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“Any suggestions for affordable but great art, music, culture events/venues?”

by Prince Of Petworth January 4, 2017 at 1:55 pm 35 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user molly

“Dear PoPville,

My partner and I made a 2017 resolution to have a culturally-oriented date each month. As parents of a two young ones, our rare dates typically consist of a drink or two at a neighborhood bar. Any suggestions for affordable but great art, music, culture events/venues?”

  • MAB

    Try out Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital on Capitol Hill by Eastern Market! They do art shows, concerts, cooking classes, lectures, classes and more!

  • fhyrew

    Don’t know how old you are, but Arena Stage has a great program where you can pay your age for any ticket to any show if you’re 30 or under. My wife and I have taken advantage of it several times, often getting primo seats for less than $30. I could see Tevye’s spit flying when we sat front row for their outstanding Fiddler on the Roof production a couple years ago. Too bad I just turned 31!

    • Jojo

      Shakespeare Theatre’s got a similar thing. $25 tix for people under 35. You’ve got four years to enjoy that!

      • Belinskaya

        Heck with age: Shakespeare also got a grant to extend their Free Will program this year. Free means free. Tix available all week when box office opens noon Tuesday. Just need to call. 2 per person. Obviously very limited in numbers, and flexibility is important (so this may not be for those with little ones who need to plan out a sitter far in advance), but free=free.

  • Bookgal DC

    Free readings abound at the Busboys and Poets around the city. They’re organized by Politics and Prose, which also holds daily readings at their Connecticut Avenue store.

  • AdMoGuy

    Phillips After 5 at the Phillips Collection. Art, live music, and beer/wine. Always the first Thursday of the month from 5 PM to 8:30 PM. First one of the year is tomorrow night.

    • Truxton Thomas

      +1. Came here to say the same! They also have occasional members-only events, which reminds me I need to re-up.

  • B’Dale Res


  • Mug of Glop

    Aside from any of the free Smithsonian museums on the Mall, of course, you can usually get tickets to performances at the Kennedy Center for $30-ish apiece if you’re early enough to snag them. Also, this concert series at/by the Library of Congress [http://www.loc.gov/concerts/seasonataglance.html] that I found while unsuccessfully searching for another concert series that I was thinking of.

    • Mug of Glop

      And you should definitely go see the Ragnar Kjartansson exhibit at the Hirshhorn (pictured above) before it gets packed up after Sunday.

    • anon

      Love the LOC concert series. All the tickets are gone for the current season, I think. But you can get on the waitlist via eventbrite (they”ll email you when someone returns a ticket) or get the rush ticket on the day of. All tickets are free and you can get up to 2 tickets per household; you just have to act fast on the ticket opening day. Mostly classical music but they have a wonderful jazz program as well if classical music is not your thing.

      • textdoc

        You have to act REALLY fast. Tickets were available starting at 10 a.m. I forgot to check until 11:30 a.m. and almost everything was gone by then.

        • Anon

          I tried at 10:05 and all the concerts happening in the next two months were sold out. :(

    • AdMo

      the Friday night series with the NSO Declassified Series is usually well-priced and a great event,

  • Leigh

    Check out SofarSounds – its acoustic music set in house/apartment style settings. It’s a good weeknight date, shows are generally $10-$15 bucks and you can see 3-4 upcoming artists. You can BYOB and it’s usually over by 930pm – solid weekday date night idea!

    • FridayGirl

      Oh, I didn’t know this was a thing. This sounds right up my alley.

  • Washington Improv Theater. Shows are typically only $10-15 down at the Source on 14th or DC/AC in Adams Morgan.

  • AMDCer

    Kennedy Center Millennium Stage – free performances every day at 6:00pm.

  • anonymouse_dianne

    A subscription to Arena Stage is affordable and preview prices are even better. Through the Washington Performing Arts you can get subscriptions to events at the Kennedy Center or Strathmore. Only subscribers can buy chorister seats which are behind stage and actually a fantastic view.

  • sean

    Otis Street Arts Project https://www.facebook.com/otisstreetarts
    We have a reception for an exhibition next Saturday

  • dd

    Improv at the Unified Scene Theater! Generally $15 a show and it’s a great little venue.

  • Huma

    I’d also check out the Hillwood Estate — lovely for a walk around the grounds and house and believe they have events throughout the year too.

  • Tsar of Truxton

    Go and support Comet and see some live music up there. Songbyrd is also awesome for live music.

    • Tsar of Truxton

      Oh, and I know there was a post about a Showtime fundraiser earlier today, but Granny and the Boys play Sunday nights at Showtime. It is a fun time.

  • Mojotron

    The Renaissance hotel at 22nd and M NW has a free concert every Wednesday, think it’s called “Live in the Living Room”? Lots of comfy couches, very mellow scene, decent acts. Think tonight it’s Shane Gamble and it starts at 6PM. It wouldn’t be an issue having young kids there.

  • Bloomingdale Bill

    A lot of the smaller venues within the Kennedy Center have lower price points (Family Theater, Theater Lab, Terrace Gallery, Atrium, Terrace Theater, etc) for select events. The Jukebox series is usually something like $20 a tickets. I’d create an account on their website and opt-in to their email– they tend to send some really great discount offers out.

  • NWDC

    Sign up for the email newsletter from the Pink Line Project. They send weekly emails about cool stuff happening on the DC art scene, and often have offers for free/discounted tickets.



  • timmyp

    O ST. Mansion is very cool and surprisingly hardly anyone I mention it to has ever heard of it. They have music almost every week and even when they don’t it’s a cool place to take a self guided tour of. It has secret passages and hidden doors and is actually a functioning hotel.


  • Blithe

    – The Take 5 jazz program in the Kogod courtyard on the 3rd Thursday of every month. I’ve heard wonderful music there. There are often people doing art projects (may be a fee for some of these) during the music program. There’s also a games cart — and, of course, access to two museums.
    – The Millinnium Stage at the Kennedy Center. This has already been mentioned, but it’s so wonderful and has such a wide array of programs that it deserves multiple mentions.
    – The music programs at the Westminster Church. On Mondays they have Blues, on Fridays they have Jazz. Admission is $5 — and free for kids under 16. I’ve heard some wonderful, wonderful musicians here, in a very flexible, comfortable, atmosphere.
    – Check out the programs at the Strathmore — which is one of my favorite venues for live music. They have a wide variety of cultural/educational programs.
    – Most of the universities and colleges in the area, particularly those known for their performing arts programs, have free or low cost performances. I’ve been to wonderful musical performances at both Howard and UDC . Many of the professors are well-respected artists and are much more accessible than I would have expected.

    • RCH

      +++1 for the Westminster Presbyterian church concerts. Extrodinary musicians from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Friday’s and Monday’s. $5.

  • msmodular

    To quote the city paper in it’s best of weird section: Anything at Rhizome DC in the Takoma neighborhood.

    Avant garde music, film, exhibits, lectures, etc. Events are $5-$10 typically.

  • Belinskaya

    Capitol Hill Arts Workshop has a small black box theatre and is home to Taffety Punk and to We Happy Few, and I think other groups do other kinds of events there. Taffety Punk does both classic and new work (last show was An Iliad, a one-person retelling/interaction with the epic poem, and there will be a new Riot Grrls all-female cast classic coming up in the spring, I think Trojan Women) and tickets are always $15. We Happy Few do classic work in 90 minutes (best production of Romeo and Juliet I’ve ever seen was theirs), always with a small cast, distinct perspective, clear text reading. They have Henry V coming up in the spring and ticket price should be similar ($20 or less).

    So based on the two theatre companies, and CHAW’s philosophy, check them out for other public events, not just classes.

  • Karen Cohen

    Every month there are art receptions, check out the Hill Center in Cap. Hill has monthly receptions (free wine and small treats), for all ages featuring very affordable, local art, next reception is Jan 12 6-8pm. I am having my solo photography exhibit there called Phantasize. Come check it out, the Hill Center has 3 floors of collectible, original art. Karen Cohen

  • Rick

    Check out Dance Place. https://www.danceplace.org

  • dappa

    Start with JACS (jazz and cultural society) in NE. A straight shot with the H8. High quality jazz on Wednesday and Sunday evenings, $5 cover, homemade soul food..


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