The Best US Cities For Music Lovers (2024)





The Best US Cities For Music Lovers (1)

A city’s music scene is an essential part of its culture and helps to define its overall identity. These 12 US cities have played important roles in shaping various musical genres over the decades and continue to stand at the forefront of the country’s music scene. Whether you prefer a cozy jazz club or an action-packed outdoor concert, these 12 cities are must-visits.

The Best US Cities For Music Lovers (3)

Doug Fir Lounge | © Tom Hilton/Flickr

Portland, Oregon

The Dandy Warhols, She & Him, the Decemberists, and Blitzen Trapper among the acts to emerge from the hipster haven of Portland. It’s home to a staggering number of record stores of all sizes, as well as cool music festivals like summer’s PDX Pop Now!, a free event focused on local bands. The Doug Fir Lounge is one of the top spots in the city to check out indie bands, offering state-of-the-art sound equipment and an intimate atmosphere.

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B.B. King’s Blues Club | © Adam Jones/Flickr

Memphis, Tennessee

More than Elvis Presley’s stomping grounds, Memphis is the home of rock & roll. The city has produced musicians like John Lee Hooker, B.B. King, and, more recently, Justin Timberlake. Beale Street is rightfully the city’s most iconic music street, packed with some of its best live music venues. B.B. King’s Restaurant & Blues Club is among the most famous, but places like Young Avenue Deli and Blues City Cafe are also worth a stop.

Los Angeles, California

It’s not just actors that go to Los Angeles in the hopes of getting their big break. The City of Angels draws musical performers of all genres, from rappers and country musicians to classical musicians and DJs. It has spawned an equally diverse group of big-name acts, including Guns N’ Roses and Tupac Shakur. Often heralded as the center of the West Coast music scene, Los Angeles is home to A&M Records and Capitol Records, as well as enough music landmarks to fill an entire visit.

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The Shins | © David Lee/Flickr

Seattle, Washington

Most people still associate Seattle’s music scene with the 1990s grunge movement, but before Pearl Jam and Nirvana, Seattle was the home of Jimi Hendrix. Today, it continues to churn out acts like Macklemore, Death Cab for Cutie, and The Shins. Catch bands at the many bars and clubs found in Capitol Hill and Belltown, or check out the popular Bumbershoot Festival in September, which draws a mix of big-name acts as well as local up-and-comers.

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Bourbon Street | © Lars Plougmann/Flickr

New Orleans, Louisiana

From street musicians to funeral bands, music is at the heart of everyday life in New Orleans. The city is the birthplace of jazz, which was cultivated here in the early 20th century before spreading across the country and inspiring the creation of numerous other musical genres. Check out the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in the spring, explore the big music clubs located on Bourbon Street, or head to venues like Siberia and Tipitina’s to enjoy other genres of live music.

Chicago, Illinois

Chicago became an epicenter of the country’s jazz and blues scenes when African-American Southerners moved north in search of jobs after World War II. The ‘Chicago Blues’ style was pioneered by names like Buddy Guy and Muddy Waters, and the city’s jazz and blues roots are evident today at the Chicago Blues Festival and at venues like The Green Mill. Chicago has produced big-name acts from other diverse musical genres, including The Smashing Pumpkins and Kanye West. Plus, the annual Lollapalooza music festival is nothing short of spectacular.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Prince may be the most famous musician to emerge from Minneapolis, but the city is also home to a thriving rap scene, largely thanks to rap label Rhymesayers. It also produces some top-notch indie rock and hip hop acts, while the Minnesota Orchestra heads up a respectable classical music scene. Large venues like the Target Center, as well as smaller ones like Cabooze, are great places to catch live acts year-round, or you can check out one of the city’s annual festivals like Basilica Block Party.

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Explosions in the Sky | © Nash Cook/Flickr

Austin, Texas

Nicknamed the ‘Live Music Capital of the World,’ Austin has produced acts like Janis Joplin, Jamestown Revival, Explosions in the Sky, and Stevie Ray Vaughn. Most people know Austin as the host of South-By-South-West, as well as other big music festivals like Fun Fun Fun Fest and Austin City Limits. The city is home to large venues like the beautiful early 20th-century Paramount Theater, but you’ll also find intimate, offbeat venues all over the city, particularly around the University of Texas and East Austin areas.

Athens, Georgia

Athens is quite a bit smaller than most of the other cities featured on this list, which is perhaps why this town’s thriving music scene is often overlooked. Regularly ranked among the best college towns in the US, Athens has produced the B-52s and R.E.M, in addition to a number of experimental indie acts. The town’s historic Morton Theater once hosted names like Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington.

Washington, D.C.

Washington is home to a flourishing underground music scene, producing artists ranging from Fugazi to Chuck Brown. It’s also home to fantastic live music venues, including the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Bohemian Caverns, and 9:30 Club, to name just a few. Lastly, its National Museum of American History features a number of fascinating music history exhibitions, including sound recordings dating back to the early 20th century.

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Carnegie Hall | © Ching/Flickr

New York

The birthplace of genres like punk, hip-hop, and disco, as well as talents ranging from Sonic Youth and Jay-Z to Burt Bacharach and Wu-Tang Clan, few cities can compete with New York’s impressive musical heritage. One of the most compelling aspects of New York’s music scene is its variety. You can see indie rock newcomers at the Mercury Lounge, jazz at the JALC, classical performances at Carnegie Hall, or big-name acts at the Radio City Music Hall. With hole-in-the-wall bars and clubs scattered all over the city, you’ll never find yourself lacking in live music options.

Nashville, Tennessee

The US’s hub for country and western music, there’s a reason Nashville earned the nicknamed ‘Music City USA.’ Among the city’s most prominent musical claims to fame is the Grand Ole Opry, a country music and variety radio show that is still recorded live at the historic Ryman Auditorium. At the same time, there’s more to Nashville than country music; in addition to spawning acts like the Black Keys and Jack White, the city is home to a strong rock-and-roll scene, and nearby East Nashville is an epicenter for indie acts.

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The Best US Cities For Music Lovers (2024)


What US city is known for music? ›

Nashville is the home of country and western music in the US and is nicknamed "Music City USA". The most famous music legacy in Nashville is the Grand Ole Opry, a country music and variety show that is still recorded live and is the famed show that discovered Dolly Parton.

Where is the best place for music USA? ›

Austin, Texas, is America's No. 1 live music city, with an average of five concert venues per capita — plus nine music festivals planned for 2022, which is almost 2x more than the average U.S. city!

Where do most musicians live America? ›

RankCityMusic Businesses Per Density
1San Francisco, CA2.77
2Washington, DC1.13
3Minneapolis, MN1.02
4Seattle, WA0.58
46 more rows
29 Oct 2021

Which state is best in music? ›

Top 9 destinations in India with the best music festivals, best musicians and of course the best crowd to make the place live and vibrant:
  • Goa. ...
  • Bangalore, Karnataka. ...
  • Jodhpur, Rajasthan. ...
  • Ziro, Arunachal Pradesh. ...
  • Pune, Maharashtra. ...
  • Delhi-NCR. ...
  • Mumbai, Maharashtra. ...
  • Gwalior. Tansen Music Festival, Gwalior.

What state is most popular for music? ›

It comes as no surprise that Tennessee tops the charts when it comes to music lovers. Nashville is, after all, known as Music City USA. Home to America's longest-running radio show, the famous RCA Studio B, the Ryman Auditorium, and the Country Music Hall of Fame, Nashville was built on the foundation of music.

What city has the most music? ›

San Francisco is the most musical of all large cities, followed closely by Nashville.
What is the most musical city in the United States?
Artists per 1,000 inhabitants3.14
CityBeverly Hills, CA
24 more columns
20 May 2012

What city is considered the music capital? ›

Ever wonder why Austin is known as the Live Music Capital of the World®? The slogan became official in 1991 after it was discovered that Austin had more live music venues per capita than anywhere else in the nation.

What state is the music capital? ›

Austin, Texas

Austin is called 'The Live Music Capital of the World' because it has more music venues per person than anywhere else in the United States.

Where is the heart of music in America? ›

Nashville. The state of Tennessee is not only home to Memphis and Elvis but to the city of Nashville. Nicknamed "Music City," Nashville is the epicenter of country and western music in the United States.

What city has the most music artists? ›

New York has produced more artists that reached the Hot 100 than any other city. Since 1958, 622 artists hailing from one of New York's five boroughs have collectively created 2,513 Billboard Hot 100 songs, for an average of 44.1 hits per year.

Which U.S. city is considered the home of country music? ›

Because Bristol is not usually thought of as the place where country music began, it was especially important that the U.S. Congress recognized Bristol's contribution to music history. In 1998, Congress passed a resolution recognizing Bristol as the "Birthplace of Country Music."

What city is known for house music? ›

House music is a form of electronic dance music that originated in Chicago in the early 1980s and quickly expanded to American cities like New York City and Detroit as well as international music hubs like London and Paris.

Where is the best place to live as an artist? ›

The 50 best cities for artists
RankCityPerforming Arts Rank
1Hartford, CT19
2Minneapolis, MN4
3Pittsburgh, PA5
4Washington, DC6
30 more rows
7 May 2021

Which state is most talented? ›

NEW DELHI: Maharashtra has retained the top position in the list of states with the most employable talent followed by Uttar Pradesh and Kerala, according to the India Skills Report 2022 which will be released on Thursday.

What is the most entertaining state? ›


What is the most artistic state in the US? ›

The 10 American States Every Art Lover Should Visit
  • California. The entire state of California is brimming with incredible and inspiring art. ...
  • Illinois. Illinois is home to one of the greatest museums in world, the Art Institute of Chicago. ...
  • Michigan. ...
  • New Mexico. ...
  • New York. ...
  • Ohio. ...
  • Pennsylvania. ...
  • Texas.

What state is most like a country song? ›

States Most Like A Country Song
RankStateDog Owners (%)
3New Mexico46
44 more rows
1 Aug 2022

What is the most listened to music in America? ›

R&B/Hip-Hop is the most popular music genre in the US.

It has been this way since 2017 when it overtook pop and rock music genres.

What is the Music City of the world? ›

Not only is Nashville a stop for aspiring musicians from around the globe, it is also the birthplace of many famous musical stars. Without further ado, here is some history and background on why Nashville is known as the Music City.

What city is the center of the music industry? ›

As well as being one of the most important cities in the world in the film industry, Los Angeles, California, is also one of the most important places in the world for the recorded music industry.

What city has the best house music scene? ›

We chose these cities based on being home to major festivals, labels, and top music venues.
Top 10 Cities in the US for EDM
  1. Las Vegas, NV. ...
  2. Chicago, IL. ...
  3. Los Angeles, CA. ...
  4. Miami, FL. ...
  5. Denver, CO. ...
  6. San Francisco, CA. ...
  7. Detroit, MI. ...
  8. New York, NY.
26 Apr 2017

Where do most musicians come from? ›

  • United Kingdom.
  • Japan.
  • France.
  • Canada.
  • Australia.
  • Russia.
  • Netherlands.
  • China.

What American city is mentioned most in songs? ›

The 10 most sung about places in the US:
  • New York - 161 songs.
  • Los Angeles - 87 songs.
  • California - 68 songs.
  • Hollywood - 66 songs.
  • Miami - 46 songs.
  • New Orleans - 43 songs.
  • Brooklyn - 38 songs.
  • Texas - 29 songs.
12 Jan 2019

What is the best city to start a music career? ›

What City Should YOU Try To Start Your Music Career?
  • Los Angeles, CA. Los Angeles is where aspiring stars go to solidify their fame. ...
  • Atlanta, GA. Atlanta is a central hub for entertainment. ...
  • Miami, FL. If you're interested in working in Latin or electronic dance music (EDM), look no further than Miami.
11 Feb 2022

What city is best for entertainment? ›

Las Vegas

Vegas is all about having fun, so it's no surprise it takes the top spot, and ranks No. 1 for nightlife and parties. The city also ties with San Francisco for the most dance clubs and most restaurants per capita. It's in the top five for most festivals per capita, too.

What 2 cities are considered to be the capitals of country music? ›

While Nashville is most famous for its status as the long-time capital of country music, Bristol is recognized as the "Birthplace of Country Music". Memphis musicians have had an enormous influence on blues, early rock and roll, R&B, and soul music, as well as an increasing presence in rap.

Where do country singers go in America? ›

We've gone through and compiled a list of some of the most important and famous country music cities.
  • Nashville, Tennessee. ...
  • Bakersfield, California. ...
  • Denver, Colorado. ...
  • Memphis, Tennessee. ...
  • Dallas, Texas. ...
  • Louisville, Kentucky. ...
  • Chicago, Illinois. ...
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
29 Nov 2017

What makes a city a Music City? ›

A Music City, by its simplest definition, is a place with a vibrant music economy. There is growing recognition among governments and other stakeholders that Music Cities can deliver significant economic, employment, cultural and social benefits.

Which country is the Music City in? ›

United States

Where is the best place to live in America right now? ›

Its 2022 ranking for the best places to live looked at five metrics: job market, value, quality of life, desirability, and net migration. The best place to live in America is Huntsville, Alabama, followed by Colorado Springs, Colorado.

What city in the US has the most art? ›

2019 Key Findings:
1New York-Jersey City-White Plains, NY-NJ*Northeast
2San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco, CA*West
3Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA*West
4Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WIMidwest
16 more rows

Which city is most artistic? ›

  1. Rome, Italy. The Vatican Museum alone earns Rome its place on any artistic list. ...
  2. Paris, France. What artistic tour would be complete without a stop at the world's largest and arguably most famous museum? ...
  3. Berlin, Germany. ...
  4. Valencia, Spain. ...
  5. Hong Kong. ...
  6. New York City, USA. ...
  7. San Francisco, USA. ...
  8. Florence, Italy.

Which city has the best music? ›

America's 12 Greatest Music Cities, Ranked
  1. Austin, TX.
  2. New York, NY. ...
  3. Chicago, IL. ...
  4. Los Angeles, CA. ...
  5. Seattle, WA. ...
  6. New Orleans, LA. ...
  7. Atlanta, GA. ...
  8. Nashville, TN. ...
14 Apr 2015

Which US city is mentioned the most in songs? ›

The 10 most sung about places in the US:
  • New York - 161 songs.
  • Los Angeles - 87 songs.
  • California - 68 songs.
  • Hollywood - 66 songs.
  • Miami - 46 songs.
  • New Orleans - 43 songs.
  • Brooklyn - 38 songs.
  • Texas - 29 songs.
12 Jan 2019

Which US city has the most musicians? ›

What is the most musical city in the United States?
#Artists per 1,000 inhabitantsCity
13.14Beverly Hills, CA
22.26San Francisco, CA
31.68Nashville, TN
41.64Boston, MA
21 more rows
20 May 2012

What is the number 1 city in the US? ›

New York, New York

What is US most popular city? ›

50 states and the District of Columbia
2021 rankCityState
1New YorkNew York
2Los AngelesCalifornia
34 more rows

What is the US country music capital? ›

Although it is steeped in art, culture and history, Nashville is known as the Country Music Capital of the World.

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