Festival (June 29-30) on the National Mall is a family-friendly event with music from artists like Grammy Award-nominated rapper Goldlink.
Get to know these stand out live music venues in D.C. where you might catch a seminal performance or discover an up-and-coming act. It will make watching live music one of the first things you want to do when you move here.
This legendary world-class rock venue is located on V Street in the former WUST Radio Music Hall. Over the decades it’s been the scene of infamous gigs by bands like The Cramps and Nirvana. It’s also been named as one of the top 10 best live music venues in America by Rolling Stone Magazine. Today, the 9:30 is a nightclub and concert venue where you can see a well-known or newer artist of any musical genre.
Another venue that has stood the test of time in the city is the historic Howard Theatre in the U Street neighborhood. After a $29 million renovation in 2012, it now has a state-of-the-art acoustic system. The interior retains the neoclassical design and features Brazilian granite full-service bars on each floor. As well as a supper club-style seating. The wide-range of live entertainment here ranges from shows by singers like Jacob Collier and Sheila E. to rappers including Q DA Fool.
When you’re in the mood for a night out dancing, Flash certainly has the set up for it. Studio-quality sounds are assured on the Funktion One sound system at this Shaw neighborhood hidden gem. As well as LED lighting design embedded into the walls, illuminating the bench seating. The bar specializes in handcrafted cocktails and has an ATM on site. There’s also an all-weather rooftop area that features a hydraulic-opening glass top. International DJs, such as Danny Tenaglia and Fjaak play every Friday and Saturday night.
This modern concert venue opened in 2017 in the redeveloped Southwest Waterfront neighborhood in D.C. The Anthem has a capacity for 6,000 people, and adaptable stages that can be set up for intimate to arena-sized shows. It’s known for its outstanding sound quality and being able to pay your bar tab from your phone with the Rooam app. The diverse musical acts booked to play include electro-pop like Passion Pit, the National Symphony Orchestra, rock band The National and more.
If you like the sound of craft beer and metal music check out the upcoming concerts at Atlas Brew Works. Primarily a brewery, they host intimate in-house metal shows. The setting means concert-goers can stay refreshed with great-tasting ales and lagers. The rotating selection of beers in their taproom includes bestsellers like the ‘District Common’ to seasonal specials. International acts that have played here include black metal bands from Serbia and Montreal.
If you’re looking for a truly unique venue check out this repurposed art deco movie theatre. At the Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club, jazz and blues musicians are billed alongside tribute acts. You can see singers like Jody Watley and Dave Hollister alongside A Tribute To The Music Of Motown. The crowd often dresses up here, with the option for a sit-down meal or just drink while taking in a performance. Seating options vary from tables to theatre-style seating.