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John F. Kennedy Center


The center is a performing arts venue that is also a living memorial to President John F. Kennedy. It's located on the picturesque banks of the Potomac River and is America's National Cultural Center. Funded through private and public partnerships, the Center brings a wide variety of performances, from lavish, white tie affairs to casual, free performances every day. It is the busiest performing arts facility in the United States and annually hosts approximately 2,000 performances for audiences totaling nearly two million. The Washington National Opera, the National Symphony Orchestra, and the Suzanne Farrell Ballet all make their homes at the Kennedy Center.



  • Day and evening performances
  • Tours are given between 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM weekdays and 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM on weekends. The Visitor's Center is located on the Terrace Level.


  • Varies


  • Kennedy Center Honors
  • The Opera Ball
  • Mark Twain Prize
  • National Symphony Orchestra Opening Ball
  • Kennedy Center Spring Gala


  • Ballet performances
  • Gift shop and dining
  • Symphony performances
  • Tours
  • Millennium Stage free performances


The Kennedy Center has a full schedule of performances year-round. There are also special events including the Center's annual Spring Gala, a fundraiser for arts and education across the country. The National Symphony Orchestra plays their opening ball each September, and the Kennedy Center Honors is televised each year in December. It features honorees of the performing arts.


Located on the banks of the Potomac River, the center is accessible by Metro. The closest station is Foggy Bottom/George Washington University. There's a free Kennedy Center shuttle during performances-just follow the signs. There are several ways to get to the Kennedy Center by car depending on where you're arriving from, but parking is available for $22. For questions on parking, call 202-416-7984 weekdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and 202-416-7987 evenings and weekends.


  • Is there a dress code?
    No, there is no dress code at the Kennedy Center.
  • Are there free performances?
    Yes. The Millennium Stage offers free performances every day at 6 p.m., with the purpose of fulfilling the Kennedy Center's mission of making the arts available to everyone. Shows include everything under the sun from music like jazz and classical to theatrical performances and showcases of young artists on the rise. The shows are also broadcast online on the website. Parking fees still apply at the Kennedy Center garage.