Sunset photo of boats at the Wharf

35 Things To Do in Washington DC At Night (2024)

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When I lived in DC, I was always busy during the day, attending classes or working my part-time job. I only had free time during the evening, so I became familiar with all the best nighttime activities in the nation’s capital. Luckily, there are great ways to experience DC at night, and I’m excited to share them all with you right now!

Beautiful view of the National Monument at sunset

35 Things To Do in Washington DC at Night: An Overview

One of the nice things about Washington DC is that there is an activity for everyone. Whether you want to do some sightseeing, experience the city nightlife, attend a sporting event, or listen to live music, there are options for you to explore. Here is a list of the things to do in Washington DC at night I’ll be covering in this post:

35 Things To Do in Washington DC at Night

If New York is the city that never sleeps, Washington DC isn’t too far behind. Whether you’re more of a night owl, only having free time later in the day, or simply are looking for things to do, there are plenty of ways to stay entertained. Let’s dive in!

Visit the Monuments & Memorials

Washington DC is known for its spectacular monuments and memorials, and people are generally surprised that visiting them at night is an option. The National Mall tends to be packed and overcrowded during the day, but exploring the mall at night offers a different experience. The monuments are lit up and beautiful!

One of my favorite ways to spend my evenings in Washington DC was heading to the national mall at night

See the lights at the Lincoln Memorial

Visiting the Lincoln Memorial at night was one of my favorite dates Dylan and I took in DC. It was quiet, uncrowded, and beautiful under the fluorescent lights. You can take a peaceful walk along the reflecting pool, see the memorial, and sit on the marble steps to enjoy a relaxing evening.

Walk Around the Tidal Basin

Another great way to experience the heart of DC at night is by taking a stroll around the Tidal Basin. Once again, this area is usually crowded during the day but is calm and beautiful at night. You can see the city lights reflecting off the basin and enjoy a nice path around the water.

Hit The Town For Some Nightlife

If you’re looking to do something in Washington DC that’s a little bit more upbeat, a great way to do so is to check out the nightlife. Even though DC is one city, many different neighborhoods provide different vibes. Depending on which area of DC you go to, you’ll have a different nightlife experience!

Dylan and I enjoying a picnic on the Georgetown lawn at sunset

Georgetown Waterfront Park

The Georgetown Waterfront Park is a fantastic place to enjoy DC at night. You can walk the boardwalk along the river, dine at a classy restaurant, and head to a cocktail bar for a nightcap. One night, Dylan and I decided to picnic on the grass near the river and enjoyed watching the sunset with some appetizers!

Adams Morgan

Adams Morgan was one of my favorite neighborhoods in DC during night and day. Dylan and I were considering moving there had we stayed in DC! Adams Morgan attracts a younger crowd, though they have great bars, restaurants, and even some shops that are open late. A ton of the bars have live music as well.

One of the best places to eat in Washington DC at night is near Chinatown. for their rooftop bars


Chinatown is the best place to go for a late-night bite to eat. Many restaurants and eateries are open late and have excellent food options. Whether you’re looking to experience DCs ramen scene, enjoy some Pho, or grab some boba tea, Chinatown is the place to go.

DuPont Circle

DuPont Circle is another fantastic area for the nightlife. It’s an artsy neighborhood in DC where you can find dive bars, dance clubs, lively dining, and Embassy Row! Don’t forget to check out the underground art gallery.

Sam enjoying some Washington DC nightlife near DuPont Circle


U-Street is a historical neighborhood in DC that served as a cultural African American nightlife scene from the 20s to the 40s. The area is lined with vibrant murals, DJ lounges, and rooftop bars, making it a fantastic place to enjoy a lively evening.


H-Street is a one-and-a-half-mile road featuring restaurants and bars and is known for its festivals and community areas. This arts district often has amazing music at various establishments at night. As you make your way down the block, you’ll find a restaurant or bar that piques your interest!

Attend a Sporting Event

Depending on the season, there are great options for watching a live sporting event at night in DC. For stadiums, DC is home to the Nationals Park Stadium and the Capital One Arena, where you can purchase tickets to watch baseball, hockey, or basketball games. Typically, sports games happen in the evening!

Dylan and I at a Nationals Game at the Nationals Park Stadium on the Fourth of July

Baseball Game

In the summertime, grab a ticket to watch a baseball game at the Nationals Park Stadium. You can cheer for the Washington Nationals during one of their summer night games while you eat some stadium food, have a cold drink, and enjoy the game. Typically, you can find affordable prices.

Hockey Game

Head over to the Capital One Arena to watch a hockey game in the wintertime! Grab a sweatshirt and your best attitude to enjoy an evening watching hockey. Plus, you can receive discounted tickets if you’re a government employee or have a Capital One card!

Basketball Game

From fall to spring, get your jerseys on to watch a basketball game in DC! The Washington Wizards play at the Capital One arena and can provide a fun night of entertainment for you and your friends and family. If you’re looking for something to do at night, this is a great way to pass the time.

Statue of Emerson at the National Portrait Gallery

Explore a Museum After Dark

DC is well known for having some of the best museums in the US, but did you know there are a few you can also experience at night? We’ll go into an art and spy museum that is open late, but make sure to check online because other museums host nighttime events, too!

Phillips Collection – Phillip After 5

The Phillips Collection is a modern art museum in DuPont Circle that’s open during the day but also hosts events at night! Phillips After 5 is an event that the art museum holds, and each month they offer something different. Check online to see when the next one is!

The International Spy Museum

Unlike many museums in DC, the International Spy Museum is open later in the evenings. During the weekdays, it’s open until 7 PM, and on weekends, it remains open until 8 PM! It was hands down one of my favorite museums in DC and is worth checking out!

Take a Night Tour

Another way to get to know the city at night is to take a DC night tour! There are plenty of night tours available that are entertaining, educational, and a great way to spend your time. We’ll go over the two most popular, but there are plenty of bike and trolley tours, too!

One of the coolest ways to experience Washington DC at night is by taking a ghost tour. I took this photo of a haunted building on the DC Ghosts night tour.
One of the haunted buildings on our ghost tour

Take a Ghost Tour

One of the most unique ways to learn about the US capital is to hear the ghost stories! Dylan and I took two different ghost tours on two separate occasions and were impressed by both! They typically happen after dark (as you’d expect) and include some walking through the city.

Book the DC Ghosts Tour by Ghost Adventures (Near the White House)
Book the Ghosts of Georgetown Night-Time Walking Tour

One of my favorite dates in Washington DC at night was this cruise on the Potomac River Dylan purchased for my birthday

Washington DC Signature Dinner Cruise

Another extraordinary way to experience DC is on the Potomac River! Board a luxury boat to eat a buffet dinner on the Potomac and enjoy some shuffleboard, life-size Jenga, and more fun games after your meal! The cruises last between two and two and a half hours.

Book the Washington DC Signature Dinner Cruise Here

Enjoy Lively Entertainment

If you’re looking for something that will entertain you for a few hours, DC will not disappoint. Many places in the city feature theater, magic, and comedy shows. Let’s go over them now!

Photo on the side of the John F Kennedy Center of the Performing Arts

Visit the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

John F. Kennedy Center is along the Potomac River near Georgetown. This beautiful historic building has a campus of theaters for the performing arts and always has a show, event, or exhibit running! They even have free shows at times, so check out their list of events online!

See a show at Ford’s Theatre

Ford’s Theatre highlights the legacy of Abraham Lincoln. You can take tours during the day or attend the Ford at 5 Private Tour after the theater closes. Additionally, the theater plays shows four times a year, so check the calendar to see if one’s happening soon!

Photo of the Avalon Movie Theatre in Upper Chevy Chase, DC

Attend a Magic Show with The Magic Duel

The Magic Duel is a mix between a comedy and a magic show that’s fantastic for a night full of humor. Two magicians compete on stage for the audience’s vote as they perform for the crowd. They perform at two different locations in DC during the evenings: the Mayflower Hotel and The Delegate.

Find a Comedy Show

DC is a great place to attend a comedy show. DC has a variety of comedy show venues, including DC Improv, Underground Comedy, and Capital Laughs. If you’re in for a laugh, this is a fun way to enjoy an evening!

Fun Nighttime Activities in the Capital

If you’re looking for things to do in DC at night that are active and engaging, there are a handful of activities worth experiencing! Whether you’re looking for something to do as a family, a couple, solo, or with a group of friends, this list contains something for everyone.

One of my favorite dates in Washington DC at night was heading over to Maryland and going on the Capital Ferris Wheel

Ferris Wheel Ride

One of my favorite date nights Dylan and I took was going to the National Harbor in Maryland across the bridge. The National Harbor has an enormous Ferris wheel – the Capital Wheel – that looks over the Potomac River. The National Harbor has delicious restaurants, an outlet shopping mall, a casino, and live music near the Ferris wheel!

Try an Escape Room

There are many different escape rooms that you can visit in DC, each offering its twist to this fun and mentally stimulating game! Check out Escape the Room DC, Escape Game DC, or Escape Artist DC to find a room that fits your party’s taste! An Escape Room can be a hilarious and challenging team-building activity for when the sun goes down!

Photo in an immersive exhibit at a museum in Washington DC

Artechouse Immersive Experience

The Artechouse House in DC is an immersive museum where every room feels like you’re walking inside the setting. It’s a unique way to experience a museum and can keep you entertained for hours! It’s a great way to spend an evening if you’ve never experienced it before.

Book your ticket with the Artechouse Immersive Experience Here

Sunset Parade at the Marine Barracks

The US Marine Corps conducts an evening parade every Friday in the summer at the Marine Barracks! The parade is free, but reservations are required. The parade usually takes an hour and a half.

Outdoor Movie photo I took in DC one summer

See an Outdoor Movie

During the summer, you can find a handful of outdoor movies put on outside in the nation’s capital. You can find some playing at the Wharf, Georgetown, Adams Morgan, and Union Market. Movies are free to the public.

Listen to Live Music

No matter what time of year, DC has a lively music scene. There are a ton of venues where you can enjoy your evening by listening to some live music. There are a variety of genres that play, but let’s go over some of the most popular venues:

Blues Alley Jazz Orchestra

Listen to Jazz at Blues Alley

If you’re a fan of jazz and blues, Blues Alley in Georgetown is where you’ll want to be! Blues Alley is the nation’s longest-continuous jazz club that features headline acts and food and drinks. There is typically a show every night at 7 PM and 9 PM, but check online to see who will be performing!

See a concert at the 9:30 Club

The 9:30 Club is a great concert venue in DC known for smaller artists and generally has cheaper prices! It’s a great way to enjoy a spontaneous evening by listening to an artist or getting tickets to a dance party. They usually have events a few times a week.

Book tickets at Echo Stage

If you want tickets to well-known artists, you’ll want to head over to Echo Stage. Echo Stage is a fantastic music venue with over 130 shows per year. This venue holds up to 3,000 people and is a fun and lively place to spend an evening in the capital.

Photo of the National Monument with fireworks behind it on the Fourth of July

FAQS: Things To Do in Washington DC at Night

Now that we have covered 35 things to do in DC at night, we can cover some frequently asked questions!

Can I walk around DC at night?

DC is like any city where there are places you typically want to avoid at night and places that are safer. Do your research and become familiar with the area, but in general, most of the areas in DC are generally safe to walk around at night.

Can I see the monuments in DC at night?

The monuments at the National Mall are open 24 hours and light up during the evening! If you visit during the evening, you can beat the crowds and heat and experience the monuments and reflecting pool.

Is DC nightlife fun?

DC has a great nightlife scene, with various places and neighborhoods around the city to bar hop. Check out Adams Morgan, Georgetown, DuPont Circle, U-Street, and H-Street for some fantastic nightlife fun!

Can you go to the Tidal Basin at night?

Tidal Basin is open 24 hours, so you can enjoy walking around the water at night. It’s an ideal way to experience the Tidal Basin for those looking to beat the crowds and heat and see the city lights reflect off the water.

Sunset photo of boats at the Wharf

Wrapping Up: 35 Things To Do in Washington DC at Night

There you have it! The top 35 things to do in Washington DC, at night. Hopefully, this comprehensive list has given you a few ideas on how to experience DC during the evening. Whether you’re looking to experience a sporting event, live music, nightlife, or fun activity, there is something to do year-round!

Stay safe, and enjoy!