Top Places to See Live Music in Philadelphia
Arenas, open-air amphitheaters and more make up Philly's awesome music scene...
Renowned for its live music scene, Philadelphia’s vibrant rock, rap, jazz and pop venues showcase some of world’s most buzzed-about musicians.
Philly is where The Roots, Pink, McCoy Tyner, Meek Mill, Santigold, Cayetana, Jill Scott, Christian McBride and The War on Drugs all came.
Plus, Philly hosts Jay Z’s Made in America festival and welcomed back The Met, an elegant former opera house reborn as a concert hall.
Here are places to catch the latest, greatest live music performances in Philadelphia.
The longest-operating jazz club in Philly hosts live jazz most nights. Performances by local, national and international artists accompany an all-day menu of lunch and dinner, punctuated by a popular happy hour.
Thursday through Sunday, this Chestnut Hill spot , now under the ownership of local restaurateurs Robert and Vanessa Mullen with longtime chef Al Paris, hosts local musicians playing jazz standards and songs from the Great American Songbook. Also on offer: a full menu of classic French food and drinks.
This performance space and educational center promotes jazz — past, present and future — with workshops, classes, private lessons and concerts.
Southern cuisine and politician patrons are Relish ’s signatures, but the West Oak Lane hot spot is also a destination for live jazz three nights a week. Two shows each Thursday, Friday and Saturday feature local musicians who hold the art form in high reverence.
Where: Relish, 7152 Ogontz Avenue
This restaurant and jazz club is the latest venture of the Bynum family, owners of Warmdaddy’s, Relish and the former Zanzibar Blue. The intimate space serves new Southern cuisine and seats around 70 for live music six nights a week.
Where: SOUTH, 600 N. Broad Street
Alternative Music Venues
In a religious sanctuary built in 1886, locally based R5 Productions puts on all-ages concerts featuring local and touring bands playing indie rock, punk and independent hip-hop. On occasion, intimate seated shows take place in the chapel or main sanctuary (above).
University City ’s alcohol-free and admission-free (unless otherwise noted) community hosts world music, soul, hip-hop, rock, jazz, experimental and other types of music. When bands aren’t playing there, the socially conscious venue attracts crowds for movies; live dance, spoken-word and theater; art exhibits, classes, workshops; and youth programs.
Tucked into the city’s burgeoning Callowhill neighborhood, this lower-level space caters to a creative crowd with genres of live music that run the spectrum. Performances in the 600-person capacity venue in 2019 include a two-day Grunge-A-Palooza and international acts Acid Mothers Temple and Gang of Four.
Local and touring indie, punk, hardcore and hip-hop acts hit the stage at this Spring Garden venue , known for its excellent acoustics and spacious, scalable capacity room that holds from 500 to 1,200 concertgoers.
DJs, performance artists and weekend dance parties are on the packed calendar at Warehouse on Watts (W.O.W.) just off North Broad Street. The grassroots event space aims to book acts that represent Philly’s dynamic neighborhoods and diverse performance scene.
Bars with Live Music
Musicians, comedians and artists are the staff at this Northern Liberties spot , which offers a full menu of salads, sandwiches and entrees in a rustic setting. On most nights, patrons can listen to jazz, indie rock, cabaret, hip-hop and other genres upstairs.
This snug Northern Liberties bar is the city’s oldest original music club. It’s also where John Legend started his career and Maroon 5, My Chemical Romance and Jason Mraz played early shows. The Fire showcases local, national and international indie rock, heavy metal and glam pop acts, as well as CD-release parties and the oldest continuously running free open mic on Mondays.
Bar owner Mark Bee (of Silk City and N. 3 rd ) packs his tucked-away, two-story venue with a varied lineup of acts, including jazz, rock and burlesque. Downstairs, patrons can enjoy a full menu of appetizers, sandwiches and entrees; upstairs, there’s room for 300 to get down.
This former dive bar turned hip Fishtown landmark has a stage that’s rarely empty — and pint glasses that are always filled. Past headliners include Sufjan Stevens, Wire, Grizzly Bear and Jim James. Other highlights: an all-local, all-draft beer list and a popular restaurant on the first floor that serves food until 1 a.m. — perfect for a post-show bite and brew. Fun fact: This popular spot made an appearance in Creed , the seventh installment in the Rocky franchise.
The intimate acoustic space above Irish-leaning Manayunk gastropub Sona Pub & Kitchen favors locals such as Christine Havrilla and Gypsy Fuzz and also hosts nationally known artists such as Steve Forbert, Rachael Yamagata and Kinky Friedman.
Two MilkBoy locations showcase up-and-coming and under-the-radar bands—and a food and drink menu that’s as creative as the lineups. Largely fashioned from reclaimed materials, the eco-aware spots feature live performances nearly nightly.
This three-room Midtown Village pub is known for its mix of jazz, indie, acoustic, fusion, electronic and other genres in a restaurant-whiskey bar-music lounge that draws a diverse, music-loving crowd seven nights a week.
Where: Time, 1315 Sansom Street
Mid- to Large Music Venues
Philadelphia’s version of the famed San Francisco rock club offers several spaces for local, national and international acts. The 2,500-person-capacity main room boasts unbeatable sight lines, while The Foundry serves as a 450-person club within the club for more intimate concerts and DJ parties. The Ajax Bar serves libations before, during and after shows, and Wolfgang Puck provides food and drink throughout the venue.
One of the larger venues in Philadelphia, formerly known as the Electric Factory, draws national acts that fill the 2,500-person-capacity room. Standing room at stage level is typically all-ages; a balcony with unbeatable views and a full bar accommodates the 21-plus crowd. Past headliners: David Bowie, Miley Cyrus and Jay-Z.
Bob Dylan christened the stage when the 110-year-old former opera house debuted as a 3,400-seat modern music venue in late 2018. Concert promoter LiveNation partnered in the $56 million refurbishment of the space, which continues a renaissance along North Broad Street that includes new restaurants, apartments and retail. Performers like Meek Mill and Mariah Carey have made stops at the venue.
Although on the edge of city limits, this venue has spent decades as a major player in the local music scene. Opened as a movie house in 1927 and converted into a concert hall in 1972, the Tower blends old-world aesthetics with amazing acoustics — and has played an integral role in the careers of Bruce Springsteen and David Bowie, with later performances from the likes of Lauryn Hill and Kanye West.
The brick-and-mortar outpost of the University of Pennsylvania’s indie radio station serves food, drinks — and live music. Upstairs houses a full-service restaurant with eclectic tunes most nights of the week. The downstairs music hall offers food service for a larger crowd and hosts well-known bands.
The modern anchor of the Avenue of the Arts is both the center of a cultural campus that includes the Merriam Theater and the Academy of Music , presenters of live musical theater, dance, jazz, classical and popular performances for broad and diverse audiences — and the performance home of eight esteemed resident companies.
The South Philly home of the Philadelphia Flyers and 76ers hosts big-name performers and accommodates sellout crowds. Billy Joel, The Rolling Stones, U2, Bruce Springsteen, Beyoncé, Madonna, Elton John, Justin Timberlake and hometown favorite Pink have all made music here.
Outdoor Performance Spaces
Come spring and summer, this 5,200-person Fairmount Park amphitheater has long been known for jazz, soul and hip-hop greats, from the late Dizzy Gillespie and Ella Fitzgerald to Keith Sweat, Patti LaBelle, Ne-Yo and Erykah Badu.
Founded as the summer home of The Philadelphia Orchestra, this open-air West Fairmount Park venue presents a range of orchestral, pop, jazz and rock concerts, as well as arts education programs that focus on everything from dance to drumming.
Across the Delaware River in Camden, New Jersey, this laidback, picturesque summertime amphitheater is perfect for enjoying Slayer, Hootie & The Blowfish and Kidz Bop concerts. After dark, lawn-dwellers enjoy a breathtaking view of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge and the Philadelphia city skyline.