The 15 Best Music Venues in America To Add to Your Bucketlist

the best music venues in america
The Best Music Venues in America. Image by Anthony Delanoix on Unsplash.

Last updated on August 7th, 2023 at 08:42 am

Everyone knows that a concert venue can make or break a performance, and a bad venue can ruin a concert, even if it’s a concert put on by your favorite band. Whether you want the best acoustics or are just looking for some amazing music venues to add to your bucket list, we’ve scoped out the best music venues in America.

Did your favorite venue make the list? Let’s find out.

1. Red Rocks Amphitheater, Morrison, CO

red rocks
Red Rocks Park at Sunrise, near Denver Colorado. Image from Shutterstock.

The best music venue in America is hands down Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, CO. Built into the gigantic red rocks, the acoustics are unmatchable. The only downside to this venue is that it is mostly only open during the summer due to the harsh Colorado winter climate, but the wait to see any band here is well worth it.

2. Carnegie Hall, Manhattan, NY

carnegie hall
Carnegie Hall, Manhattan, New York City, USA. Image from Shutterstock.

We know, you didn’t think of Carnegie Hall as a concert venue. While you probably won’t be able to see musicians like Kid Rock here, it still has great acoustics for the more classical music which is commonly played here.

3. The Caverns, Grundy County, TN

The Caverns
The Caverns. Image from Shutterstock.

There is just something about an outdoor amphitheater that just makes music sound better. The Caverns in Tennessee is no exception. The best part about this amphitheater is that it was made almost entirely by nature and has been in existence for an estimated 25,000 years.

4. Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, CA

hollywood bowl
Los Angeles, Aug 29 2014 – John Williams shows at the Hollywood bowl amphitheater. Image from Shutterstock.

The Hollywood Bowl is an absolute icon and is large enough to hold almost 18,000 people. The acoustics are no match for Red Rocks, but you can’t beat the amazing view of the Hollywood sign you can enjoy while listening to your favorite bands.

5. First Avenue, Minneapolis, MN

first avenue
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – FEBRUARY 2018 -A Close Up Wide Angle Night Long Exposure Shot of Downtown Minneapolis Iconic First Avenue Music Venue and Foreground Blurry Street Traffic. Image from Shutterstock.

First Ave has been a music landmark in Minneapolis for over 50 years, and it’s easy to see why. With a club vibe, seeing any artist here is an intimate experience. It has hosted some amazing stars over the years, most notably Prince, who filmed his Purple Rain music video here.

Related: How Did Prince Die? The Details Behind the Artist’s Drug-Related Death

6. The Fillmore, San Francisco, CA

the fillmore
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – JUNE 5, 2017: Kaleido in concert at The Fillmore in San Francisco, CA. Image from Shutterstock.

No list of the best music venues in America would be complete without The Fillmore. Built in 1912, this music venue made a name for itself during the psychedelic 60s hosting stars such as Aretha Franklin and Frank Zappa.

7. The Gorge Amphitheater, Grant County, WA

the gorge theater
QUINCY, WA – JULY 26, 2006: Crowd of people watching a concert at Creation NW, a 4 day Christian concert festival at the Gorge Ampitheater in Washington. Image from Shutterstock.

One of the largest music venues on our list, The Gorge Amphitheater can fit over 30,000 music fans. You’ll have to sit on the grass, but the view is unparalleled as you jam out to your favorite tunes.

8. El Club, Detroit, MI

detroit skyline
Image from Shutterstock

If you loved First Ave, then you absolutely must hit El Club, the other club-like music venue on our list. While it definitely won’t seat as many people as the Gorge Amphitheater, it is still a great location for those with more alternative music tastes.  

9. 9:30 Club, Washington D.C

9:30 club
WASHINGTON, D.C. – OCTOBER 4: Ben Harper performs at the 9:30 Club in Washington D.C. on October 4, 2011. Image from Shutterstock.

Are you a rock lover? Then 9:30 in Washington D.C. absolutely must be on your list of bucket list music venues to visit. The Red-Hot Chili Peppers and The Police have both been among the popular artists who performed here over the years.

10. Brooklyn Steel, New York City, NY

brooklyn steel
Fans cheer during revealing 26 strong Men National Team to attend World Cup at Brooklyn Steel on November 8, 2022. Image from Shutterstock.

Based on its size, it should come as no surprise that New York hosts multiple of the best music venues in America. Although this venue can only seat 1,800 people, it has hosted numerous famous alternative acts over the years in a fun and electrifying setting.

11. The Greek Theater, Los Angeles, CA

the greek theater la
Los Angeles, California – 20 April 2019: Greek Theatre at Griffith Park. Image from Shutterstock.

If you’ve already been to the Hollywood Bowl, then your next stop for a concert in LA should be at The Greek Theater which is the city’s other famous music venue. Located in Griffith Park, you can connect with nature while you connect with your favorite artist of any genre.

12. Ryman Auditorium, Nashville, TN

ryman auditorium
Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. Image from Shutterstock.

For country fans, Ryman Auditorium in Nashville is a must-see music venue. While this iconic building no longer houses The Grand Ole Opry as it once did, it is still a popular venue to listen to your favorite country musicians.

Related: 16 Old Country Songs: The Best From the 50s, 60s, and 70s

13. Stubbs, Austin, TX

AUSTIN, TX / USA – SEPTEMBER 12th, 2018: Edward Droste (Left) and Daniel Rossen (Right) of Grizzly Bear performs onstage at Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater. Image from Shutterstock.

It’s surprising that it took until venue 13 to name a music venue in Austin which is known as the music capital of Texas. For foodies, this venue is a must-visit as you can grab a plate of Stubbs BBQ before jamming out with your friends.

14. Ottobar, Baltimore, MD

Crowd at the Ottobar, Charles Village, Baltimore, MD 06082017 LHCollins on Wikimedia Commons.

Ottobar is a rock club in Baltimore that is known for its small and intimate setting. Over the years, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and the White Stripes have been some of the favorite bands which have graced the stage with their presence. While it isn’t as big as some other venues on this list, it is still one of the best music venues in America.

15. Tower Theater, Pennsylvania, PA

philadelphia skyline
Image from Shutterstock

Last, but certainly not least, is a music venue located in the city of brotherly love. The Tower Theater is by far the best venue in this city and one of the best music venues in America. Known for its amazing acoustics, everyone from Oasis to The Rolling Stones has played on this stage over the decades it has been in business.  

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Written by Hope Davis

Long-time music lover Hope became a full-time writer in 2020 after being laid off from her regular job due to COVID-19. She now spends her time traveling the world to see her favorite bands while writing about them!


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