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Philadelphia's Live Music Scene Sounds So Good


Venues Large & Small Attract All Genres of Musicians

Renowned for its live music scene, Philadelphia’s vibrant rock, rap, jazz and pop venues showcase some of world’s most Entertainment #2buzzed-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 up. (Marian Anderson, Mario Lanza and Billie Holliday all called Philadelphia home, as did the legendary Sigma Sound Studios and The Sound of Philadelphia.) Philly hosts Jay Z’s Made in America festival and recently welcomed back The Met Philadelphia, 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:

  • Chris’ Jazz Café – The longest-operating jazz club in Philly hosts live jazz six nights a week. Performances by local, national and international artists accompany an all-day menu of lunch and dinner, punctuated by a popular happy hour and a late-night bar menu. Chris’ stays open until 2 a.m. and is closed Sundays. 1421 Sansom Street, (215) 568-3131,
  • Paris Bistro & Jazz Cafe – 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. 8235 Germantown Avenue, (215) 242-6200,
  • 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. 736-738 S. Broad Street, (215) 893-9912,
  • Relish – Southern cuisine and politician patrons are Relish’s signatures, but the West Oak Lane hotspot is also a destination for live contemporary jazz, soul and R & B three nights a week. Two shows on Thursday and three shows on Friday and Saturday feature local musicians who hold the art form in high reverence. 7152 Ogontz Avenue, (215), 276-0170,
  • SOUTH Jazz Kitchen – This restaurant and jazz club is the latest venture of the Bynum brothers, owners of Warmdaddy’s, Relish and the Green Soul. The intimate space serves elevated Southern cuisine and seats around 70 for live music six nights a week. 600 N. Broad Street, (215) 600-0220,
  • Time – This Midtown Village whiskey bar, dining room and jazz club hosts live music nightly, and smooth tunes fill the whole place. 1315 Sansom Street, (215) 985-4800,
  • Warmdaddy’s – A stylish waterfront venue and down-home vibe match Warmdaddy’s Southern menu and nightly lineup of national jazz, blues and R&B artists. Cover charge varies. 1400 S. Columbus Boulevard, (215) 462-2000,

Alternative Music Venues:

  • First Unitarian Church – In a religious sanctuary built in 1885, locally based R5 Productions’ puts on all-ages concerts featuring local and touring bands playing indie rock and punk. On occasion, intimate seated shows take place in the chapel or main sanctuary. 2125 Chestnut Street,
  • Kung Fu Necktie – South Kensington, 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. 1250 N. Front Street, (215) 291-4919,
  • PhilaMOCA – Callowhill’s circa 1865 Finney & Son building, a former mausoleum showroom, served as headquarters for Diplo’s Mad Decent label in the mid-2000s. More recently, it’s hosted some of the most buzzed-about indie acts, plus film screenings, live comedy and art shows. (The city’s department of Licenses and Inspections closed the venue in September 2019, but it’s on track to reopen in early 2020.) 531 N. 12th Street, (215) 519-9651,
  • 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. 4014 Walnut Street,
  • Underground Arts – Tucked into the city’s burgeoning Eraserhood, this lower-level space caters to a creative crowd with genres of live music that run the spectrum. The venue holds up to 600 people. 1200 Callowhill Street, (215) 627-1332,
  • Union Transfer – Local and touring indie, punk, hardcore and hip-hop acts hit the stage at this Spring Garden venue, known for its excellent acoustics stage and spacious, scalable capacity room that holds from 500 to 1,200 concertgoers. 1026 Spring Garden Street, (215) 232-2100,

Bars with Live Music:

  • Boot & Saddle – What was once the city’s only country and western bar, known for its Vegas-style neon sign that hung dormant for decades, has been restored and transformed into popular restaurant and bar with local and national acts of all genres most nights of the week. 1131 S. Broad Street, (267) 639-4528,
  • Bourbon and Branch Restaurant and Bar – Designed with prime acoustics in mind, this Northern Liberties spot, which offers a full menu of salads, sandwiches and vegan entrees in a rustic setting, has a stage fit with theater curtains, recycled cedar pallets and live edge black walnut fixtures. On most nights, patrons can listen to jazz, indie rock, cabaret, hip-hop and other genres upstairs. 705 N. 2nd Street, (215) 238-0660,
  • City Winery – In 2019, Fashion District Philadelphia welcomed an outpost of a nationally expanding concept: A wine bar and a live music venue, where table service is available during every concert. Performers here include Yuna, Phillip Phillips and Bilal. 990 Filbert Street, (267) 479-7373,
  • The Fire – This snug Northern Liberties dive bar is the city’s oldest family-owned original music club, with the stage where John Legend started his career and Maroon 5, My Chemical Romance and Jason Mraz played early on. The Fire showcases local, national and international indie rock, punk, heavy metal and glam pop acts, as well as album-release parties and the oldest continuously running free open mic on Mondays. 410-412 W. Girard Avenue, (215) 923-3477,
  • Franky Bradley’s – Bar owner Mark Bee (of Silk City and N. 3rd) packs his tucked-away, two-story venue with a varied lineup of acts, including dance, cabaret and burlesque. Downstairs, patrons can enjoy a full menu of appetizers, sandwiches and entrees; upstairs, there’s room for 200 to get down. 1320 Chancellor Street, (215) 735-0735,
  • 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. 914 N. 2nd Street, (215) 627-7500,
  • Johnny Brenda’s – 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 JB 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. 1201 N. Frankford Avenue, (215) 739-9684,
  • The Locks at Sona The intimate acoustic space above Irish-leaning Manayunk gastropub Sona Pub & Kitchen favors locals such as Kenn Kweder and also hosts nationally known artists such as Ryan McMullan, Molly Tuttle and C. J. Chenier & the Red Hot Louisiana Band, plus larger acts like Citizen Cope. 4417 Main Street, 2nd floor,
  • 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 amuse audiences with live performances nearly nightly. 1100 Chestnut Street,; 401 South Street,, (215) 925-MILK (6455)
  • Ortlieb’s – Northern Liberties’ former jazz club now stages a variety of live rock music and serves a menu of Tex-Mex favorites. 847 N. 3rd Street, (267) 324-3348,

Mid- to Large Music Venues:

  • The Fillmore Philly – 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. 29 E. Allen Street, (215) 309-0150,
  • Franklin Music Hall – 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+ crowd. Past headliners: David Bowie, Miley Cyrus and Jay-Z. 421 N. 7th Street, (215) 627-1332,
  • The Met Philadelphia Bob Dylan christened the stage when this 110-year-old former opera house debuted as a 3,400-seat modern music venue. Concert promoter Live Nation partnered in the $56 million refurbishment of the space, which continues a renaissance along North Broad Street that includes new restaurants, apartments and retail. 858 N. Broad Street, (215) 309-0112,
  • 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, 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. 69th & Ludlow Streets, (610) 352-2887,
  • TLA – South Street’s largest venue gives concertgoers a more personal environment to enjoy well-known DJs (Jauz), emo bands (Dashboard Confessional), rap (Young Dolph) and pop (Ella Mai) acts. The venue features two bars and a 21+ mezzanine. 334 South Street, (215) 922-1011,
  • Trocadero Theatre – This former vaudeville house in Chinatown gives fans the chance to attend shows large and small, with a main room for up to 1,200 ticket holders and a smaller room that holds 250 for shows by international bands, hip-hop artists and indie rockers. 1003 Arch Street, (215) 922-6888,
  • World Cafe Live – The brick-and-mortar outpost of the University of Pennsylvania’s indie radio station serves food, drinks—and live music. Upstairs, The Lounge 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. 3025 Walnut Street, (215) 222-1400,

Major Venues:

  • Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts – The anchor of the Avenue of the Arts includes the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, 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. They are: The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Philly POPS®, Opera Philadelphia, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Pennsylvania Ballet, PHILADANCO and the Curtis Institute of Music. Kimmel Center, 300 S. Broad Street; Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad Street; Merriam Theater, 250 S. Broad Street, (215) 893-1999,
  • Wells Fargo Center – 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. 3601 S. Broad Street, (215) 336-3600,

Outdoor Performance Spaces:

  • 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. 2400 Strawberry Mansion Drive, (215) 685-9564,
  • Mann Center for the Performing Arts – Founded in the 1930s as the summer home of The Philadelphia Orchestra, this open-air West Fairmount Park venue presents a range of orchestral, pop, indie and rock concerts, as well as arts education and community outreach programs that focus on everything from dance to drumming. 5201 Parkside Avenue, (215) 546-7900,
  • BB&T Pavilion – Across the Delaware River in Camden, New Jersey, this laidback, picturesque amphitheater is perfect for enjoying The Lumineers, Journey and Dave Matthews Band concerts in summer; after dark, lawn-dwellers enjoy a breathtaking view of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge and the Philadelphia city skyline. In fall and winter, it transforms into an indoor venue, with past performances by The 1975 and Mumford & Sons. 1 Harbour Boulevard, Camden, NJ, (856) 365-1300,

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