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Washington DC boasts of several areas with excellent nightlife. Adams Morgan, Georgetown, and the area near the Verizon Center are probably the best areas for visitors to go bar or club hopping. Pick up a copy of the City Paper for a list of events, there are concerts every single night- from the jazz club Blues Alley, to the gay/lesbian friendly areas of Dupont Circle (particularly the 17th street stretch).
Check out events organized by International Professionals Group, DC ( IPGDC) which is Washington's premiere organization for internationally-minded professionals who enjoy international cultural experiences as well as social, educational, and outdoor events while helping the community. IPGDC organize a variety of events for members as well as visitors.
The international club of Washington DC as well as Washington Liffe Magazine are also great sources of information in Washington DC as well as culturecapital.com since 1978
If dancing is your thing, you can see and be seen a Mid Town Party Plex near Dupont, or try Echo Stage or Cafe Citron for usually packed houses also in Dupont. Check out Sound Check which brings in top-notch DJs, including periodic surprise visits from internationally renowned names. The Super Chic Huxley on M street and many many other clubs including, Dirty Martin, The Park on 14th, Kabin, The Gryphon Room, Barcode and a few others. There are close to 47 dance clubs in Washington DC divided by scenes from Urban, to Gay, Caribbean, Ethiopean, Euro trash and Middle Eastern/Persian to name a few.
For the most time efficient gay club crawl, head to 17th street in Dupont Circle. Here you will find the Dupont Italian Kitchen upstairs bar. Head a few blocks down to the Thomas Circle/14th street area for Halo. Spots for the ladies are unfortunately fewer and far between, but Phase One in Capitol Hill is always a safe bet and Wednesday is Ladies Night at Club Chaos.
Go to metroweekly.com to check out Gay and Lesbian events in Washington DC.
There are a number of Latin clubs for those looking to salsa, rock out en espanol or chill out to Bossanova or Latin jazz. For dancing, nothing tops Adam's Morgan venue Habana Village with three floors, including a live band and the best mojitos in the city. Bossa, also in Adams Morgan, also boosts a live band on its first floor and a DJ upstairs on weekends and Cafe Citron in Dupont Circle is a magnet for the (Latino) bold and the beautiful.
For Rock en Espanol, try either Saturday night at the Marx Cafe in Mt. Pleasant or the Rumba Cafe in Adams Morgan. For a laid back Latin vibe, Rumba Cafe has Latin jazz on Wednesday and Thursday and Brazilian music on Fridays. The Chi Cha Lounge on Florida/U street or Rumberos in Columbia Heights are also good bets. Please also check out http://www.dcparranda.com/.
Every Friday night the Atrium Cafe at the National Museum of Natural History is turned into a Jazz Cafe. It's a $10.00 cover and you can purchase food and drinks. Check out the website.
U street is lined with bars that have jazz almost every Th/Fr/Sat night - just take a walk down and follow your ears. Bohemian Caverns is the most famous, but other little places like JoJos or Utopia are good bets as well.
On 14th street is the venerable HR 57 Club named after House Resolution 57 that celebrates jazz as a distinctly American artform. You can bring your own liquor or wine, but will have to pay a corkage fee and the music acts vary from open mike to some of the best in the business.
Also Blues Alley in Georgetown for years and frequented by national and international Jazz celebrities might be a good idea as well as the website dcjazz.com