The Kennedy Center

FREE Guided Tours of the Kennedy Center and the REACH!
Tours are Given by Friends of the Kennedy Center Tour Guides

Learn about the artists gifts and the artists who created them

The tour highlights the historic events that led up to the establishment of the national cultural center that is also our nation's living memorial to President John F. Kennedy, and includes an interactive exhibit on his life and presidency. Visitors also learn about the works of art given to the Center, such as Robert Berks's bust of President Kennedy, Willy Weber's Apollo X, and the stunning Israeli Lounge.

View the "Artist Gifts and the Artists Who Created Them".

The tour concludes with a breathtaking 360-degree view of the nation's capital from the building's roof terrace.

For more information call (202) 416-8340.

Arriving by Metro? Be sure to hop on our free shuttle at the Foggy Bottom-GWU-Kennedy Center Metro station.

If you are taking a late afternoon tour, be sure stay for a free performance at the Center's Millennium Stage, every day at 6:00 p.m.!

For more information and the monthly calendar of performances, click here.

Free Guided Tours given by Friends of the Kennedy Center Tour Guides

What is the REACH? Take a tour and find out!

Tours of this new space are available at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. weekdays and at 11 a.m. on weekends beginning at the Welcome Pavilion. VIP tours are also available and geared towards groups with a special connection to the arts or to the Center.

Some highlights of what you will learn on your REACH tour include:

  • It sits under one of the largest green roofs in Washington, D.C.
  • Its iconic features are three interconnected pavilions—the Welcome, Skylight, and River Pavilions.
  • While nearly half of the REACH is subterranean, the many and varied windows bathe the spaces in natural light, a signature of architect Steven Holl.
  • On the Rock Creek Parkway side by the Skylight Pavilion you will see Joel Shapiro’s “Blue,” a 24-foot blue sculpture which he created specifically for the REACH. As a Peace Corps volunteer in India, he was inspired by Edward Durell Stone’s U.S. Embassy, which is evocative of our own Kennedy Center.
  • The Presidential Grove contains 35 ginkgo trees, a number chosen to commemorate our 35th president.
  • The inspiration for this surprising and innovative structure comes from the words of JFK, which are etched in glass throughout the space.

Access Tours

Serving Visitors with Disabilities

Friends tour guides welcome our visitors with disabilities and provide many accommodations. Assistive listening devices are available at the tour desk on the A-level for visitors who have a hearing loss, and all tours are wheelchair-accessible. Additionally, touch tours, sign-interpreted tours, and meet your seat tours are offered upon request.

  • Touch tours are given by specially-trained Friends tour guides for visitors who are blind or have low vision. Attendees will be able to touch some of the works of art, including several sculptures.
  • Sign-Interpreted tours are available for visitors who are Deaf. Attendees will see the main theaters and lounges, and will learn about the gifts and the artist who created them such as Robert Berks's bust of President John F. Kennedy, Willy Weber's Apollo X, and the stunning Israeli Lounge.
  • Meet Your Seat tours are available for patrons with cognitive disabilities to "meet their seat" in advance of the performance they are attending or to view seating locations before purchasing tickets.

To request a Touch tour or Sign-Interpreted tour, please follow this link to our online Access Tour request form. To request a Meet Your Seat tour, please follow this link to our online Meet Your Seat form. Note that Touch tours, Sign-Interpreted tours and Meet Your Seat tours are available upon request with at least two weeks' advance notice. Please contact the Accessibility Office for further information at (202) 416-8727 (voice), or online at

Foreign Language Tours

Kennedy Center tours are offered in the following languages: Français, Deutsch, עִברִית, हिंदी, Italiano, 普通话, Português, русский, and Español. In addition, a written tour script is available in 14 languages, including العربية, 中文, فارسی, Français, Deutsch, Italiano, 日本語, 한국어, 普通话, Polskie, Português, русский, Español, Svenska, and Türk.

As a supplement to our foreign language tours, brochures with information about the Center are available in Arabic, French, German, Japanese, and Spanish about the Kennedy Center. You can find these online and in print at the Visitors Center in the Hall of States or the Tour Desk on the A-level.

To request a foreign language tour, please follow this link to our online Foreign Language Tour request form.

Group Tours

Scheduled tours are available for parties of 15 to 60
Weekdays: 10am to 3:30pm Weekends: 10am to 12:30pm

Whether you are a group of seniors, young professionals, or friends, plan ahead and book a Kennedy Center group tour, offered every half hour for parties consisting of 15- 60 individuals. If your group would like to attend a performance before or after your tour, our Group Sales department can help. Special discounts and terms are available for most group ticket purchases. Visit Group Sales today!

To request a group tour, please follow this link to our online Group Tour request form.

VIP Tours

VIP Tours are offered to any group size and are approved by Kennedy Center management.
VIP tours are geared toward groups that have a special connection to the arts or to the Kennedy Center.

To request a VIP Tour, please follow this link to our online VIP Tour request form.


Tours are offered approximately every 10 minutes.

Please stop by the Tour Desk when visiting the Kennedy Center. Friends tour guides are ready to give tours every 10 minutes for any individuals or groups with less than 15 in their party.

Tours for Young People

It is a privilege for my staff to work in conjunction with the Friends staff on the Tours for Young People program. Our goal is for children and young adults to feel delighted, informed, and excited about the Kennedy Center. These tours offer an interactive and eye-opening experience about the world of the performing arts, placing emphasis on the artwork throughout the Center and the life of President Kennedy as well as the ‘live’ aspects of Kennedy Center performances. We hope that each young person takes home with them an enthusiasm for the performing arts that will inspire them to make attendance at performances and support of the arts an essential part of their future life.
Mario Rossero, Senior Vice President of Education, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
It has been a pleasure to volunteer at the Kennedy Center throughout my high school years, especially working on the Tours For Young People program. These tours will surely introduce young children to a lifelong love of the arts, as well as provide a focus for young adults on possible careers in the performing arts."
Paul Bernstein, recent graduate of the London School of Economics

Three special tours are offered for elementary, middle, and high school students.

Introduce young audiences the world of the performing arts by taking them on a Kennedy Center Tour for Young People. These tours can be tailored upon request to the group's particular interest, experience, and knowledge of the performing arts.

  • Elementary School Tour for ages 4–10 (25–30 minutes)

    Exactly how big is the Grand Foyer? How many flags are in the Hall of States? Who is Mosby the Cat? Elementary school children ages 4-10 will find out fun facts about these topics and more, and experience an interactive tour designed to cultivate their interest in the performing arts. This tour will also teach them why the Kennedy Center was named after President Kennedy as well as give them information about other presidents who were involved in the Center's creation. Teachers and/or chaperones will be asked to assist the Friends tour guide in engaging the group along the way by utilizing the special interactive guide that will be provided for each tour group.

    To request a elementary tour, please follow this link to our online Elementary Tour request form.

  • Middle School Tour for ages 11–14 (35–45 minutes)

    Our guided tour for middle school students includes the history of the Kennedy Center and its role as a living memorial to President John F. Kennedy. The tour highlights the wide variety of performances at the Center, from music to theater to comedy, with the goal of inspiring and engaging the the students' interest in the performing arts. This tour also provides background information about the gifts received from all over the world, which can be seen throughout the building, as well as details about the artwork featured in the Center.

    To request a middle school tour, please follow this link to our online Middle School Tour request form.

  • High School Tour for ages 14-18 (35-45 minutes)

    This special tour for young adults offers an experience that connects the Kennedy Center's performances and educational outreach efforts to today's cultural trends in the arts, a topic that would be of interest to this age bracket. The tour also provides an overview of the array of possible careers in the performing arts and offers a broader perspective on the Center's community outreach to teenagers.

    To request a high school tour, please follow this link to our online High School Tour request form.

Once your reservation has been received, you will be notified within three to five business days. Tours for Young People are subject to availability and require two weeks' advance notice.

Please note that we are unable to accept any incomplete tour reservation forms.

Tour Survey

Tell us about your tour experience!

Tour Hours

Kennedy Center Tour Hours

Mon. - Fri. 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Sat. & Sun. 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM

The REACH Tour Hours

Mon. - Fri. 11:00 AM & 2:00 PM
Sat. & Sun. 11:00 AM


All tours are wheelchair accessible. Wheelchairs and assistive listening devices available upon request.