Since 1950, Arena Stage has been a primary player in the cultural life of Washington and one of the strongest regional theaters in the country. Its highly respected resident company performs a variety of stage productions, from Moliere to the Marx Brothers, as well as significant contemporary works. Arena Stage has three distinct venues: the "in-the-round" Fichlander Stage; the Kreeger with a proscenium stage and the Old Vat Room with a cabaret-style atmosphere. The theater is located near the southwest waterfront and several fine seafood restaurants. Ticket prices vary, depending on the venue and performance time.
This is perhaps the best-known venue in Washington for jazz and blues performances. The club is tucked away in lower Georgetown, near the C&O Canal. A number of national acts can be seen here, and the atmosphere is sleek and sophisticated. The place bills itself as a "Jazz Supper Club," and the food is almost as good as the music, much of it is Creole-inspired. On most nights, artists perform two sets, but occasionally a third set is added on the weekend. The cover charge changes each night.
With its grand Federal-style architecture, this theater occupies a prominent place along one of the most imposing sections of Pennsylvania Avenue, near the White House, the Willard Inter-Continental hotel and the Old Post Office. Broadway shows are featured here, both before and after their on-Broadway run. In addition to large-scale, high-visibility productions, the National Theatre offers special events. A popular children's program includes music, a variety of one-act plays, readings and dance. Many special programs are free and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.
Built in 1924, the Warner has long been a respected part of theater life in downtown Washington. Housed in an imposing building, it underwent an extensive USD10 million restoration in 1992. The intricately decorated vaulted ceilings and rich brown-and-rose interiors contribute to the lavish rococo decor. The Warner Theatre is one of a small number of venues in the city that present theatrical productions with a national reputation. This is where Washingtonians are likely to see touring Broadway plays and musicals. Some musical tours also stop at the Warner.
The Kennedy Center is a must-see for any visitor. The center has seven theaters which include the Concert Hall, Eisenhower Theater, Family Theater, KC Jazz Club, Opera House, Terrace Theater and the Theater Lab, which show productions that include plays, operas, ballets, concerts and films. Among the center's highlights include the Shakespeare Festival produced by the Shakespeare Theatre. Free tours introduce visitors to the Hall of States, Hall of Nations, the main theaters and gifts from many countries honoring the 35th president. Ticket prices for performances vary. Half-price tickets are available to students and seniors. Discounts are offered on group purchases. See website for ticketing, performance schedule and events calendar.
Escape a few miles north outside of the hectic district and beltway and relax at the stylish, trendy, and quaint Bethesda Row. Choose from a wide variety of over 30 international restaurants including Irish, Thai, American, Asian, Spanish, Mediterranean, and American for a nice outdoor lunch or dinner. Enjoy desserts at specialty shops such as Dolcezza Gelato or Sweetgreen. There are plenty of new boutiques and stores to please all types of shoppers. Bethesda Row also holds many events such as Movie Nights and art fairs.