The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. is recognized as the busiest facility of its kind in the United States. Its nearly 3000 annual performances include ballet, theater, dance and music, as well as cultural events, galas, children's performances and more. The Kennedy Center is also the home of the National Symphony Orchestra and the Washington National Opera.
Parking and public transportation at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
If you're attending a performance, the rate is a flat $23 fee paid upon entrance to the parking garage. Gift shop visitors receive an hour of free parking if they spend $10 or more at the gift shop (be sure to validate your ticket at either the gift shop or the box office). Patrons picking up tickets at the box office also receive an hour of free parking with validation. The Kennedy Center provides shuttle service every 15 minutes via the nearest metro station at Foggy Bottom/George Washington University at 23rd and I St., NW.
Best and worst time to go to The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Avoid congested weekend tourist traffic and partake in a free walk-in tour during the early part of the weekday, when it's significantly less crowded. Starry-eyed types will love visiting the Kennedy Center during the holiday season, when the schedule comes alive with festive musicals, family-oriented performances and the star-studded Kennedy Center Honors gala.
Admission to The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Tickets for performances are available at the Kennedy Center box office, located in the Hall of States, Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sundays from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. They can also be purchased online at the Kennedy Center website, via phone and by mail.
Must see/do at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Time your visit to catch a performance by the National Symphony Orchestra, the renowned group of musicians whose legendary programs celebrate the works of Mozart, Brahms and more. Its schedule fills the calendar year, but only on select dates. The Washington National Opera also puts on several stunning shows that honor famed fairy tales and musicals. Performances are scattered throughout the year, so it's worth a look to plan your travels accordingly. Don't forget to grab a pre-performance meal at the Roof Terrace Restaurant, whose staff promise to get you out the door in time for the show.
Other places to visit near The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
A wealth of historic landmarks are situated minutes from the Kennedy Center. It may be impossible to select just a few, but can't-miss tourist highlights include the magnificent Reflecting Pool that sits before the Lincoln Memorial and Lady Bird Johnson Park, a peaceful spot that provides an unfettered view of the Potomac River.
Insider tip for visitors to The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Active duty military members and patrons between the ages of 18 and 30 can take advantage of the MyTix program, which provides deeply discounted tickets to performances on a first come, first served basis. A valid form of identification is required. Follow MyTix on Twitter @kencenmytix for announcements.
Author's bio: Tanya Sharma has lived in the Washington, DC area for over 30 years. Her work has been published on AOL, Yahoo and several lifestyle and entertainment publications.