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Top 10 Best Cities for Live Music

Live music is one of the best reasons to visit new places — and certainly there’s no shortage of incredibly talented performers in all corners of the country. Whether you’re looking for unparalleled southern bluegrass in Nashville or a yet-to-be-discovered rock band in New England, this list of the best live music destinations across the country will leave your eardrums (and dancing shoes) satisfied!


Every summer, Lollapalooza draws some major acts to Grant Park. But the Windy City plays year-round host to incredible jazz music at the legendary Green Mill club and iconic House of Blues, which features a Gospel Brunch experience every Sunday.  


It would be downright criminal to visit this hipster enclave in the heart of Texas without checking out the live music scene along Sixth Street. Wander along the nine-block stretch and float into any of the cover charge-free venues. 

New Orleans:


Each spring Jazz Fest brings the biggest names of the genre to the Big Easy, but live music in NOLA is basically unavoidable. Stroll around the French Quarter and pop into any of the iconic jazz clubs or just enjoy the occasional brass band that passes in the streets. Be sure to check out the lineup at the brand new Margaritaville restaurant opening in early 2017!


This is the granddaddy of the country music scene. Check out big-name acts at the famed Grand Ole Opry or discover the next Dolly Parton at some of the smaller clubs like Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge or The Station Inn. And plan a stop at Margaritaville on Broadway if you like your live music with a side of authentic southern fried chicken.

South Norwalk, CT:

Fairfield County is among the lesser-known live music spots on the list, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t some kick-a** tunes happening here. Check out O’Neill’s Irish Pub & Restaurant for some of the best sounds of the Emerald Isle or a happy hour acoustic set every Thursday at Peaches Southern Pub & Juke Joint. 

Key West, FL:


No shoes? That’s no problem when you stumble from the beach and hit the dance floor at some of the most iconic hotspots in the Conch Republic including the Hog’s Breath Saloon, Sloppy Joe’s and the first Margaritaville. Don’t miss a multitude of local talent like songstress Emily Lazott who performs every weekend at Viva Saloon on Duval Street!

Denton, TX:

This college town just north of Dallas offers everything from indie rock to death metal at venues clustered around its historic town square.

Athens, GA: 

Often regarded as the live music capitol of Georgia (sorry Atlanta), you’ll find rocking spots every night of the week in this university town. Join mobs of undergrads at the Boar’s Head Lounge or elevate things with a night out at The Classic Center Theatre, which draws acts like Tony Bennett and the Boston Pops.

Seattle, WA:


There’s a lot more than just the ’90s scene grunge here! The Showbox at the Market is one of the top spots for national acts, but try local favorites including Neumo’s and High Dive where you might just discover the industry’s hottest new act.

Portland, ME:

There’s something for everyone in this seaside city. Enjoy Celtic rock bands like The Squid Jiggers at Bull Feeney’s Irish pub or jam to hip hop, rock and country acts at the tiny subterranean Asylum club.