John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Description And Comments

The Kennedy Center is the home for the National Symphony Orchestra, Washington National Opera, and the Suzanne Farrell Ballet. It’s also the place to find local and traveling theater presentations, and jazz, classical, and chamber music.

The Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage offers free performances daily, usually at 6 PM Eastern. Most of these are musicians, ranging from Washington National Opera preview performances, to ska. There are usually a couple of non-musical performances per week, too, in all possible formats and topics. Past acts have included comedians, poetry, panel discussions, and whatever a “celebration of artistic agency” entails. If the weather’s nice, grab a takeaway dinner nearby and see what’s going on.

Free, guided tours of the Kennedy Center are available daily, from 10 AM to 5 PM weekdays and 10 AM to 1 PM weekends. These 40-minute walks cover the three big performance halls, five theaters, and the Hall of States and Hall of Nations, holding gifts given to the Kennedy Center by various countries and territories around the world. Each tour ends with a trip to the rooftop terrace, which affords some of the best views of DC. While you can probably get a same-day tour without a reservation, you can reserve a tour spot for free on the Center’s website if you know you’ll be there on a specific day.

If you’re looking for a bite to eat, the KC Café, inside the Center, serves sandwiches, salads, and other light fare from 11:30 AM to 8 PM daily. A pricier option for dinner is the Roof Terrace Restaurant, open from 5 to 8 PM daily (plus a Sunday brunch from 11 AM to 2 PM).

Touring Tips

A free round-trip shuttle is offered between the Kennedy Center and Foggy Bottom Metro; look for signs on the left as you exit the Metro escalator. The shuttle runs every 15 minutes, from 9:45 AM to 12 AM Monday through Friday, 10 AM to 12 AM Saturday, 12 PM – 12 AM Sundays, and 4 PM to Midnight on Federal holidays.

The Kennedy Center parking garage is open daily from 6 AM to midnight. Parking for events is $23. There’s a vehicle height limit of 6 feet for most cars, with a limited number of spaces for trucks and SUVs up to 7 feet.


2700 F St NW
Washington, D.C.
Foggy Bottom
Foggy Bottom

Tours Mon-Fri 10am-5pm; Sat-Sun 10am-1pm
Show times vary

Free to walk around, show prices vary

Attraction Photos