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Sylvan Esso at 30 Days in LA
Photograph: Jakob N. LaymanSylvan Esso at 30 Days in LA

The best live music venues in Los Angeles

Your complete guide to live music Los Angeles style, from concert calendars to iconic venues and more

Michael Juliano
Written by
Kate Wertheimer
&
Michael Juliano
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When it comes to live music venues, Los Angeles reigns. Ours is a storied history, from the rambling folk history of Woody Guthrie to the rock ’n’ rolling, raunchy ways of bands like the Doors, Van Halen and Motley Crue. And to this day, the city remains one of the best for amazing concerts—and amazingly free concerts—not in small part due to its wide array of venues, from gorgeous outdoor amphitheatres to hole-in-the-wall clubs and dive bars. There’s a steady stream of impressive local talent here, and no big-name artist completes a tour without stopping in L.A. We’ve got it all, when it comes to live music in Los Angeles and we’re damn lucky—see for yourself below.

The 19 best live music venues in Los Angeles

  • Things to do
  • Event spaces
  • Hollywood
  • price 2 of 4

This gorgeous outdoor amphitheater has been hosting concerts since the LA Philharmonic first played here in 1922. Nestled in an aesthetically blessed fold of the Hollywood Hills, the 18,000-seat venue can bring out the romantic in the terminally cynical. It’s the summer home of the LA Phil, but it’s hosted everyone from the Beatles to Big Bird. Today, summers at the Bowl are a mix of classical concerts and the biggest names from all genres, from rock and pop to country and musical theater.

  • Music
  • Music venues
  • Westlake
  • price 2 of 4

Shows at this 600-person Westlake spot are consistently indie rock, which makes sense: Owner Michael Swier is the man behind New York City’s Bowery Ballroom, Mercury Lounge and Music Hall of Williamsburg. Shows are priced reasonably, and you can grab a bite beforehand at the venue’s built-in bar and restaurant.

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  • Theater
  • Downtown Historic Core
  • price 2 of 4

When the Ace Hotel opened in early 2014, we didn’t just gain a super hip hotel in DTLA: We also got a jaw-droppingly beautiful 1920s movie house-turned-performing arts space, which has since billed an impressive lineup of performances, concerts, movie nights, lectures and more. The former flagship United Artists Theater is a 1,600-seat house perfect for folk acts, solo artists and beloved indie bands.

Troubadour
  • Music
  • Music venues
  • West Hollywood
  • price 2 of 4

This storied club has a rich musical history: Randy Newman got his start here, and Elton John made his US debut on its stage in 1970. It hasn’t lapsed into irrelevance in the time since, often showcasing bands on the rise—those shows sell out quick. The sound is great and the views are decent from almost anywhere in the room—just stay out from under the balcony.

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Greek Theatre
  • Music
  • Music venues
  • Griffith Park
  • price 2 of 4

This pleasant, open-air, 6,000-seat theatre stages big summer shows by acts both national and local. It’s a bit like seeing a concert in the woods, and rivals the Hollywood Bowl in terms of L.A.’s most magical outdoor music venue. The only downside: The “stacked” parking means getting out of the parking lot often takes longer than the show, and VIP “Quick Parking” is a pricey $75.

The Satellite
  • Music
  • Rock and indie
  • Silver Lake
  • price 1 of 4

This sprawling dive, formerly known as Spaceland, remains the leading L.A. shrine to all things indie. The parking is a combat sport, but the venue has good sound and an upstairs lounge with a less-crowded bar and a photo booth (that actually works, on good nights!). The Monday night program, which features free monthly residencies for buzzy local bands on their way up, is always worth a look.

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  • Attractions
  • Cemeteries
  • Hollywood
  • price 2 of 4

Aside from popular posthumous celebs, Hollywood Forever is also home to summer outdoor movie screenings; Cinespia-hosted sleepovers with projected films, live music and games; as well as a number of unique concert events (past performers include Bon Iver, Lana del Rey and Karen O, to name just a few). Whether on the lawn or in the Masonic Lodge, seeing a show here is a little bit magical, and the bands booked here are always top notch and perfectly suited to play to a crowd of both living and dead.

Largo at the Coronet
  • Comedy
  • La Cienega
  • price 2 of 4

We like venues that take good care of their performers, and that’s clearly the case at L.A.’s home for cultured, bankable singer-songwriters and brilliant comedians. The likes of Aimee Mann, the Watkins Family, Andrew Bird and perennial hot-ticket artist-in-residence Jon Brion ply their trade in the remarkably intimate 280-seat space.

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  • Music
  • Music venues
  • Downtown
  • price 3 of 4

As the $274-million crown jewel of the Music Center, Disney Hall opened in 2003 to rave reviews. The novelty hasn't yet worn off: Both inside and out, this is a terrific venue. Designed by Frank Gehry, the hall features a 2,265-capacity auditorium with an open platform stage and a stunning pipe organ. The hall is the home of the LA Philharmonic and the LA Master Chorale, but the schedule is surprisingly varied (Björk, Sigur Rós, Sylvan Esso, Nick Cave and Iron & Wine have all played here).

  • Music
  • Music venues
  • Miracle Mile
  • price 2 of 4

It might be a gorgeous Art Deco relic, but the 800-capacity El Rey runs a roster that’s decidedly dust-free. From Joji to Empress Of to the Lemon Twigs, the schedule is full of acts du jour, with the older but still-interesting likes of Yo La Tengo, Raphael Saadiq and Hot Chip also appearing. Sound and sightlines are both excellent.

 

Just announced

  • Music
  • Music festivals
  • price 3 of 4
  • Pasadena

Feeling like you’ve outgrown Coachella and sleepaway camp vibes? Then how about something closer to home with the Strokes, LCD Soundsystem and a reunited Le Tigre? This Ain’t No Picnic takes its name from one of promoter Goldenvoice’s first festivals, held in Irvine in 1999, but for a more recent comparison, the lineup has very strong FYF vibes. Like that now-defunct fest, you’ll find a genre-spanning mix of on-the-horizon acts and familiar names, including Beach House, Phoebe Bridgers, Earl Sweatshirt, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Four Tet and Floating Points, some longtime local faves like the Descendents and Sparks, and ASMR trailblazers the Ying Yang Twins. The fest is set for the pleasant grounds of Brookside at the Rose Bowl on August 27 and 28, a not-quite-as-pleasant period in Pasadena’s often blistering summertime. Presale starts Thursday, December 9 at 10am, with any remaining tickets available later that day at 2pm. Courtesy Goldenvoice

  • Music
  • Rap, hip-hop and R&B
  • price 3 of 4
  • Chinatown

Though the 420-friendly part of this music fest’s name is likely to grab your attention, the “groove” part is what’ll hold it, with an R&B-heavy lineup that includes Erykah Badu, Nas, the Roots, Jhené Aiko, Miguel, Kamasi Washington, Thundercat and more.

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  • Music
  • Rock and indie
  • USC/Exposition Park

After an intimate show in Agoura Hills and then an arena-sized one at the Forum, Dave Grohl and co. are playing for an even bigger crowd with a pair of dates at the Banc of California Stadium. Expect a pretty fantastic show; we caught the band at Vax Live, where they tackled about a half-dozen fan-favorite songs, and found them to be an energetic highlight. 

  • Music
  • Rap, hip-hop and R&B
  • USC/Exposition Park

The age of Ye and Drake détente is here with this one-night-only benefit show at the L.A. Coliseum. The two are coming together on December 9 for the Free Larry Hoover Benefit Concert, a show to support prison reform and raise awareness for the cofounder of the Chicago gang Gangster Disciples, who’s currently serving six life sentences for a 1973 murder as well as charges of conspiracy, extortion and money laundering in 1997. Tickets for the show go on sale Monday, November 22 at 10am; just a heads up that Kanye West is listed as the headliner, with Drake as a special guest.

The latest L.A. music news

  • Music
  • Music

UPDATE: Well, unvaccinated teenagers, you win this round: Both Coachella and Stagecoach announced on Tuesday that they’ve reversed their decision that all attendees be fully vaccinated and will instead allow a negative Covid-19 test result as an alternative. That’s according to an update posted to both of the festivals’ Instagram accounts: “After seeing first-hand the low transmission data and successful implementation of safety protocols at our other festivals this past month, we feel confident that we can update our health policy to allow for: negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of the event; or proof of full vaccination.” The news comes after an August announcement from promoter AEG Presents said all of its clubs and festivals would require proof of vaccination by October 1. The revised policy for Coachella and Stagecoach now puts them in line with neighbor L.A. County’s vax-or-test policy for major events. Our original story from August 12, 2021 appears below. -- If you plan on ingesting all the things at Coachella, then you’re going to need a jab in the arm first. Concert promoter AEG Presents, which most notably produces Coachella and Stagecoach via its Goldenvoice offshoot, announced that by October 1 it will require proof of Covid-19 vaccination for entry into its owned and operated clubs, theaters and festivals. The policy applies to venues around the county, but here in L.A. specifically that means the El Rey, the Fonda, the Shrine Auditorium, the Roxy and

  • Music
  • Music

Ever since its initial postponement last spring, Coachella has stayed awfully quiet about its eventual lineup. Frank Ocean, Rage Against the Machine and Travis Scott were initially announced for the April 2020 event, but festival promoter Goldenvoice never publicly commented about the status of the lineup after the Indio fest’s numerous postponements (it’s since been rescheduled to April 2022). Now, though, we finally have some updates thanks to a profile on cofounder Paul Tollett in the L.A. Times. Rage Against the Machine, Travis Scott and a third unannounced headliner will top the 2022 lineup. Megan Thee Stallion and Doja Cat will also carry over from the never-staged 2020 lineup, though they’ll be higher up on the bill for this upcoming edition of the fest. But the biggest news by far is that Frank Ocean won’t be available for the 2022 festival and will instead perform in 2023. “I’m just trying to be as fair as I can to artists and to the fans to make sure that eventually they get to see everyone that we talked about,” Tollett told the L.A. Times. Coachella typically stays pretty tight-lipped about its lineup until about three months before the April event. But Tollett wanted to offer some reassurance given all of the changes and uncertainty since last spring. Ocean joins one other very notable exception among early Coachella teases: When Beyoncé announced her pregnancy in 2017, and the subsequent cancelation of her Coachella slot that year, she also announced that she’d

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  • Music
  • Music

As live music gets back in full swing, so too do budget-breaking ticket prices (seriously, music festival passes cost about as much as a month of car payments right now). Thankfully, Live Nation has decided to give all of us a temporary reprieve with “$20 all-in tickets” to concerts around the country, including about 40 near Los Angeles. And unlike most tickets from major platforms (like, oh, we don’t know, Live Nation?) these limited-time $20 tickets won’t have any extra taxes or fees on top of them. The deal doesn’t apply to every sought-after show this summer, but there are $20 tickets up for grabs to some pretty noteworthy shows: Burna Boy and the Jonas Brothers at the Hollywood Bowl, Black Pumas and Devo at the new theater next to SoFi Stadium, Mt. Joy and Sylvan Esso at the Greek Theatre, and the Jimmy Eat World and Taking Back Sunday show at the FivePoint Amphitheatre. The $20 all-in tickets go on sale Wednesday, July 28 at 9am. If you happen to be a T-Mobile or Sprint subscriber, you can nab them a day early on Tuesday, July 27 at 9am. Check out the full list of L.A.-area shows below. Greek Theatre (Griffith Park) Mt. Joy (Aug 15) Rufus Wainwright (Sept 9) Sylvan Esso (Sept 10) Needtobreathe (Sept 16) Smokey Robinson (Sept 18) The Monkees (Nov 14) Hollywood Bowl (Hollywood) Burna Boy (Oct 8) The Neighbourhood (Oct 9) Jonas Brothers (Oct 27) Hollywood Palladium (Hollywood) Angels & Airwaves (Nov 6) YouTube Theater at Hollywood Park (Inglewood) Bronco (Sept 17)

  • Music
  • Music

Ready to sweat it out with 99,000 of your closest friends again? Not to worry if you’re not quite there yet: Coachella just announced its next festival dates, and it turns out you’ll still have another year to prep. Coachella will make its return over two weekends in 2022, from April 15 to 17 and April 22 to 24. Stagecoach typically follows the weekend after, but as of publication, promoter Goldenvoice has yet to announce 2022 dates for the country fest. See you in the desert 🌵 Coachella returns April 15-17 & 22-24, 2022. Register now to access the 2022 advance sale beginning Friday, June 4 at 10am PT.https://t.co/qujCsdCWkp pic.twitter.com/0PzCZYrbB6 — Coachella (@coachella) June 1, 2021 It’s usually around this time each year that Coachella announces dates and presale info for the next year’s edition, and though this April’s event was canceled we’ve already settled back into that timing groove: Registration is open now for presale, which opens June 4 at 10am. Tickets start at $449 before fees, a notable increase over previous years; after presale, that base price ticks up as high as $499. VIP, meanwhile, will set you back upwards of $929 before fees. Coachella’s April 2020 edition was initially postponed to October of that year. Eventually, though, those dates were scrapped, too, as well as the fest’s April 2021 dates. Frank Ocean, Rage Against the Machine and Travis Scott were the original 2020 headliners, but who knows who we’ll see on the lineup in 2022. Until today

Where to see live music in Los Angeles

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Music festivals near Los Angeles

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