When you hear the words “Music City” you might think of the country stars of Nashville or young musicians living in LA striving for fame. But did you know that Seattle has a long history with producing some of the best rock, grunge and guitar superstars?
Nirvana, Jimi Hendrix, Macklemore, Foo Fighters, Fleet Foxes, and Death Cab for Cutie all span different genres and all originated in this amazing city we call home (trust us- this list isn’t close to including all of Seattle’s amazing artists). We even use some of their music on our Duck Tours!
From famous names to up-and-coming acts, here are some great places to catch a live show while you’re in Seattle.
If you’re close to Pike Place Market, just look across the street to find this music spot. The Showbox has a large capacity, so you can expect to see some big-name artists here (as of the time of posting this blog, some upcoming shows include A$AP ROCKY, Wiz Khalifa, Guster, and more)! There are plans to tear it down, potentially by the end of 2019, so make sure to see a show here while you can.
A live music venue in the basement of a club? Yes, that does exist! Neumos, a lively and thriving entertainment space in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, actually houses three separate venues including Barboza. Both local bands and pop stars trying for their big breaks can be found playing here. Tickets are very affordable and there’s always someone new to see!
Known as formerly Seattle’s Rock n’ Roll venue (bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam have played here), The Crocodile now hosts more hip-hop and rap style artists. The Back Bar serves tasty pizza for you to enjoy whether you’re seeing a show or not- so come hungry for food and stay for the melodies.
By the time you’re reading this blog post, a lot may have changed about Key Arena, including the name. Key Arena formerly hosted mega concerts (think Lady Gaga, Imagine Dragons), which makes us wonder what big names will play there after its completed renovations in 2021. Keep it on your list if you’re heading to Seattle in a year or two!
Just north of Lake Union in the neighborhood of Wallingford lies Seamonster Lounge- the place for funky, soul, bar jazz music. They offer FREE(!) shows Tuesday-Thursday, and admission on Fridays and Saturdays is only $10.
For all the jazz lovers out there, get ready to tap your foot to some swanky tunes at Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley. Jazz is all the place does, which means they know what they do, and they do it well (over dinner, at that!). Check the website for ticket prices and information as it varies by artist and day of week.
The Triple Door calls itself “Seattle’s most intimate music venue”. It was originally named the Embassy Theater and opened in 1926 for live performances. The building became and theater and then closed for a while, but was reopened in 2003 completely renovated. Now you can add dinner and drinks to your live music experience!
Those looking for a more rustic vibe will want to head to Tractor Tavern in Ballard. Most artists here fall into the country, bluegrass, folk and indie categories. You might see a cowboy boot or two hanging from the ceiling- they even host square dancing once a month!
Home to the Seattle Symphony, expect a show with incredible acoustics and views at Benaroya Hall. According to their website, “Benaroya Hall is the most visited performing arts venue in Seattle, welcoming more than 430,000 visitors a year.” It is also home to many of the cities choirs and chambers, setting the bar high for performance quality.
Just south of Seattle in the city of Tacoma stands the impressive Tacoma Dome, whose roof is made of trees downed from the Mt. St. Helen’s eruption of 1980! The first concert there was David Bowie in 1983 on the Serious Moonlight Tour. It now hosts artists from all over the world and is worth the short trip from the city (accessible by Bus and Link Light Rail).
Is there an artist you can’t wait to see, or are you going to wing it and buy tickets night-of on your Seattle trip? Only you can decide- but make sure not to miss our city’s great musical experiences!
*Did you know? Photos that appear on this page are public domain! Neat!