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7 Amazing Music Hotspots You Should Visit in Washington D.C.

Updated: Nov 11, 2020

Photo by ElevenPhotographs on Unsplash

Washington D.C. is not usually associated with music, unlike cities like Detroit, Memphis, or Nashville. That doesn't mean that the music scene in the capital is nonexistent. These music events and locations prove that Washington D.C. may not be the birthplace of soul or the blues, but it holds its own when it comes to music. Here are some festivals and locations that are worth visiting if you love music.

Blues Alley

Blues Alley is the place to be if you love jazz. This club opened in the Georgetown district in 1965 and has been a staple in Washington D.C.'s music scene. Several jazz legends have performed here - big names include Charles Mingus, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, and Sonny Rollins, to name a few.

National Museum of African American History and Culture

The National Museum of African American History and Culture is a must-visit. It is a Smithsonian Institute that is the only museum in America that documents African American history. This museum has an exhibition that appeals to music lovers: Musical Crossroads. Musical Crossroads tracks the origins of African American music and its evolution over the centuries.

Kennedy Center

The Kennedy Center is a performing arts center that pays tribute to President Kennedy in its name. This center is found on the banks of the Potomac River, where theatre, dance, and musical performances are continually occurring. The Kennedy Center hosts one free concert a day, every day of the year. No tickets or reservations are required - all you have to do is show up and take a seat.

Madam's Organ Blues Bar

For an authentic blues experience, there's no place like Madam's Organ Blues Bar. Live music is played every single day by rhythm and blues performers. This bar also hosts karaoke on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays if you want to perform your rendition of blues songs. With events happening on all four floors, there's never a dull moment at this bar.

Twins Jazz

Twins Jazz is not your typical jazz bar. This establishment combines live performances and fine dining. American, Ethiopian and Caribbean cuisine are all served here. Twins Jazz has also had some big names perform at this venue - Sonny Fortune, Cheney Thomas, Amiri Baraka, and Amina Baraka.

Broccoli City Festival

This festival is hosted by Broccoli City, an organization that helps educate communities on healthy eating, group economics, and sustainable living. Broccoli City Festival was organized for the first time in 2013, attracting a steady crowd and notable headliners ever since. The festival is held every spring as part of Broccoli City Week. To find out more about the Broccoli City Festival, read our other article here.

All Things Go Fall Classic

All Things Go Fall Classic is a festival that is hosted in fall, hence its name. Over two days, upcoming acts and established musicians take to the stage at Union Market. Artists such as CHVRCHES and Melanie Martinez have performed in the festival in 2019.

There's more to Washington D.C. than the White House and Capitol Hill. From hip hop festivals to jazz clubs, the capital has created its own musical identity. While the festivals are limited to a specific time of year, the other locations are available all year round. When you travel to Washington D.C., don't forget to visit any of these places to spice up your trip!


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