Explore the history of the DC Armory.

The DC Armory opened in 1941 as the headquarters, armory and training facility for the DC National Guard.  The Armory, commonly identified by its domed roof, is a 10,000-seat multipurpose arena with 70,000 square feet of drill floor space.


Considered one of the most versatile venues in the Mid-Atlantic region, visitors can enjoy a year-round parade of events as wide-ranging and diverse as the people who come through its doors. The DC Armory hosts conventions, circuses and inaugural balls, as well as concerts, expos, sporting events and trade shows.

The DC Armory Board was formed in 1948 to facilitate non-military use of the Armory.

President Harry S. Truman held the first inaugural ball at the Armory in 1949. Since then, the Armory has served as home to inauguration balls every election cycle spanning from President John F. Kennedy to President Barack Obama.


Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus was held at the DC Armory for over 30 years.

A member of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association, the DC Rollergirls is made up of four teams and has called the Armory home since 2006.


In October 2009, the Longest Yard Congressional Football Game is held for the first time in an indoor facility. Benefitting the Capitol Police Foundation and the Washington Literary Council, this was the fourth edition of the gridiron showdown between the bi-partisan team of congress members and the athletic Capitol Police flag football squad.

The Tiësto‘s Club Life Tour returns to D.C. in April 2011 and is held for the first time at the Armory. In front of a sold-out crowd of 10,000, the electric audience danced all night long to a musical mix of electronic dance, trance and house by Tiesto and his legendary guest DJs.


In July 2012, the DC Armory became basketball central with the NIKE World Basketball Festival, a multi-day celebration of the performance and culture of the game. The USA Men’s and Women’s Olympic Basketball teams performed clinics and practices for the military and the general public.


On January 19, 2013, the day President Barack Obama designated as a National Day of Service, up to 10,000 volunteers helped pack care kits for US Service Members, Wounded Warriors, Veterans and First Responders at the DC Armory. Points of Light, Target, and the Corporation for National and Community Service joined forces for the UNITE America Service Event on Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend, a service project endorsed by the Presidential Inaugural Committee.

Events DC took center stage with the return of championship boxing to the nation's capital in Febuary 2013. DC Armory hosted ESPN Friday Night Fights featuring the International Boxing Federation (IBF) Junior Welerweight Title fight between Lamont Peterson and Kendall Holt.


In 2014, Bernard “The Alien” Hopkins vs. Beibut Shumenov Light Heavyweight World Championship took place at the DC Armory and was also seen live on Showtime television network. The Showtime® Championship Boxing main event brought yet another historic event to one of Events DC’s venues and to the nation’s capital. 

To read more, view our timelines for each of our venues listed below.