Find Your Groove: Best Music Cities In The U.S.

One thing about me is that I love live music — but not just for the big stars and festivals. Yes, I’ll go to any festival under the sun just to see as many bands as I can in one place. And I flew across the country to see Harry Styles at Coachella. But I also haunt all the beach bars during the summer to watch local cover bands. And I only go to dive bars with live music.

My whole job revolves around writing about music, so it’s only right that I flock to places known for their constant swirl of instruments, vocals, and all-night dancing.

There are plenty of destinations in the United States that can give you your fix of music, and even teach you a little about music history in the meantime. Places like Nashville are full of bars owned by country music icons like Dolly Parton and Jason Aldean – so you’ll never have a shortage of stomp-and-holler dives.

My only requirements of a music city are as follows: there has to be a constant string of performers night after night, and they have to have contributed to our ever-evolving music scene.

Some of these cities are responsible for the careers of our favorite artists, towns they called home long before their music was played by millions of people. And now, these cities have evolved into lively, year-round concerts with music pouring into the streets.

If you want to take a trip to some of the best cities for live music in the country, here are some of my staples.

Nashville, Tennessee


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Literally known as “Music City”, Nashville is the place to go for live music. Idols like Elvis, Dolly Parton, and Willy Nelson have ties to the city, and thousands of aspiring artists flock in hopes of taking off their careers. Taylor Swift moved here from Pennsylvania when she decided to pursue a career as a country music star.

Broadway, also known as Honky-Tonk Highway, is where you’ll find a pulsing, vibrant nightlife that beckons you to dance all night. I spent about four hours in a bar on the strip during a layover and had the time of my life.

Check out Music Row for the extensive number of country music publishers, labels, and studios. You can also find the Country Music Hall of Fame here, and see iconic studios recorded in by stars like Elvis.

New Orleans, Louisiana


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The Big Easy is the birthplace of jazz music and the home of major party events like Mardi Gras. If you’re itching for a nonstop party with music streaming from the streets at all hours, New Orleans is for you. With its French roots, the architecture and food alone are enough to reel you in.

The city is constantly pulsing to the rhythms of marching bands, horns, and even gospel choirs. Music greats like Louis Armstrong have roots in NOLA, and you can visit some of their favorite music clubs and restaurants around the French Quarter today.

There’s a wide variety of music from R&B, soul, jazz, and more, so stroll down Frenchmen Street and take it all in.

Austin, Texas

One of the live music capitals of the world, Austin, Texas was a bit unexpected for me. It’s the birthplace of many aspiring musicians’ careers spanning genres from country to indie folk.

My favorite place in Austin is Sixth Street. Closed off to traffic on Thursdays through Sundays, you’ll get your fix of live music and affordable food and drinks. It’s one of the places in the city where tourism rates haven’t touched with a flair of street fairs.

New York City, New York

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Well, you knew it was coming. Home of world-famous venues like Radio City Music Hall and Madison Square Garden, New York is a mecca for music. Artists dream of selling out venues here, and truly there’s a different act every night.

Home of record labels, streaming platforms, and artists galore, any given bar in New York City will have live music. And if you’re someone who likes EDM, all the house hotspots are in Brooklyn.

Las Vegas, Nevada

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Again, predictable but a must-go. Las Vegas is known for its residencies and its non-stop ragers. Artists like Usher and Adele have notorious stakes on Vegas stages –not to mention the OG Elvis Presley residency. Casino after casino, venue after venue, you’ll find live music in every corner of Vegas.


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