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Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024
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The Scene’s music venue guide for beginners

Six venues and shows to check out in the coming weeks

Now that you have finished traveling from your hometown, (probably New Jersey), and are settled into the dorms, you’re probably trying to come up with things to do with your new group of friends. Although it may not seem like it at first glance, the District boasts a huge music scene. This beginners guide will show you where to go in DC to find awesome shows and cool niche scenes for you and your new friends to explore. And don’t worry, all of the music halls listed admit underage patrons.

For those who are not music nerds, DC has historically catered to many different audiences. The city has been known to have a unique HarDCore punk scene and has even given birth to its own genre of music called GoGo. These two different types of music have had long lasting effects on the DC music scene and its venues moving forward.


9:30 Club

On top of having it’s own TV show, the 9:30 Club is one of the District’s most infamous and musically diverse venues. Although it has traditionally catered to a more punk rock crowd, the hall has brought everyone from Bob Dylan to ScHoolboy Q to it’s stage. Located near U Street, the 9:30 Club offers a loud, industrial and fun area to go out to eat, catch a movie, or just aimlessly walk around.

Metro Stops: U Street Metro Center on the Yellow and Green lines

Upcoming show: Angel Olson 9/15/16

Black Cat

The Black Cat, located on 14th street, is another fun area that holds a much more personal and punk oriented atmosphere. Partly founded by Nirvana drummer and Foo Fighter’s frontman Dave Grohl, the Black Cat holds everything from hardcore punk and metal to mash up dance parties.

Metro Stops: U Street Metro Center on the Yellow and Green lines

Upcoming show: DEATH 9/24/16

U Street Music Hall

Located between the Black Cat and the 9:30 Club, U Street Music Hall holds an even smaller but more intimate space to see shows. What looks like a hole in the wall expands when you walk passed its slim entrance, down the long stairs, and into the venues larger basement. The venue hosts all genres with a focus on rising artists and no names about to rise to superstardom, such as Vic Mensa and Everything Everything.

Metro Stops: U Street Metro Center on the Yellow and Green lines

Upcoming show: Haelos 9/22/16

Rock and Roll Hotel

Just East of the Capital Building and Union Station is the Rock and Roll Hotel on H Street. Although a little bit narrow, the Rock and Roll Hotel provides DC with ear busting acts. Loud and sweaty, the venue is the closest someone will get to an authentic DIY show without walking into someone’s crowded house basement. Acts have included everything from punk band FIDLAR to hip-hop stars Kanye West and Drake DJ parties.

Metro Stops: Union Station Red line, X2 Buss to NE H St. & NE 14th St.

Upcoming show: Titus Andronicus 8/23/16


Although a trek via metro, Echostage offers a much larger venue with an open room to dance. The venue located on the edge of DC hosts many different shows from electric and rave acts like Datsik to synth pop groups such as Chvrches.

Metro Stops: Brookland Metro stop, H6 Buss to Franklin St NE & 22nd St NE

Upcoming show: Chvrches 10/17/16, 10/18/16

Comet Ping Pong

A strange but awesome mix of pizza and ping pong, this venue/ restaurant holds small concerts in the back room. The venue brings many independent rock groups to a heavily AU based audience. One of the closest venues to AU and a 20 minute walk from Tenleytown, Comet Ping Pong resides on Connecticut Ave., just a few doors down from one of the the AU community’s most cherished businesses, the Politics and Pros bookstore.

Metro Stops: No Metro access, 18 minute walk down Nebraska Ave.

Upcoming show: Sex Stains and more… 9/15/16

 Hosts Sara Winick and Sydney Hsu introduce themselves and talk about their favorite TV shows. This episode includes fun facts, recommendations and personal connections. 

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