Top music venues in Los Angeles

Los Angeles is one of the best places to live if you’re a music fan. The City of Angels is full of incredible music venues, most of which hold a special place in music history. On any given night, you can see the latest up-and-coming band at a small club or catch top-touring acts at world-famous amphitheaters. Whether you’re hitting the Sunset Strip or heading downtown to catch events like Red Bull Dance Your Style, there’s never a dull moment in LA’s music scene.

Red Bull Dance Your Style in Los Angeles at Grand Performances

© Carlo Cruz / Red Bull Content Pool

When summer hits, California Plaza at 350 S. Grand Ave. transforms into a hub for outdoor entertainment — perfect for events such as Red Bull Dance Your Style. The 7,000 seats are available on a first-come, first-serve basis, and you’re welcome to pack a picnic. See the 11th Annual International Mariachi Women’s Festival in July or catch one of the artists featured in local radio station KCRW’s Summer Nights series. Admission is free and you can support the program through Grand Performances’ membership program.

Catching a show at this iconic, open-air amphitheater is an essential Los Angeles experience. Located in the heart of the Hollywood Hills, the Hollywood Bowl has been a central part of LA music history for over a century. It’s been home to the LA Philharmonic since 1922 and hosted artists ranging from The Beatles, to Pink Floyd, to Nine Inch Nails.

Today the Hollywood Bowl’s calendar features an eclectic mix of events where you can soak up great live music and culture, surrounded by stunning hillside views. Visit the Hollywood Jazz Festival or come watch your favorite films scored by a live orchestra. While big name headliners can sell out fast, the venue does offer customizable ticket packages, with discounted prices for Hollywood Bowl regulars.

As with most live music venues in Los Angeles, parking at 2301 N. Highland Ave. takes some planning. Many concert goers will tell you to use one of the many park-and-ride satellite lots where you can catch a shuttle bus the rest of the way. Come early and pack a lunch to enjoy in one of the picnic areas surrounding the venue.

The Greek Theatre is closely tied with the Hollywood Bowl as one of LA’s best outdoor amphitheaters. The Greek sits in Griffith Park — home of the Griffith Park Observatory and one of the best views of the Hollywood sign in the city. The open-air, 5,800 person-capacity venue features some of the best acoustics in LA. Whether you’re seeing Elvis Costello or John Legend, you can expect top-notch, crystal-clear sound.

Plan for additional time when leaving 2700 N. Vermont Ave., as you’ll have to wait your turn to get out of the stacked parking lot. It’s worth the wait, though, for one of the most magical live music experiences you can have in LA.

With capacity for less than 800 people, The El Rey Theatre has been one of the best spots to see an intimate show from your favorite artist since 1994. The marquee at 5515 Wilshire Blvd. has featured names including Lana Del Rey, Lauren Hill, Billie Eilish, and Bob Dylan. Inside, you’ll be greeted by a sea of red velvet embellished by art deco decor and grand chandeliers, a nod to the theater’s movie house history.

The El Rey’s a standing-room-only venue, but you can see the stage pretty well from just about anywhere. It’s as perfect a spot for a sweaty punk show as it is for a stripped-down acoustic set.

The stage at West Hollywood’s Troubadour has been a launchpad for musical greatness since 1957. It’s where Joni Mitchell played her first LA gig, Elton John made his U.S. debut, and Neil Young had his first solo LA show. And that’s barely scratching the surface of the long line of artists that have passed through the doors at 9081 Santa Monica Blvd.

More recently, artists such as Brandy Clark and Sharon Van Etten have made tour stops at the Troubadour, which is lucky for their LA fans. With room for a maximum of 500 people, it’s the ideal setting for a small show. There’s limited seating in the upstairs balcony, but if you get there early, you might be able to stand right up against the stage.

Located on the legendary Sunset Strip, The Roxy Theatre is a landmark in the LA music scene. Open since 1973 at 9009 Sunset Blvd., it’s yet another small LA venue with stellar sound and a rich history. Artists such as Patti Smith and Bob Marley and The Wailers have all recorded live albums there. And it’s almost impossible to think of glam metal’s heyday in the 1980s without thinking of The Roxy. All ages are welcome at The Roxy, with standing room available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Located at the corner of Wilshire Blvd. and Western Ave.,The Wiltern offers impeccable sound in an exquisite art deco setting. As one of the best mid-size venues in the country, 3790 Wilshire Blvd. is the perfect setting for an epic rock set from artists such as Garbage or Foo Fighters. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, The Rolling Stones, and Florence + The Machine are just some of the many artists who’ve recorded live releases at The Wiltern. The former vaudeville theater can seat around 2,300 people — but there’s really not a bad seat in the house.

LA music aficionados will tell you that this 350 person-capacity Echo Park venue is one of the best spots to see a show. The Echo and its nearby sister venue the Echoplex have been a hotbed of the LA indie rock scene since 2001. Artists such as War Paint and HAIM have graced The Echo’s stage, but it’s also a great spot to wander in and see what’s new in LA’s local music scene. Doors to The Echo can be found at 1822 Sunset Blvd.


The Hollywood Palladium

Open since 1940, The Hollywood Palladium has a long reputation for booking groundbreaking artists in just about every genre. Once home of The Lawrence Welk show, the Hollywood Palladium was known for hosting innovative hip-hop, new wave, and other alternative artists before it was popular. The ballroom-like venue at 6215 Sunset Blvd. embodies the balance of grit and glamor that defines the LA music scene.

When not hosting basketball, the home of the LA Lakers transforms into a larger-than-life concert arena. The downtown arena at 1111 S. Figueroa St. used to be known as the Staples Center, and fits up to 20,000 screaming fans. Janet Jackson, Prince, and Bruce Springsteen are just some of the icons who’ve played here. Grab a drink at one of the venue’s 23 refreshment stands, find your seat, and get ready for a monumental live music experience.

LA’s top music venues have something for everyone

The best venues in LA cater to every musical taste. This list is just barely scratching the surface of LA’s live music scene. We didn’t even get to venues like The Hotel Cafe or Largo at the Coronet, which certainly deserve an honorable mention. Grab a ticket to a show at one of these venues and enjoy a piece of LA music history.

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