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Nightlife in DC: 10 Best Bars, Nightclubs and Venues for Entertainment
About 1,000 people move to Washington, DC every week. Who could blame them? The siren song of nightlife in DC may be one of the biggest excuses to move house.
Sure, the capital is known for world-renowned museums and historical institutions. But the presence of these sometimes-stuffy mainstays doesn’t stop DC locals from having unforgettable night entertainment.
Whether you’re moving to DC or just visiting, you don’t want to miss the nightlife in DC. Here are the top 10 best nightlife destinations in the district.
1. Eighteenth Street Lounge
With velvet couches and walls, and sleek crown molding, Eighteenth Street Lounge holds a rustic sophistication. This classy environment is one of the longest-running nightclubs and sources of night entertainment in the nation’s capital. The house party atmosphere makes it an inviting stop, no matter what kind of club experience you’re looking for.
After a $10 cover fee (tip: to avoid this arrive early), you’re ready to explore all the drinks and music the place has to offer. There’s also plenty of divided spaces for dancing if that’s your sort of thing. Music choices vary, but you can expect the standards: classics, hip-hop, reggae, and house. On Wednesday’s they have a long-running reggae night, which is a favorite of young professionals. The outdoor deck is a good choice year-round as it can be heated in the cold winter months.
2. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
World-renowned plays and operas commonly frequent the Kennedy Center, which has become one of the nation’s most impressive arts venues. Every day at 6 p.m., the center puts on a show free to the public. Of course, you’ll have to be lucky enough to grab a seat.
Before or after the show, there are plenty of high-quality food stations and formal restaurants available throughout the facility.
This is one of several family-friendly activities in DC.
3. 9:30 Club
9:30 Club is arguably the best music venue in the country. In fact, Rolling Stone magazine ranked it as one of the top 10 music destinations.
What makes the 9:30 Club such a legendary nightclub? It’s the home of headline performances and some notable food too. The club’s sound design ensures you’ll experience an unforgettable show, no matter who you’re there to see.
4. Folger Shakespeare Library
If you’re looking for a classy night out or an opportunity to impress your date, snag some tickets for a play at the Folger Shakespeare Library, also known as the Folger Theatre. Located in-sight of the Library of Congress and the Capitol Building, it’s a convenient venue to end the perfect night in the district.
Shows not your thing? The library itself has the largest collection of Shakespeare’s works in the world. That said, tickets for events are surprisingly affordable at around $20 to $40.
There are countless, utterly amazing bars scattered throughout Washington, DC. But of all the bars and clubs in DC, Churchkey takes the cake. It sports a large collection of all the country’s best drafts and brews.
The menus contain minute brew details like serving temperatures and glass accompaniments. But don’t be intimidated if you’re not a beer fanatic. As long as you’re into beer, even a little, then you’re welcome at Churchkey.
6. National Geographic Museum
Once a month, the National Geographic Museum hosts an event known as Nat Geo Nights. You can expect retellings of explorers’ tales, as well as a happy hour, fine music, and even finer food. Although admission is cheap, the tasting options are a separate purchase.
This event also comes with a bit of trivia and smaller activities, like a Q&A panel. But let’s face it — you’re probably here for the happy hour.
This rooftop bar has some of the best views of Washington, located atop the W Hotel. While you’re gazing at the White House or Washington Monument, savor some seasonal cocktails and mouthwatering desserts. POV was recently renovated in 2019, so if you have not been in a while, you may be in for a treat.
If you want to get lost in the heart of DC, it’s hard to find a better place than POV. You’ll be surrounded by equal doses of tourists, lobbyists, and locals. Be sure to put on your best outfit, as the lounge has an enforced dress code during the nighttime hours.
8. The Eleanor
What makes The Eleanor special isn’t its food and alcohol selection, although both are sure to satisfy. Smart locals visit for its duckpin bowling lanes — an uncommon type of bowling located in only a handful of states.
But if you’re not into bowling, there’s an assortment of arcade games and skeeball machines too. It’s even a cozy place just to chill out and watch the game.
9. Smithsonian National Zoo
No matter where you live, you’ve probably heard of Boo at the Zoo events during Halloween. Now it’s time for the grownups to have their fun. Get ready for Brew at the Zoo, a late-night festival with local craft beers, fun games, food trucks, and some animal-related festivities.
Located in the heart of DC, the national zoo is worth a visit during the daytime hours. But these summer-exclusive events shouldn’t be missed if you live in the area.
10. Regal Gallery Place
You’d expect the best from a movie theater located a few blocks away from the strip. And Regal Gallery Place doesn’t disappoint. From its yawning entrance plaza to the reclinable seats, this regal theater is a cut above the rest.
Best of all, it’s located in a popular shopping center. Kick your feet up for a while between shopping sessions and catch up on the latest hits.
Enjoy the Nightlife in DC
Boasting some of the nation’s best nightlife and museums, there’s never a dull moment in Washington, DC. You don’t even have to live directly in the city to enjoy the offerings of nightlife in DC, thanks to its potent Metro system and plentiful of ride-sharing options including Uber and Lyft.
Are you thinking about moving to the DC area? ONE Street can help you find the home of your dreams. Contact us and discover beautiful properties that fit your budget.