Nightlife In Washington, DC: 5 Best Places To Groove

 5 best places to groove in washington dc
| 4 min read

What does music do for you? When you hear your favorite song, does your head bob? Do you have a hard time keeping your feet still when the beat creates colorful motion in your mind? If so, you might just be a dancer.

What better city to explore the movement junkie in you waiting to be born than Washington, DC? DC is bursting with dancers and music that will take your ears to new heights of pleasure. Even if you’ve never taken a class or have described yourself as having no rhythm, I am certain you can find your own in one of these inspiring venues.

1. Feel the beat at Eighteenth Street Lounge

The Latin Jazz Ensemble on at 10:30

Posted by Eighteenth Street Lounge on Thursday, 27 February 2014

Eighteenth Street Lounge is more than just a club! It is an important piece of DC dance culture helping to shape music and culture in the capital city since its opening in 1995. For the last 23 years, the wooden floors of this music haven have pulsed with the vibrations of the underground, cutting edge beats.

This infectious energy helped to birth DC local electronic musicians Thievery Corporation. House legends, breakers, and elegant swayers coalesce on the basement level called the Gold Room. This doesn’t mean you won’t find dancers all across the five areas of ESL. From the deck bar to the main room, each area wraps you in a unique sensory experience.

The indulgently decorated bars accent the intimate feel of the romantic decor with corners perfect for close contact conversations, group laughter and of course, the not so occasional throwdown. On any given day Tuesday through Saturday, there is a list of inspired events featuring must-hear DJs, live bands, vocalists, and musicians. As the history of ESL rolls on, you’ll want to be able to say you were a witness to the magic.

Eighteenth Street Lounge

Address: 1212 18th St NW, 20036 Washington, DC

Website: Eighteenth Street Lounge

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2. A musical melting pot

5 best places to groove in washington dc | a musical melting pot
Source: instagram
Posted by Tropicalia on Friday, 23 June 2017

Tropicalia is a self-described cultural crossroads, hosting some of the most bass-beating, heart-pumping, dance-crazy parties on U street. Walking down the 14th, you could easily miss the entrance, as it requires you to follow the music down stairs to gain access. However, you’ll know you’re in the right place when you see the colorful mosaic logo.

One of the best features of this small yet power packed space is the diversity of the events that occur here: reggae, EDM, house, funk, hip-hop and much more. Be sure to check their Facebook page to keep up with the parade of local to international acts. The vibe of Tropicalia is perfect for even the most inexperienced dancer.

When the music starts, no one is watching you because they are too busy getting into their own step. If you’re going to see your favorite artist, you are in luck. The small space is perfect to get an amazing view, so don’t wait too late before heading over if you want to be front and center.


Address: 2001 14th St NW, 20009 Washington, DC

Website: Tropicalia

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3. Bachata Brunch

Posted by Bachata Larry DMV on Monday, 29 May 2017

Bachata Brunch is an experience, not just a place. It’s currently held at Stanton & Greene, a restaurant and bar with a presidential reputation, serving up recipes by Benjamin Franklin and a Bill of Rights inspired cocktail menu. Come early for brunch and then dance off the delicious meal with a day of dancing.

Hosted by Tipsy Entertainment, Sabroso Ent, and DC Zouk, this all-day party is so much fun you might forget that you have to work the next day. Every Sunday at 11 a.m., the Bachata Brunch will not only teach you to dance the bachata, you can put your skills to the test, moving with some of the cities best, while sipping bottomless mimosas and meeting some new friends to dance with. This one of a kind experience is perfect for everyone, whether you are a dancing pro or just want to enjoy the atmosphere. You’ll be glad you chose to roll out of bed early.

Bachata Brunch

Address: 319 Pennsylvania Ave SE, 20003 Washington, DC

Website: Bachata Brunch

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4. An underground oasis

Cloak and Dagger is a venture into the elegance of the Victorian era with the modern sophistication of amazing mixologists and rave reviews from DC locals and visitors alike. The hip-hop focus of this speakeasy-style venue has won numerous awards for its crowd-pleasing talent, offering some of the best parties all week long. One of the reasons so many people can’t get enough of Cloak and Dagger is that there is plenty room to dance. Not only can you vibe to some of the best and latest hip-hop and Afro beats, the happy hour specials are sure to help you start off your night on a good note.

Have you ever wondered how your friend is always up on the latest and greatest new artist? Most likely they are keeping their finger on the pulse of local shows like the ones you will find at Cloak and Dagger. During the week you can stumble upon your next favorite artist, network with local music lovers and of course, dance away the stress of a long day at work.

Cloak and Dagger

Address: 1359 U St NW, 20009 Washington, DC

Website: Cloak and Dagger

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Washington Tour Guide

Annie Leguennec

Annie Leguennec

My name is Annie. I am a local Tour guide based in Philadelphia enjoying fully what the city has to offer with its deep history, street arts, murals, architecture, traditional food, black history, Farmer Markets, green space, a melting pot of neighborhoods and its great locals. I am looking for to welcome you and show you this incredible city where you will gain a better understanding of the city's rich heritage and its continuing legacy as the birthplace of the United States of America. Book my tour. Explore and learn about this unique city where you will walk on the footsteps of our America's founding Fathers. My tours are conducted in English, French and Italian.

Tours by Annie

Washington Tour Guide

Stephanie Eley

Stephanie Eley

I'm a graduate of ITMI, International Tour Management Institute and 17 years as a licensed Tour Director and Program Director. My expertise began in NYC and Washington, DC where I'm a licensed guide and has expanded to Europe, South America, Cuba and the Western / Southwestern National Parks of the US. I'd love to introduce you for a day or a week to Denver, Colorado and the 4 corners region of the US: Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona! Let's GO!!

Tours by Stephanie

5. Just dance

Posted by Decades on Saturday, 24 June 2017

Posted by Decades on Saturday, 24 June 2017

Come to a place that blends the best of every decade into the seductive tunes and a mature atmosphere everyone can enjoy. If there is one place you can go, to not only dance the night away but learn some new steps from old school to the latest moves, it’s Decades. To avoid the crazy long lines, call and reserve a table or get there early. You won’t regret the forethought because this unique space has so much to offer in style and energy. A vast space is a tribute to the push and pulls of the old and new, an appreciation of what makes a blending of the historical and contemporary that is endemic of DC culture and enchantment.


Address: 1219 Connecticut Ave NW, 20036 Washington, DC

Website: Decades

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Find your groove

Cinco de Mayo dancers in Washington DC
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user dbking used under CC BY 2.0

When we move, we light a fire inside that can help ignite our passion for living. Dance helps connect us to our bodies in a unique way that not many other outlets can. Not only can we get more in touch with ourselves, we can create new bonds with others by simply being open enough to let the music move us.

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Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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