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6 US Cities with the Best Music Scene and Appeal for Music Lovers

What Are America’s Finest Music Destinations?

One of the greatest things about living in a big city consists in the opportunities it offers. Cultural activities, nightlife and fine dining are right up there. But when it comes to music, people may choose to follow their passion. And we are not only talking about aspiring artists. Music lovers want to be where good music is, where they can attend amazing live events and where music veterans come to perform and not only once in a blue moon. There are several American cities in the competition for the nation’s finest music destination.

Here are 6 US cities with the best music scene

1. Austin

Austin City Limits Music Festival 2009. Day 3

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Image description: 2009 Austin City Limits music festival

Austin is known for several music festivals that have people flooding and that have given it the name of “Live Music Capital of the World”. There is the South by Southwest organized in spring, the Austin City Limits festival organized in fall and the new indie Fun Fun Fun Fest. There are areas full of cool music venues all over Austin and places where you can enjoy music in a less crowded setting than that of a festival. You have larger indoor venues like the 20-th century Paramount Theater, or small and cool venues like Mean Eyed Cat. Some Austin home names are Janis Joplin and Stevie Ray Vaughn.



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Image description: Zoey Deschanel performing at the Mercy Lounge in Nashville in 2008

The “Music City USA” is known for more than just country acts. Nashville is home to a very strong rock and indie music scene. Some of its music venues have become institutions like the Ryman Auditorium, the Grand Ole Opry House, the Bluebird Café or the Basement. Even the Nashville Airport has been hosting live performances since 1981. Some of the artists who started out here are Dolly Parton, Tailor Swift, Paramore, Kings of Leon and Jack White.

3.New Orleans


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Photo credit: University of [email protected]

Image description: Entrance to the Musical Legends Park in New Orleans

We can say that music is at the very soul of New Orleans. This is the birthplace of jazz and the host of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, the biggest jazz festival in the world. Other genres that flourished here are gospel, blues and rock. Bourbon Street is the most famous area for music venues but you can enjoy it basically everywhere. There are street musicians, numerous festivals taking place anytime, as well as the local flavored jazz funerals – a procession in which loved ones accompany the deceased on the final journey with a brass band to celebrate his life with song and dance.



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Image description: The Experience Music Project, on display at the Science Fiction Museum in Seattle

What is Seattle known for? It is known for having first created a scene for grunge music with bands like Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Nirvana having originated from here. Before them, it was the home of Jimi Hendrix. Now it plays an important part in helping alternative and indie bands make their work known. Some other well known names associated to Seattle? Macklemore, Death Cab for Cutie, Fleet Foxes and the Shins. As a music lover, you have the Bumbershoot festival – a very large musical event, or small venues on Capitol Hill or Belltown.



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Image description: Photo from the 2007 Chicago Jazz Festival

Although it is the birthplace of blues music, Chicago caters to the needs of different types of music lovers. So if you are in Chicago to enjoy quality blues music at its origin, you can attend the Chicago Blues Festival. But know that your options do not stop there. As far as other festivals are concerned, the Lollapalooza comes to mind, a very exciting and big event you cannot miss out on.

Bands such as Disturbed, Earth, Wind and Fire, Smashing Pumpkins and Fall Out Boy and artists such as R. Kelly, Kanye West, Jennifer Hudson and Anastacia originated from here. Some of the best venues for live music are the Green Mill and Kingston Miles.


Atlanta’s contribution to the US music scene consists in helping some of the most prominent hip-hop stars start their careers. When we say Atlanta we say Janelle Monae, T.I., Ludacris, Nelly and Jermaine Dupri to only name a few. Radio station Hot 107.9 has played an active part in helping up-and-comers get heard. There is also the A3C Hip Hop Festival that mashes together big industry names and artists who are just now getting noticed. Some of the most popular music venues are The Tabernacle and Fox Theater. The Phillips Arena is where massive music events such as Lady Gaga, Fleetwood Mac and Motley Crue concerts are held.

Wondering why New York and LA are not on the list although they are packed with music venues and have numerous festivals daily? Because we wanted to point out how many other US cities have a lot to offer music wise, both for aspiring artists as well as for music aficionados.

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Here are 6 US cities that have made music history and that are competing for the status of the most musical city in the nation. Find out what is each one’s contribution to the US music scene.

8 Great Places in New York to Remind You Why You Always Loved Jazz

Go Where the Cool Cats Gather

We know how the world looks like to a jazz fan. Everything simply flows to its own rhythm, it dances and it changes shape. The world sits still as if it knew it was being painted with musical notes and that some people are there simply to enjoy the view. Your passion for jazz may be old or new, but strong nonetheless. And this is why we wanted to help you get reconnected or stay in touch with the jazz scene and enjoy live performances. Sure, you can sit back at your own place and listen to good quality jazz music, or you can go out and enjoy it with the rest of the cool cats.

Here are 8 great jazz venues in New York



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Photo credit: Zhang [email protected]
Image description: Inside the Small Jazz Club in New York

Founded in 1994 by Mitchell Borden, the Smalls Jazz Club is probably the most popular venue of its kind. Since the very beginning, this was the place where the needs of the musician and of music lovers came first. The most fascinating thing about it is that since 2011, every show was recorded with the intention of creating a valuable music archive. Smalls Jazz Club, 183 West 10th Street, basement, Greenwich Village, NYC, 10014

Blue Note


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Image description: Street view of The Blue Note Club in New York

This club has been around since 1981 when it was founded by Danny Bensusan and it is just the place where you can enjoy the world’s finest jazz music in an amazing setting. Patrons can listen to the jazz of veterans as well as to progressive and innovative sounds. Blue Note main acts feature Chick Korea, McCoy Tyner, Joe Lovano, John Scofield and Chris Botti. Blue Note Jazz Club, 131 West 3rd Street, New York, NY 10012.

Jazz Standard

This is the place where you can enjoy some fine Southern cuisine and barbecue seasoned with warm hospitality and, of course, world-class jazz. Not only is Jazz Standard one of the finest New York venues, it is one of the best such venues in the world. Jazz Standard Club, 116 E 27th St, New York, NY 10016

Village Vanguard


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Photo credit: Zhang [email protected]lickr
Image description: Inside the Village Vanguard Club in New York

Looking for something with a historical pedigree? Then go and sit at a table in a club opened in 1935 by Max Gordon and imagine having been there when the Live at the Village Vanguard albums of John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins and Bill Evans were recorded. This place is unique both in physical appearance, program as well as character and background. Village Vanguard Jazz Club, 178 7th Ave South, New York, NY 10014



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Image description: Street view of The Iridium Club in New York

Renovated and reopened in September 2015, the Iridium now has unique lighting, an amazing stage treatment and the sound system has benefited from a consistent upgrade. Need more reasons to check out this location? Then know that it attracts some of the best musicians of the genre. This is the place where you can spend a night in the presence of jazz, rock and blues legends. Iridium Jazz Club, 1650 Broadway, New York, NY 10019

The Jazz Gallery
Video description: Musicians talking about the Woodshed project that allows them to rehearse at The Jazz Gallery free of charge

Founded in 1995 by Dale Fitzgerald, Lezlie Harrison and Roy Hargrove, the Jazz Gallery is known as “the most imaginatively booked jazz club in New York”, according to the NY Times. The place serves as an international culture center with programs built to nurture the future jazz generations. The 21 Century Jazz showcases emerging artists; the Residency Commissions supports the creation of new works; the Mentoring Program pairs young musicians with established jazz veterans and the Woodshed provides a free practice space. Jazz Gallery, 1160 Broadway, 5th fl, New York, NY 10001

Fat Cat

More than a jazz club, Fat Cat presents itself as a diverse cultural institution where class trips can be organized for music classes. This is an art space with musical offerings to highlight both emerging as well as established artists. Also, if you are looking for a place for a unique birthday party, you have just found it. Fat Cat Club, 75 Christopher St, New York, NY 10014


Video description: Abigail Richards and Jane Monheit performing live at Birdland on August 1, 2013

The original Birdland opened in 1949 on Broadway and had Charlie Parker as a headliner. Other club regulars were Count Basie and John Coltrane. The club’s name has found a place in their musical legacy as Count Basie recorded George Shearing’s “Lullaby at Birdland” and John Coltrane’s Quartet recorded “Live at Birdland”. It was a place frequented by celebrities such as Gary Cooper, Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, Joe Louis, Marlene Dietrich, Ava Gardner, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Sugar Ray Robinson. Birdland, 315 W 44th St, New York, NY 10036

New York is packed with amazing music venues and it would take more than a lifetime to go to all of them. Compiling this short list alone was difficult as there were a lot of options to sort through, a lot of music styles, a lot of venue experiences and a lot of other specific details to take into account. Some places are intimate while others are crammed and you have to keep your elbows about you so as not to spill the drinks on other tables. In some locations you can enjoy a nice meal or an art exhibit. There is something for every taste and every type of jazz lover. In the end, we all just go where the music takes us.

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Discover 8 of the most popular jazz venues in New York. You can see firsthand how young musicians experiment with their instruments or you can enjoy a night in the company of famous jazz veterans.