“discover a living memorial”
Since opening in 1971, the Kennedy Center has continued its efforts to fulfill his vision—presenting the greatest performers and performances from across America and around the world, nurturing new works and young artists, and serving the nation as a leader in arts education. The Kennedy Center, located on the banks of the Potomac River near the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., opened to the public in September 1971. But its roots date back to 1958, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed bipartisan legislation creating a National Cultural Center. To honor Eisenhower's vision for such a facility, one of the Kennedy Center's theaters is named for him. The National Cultural Center Act included four basic components: it authorized the Center's construction, spelled out an artistic mandate to present a wide variety of both classical and contemporary performances, specified an educational mission for the Center, and stated that the Center was to be an independent facility, self-sustaining and privately funded. As a result of this last stipulation, a mammoth fundraising campaign began immediately following the Act's passage into law.
Kennedy Center guided tours are free to the public, just walk-in and catch the next one, they start every 10 minutes from the lower level by the large gift shop. The tour is very good, shows you all around the theater including the presidential box. They also have free daily concerts. Most of them are kind of odd, but it's worth checking out. They are held in the back foyer that overlooks the river and I believe they are at 5 or 6pm.
I saw the Nutcracker Ballet here one Christmas season and that was quite enjoyable despite being in the very back row of the balcony. Truly, not a bad seat in the house!
There is a free shuttle service that will take you to and from the Foggy Bottom Metro stop.
I love going to watch performances at the Kennedy center. It's posh yet cultural, quite romantic on a summer evening.
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John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
- Mon - Fri: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
- Sun, Sat: 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
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