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Top 10 Events & Nightlife in Washington DC

10. American Ice Co.


Ice Ice baby! Named for the establishment previously located on the property, the American Ice Co. specializes in all the best things: beer, whiskey, and meat. Housed in a reclaimed industrial setting, this Top 10 DC bar attracts hipsters from near and far searching for that utterly mouth-watering combo of great beer and great barbecue. Plus, the craft beer is served in mason jars, what is more hipster than that? Open Mon – Thurs 5 PM – 2 AM, Fri 5 PM – 3 AM, Sat 1 PM – 3 AM, and Sun 1 PM – 2 AM.

9. Tree Lighting

MAP   SITE   (202) 208-1631

For the past 90 years, the capital begins each holiday season with the National Christmas Tree Lighting, led by the President of the United States. However the fun doesn’t stop there, as there are 56 smaller evergreen trees that encircle the main Christmas tree. The ceremony and subsequent festivities attract nearly 20,000 people each year (including Santa and all his elves, of course). Don’t be a grinch and help spread Christmas cheer! Dates vary by year. 

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8. Constitution Hall

MAP   SITE   (202) 628-4780

This prestigious hall was founded in 1929 by the DAR—you guessed it—The Daughters of the American Revolution association, when its membership began rapidly expanding. Since its construction, this massive architectural masterpiece has entertained as many as 3,702 enthusiastic patrons witnessing concerts, plays, and various breath-taking performances. Every President since Calvin Coolidge has attended an event at this Top 10 Washington DC venue—that’s how you know it’s cool. Times vary by performance. 

7. Smith Commons

MAP   SITE   (202) 396-0038

This three-story bistro extravaganza is unlike any bistro you’ve experienced before. The Smith Commons offers an approachable menu during the day and a bumping club atmosphere at night. Serving wine, cocktails, and craft beer at three different bars and attracting D.C.’s top DJs, this is the ultimate capital party spot. The best part? No invite required. Added bonus: get funky on Sundays with live jazz during brunch. Open Mon – Thurs 4:30 PM – 11 PM, Fri – Sat 4:30 PM – 2 AM, and Sun 11 AM – 3 PM. 

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6. Nellie’s Bar

MAP   SITE   (202) 332-6355

As DC’s first gay sports bar, Nellie’s has been a fabulous place to drink and dine over the last decade. Boasting an irresistible menu full of fun cocktails and dishes, Nellie’s has something for all palates and fancies. This Top 10 DC bar also features a large rooftop deck where socialites can attend a number of weekly events such as drag bingo, costume parties, and a variety of local DJs. Open Mon – Thurs 5 PM – 1 AM, Fri 3 PM – 3 AM, Sat 10:30 AM – 3 AM, and Sun 10:30 AM – 1 AM. 

5. 9:30 Club

MAP   SITE   (202) 265-0930

When the sun goes down over DC, it’s time to rock-n-roll on over to the 9:30 Club, an intimate Top 10 DC concert venue with all-age shows. The 9:30 Club has showcased artists including Bob Dylan, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and even Adele, who sold out the venue in 2 minutes! This rockin’ joint doesn’t just provide the tunes, they also offer a light pub-food menu and features a grand total of four bars. Times vary by performance.  

4. Cherry Blossom Festival


When spring is in the air, DC residents prepare for the area’s annual National Cherry Blossom Festival. This Top 10 DC festival began as a commemoration of the blossoming friendship between the United States and Japan. However, over the past century, it has become a massive jamboree of parades and events that attracts more than 700,000 visitors per year and spans several weeks. Of special importance are the opening ceremonies, firework festival, and Cherry Blast – a series of eclectic art, dance, and musical performances. Dates vary by year. 

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3. Gypsy Sally’s

MAP   SITE  (202) 333-7700

If you feel the blues running through your soul, head down to Gypsy Sally’s where the music (and the fun) never stops. Featuring Americana, bluegrass, rock, folk, blues, and country artists from all over, you never know what you’ll get at Gypsy Sally’s. Attracting music lovers who don’t take music too seriously, this charming Top 10 DC bar offers beer, sandwiches, and flatbreads to its harmonious patrons. Shows begin at 12 AM. 

2. The Gibson

MAP   SITE   (202) 232-2156

Hold on to your bowler hats and pearls ladies and gents! Serving up prohibition-era cocktails in a ‘20s themed atmosphere, this roaring speakeasy will propel you backwards in time. Boasting over 50 seats inside and out, The Gibson holds the title of DC’s largest (and swankiest) speakeasy. With alcohol sales being hush-hush, naturally it’s hard to get a seat – book reservations in advance! Open Sun – Thurs 6 PM – 2 AM and Fri – Sat 6 PM – 3 AM. 

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1. JFK Center

MAP   SITE   (202) 467-4600

For music lovers, the nation’s capitol doesn’t fall flat in providing great music venues. In fact, it’s home to the busiest music performing arts center in the country, with the John F. Kennedy Center putting on over 2,000 shows per year. Located directly on the Potomac River, the gorgeous Top 10 DC venue offers enough to keep everyone entertained. With performances ranging from classical to modern and from symphonies to ballet, the Kennedy Center will be sure to have you coming Bach for more. Times vary by performance. 

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