The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts–a national cultural landmark stretched along the Potomac River just south of Georgetown–dazzles as much today as it did at its opening nearly four decades ago.
The center hosts more than 2,000 performances of live theater, ballet, classical music, jazz, chamber music, dance, opera, and other artistic offerings each year. And it’s a great place to see the city’s political stars: President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama have attended several performances during their early months in the White House.
World-class dance companies such as the American Ballet Theatre, the Bolshoi Ballet and the New York City Ballet regularly perform here. So does the National Symphony, which has commissioned dozens of new classical works and each year travels to a different state for a series of performances and teaching sessions for local and regional artists. Kennedy Center events telecast nationally include the “Kennedy Center Honors” and the “Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.”
Tickets to performances are readily available, although some can be quite pricey, just as they are for artistic ventures in other major cities. But the Kennedy Center also offers a free performance every day of the year at 6 p.m. on its Millennium Stage—international, national, and local artists are featured.
Want more? Take a free tour of the Kennedy Center on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on weekends from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Some tickets for Kennedy Center performances are not available online and must be purchased by phone or in person at the box office. Visit our Kennedy Center ticket page.
If you don’t have time for a tour, at least take a walk through the Hall of States and the Hall of Nations, where you’ll be greeted with flags from the U.S. and throughout the world. Then meander down the Grand Foyer as you head to a performance. The Roof Terrace Restaurant & Bar offers pre-theater dining before most Concert Hall and Opera House evening performances, with reservations from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m.
For more visit www.kennedy-center.org.
John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Admission: Varies by performance.
Parking: The Kennedy Center parking lot is open from 6 a.m. until midnight daily. The performance parking rate is $23. One hour of free parking is available for those visiting the box office or spending at least $10 at the gift shop. Parking validation is required.
Metrorail: Orange and Blue Line stop for Foggy Bottom/George Washington University is the closest to the Kennedy Center. From there it is a short walk via New Hampshire Avenue. A free shuttle departs from the metro to the Kennedy Center every 15 minutes from 9:45 a.m. to midnight Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to midnight Saturdays, noon to midnight Sundays, and 4:00 p.m. to midnight on federal holidays.
Old Town Trolley Tour
Kennedy Center Tickets