Washington DC can feel like a small town, especially after hours when the workforce of several million people returns to the suburbs and the District’s population shrinks to just over 700,000 people (compare that to over 8 million residents in New York City). You’d think that the nightlife would shrink with it. Fortunately, that’s not the case. In fact, DC has always punched well above its weight class.
For those still in town, the District’s late night party goes well into the wee hours. The buttoned-up day crowd is replaced with a nightlife where the buttons loosen up. But, don’t worry, the city doesn’t lose its distinctive nerdy character as one of the smartest cities in America – a lot of entertainment for Washingtonians is mixed with museums, culture, and education. Get smart while tossing a few back. If that sounds like fun, this “small town” is the place for you.
- Best Clubs in Washington DC
- Best EDM clubs in Washington DC
- Best hip hop clubs in Washington DC
- Upcoming nightlife events in Washington DC
Looking for more information on DC nightlife? Check out our club guides below.
Don’t forget – we also have a free mobile app that you can download here. Use the app to see who’s spinning, sign up for guestlists, buy tickets, and book bottle service!
Washington DC Nightlife FAQ
What are the hottest clubs in Washington DC?
The hottest clubs in DC are Opera Ultra Lounge, Echostage, Rosebar, Decades, and St Yves.
What are the best music festivals in Washington DC?
The best music festivals in DC are: DC Jazz Festival, Broccoli City Festival, ShamrockFest, Summer Spirit Festival, M3 Rock Festival, Kingman Island Bluegrass & Folk Festival. In nearby Baltimore there’s the Moonrise Festival which is primarily EDM.
What are the best spots for day drinking in Washington DC?
- Suburbia (Union Market)
- Cantina Marina (SW Waterfront)
- 2 Birds 1 Stone (14th Street)
- Bardo Prewpub (Trinidad)
- Vinoteca (U Street)
- Black Jack (14th Street)
- American Ice Co. (U Street)
- Embassy Row Hotel (Dupont Circle)
- Hank’s on the Hill (Capitol Hill)
- 100 Montaditos (Navy Yard)
What part of Washington DC has the best nightlife?
Dupont Circle, U Street, H Street, and Capital Hill have the best nightlife – clubs & bars in Washington DC.
What are the best gay clubs/bars in Washington DC?
The best LGBTQ friendly bars and clubs in DC include: Nellie’s Sports Bar, JR Bar and Grill, Duplex Diner, The Dirty Goose, Larry’s Lounge, Number Nine, and Orchid.
What time is last call in Washington DC?
Liquor can be served by a licensed business from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Monday – Thursday, from 8 a.m. to 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. – 2 a.m. on Sundays. The day before a federal holiday, alcohol may be served from 8 a.m. – 3 a.m. On January 1 (New Year’s Eve), liquor may be served from 8 a.m. – 4 a.m.
What time do clubs close in Washington DC?
Many clubs are open until 3 AM on weekends.
Is weed legal in Washington DC?
As mentioned, the short answer to the question is yes, weed is legal in DC. Initiative 71 proposed letting adults over the age of 21 have up to two ounces of marijuana.
Sounds simple, right? Well, DC marijuana laws are a little bit more complex than that.
One of the first major issues is that while it’s legal to have marijuana, it’s not legal to buy it anywhere in the District. So how do people get weed if no one can legally sell it to you?
The marijuana laws in DC have a clever workaround for this issue. While no one can sell you marijuana, adults over the age of 21 can give each other up to one ounce of marijuana.
This has led to a situation where vendors offer “free” marijuana as a “gift” with the purchase of another good.
What are the best EDM clubs in Washington DC?
The best EDM clubs in Washington DC include Echostage, Flash, U Street Music Hall, and Sax.
What are the best hip hop clubs in Washington DC?
The best hip hop clubs in Washington DC include: Abigail, Heist, Opera Ultra Lounge, St Yves, The Park at 14th, Elevate, and Rosebar.
What are the best after hours spots in Washington DC?
Most clubs are open til 3 AM on the weekends. DC doesn’t generally stay open that late.