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Arts District / U Street / Shaw Attractions

Music rules in this artsy neighborhood with a rich African-American heritage.



All ages are welcome at this music venue that hosts big names and underground local artists alike.

Rock your heart out at this DC music institution. An intimate, standing-room only venue where all ages all welcome, 9:30 Club hosts big names and underground local artists alike. Avoid crowds and snag a good general admission spot by requesting early entrance for dinner. Check out Back Bar, located in the club's basement, for drink specials before the show. The 2,000 person, three floor venue is small enough that you can stand just about anywhere and feel close to the stage, but head upstairs to the balcony for easy access to one of four bars and better view of the acts.

The African American Civil War Museum in Shaw honors the 209,000 soldiers and sailors who fought for the Union between 1861-1865.


This museum is dedicated to the involvement of African Americans in the Civil War.

Exit the eastern side of the U Street Metro Station to see this memorial erected in 1998 to recognize the Civil War's United States Colored Troops (USCT). The 10-foot sculpture and Wall of Honor depicts uniformed soldiers and a sailor amidst the names of more than 200,000 USCT arranged by regiment. You'll learn about the African-American experience in the New World from the 16th century through the Civil War, such as the role African American churches played along the Underground Railroad, and USCT Medal of Honor recipients.

Predating Harlem's Apollo Theater, the Howard opened in 1910 and quickly became the city's preeminent spot for African American performers including Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong. After years of disrepair, the Howard reopened in 2012.


Attend concerts and gospel brunches at this bright theatre on a cobblestone square near Howard University.

The bright theatre on a cobblestone square between LeDroit Park and Howard University draws lines before popular performances and events, like Sunday gospel brunches and B.B. King concerts. The Howard has many famous fans dedicated to ensuring it thrives; Smokey Robinson, Quincy Jones and Wyclef Jean are on the honorary board for the theatre's restoration, which will include a culture and education center with a museum, classrooms, recording studio and offices when complete.

Founders Library on the campus of Howard University in Washington, D.C. The building is a National Historic Landmark.


People-watch in “The Yard,” the heart of this historically black college with famous alum.

Alums of this historically black college founded in 1867 by Oliver O. Howard include Thurgood Marshall, Toni Morrison, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Oprah Winfrey and Roberta Flack. “The Yard” in the heart of Howard's open campus is a nice place to rest and people watch any time, Howard Homecoming in October is a nationally-known celebration with the crowds to match. Over 100,000 alumni, family and friends attend a gospel show, R&B concert, step and fashion shows, and football game.