While there are great musicians all over the United States, some cities just seem to have more than their fair share. Below are the ten of the most musical cities in America. Whether an artist yourself or just an ardent fan, here is where you should go if you want an extra dose of live music.
Nashville – Nashville is the undisputed home of country music. It’s home to the Grand Ole Opry, the most famous country stage in the world for close to the past ninety years. There’s not many – country fans or not – who don’t know and respect what the Grand Ole Opry represents, and Nashville is inexorably linked to that.
Austin – This Texas city is well known for their live music and great night life. They proudly call themselves the live music capital of the world and have the numbers to back up that claim, with close to 2000 live acts living in the city’s immediate vicinity. They don’t limit themselves to any single genre either, with everything from jazz to country to pop found in this lively southern city.
New York – New York is a city of artists of every type, from film makers to musicians to writers. It’s the east coast’s LA when it comes to trying to make it big. With plenty of recording studios and staged musicals, both Broadway and off-Broadway, many young and not so young musicians come to The Big Apple to try to turn their passion into their career. Also home to immigrants from all over the world, the music doesn’t limit itself to the standard fare either. A resident is as likely to hear classical Tibetan or Latin music being played in parks as they are to hear rock and roll.
Los Angeles – This is where ambitious young talent goes to get their big break, so is it any surprise that the city has a strong music scene? Just as actors go there to get discovered, so do musicians, which means plenty to see and hear for lucky residents. There are also music festivals and schools luring in ambitious artists, so LA has earned its bragging rights as a strong musical city.
Miami – Miami’s got some nice Latin heat in its music, with plenty of Cuban and South American bands getting people dancing at bars and clubs all over the city. Of course, that’s not all this southern city has. There’s plenty of indie groups and cover bands as well, since there are several universities located in the city. The University of Miami in particular has a strong music program that finds quite a few of its students entertaining the locals in their free time with bands or solo performances.
Seattle – The birthplace of grunge and one of its most famous practitioners, Nirvana, Seattle still has a lively music scene. Known now for alternative and hip-hop music, the free-spirited artists composing, recording and playing in Seattle are just one of the things that continue to make the city so appealing to residents and visitors alike.
New Orleans – With plenty of jazz and plenty of soul, New Orleans music is every bit as passionate as the city itself. Gospel is another key ingredient in the rich musical soup of the city. And food comparisons aren’t far off – without its food and its music New Orleans would be a different city altogether. While many who think of New Orleans think of the explosion of joyful sound that is the city during Mardi Gras, there’s music on even the somberest of days during New Orlean’s traditional jazz funerals.
Memphis – Yet another classic Southern music city, Memphis has a strong Rock and Roll history. The Rock and Roll Hall of fame website even acknowledges it as “the birthplace of rock and roll.” Elvis Presley himself recorded music at a studio there. With a history like that, is it any surprise the city is still rocking?
San Francisco – San Francisco became a rock and roll city back in the sixties. It is still rocking today, with multiple music festivals and plenty of live music to be found. With everything from indie rock to punk to the San Francisco Symphony, there’s something for everyone.
Las Vegas – Sin City has plenty of live music. It’s got plenty of all types of entertainment, so why would music be the exception? There’s small indie bands that can be found playing throughout the city. There’s also big name residency shows (think Celine Dion). Whether a tourist or a local, it’s not hard to find some good live bands to rock out to on a Friday night.