One of the most prestigious performing arts centres in the US, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is also its busiest, hosting roughly 2,000 performances each year for an audience totalling nearly two million people in its eight separate performance halls. It is home to the National Symphony Orchestra, and has commissioned more than 200 new works in various disciplines. The centre was first conceived by Eleanor Roosevelt as a way to employ actors during World War II, and opened in 1971 with the premiere of Leonard Bernstein's Mass. Each year five artists or groups are awarded the Kennedy Center Honors for lifetime contribution to American culture and the performing arts in a gala ceremony televised nationally.
Address: 2700 F Street NW
Telephone: (202) 416-8340
Transport: Metrorail Orange or Blue line to Foggy Bottom/George Washington University Station. Metro bus #80 stops at the Kennedy Center.
Opening times: Tours depart roughly every 10 minutes.
Admission: Tours are free, admission to performances varies.