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Roundup: The best concert venues in D.C.

From mellow concerts to mosh pits, there’s a place to enjoy music for everyone

Want to go to a concert? Instead of looking for a specific artist, look for a place to go. D.C. has a wide variety of music venues that all have their own unique style of music and community. 

  1. Echostage 

This 3,000 person venue is ranked right under Hi Ibiza, one of the most world-renowned clubs in Ibiza, Spain, according to DJ Mag. Due to the venue's prestige, Echostage hosts popular DJs and events. On Jan. 21st, Shaquille O’Neal — also known as DJ Diesel — took over the stage with his dubstep beats. High-profile DJ Afrojack spun on Feb. 3. Although the venue is not accessible by metro, if you dare to dance and mosh all night, Echostage is the place to be. 

  1. Black Cat 

For a more chill vibe, Black Cat is a smaller venue located in the U Street Corridor that is dedicated to the underground music scene. The venue features artists who have strong connections to their fans such as Chappell Roan, who makes each venue stop on her tour a different theme. The theme for Roan’s D.C. show is “Rhinestones and Rainbows.” Black Cat also has sensational decor including a checkered floor and games such as pinball for guests to enjoy. 

  1. 9:30 Club 

Plenty of artists make their tour stops at the 9:30 Club and the venue also hosts dance parties ranging from Taylor Swift Night to Emo Night Brooklyn. Named one of the top ten best live music venues in America by Rolling Stone, the club is “one of the greatest indie rock venues.” Hosting artists throughout the years, such as Nirvana and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the club certainly lives up to its ranking. 

  1. The Kennedy Center 

The historic Kennedy Center may not be the most traditional concert venue, however, it hosts a wide range of concerts from the National Symphony Orchestra to operas to national tours of Broadway shows. The Kennedy Center has a student discount program called MyTix that offers student rush tickets to certain shows ranging from $10 to $20. It’s also hard to ignore the center’s extravagant decorations, including gorgeous chandeliers and a stunning overlook of the Potomac River. The outdoor patio is also a good place to hang out and socialize with other showgoers before or after a show. 

  1. Soundcheck 

Although Soundcheck is not as big as Echostage and holds just 500 people, the club still features plenty of popular DJs for you to enjoy. Soundcheck claims to be the quietest club in the district as their sound system eliminates feedback so it’s easier to talk to your friends. Disco Lines, a deep house DJ who played at Echostage in January, also played at Soundcheck last year. Featuring their own popular artists, Brazilian house DJ Bhaskar, who is the son of DJs Swarup and Ekantaa, played at Soundcheck on Feb. 2.

  1. The Howard Theatre

Ella Fitzgerald famously launched her career at The Howard, as well as many other Black artists. According to George Washington University, The Howard is “a venue where Washington’s black community could listen to the sounds of their generation.” The Howard has hosted the greats of jazz and blues including Louis Armstong, Billie Holiday and Nat King Cole. In 2023, the theater is featuring emerging young artists, such as Sheila E. and GloRilla

Whether you want to dance the night away or relax and listen to music, there is a place for everyone. From genres such as classical to deep house, you can find your music scene right here in the district.

This article was edited by Sara Winick, Kylie Bill and Nina Heller. Copy editing done by Isabelle Kravis and Stella Guzik.

Correction: This article has been updated to include that Soundcheck holds 500 people, not 300.

As the semester comes to an end and one of the founding members leaves American University, Section 202 has decided to take a trip down memory lane. For our fans, old and new, who are wondering how Section 202 came to be, this episode is a must. Listen along as hosts Connor Sturniolo and Liah Argiropoulos reminisce about the beginning of Section 202 and how it got to where it is now.

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