15 Best Things To Do In Washington D.C. At Night - Updated 2021

things to do in washington dc at night
Christopher
Christopher
Updated

Washington D.C. has a distinct reputation, laden with stoicism and grace as the capital city of the United States of America. But to those who live there and those who take it upon themselves to visit, D.C. has another side – one that comes alive as the sun sets. Visit this vibrant city, book a pet-friendly hotel and bring your beloved four-legged family, or just find an affordable hostel with a private room. Either way, you won’t have to worry about where to stay, you just need to get yourself to D.C. Here are the best things to do in Washington D.C. at night activities that stand out from the other nightlife of the nation’s capital.

1. See the Memorials at night (54 USD)

Washington D.C. has a set of distinct monuments that are dear to the hearts of many, which can be found around the Tidal Basin, a short distance from the National Mall. When night falls, each of these monuments – the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial and the Martin Luther King Jr. monument – are cast in soft light. Visitors can walk around the basin as evening approaches and see each one, with ducks on the basin’s waters adding another touch of nature. This is even more enjoyable when the cherry blossoms bloom, in the springtime.

See the Memorials at Night

Address: Tidal Basin and Ohio Drive NW, Washington DC, DC 20003

Washington DC Guided Night Tour

Duration: 3 hours

Price: 54 USD

Washington DC Monuments by Moonlight Night Tour by Trolley

Duration: 3 to 8 hours

Price: 43 USD

Washington DC After Dark Wonder Tour

Duration: 3 hours

Price: 49 USD

2. The Hamilton

The Hamilton Washington DC 9790
Source: Photo by Flickr user Ted Eytan used under CC BY-SA 2.0

If you’re wondering what to do in D.C. at night, then it’s best that you just head to The Hamilton. Tucked into downtown D.C., not far from the White House, is The Hamilton. It first gained popularity as a fine-dining restaurant, done up in a modern, classical style. But it has also become an elite venue for top-notch performers. The stage is on the lower level and at times can be quite packed with concertgoers. But that leaves visitors some leeway to sample some of the sumptuous menu items from the restaurant, along with great cocktails.

The Hamilton

Address: 600 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20005

Website: The Hamilton

3. Little Miss Whiskey's Golden Dollar

Dive Bar (37180191764)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Paul Sableman used under CC BY 2.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

If kitschy dive bars are one of your go-to activities when you visit a city, Little Miss Whiskey’s Golden Dollar fits the bill, with a unique twist. Located on the revived H Street corridor, in the northeastern part of D.C., Little Miss Whiskey’s employs a bit of New Orleans ambiance in its surroundings, even showing New Orleans Saints football games, during the season. At night, the bar and lounge become a meetup place for the fun and quirky, with live bands on certain nights, amid a constant purple glow.

Little Miss Whiskey's Golden Dollar

Address: 1104 H St NE, Washington, DC 20002

Website: Little Miss Whiskey’s Golden Dollar

4. The Howard Theater

2018.02.03 Howard Theatre at Dawn, Washington, DC USA 2
Source: Photo by Flickr user Ted Eytan used under CC BY-SA 2.0

The Howard Theater is a key part of the entertainment landscape of D.C., as well as being part of its history. It was built and opened in 1910, as the only major venue for performers of color, during the period of widespread segregation, in the city. These included legends like D.C. native Duke Ellington and Billie Holiday, to name a few. After many years of success, it fell into disrepair until efforts by local government and advocates in the community helped it reopen, in 2012. From then, the Howard has become a jewel of the city’s nightlife, with sweeping balcony seating and a restored façade that is striking to passerby. There are a variety of shows in which visitors can see world-famous performers, of all genres, on an almost daily basis, with ample room to mingle.

The Howard Theater

Address: 620 T St NW, Washington, DC 20001

Website: The Howard Theater

5. Tropicalia

Night after Night
Source: Photo by Flickr user John M used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Tropicalia is one of the few dance club venues in D.C. that gets you as close to the massive party atmosphere found in places like Ibiza, Spain, while still being in America. The club makes its home on U Street and has an easy décor that gives it a classy beach mansion feel – with potent beverages that have caught the attention of partygoers in the city, who visit frequently. Parties and DJ sets pack the house, sometimes to the point where you will be guaranteed to sweat.

Tropicalia

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

Website: Tropicalia

6. The Gibson (25 USD)

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

For those who want to revel in an environment that takes you back to the era of the speakeasy, the Gibson captures that vibe, with ease. The bar is ensconced within a busy block on the U Street corridor and comes with a rather lengthy wait if you don’t call ahead to make reservations. But once inside, patrons are treated to a drinking experience with an extensive cocktail menu that offers up majestic options with colorful names. The environment is full of polished oak and ornate elements that evoke a Prohibition-era feel, that’s comfortable.

The Gibson

Address: 2009 14th St NW, Washington DC, DC 20009

Website: The Gibson

If you’re up for a thrilling adventure, then check out this haunted pub tour!

Haunted Evening DC Pub Tour

Duration: 2.5 hours

Price: 25 USD

7. The Rock and Roll Hotel

DSCF0643
Source: Photo by Flickr user Joe Loong used under CC BY-SA 2.0

While the name can be misleading – it’s not a hotel – the Rock and Roll Hotel does offer patrons a good deal of fun. The indie music venue used to be a funeral parlor. But in 2006, the property was bought and became the Rock and Roll Hotel and part of the revitalization of the H Street corridor. The space has three levels, including a rooftop deck and there’s normally live performances held on the main floor. There’s even a food menu available for those who want a bite, with bar snacks and sandwiches, served up family-style.

The Rock and Roll Hotel

Address: 1353 H St NE, Washington, DC 20002

Website: The Rock and Roll Hotel

8. DC Improv

Capitol Improv DC No Pants Metro Ride
Source: Photo by Flickr user WapDC used under CC BY 2.0

It’s the nation’s #1 location for comedy improv: the DC Improv, in Washington, DC! This comedy club has seen its fair share of talented, original comedic acts take the stage over the past decades, and has since its opening built a steady entourage of loyal supporters. Become DC Improv’s newest satisfied guest, and experience one of the most fun things to do in Washington D.C. at night, when you book your visit to one of the city’s unsung gems. A diversity of headline acts thrill locals and visitors alike at regular intervals. When the sun sets in DC, the DC Improv becomes the absolute go-to source for an easy laugh in the metropolitan region. Whether it’s the local talent, the scheduled main acts, or simply the buzzing atmosphere that surrounds the club itself, it’s high time you made your way to the DC Improv!

DC Improv

Address: 1140 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036

Website: DC Improv

9. Washington DC Odyssey Dinner Cruise (from USD 102.0)

things to do in washington dc at night | washington dc odyssey dinner cruise
Source: www.viator.com

Have a romantic evening in D.C. while on a cruise along the Potomac River. Odyssey cruise ship offers this steal of a deal, perfect for couples looking for a different alternative from the regular wine and dine. With a lovely three-course meal served in the boat’s romantic dining room, experience a top-notch evening on the water. Admire the cityscape views from the deck, and have a truly memorable evening in Washington. Since they also serve kids’ meals, this activity is perfectly family-friendly.

Washington DC Premier Dinner Cruise

Duration: 3 hours

10 reviews

10. Washington: Haunted History Ghost Tour (from USD 22.0)

things to do in washington dc at night | washington: haunted history ghost tour

With the city’s rich historic past, there’s bound to be a ghost story, or two! No need to wait for Halloween to experience this haunting tour. Ideal for those into the paranormal and history buffs alike, this one-of-a-kind experience is a guided walking tour given by a well-versed Washington-city local. The tour highlight eight of the most haunted places in the city which are backed with a colorful past. You’re sure to appreciate Washington a bit more, and maybe if you’re lucky, capture a ghostly image in one of your selfies.

Washington: Haunted History Ghost Tour

Duration: 1 hour

12 reviews

11. Singsing Karaoke Palace

Karaoke
Source: Photo by Flickr user Jason Powers used under CC BY-ND 2.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

If you’re looking to just enjoy a night of merriment, then Singsing Karaoke Palace is where you have to be. Ideal for groups of up to 30 guests, this place is perfect for a group of friends on a Friday night out. Don’t worry if you sing off-key, the two rooms offered by the place are fully private - so only you and your friends would know how good or bad a singer you are. Their song lists are consistently updated every four months, so you’ll definitely be belting out the latest pop tunes. food and drinks are also served here, so this D.C. night out will surely be one for the books.

Singsing Karaoke Palace

Address: 1222 H St NE, Washington, DC 20002, United States

Website: Singsing Karaoke Palace

Opening hours: Sun - Thu: By reservation only; Fri: 5pm - 2:30am; Sat: 12pm-2:30am

Price: 45 - 65 USD

12. Escape The Room

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

This top-rated activity is both exciting and nerve-wracking. Try to solve some of the most complicated puzzles while teaming up with your friends or family. With a number of themed rooms to choose from, you’ll surely have one that will pique your interest. Each session lasts about an hour, so you’ll have to work quite hard to figure things out. Perfect for friends and family who are looking for something out of the ordinary after a full day out in D.C. Just remember you have a team member under 14 years of age, all they need is an adult to chaperone them and you’re all set.

Escape The Room

Address: 409 7th St NW, Lower Level, Washington, DC 20004

Website: Escape The Room

Opening hours: Tue - Thu: 12pm - 10:30pm; Fri: 12pm - 11pm; Sat: 10:30am - 11pm; Sun: 12pm - 10pm (closed on Mon)

13. Artechouse DC

Artech House
Source: Photo by Flickr user soomness used under CC BY 2.0

An innovative art experience sure to blow your mind, Artechouse DC offers a unique take on art, as they combine sights and sounds to create an immersive experience for the exhibit-goers. KNow to be a “tech-meets-art” studio the place is truly novel. With each unique exhibit and display, you’re sure to snap a one-of-a-kind photo that’s surely Instagram-worthy, and even enviable. Visit with friends or family, and have a fun evening in D.C . with Artechouse DC

Artechouse DC

Address: 1238 Maryland Ave SW, Washington, DC 20024

Website: Artechouse DC

Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 12pm - 8pm; Fri - Sun: 10am - 10pm

14. Georgetown Waterfront Park (from USD 40.0)

This park is fairly new – it was completed in 2011 and is now part of the National Park registry as well as being part of the Georgetown Historical District. It covers about ten acres (four hectares) and links parkland across the Potomac River, between Maryland and Virginia. Many come here in the evening to jog, get in a kayak ride or to simply stroll along the water’s edge. One key point of interest are the river steps, preserved from the days when the area was home to commercial shipping, until the riverbed gained too much silt, in the 1820’s.

Georgetown Waterfront Park

Address: Water St NW, Washington, DC 20007

Website: Georgetown Waterfront Park

Historic Georgetown Architecture Tour

Duration: 2 hours

15. The Jefferson Hotel (from USD 69.0)

things to do in washington dc at night | the jefferson hotel

The Jefferson Hotel is one of Washington D.C.’s premier hotel properties, and also one of the oldest. It has been in the same Beaux-Arts building since 1923 and became a hotel for luxury guests in 1955. That same grandeur exists in the Quill, which is the bar and lounge for the hotel. The intimate space implements many elements inspired by the former president the hotel is named after, Thomas Jefferson. Patrons can settle in for the elaborate cocktails that make this space so popular. In fact, it is best to check beforehand to see about space availability. One other feature is that the Quill has an outdoor patio, making it perfect for when the weather is reasonable.

The Jefferson Hotel

Address: 1200 16th St NW, Washington, DC 20036

Website: The Jefferson Hotel

Washington DC: Small-Group Craft Cocktail Tour

Duration: 2 hour

4 reviews

For those enjoying D.C. at dusk

Washington DC Capitol
Source: Photo by Flickr user Nicolas Raymond used under CC BY 2.0

Travelers who visit Washington D.C. are well aware of the rich traditions associated with the government, seen all around the city. But this shouldn’t deter anyone from seeking out the bustling evening scene. From eclectic clubs that celebrate a global atmosphere to pastoral settings, Washington D.C. evenings can be quite memorable.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Christopher Smith is a writer who hails from New York City. Growing up, he had the love of travel instilled in him from a young age thanks to his parents to go along with a love of writing. After a...Read more

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