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Top Places to See Live Music in Philadelphia

Arenas, open-air amphitheaters and more make up Philly's awesome music scene...

The Fillmore Philadelphia Photo courtesy The Fillmore Philadelphia, Live Nation Philadelphia

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.

Jazz Spaces

01

Chris’ Jazz Cafe

A couple enjoys the music at Chris' Jazz Cafe A couple enjoys the music at Chris' Jazz Cafe
— Photo by Visit 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.

Where: Chris' Jazz Cafe, 1421 Sansom Street

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02

Paris Bistro & Jazz Café

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.

Where: Paris Bistro & Jazz Café, 8235 Germantown Avenue

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03

Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz & Performing Arts

This performance space and educational center promotes jazz — past, present and future — with workshops, classes, private lessons and concerts.

Where: Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz & Performing Arts, 738 S. Broad Street

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04

Relish

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

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05

SOUTH

Jazz at SOUTH in Philadelphia Jazz at SOUTH in Philadelphia
— Photo by A. Ricketts for Visit Philadelphia

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

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Alternative Music Venues

06

First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia

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).

Where: First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia, 2125 Chestnut Street

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07

Kung Fu Necktie

Fishtown below the Market-Frankford El train is the hiding place for this intimate destination for local and touring indie, hardcore, punk, hip-hop, metal acts and, on weekends, DJ parties.

Where: Kung Fu Necktie, 1248 N. Front Street

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08

The Rotunda

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.

Where: The Rotunda, 4014 Walnut Street

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09

Underground Arts

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.

Where: Underground Arts, 1200 Callowhill Street

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10

Union Transfer

Union Transfer Union Transfer
— Photo by A. Wendowski for Visit Philadelphia

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.

Where: Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden Street

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11

Warehouse on Watts

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.

Where: Warehouse on Watts | W.O.W., 923 N. Watts Street

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Bars with Live Music

12

Bourbon & Branch

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.

Where: Bourbon & Branch, 705 N. 2nd Street

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13

The Fire

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.

Where: The Fire, 412 W. Girard Avenue

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14

Franky Bradley's

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.

Where: Franky Bradley's, 1320 Chancellor Street

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15

Heritage

This Northern Liberties spot offers another option to grab delicious food and see great bands under one roof. The venue hosts nightly performances by local and up-and-coming acts, and on Sundays, there’s a bluegrass brunch.

Where: Heritage, 914 N. 2nd Street

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16

Johnny Brenda’s

— Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

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.

Where: Johnny Brenda's, 1201 Frankford Avenue

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17

The Locks at Sona

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.

Where: The Locks at Sona, 4417 Main Street

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18

MilkBoy

Milkboy Milkboy
— Photo courtesy Milkboy

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.

Where: Various locations including MilkBoy, 1100 Chestnut Street

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19

Ortlieb's

Northern Liberties ’ former jazz club now stages a variety of live rock music and serves a menu of Tex-Mex favorites.

Where: Ortlieb's, 847 N. 3rd Street

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20

Time

— Photo by A. Ricketts for Visit Philadelphia

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

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Mid- to Large Music Venues

21

The Fillmore Philadelphia

The Fillmore The Fillmore
— Photo by A. Wendowski for Visit Philadelphia

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.

Where: The Fillmore Philadelphia, 29 E. Allen Street

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22

Franklin Music Hall

Electric Factory Electric Factory
— Photo by A. Wendowski for Visit Philadelphia

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.

Where: Franklin Music Hall, 421 N. 7th Street

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23

The Met Philadelphia

— Photo courtesy The Met Philadelphia

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.

Where: The Met Philadelphia, 858 N. Broad Street

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24

The Tower Theater

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.

Where: The Tower Theater, 69th & Ludlow streets, Upper Darby

Cost: https://www.instagram.com/p/BqnisUNnaSO/

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25

Theatre of the Living Arts

TLA TLA
— Photo by A. Wendowski for Visit Philadelphia

South Street ’s largest venue gives concertgoers a more personal environment to enjoy well-known DJs, R&B, rap  and pop acts. The venue features two bars and a 21-plus mezzanine.

Where: Theatre of the Living Arts, 334 South Street

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26

World Cafe Live

— Photo courtesy World Cafe Live

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.

Where: World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut Street

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Arenas

27

Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

POPS playing at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia POPS playing at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia
— Photo courtesy The Philly POPS

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.

Where: The Kimmel Center, 300 S. Broad Street

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28

Wells Fargo Center

— Photo by A. Wendowski for Visit Philadelphia

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.

Where: Wells Fargo Center, 3601 S. Broad Street

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Outdoor Performance Spaces

29

The Dell Music Center

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.

Where: The Dell Music Center, 2400 Strawberry Mansion Drive

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30

The Mann Center for the Performing Arts

The Mann Center for the Performing Arts The Mann Center for the Performing Arts
— Photo courtesy the Mann Center

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.

Where: The Mann Center for the Performing Arts, 5201 Parkside Avenue

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31

Freedom Mortgage Pavilion

BB&T Pavilion BB&T Pavilion
— Photo courtesy Freedom Mortgage Pavilion

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.

Where: Freedom Mortgage Pavilion, 1 Harbour Boulevard, Camden, NJ

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Jazz Spaces

Chris’ Jazz Cafe
Paris Bistro & Jazz Café
Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz & Performing Arts
Relish
SOUTH

Alternative Music Venues

First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia
Kung Fu Necktie
The Rotunda
Underground Arts
Union Transfer
Warehouse on Watts

Bars with Live Music

Bourbon & Branch
The Fire
Franky Bradley's
Heritage
Johnny Brenda’s
The Locks at Sona
MilkBoy
Ortlieb's
Time

Mid- to Large Music Venues

The Fillmore Philadelphia
Franklin Music Hall
The Met Philadelphia
The Tower Theater
Theatre of the Living Arts
World Cafe Live

Arenas

Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
Wells Fargo Center

Outdoor Performance Spaces

The Dell Music Center
The Mann Center for the Performing Arts
Freedom Mortgage Pavilion
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