Summer concert season is FAST approaching. And while you probably already have your tickets for must-see local shows, we think it's time you expand that list and check out some of the greatest concert venues America has to offer. So, grab your festival friends, make a playlist and pack your can because we've found some of the greatest places to catch some live music!
Red Rocks Amphitheater
What would a "Must-See Music Venue" list be without Red Rocks? Perhaps one of the best live music venues in the entire country, this open air, geologically-formed venue is owned by the city of Denver. The original architect took advantage of the perfect acoustics created by the sandstone rocks surrounding the stage, finishing the project in 1941. Since then, seeing a live show at Red Rocks has become a pilgrimage for any music lover.
Found in Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park District, The Tabernacle seriously deserves a gold medal for overall aesthetic. The building was originally opened in the early 1900s as a church and functioned as such until 1994. The building sat empty throughout the 1996 Olympics and was revamped into a music hall in 1998. Since, #TheTab has been named one of the best music halls in America by Rolling Stone and USA Today.
Opened in 1986, this natural amphitheater looks over the GORGEous Columbia River in Washington State. Sit back with 20,000 other music lovers and watch bands like Dave Matthews Band, Phish and Dead and Company play against stunning sunsets. There's even a campsite available with various levels of accommodation, from the bare bones experience to sites with flushing toilets and complimentary coffee and pastries.
The Bluebird Cafe
The Bluebird Cafe is a staple of country music, and is unlike any other concert venue on this list. Situated in a strip mall outside of Nashville's downtown, the average evening finds some of country music's biggest songwriters, or the "heroes behind the hits" onstage performing together. Past acts have included young Taylor Swift, Kenny Chesney, Garth Brooks and many more of country's biggest stars. The 90-person cafe is first-come, first-serve, so people can be found lining up early. The "Shh Policy" of the venue encourages patrons to keep talking to a minimum, so that everyone can enjoy the music and the stories of how some of country's biggest songs were created.
New Orleans, Louisiana
The birthplace of jazz, NOLA has plenty of list-worthy live-music venues, but no institution has lasted like Preservation Hall. Found in the French Quarter, this music hall was created in order to preserve New Orleans' special connection to jazz. Since 1750, when it was built as a private residence, the hall has been re-purposed as a tavern, inn, photo studio, and an art gallery before it found its legs as a jazz hall. You can find some of NOLA's best and biggest jazz performances here every night. What sets this place apart? The BYOB policy means you can bring in your favorite drink as long as it's in a plastic container! Great music and reasonable drink prices? Sign me up.
Los Angeles, California
A staple summer activity for those in Southern California, the Hollywood Bowl is the perfect place to enjoy a picnic and live music. Since its opening in 1929, legendary performers like The Beatles, The Who, and Prince have graced this historic stage. Another reason we love it: for most shows you can bring in your own alcohol!
New York, New York
We can't skip the city that never sleeps. While there are hundreds of places to listen to live music, none rank quite as high as the intimate Bowery Ballroom. Built in 1929 just before the stock market crash, this building had many lives before becoming the music venue it is today. Featured in Coyote Ugly and Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist the downstairs bar may even look a little familiar. With a big mix of music styles taking the stage, there's something for everyone!