Scouting Out the Cheap Seats

January 11, 2010

D.C.’s world-class performances don’t have to cost an arm and a leg.

Whether you’re a student on a budget, an employee looking for a night out or a faculty member trying to entertain a family, here are some free or almost free options.

Wander down to the Kennedy Center for free performances at the center’s Millennium Stage every evening at 6. Upcoming performances include everything from Russian folk music to classical works and jazz. For the schedule, visit

The National Theatre’s “Monday Night at the National” series offers free weekly performances October through April. The current series is focused on dance with performances featuring tap, jazz, ballet, Irish and Filipino folk dance, among others. For children (or just the child in you), check out National Theatre’s “Saturday Morning at the National” series. Free performances include everything from magic shows to storytelling and music, and the theater is blocks from campus. For the performance schedules, visit

Enjoy classical and choral music in an unparalleled setting with the National Gallery of Art’s free concert series held Sunday evenings at 6:30. For performance information, visit

GW’s own Lisner Auditorium hosts free performances throughout the year, including GW Department of Music and the Air Force Band. To see upcoming performances, visit

D.C.’s Woolly Mammoth Theater offers discounted tickets--$15 per performance--for patrons 25 years old and younger. More mature patrons can also take advantage of the theater’s “stampede seats”: balcony seats available for $15 two hours prior to showtime. Finally, the theater offers “pay-what-you-can tickets” for the first two performances of each mainstage production sold 90 minutes prior to showtime. For more information, visit

For half-price tickets at a range of area theaters, visit, run by the Cultural Alliance of Greater Washington, D.C.

GW’s Department of Theatre and Dance offers a mainstage series each year with performances for $10 for students and seniors and $15 for adults. The Music Department also offers a variety of performances, most of which are free. 

Patrons 35 and younger can see the Bard’s plays for $10 at D.C.’s Shakespeare Theatre. Every Tuesday starting at 10 a.m., the theater releases tickets for the week’s performances. For more information, visit

D.C.’s Arena Stage offers student discounts—35 percent off regular ticket prices with a valid ID. The theater also offers $10 tickets for patrons ages 30 and under; tickets go on sale Monday for the week’s performances. For more information, visit

Historic Ford’s Theatre has $10 tickets for patrons under 35 for select performances. Visit for more information.

Arts & Culture