AAA Editor Notes
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is at 2700 F Street N.W. at Rock Creek Pkwy. and New Hampshire Ave. N.W., just n. of the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Bridge. Opened in 1971, the Kennedy Center is both Washington's showplace for the performing arts and a tribute to President John F. Kennedy. Kennedy was instrumental in raising funds for the National Cultural Center—a facility envisioned by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who signed legislation to create it in 1958. Two months after his assassination in November 1963, it was designated a “living memorial” to the 35th president.
The public areas are spacious and grand. Flags from countries with which the U.S. has diplomatic relations hang in the Hall of Nations, while state, territorial and District of Columbia flags hang in the Hall of States. An 8-foot-tall, 3,000-pound bronze bust of JFK is in the Grand Foyer. The expansive view overlooking the banks of the Potomac River is best appreciated from the outdoor River Terrace.
Nine theaters and stages—the Eisenhower Theater, the Opera House, the Concert Hall, the Terrace Theater, the Theater Lab, the Terrace Gallery, two Millennium Stages and the Family Theater—present theater, dance, multimedia and music (orchestral, chamber, jazz, popular, world and folk) performances, including lots of performances for young audiences. Free performances are given daily at 6 p.m. on the Millennium Stage; no tickets are required, dress is casual and the shows cover a variety of art forms.
Note: Free 60-minute parking is available to visitors purchasing tickets at the box office; phone ahead for specific details. On weekdays Rock Creek Parkway is one way going south from Connecticut Avenue from 6:45 to 9:30 a.m. and one way north from 3:45 to 6:30 p.m. At all other times the parkway is open both ways; follow signs from New Hampshire Avenue N.W. to the Kennedy Center entrance. If you're planning a sightseeing visit or attending an evening performance, taking public transportation is recommended; free Kennedy Center shuttle service departs the Foggy Bottom Metro station every 15 minutes Mon.-Fri. 9:45 a.m.-midnight, Sat. 10 a.m.-midnight, Sun. noon-midnight and federal holidays 4-midnight.
Guided tours are available. Food is available.