We all have it, that one story of the best concert we have ever seen, that one live show which changed our lives for the best and, for the briefest of moments, we were transported to another plane of existence.
Whether it was a world-famous band or a brilliant up and coming act, it is a moment we all live for and talk about constantly after. And it can happen anywhere, be it at music venues famous for launching iconic bands or one of the best concert halls in the world.
Here are some of the best music venues in the world to catch a live show.
The 100 Club: London, England
Not the oldest venue on this list, but definitely one of the coolest, this club takes its name from its location: 100 Oxford Street. This London hotspot was originally a restaurant that opened in 1942 where it held weekly jazz jams once a week. It quickly became one of the most groundbreaking clubs in the world.
Everyone who is anyone has played this small intimate club. We’re talking BB King, Muddy Waters, The Who, and any punk rock band from the 1970s. If fact, it is thought that British Punk started in this dimly lit club.
And while it still showcases great up and coming bands, the decor hasn’t changed much since the days of Joe Strummer and Sid Vicious. So, if you are looking to hear some great indie music in a historic music venue, this is the place for you.
Birdland: New York City, USA
Named for Charlie “Yardbird” Parker, this jazz club, which has been up and running in various locations around the city, lives up to its famous namesake. It has seen the likes of Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrain, Dizzy Gillespie, and countless others take to the stage. Most notably, Count Basie called Birdland home for a number of years.
On top of the talent gathered on stage, for a while it was the place to be seen if you were a celebrity in NYC. Everyone from Frank Sinatra to Gary Cooper to Marilyn Monroe could be seen at the club.
After several years uptown, this cornerstone of Jazz music has returned to its mid-town roots. And it is still the place to go to see what is happening in the world of Jazz.
Hard Rock Cafe: Phnom-Penh, Cambodia
While it may seem weird to see a Hard Rock Cafe on this list, hear us out. This is easily the best live music venue in Cambodia for any number of reasons, not the least of which is the amazing way they combined eastern and western music to create a one-stop-shop for those who want a little of both.
Probably the most recent entry on this list, since it only opened its doors in 2017, it has continued the tradition of Hard Rock Cafes all over the world and showcased some of the best international and local talent around. So, if you are in the area and interested in what the local music scene is like in Phnom-Penh, head on down and listen to great live music while getting a little taste of home cooking.
Palacio de Bellas Artes: Mexico City, Mexico
On top of being Mexico’s grandest and most important performance venue, The Palacio de Bellas Artes (The Palace of Fine Arts) lives up to its name. Completed in 1934, it is not just a place to see live music. It also houses murals by some of Mexico’s greatest painters including Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and Roberto Montenegro.
While it tends more toward classical performances, namely ballet and opera, it does also have some jazz and spoken word performances too. And even if you aren’t so lucky as to be able to get tickets for a performance, just go to take in the breathtaking Art Nouveau and Art Deco designs and motifs. It is bound to be one of the highlights of any trip to Mexico City.
The Grand Ole Opry House: Nashville, USA
Starting off as a radio show in 1925, The Grand Ole Opry is now the premier music venue when it comes to country music. It welcomes thousands of visitors every year and has become famous all over the world for its place in the history of American music. Since it regularly hosts country music’s brightest new acts, as well as living legends within the genre, it is easy to see why this is the top tourist attraction in Tennessee.
It is not just a music venue, however. It is also a who’s who of country. Being invited to become a full member of the Opry solidifies an artist’s place within the genre, not unlike being inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
If you are looking to go see a live show, you can either by single tickets or get a package deal where you can either go backstage or get a tour of the Opry. It really deserves its place on all the best music venues lists it appears on.
A Tour of Music Venues
These may be some of the best music venues in the world, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t seek out some others while you are at it. If you find yourself in Austin TX, by all means, hit up Sixth Street. If you are going to be tootling around England, make sure you get in a show at Rock City in Nottingham.
For more insights on where to see great shows or drink some fantastic beer, check out our blog.