Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Washington DC for Music Lovers - The Capital City Hits All of the Right Notes

Music may not be the first attraction most people associate with Washington, DC, but the nation’s capital hits all of the right notes for the music lover.
At the world-famous Kennedy Center, you can revel in performances that feature music luminaries like Renee Fleming, Midori, Yo-Yo Ma, Roberta Flack, and Wynonna. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (the official name) also features Jazz by performers such as Tigran Homosian (the 2006 winner of the Thelonius Monk International Jazz Piano Contest, the compelling Dianne Reeves, and Grammy winner John Patitucci. The center also offers a robust schedule of chamber music, as well as family- oriented performances, such as the NSO Family Concert: More Spooky Sounds and Scary Tales around Halloween.
If you don’t mind standing room only, the 9:30 Club (815 V St NW) is consistently voted the best music venue in the city by locals. The 9:30 Club features national and up-and-coming acts, with 300 shows annually, and past performers have included R.E.M., Beastie Boys, Radiohead, Nirvana, the Smashing Pumpkins and James Brown. Another great venue for up and comers is the Black Cat (1811 14th St NW), which locals know is the place to go for great indie acts, such as Ani DiFranco, Sleater-Kinney and Yo La Tengo as well as mainstreamers like Foo Fighters, Garbage and The Offspring. The Black Cat has a smoke-free cafe, called Food for Thought, which serves a vegetarian and vegan menu.
Jazz fans will also find avant-garde artists, minor legends and the best of the local scene at Twins Jazz (1344 U St NW). Ethiopian cuisine is available to complement the Jazz. Believe it or not, Blues Alley (1073 Wisconsin Ave) is a legendary DC venue for live jazz, in spite of its name. This Georgetown supper club is small, with only 40 tables, but the sound is big. Creole is the specialty on the menu at Blues Alley.
For a mixture of Blues, Folk, and Country acts, head to Birchmere (3701 Mount Vernon Ave, Alexandria), where headliners have included the Dave Matthews Band, Lyle Lovett, k.d. lang and Vince Gill. Birchmere is a music hall, with homespun décor and a seating capacity of 500. For Folk fans (with some jazz, blues and country thrown in), Jammin’ Java (227 Maple Avenue East, Vienna) is the place to be. The coffeehouse club remains a staple of the Washington, DC area music community, and is run by musicians. The club features live music seven nights a week and kids concerts in the mornings. As its name suggests, Jammin’ Java offers a variety of coffee drinks, as well as beer and wine.
If you are a headed to Washington DC, has the perfect hotel for you. Choose the Phoenix Park Hotel, the Capitol Hill Suites (see special deal below), the Best Western Capitol Skyline, the Four Points by Sheraton, the Lombardy Hotel, or the Georgetown Suites. Stay at the Henley Park Hotel, the State Plaza, the Georgetown Hill Inn, or. Enjoy the Washington Plaza Hotel, the Georgetown Inn, the Latham Hotel, or the historic Morrison Clark Inn.
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