Special Events

Special Gala Events serve as an important source of funding for the Center's artistic and educational programming. Join business leaders, philanthropists, and fellow arts-lovers at these memorable nights of star-studded performances, gourmet dinners, and exclusive themed celebrations, while making an impact for the arts nationwide. 

The Kennedy Center Honors

The Kennedy Center Honors

The Kennedy Center Honorees, recognized for their contributions to the American culture through the performing arts, are celebrated at a gala performance in front of their peers. The highlight of Washington's cultural year, the Honors draws guests from D.C., New York, Hollywood, and beyond to view the performances and heartfelt tributes of some of today's brightest stars.

The 2019 Kennedy Center Honors, celebrated Earth Wind & Fire, Sally Field, Linda RonstadtSesame Street, and Michael Tilson Thomas.

A photo of a standing ovation in the Opera House.

The Kennedy Center Honors

The Kennedy Center Honorees, recognized for their contributions to the American culture through the performing arts, are celebrated at a gala performance in front of their peers. The highlight of Washington's cultural year, the Honors draws guests from D.C., New York, Hollywood, and beyond to view the performances and heartfelt tributes of some of today's brightest stars.

The 2019 Kennedy Center Honors, celebrated Earth Wind & Fire, Sally Field, Linda RonstadtSesame Street, and Michael Tilson Thomas.

The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor

A performance during the Mark Twain Prize in the Concert Hall.
The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor

The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor

The Mark Twain Prize is America's foremost award for humor, presented annually by the Kennedy Center to an individual who has made an indelible imprint on the American comedic landscape. Each year, the recipient is feted by an all-star cast of peers, treating the audience to personal anecdotes and priceless punch lines. The presentation of the Prize is followed by an exclusive reception with the cast.

At this year's event, Dave Chappelle was celebrated by some of the biggest names in comedy on Sunday, October 27, 2019, and aired on PBS on Tuesday, January 7, 2020.

Kennedy Center Gala

The Kennedy Center Gala

One of Washington's premier benefit engagements, the Kennedy Center Gala is a highly anticipated tradition. Join us for an intimate dinner and fantastic performance as we celebrate the performing arts at a star-studded concert.

The Kennedy Center Gala will be held Tuesday, March 24, 2020.

Guests enjoying a cocktail reception on the roof terrace of the Kennedy Center.

The Kennedy Center Gala

One of Washington's premier benefit engagements, the Kennedy Center Gala is a highly anticipated tradition. Join us for an intimate dinner and fantastic performance as we celebrate the performing arts at a star-studded concert.

The Kennedy Center Gala will be held Tuesday, March 24, 2020.

The National Symphony Orchestra Season Opening Gala

Guests dancing at an NSO Ball.

The National Symphony Orchestra Season Opening Gala

The National Symphony Orchestra Season Opening Gala

The highly anticipated NSO Season Opening Gala marks the beginning of another season of performances at the Kennedy Center! Join Maestro Gianandrea Noseda and the National Symphony Orchestra in opening the season with a star-studded gala concert, followed by an elegant dinner and dancing in the grand pavillion.

The 2019 NSO Season Opening Gala featured Yuja Wang in a jazz-inspired program.

The Opera Gala

The Washington National Opera Gala

This spectacular and always stunning event is the highlight of the WNO season. Washington’s social elite, government officials, business executives, and opera patrons gather together for a gala concert celebrating the WNO. Pre-concert dinners hosted in various embassies and ambassadors’ homes, followed by a star studded show and glamorous reception make this elaborate event truly a night to remember.

Opera Gala provides critical funding to support not only WNO’s many performances, but also the many arts education and outreach initiatives available to students and families throughout the year.

Lean more about this year's Opera Gala on Saturday, May 16, 2020.

Woman wearing mask playing violin at a WNO event.

Washington National Opera Gala

The Washington National Opera Gala

This spectacular and always stunning event is the highlight of the WNO season. Washington’s social elite, government officials, business executives, and opera patrons gather together for a gala concert celebrating the WNO. Pre-concert dinners hosted in various embassies and ambassadors’ homes, followed by a star studded show and glamorous reception make this elaborate event truly a night to remember.

Opera Gala provides critical funding to support not only WNO’s many performances, but also the many arts education and outreach initiatives available to students and families throughout the year.

Lean more about this year's Opera Gala on Saturday, May 16, 2020.

Fireworks on the Fourth

A group of 6 adults jumping in a red, blue, and yellow bouncy castle on July 4th at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Fireworks on the Fourth

Fireworks on the Fourth

Open only to Members at the Principal Level and above, celebrate the Fourth of July with the best view in town!  Enjoy a family style picnic with food and family fun.  The NSO's A Capitol Fourth concert is livestreamed, followed by a perfect view of the fireworks from the Center's Roof Terrace. 

Rentals

Learn about renting event and theater space at the Kennedy Center