Welcome to the city with too many choices, ugh. Los Angeles can be tricky to navigate without some help, and the cities reputation as a playground for music culture attracts fans from all over the world.
Let’s admit it – L.A. has the best music scene in America. We are also blessed with the most diverse venues. The city offers a diverse variety of options every night of the week. Whether you prefer a sweaty dive, a historic theater or a swanky club venue, L.A. has the best concert-going experience for every person.
Here are our top 8 L.A. live-music destinations, in no particular order. The list is based on venue bookings, sound quality, the overall atmosphere, history of the venue and how pricey it is to get a damn drink.
Get away from the chaotic Staples Center and hang with a crowd that’s always down to party. This multi-story club fits around 2,300 people and there are excellent sight lines to the DJ from any vantage point. The fashion here is “club going up on a Tuesday” chic. While we think the bottom area houses the best experience, there’s a balcony that offers the perfect escape. The bar has strong drinks and the production is always on-point with big sound and bigger artists.
800 W. Olympic Blvd., Downtown, www.clubnokia.com.
At the bowl, you’ll see attendees swarm the front gates for a pre-show picnic and feel good pre-game vibes. The Bowl’s regular season events are BYOB, but we suggest double checking your ticket before you stock up on alcohol. Since its opening, the bowl has blessed L.A. with iconic performers – from Frank Sinatra in 1943 to Avicii in 2013. This outside amphitheater has wonderful sound quality and is nestled out of earshot from the bustling noise of Hollywood. Usually, fans get to soak up a stellar firework show after the performance. The only downside is the parking.
2301 Highland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90068. HollywoodBowl.com
If you’re looking for a kick-ass performance, this vintage Art Deco style venue fits about 3,500 fans. Music trends have changed over the years, but this retro Hollywood staple still attracts the best performers. The sound is clear and the venue features a top-notch balcony area. Plus, there’s a stellar booking history of A-listers including Above & Beyond and Armin Van Buuren.
6215 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028.
If you want a club that will to melt your face off, this L.A. dance club has the best EDM sound system in town. There’s plenty of space to dance and many levels to explore. If you buy tickets in advance, the experience is hassle-free. They pump trap and dubstep on Fridays, and on Saturdays the speakers are filled with trance and big-room house.
1735 Vine St, Los Angeles, CA 90028. avalonhollywood.com
El Rey Theatre
This is a relatively small setting, so if your favorite artist swings by for a show, grab a ticket fast. El Rey has a reputation for booking rising or relatively unknown artists who are on their way to stardom. It’s an Art Deco flashback venue with good sound and hip crowds. It’s always a smart choice to wear comfortable shoes, because you’ll likely dance all night.
5515 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036. theelrey.com
For good vibes visit this venue nestled in the heart of L.A. There’s not a bad spot in the house at the Wiltern. Equipped with balcony seating and levels of standing room, fans can view the stage from every possible corner of the glamorous theater. It’s an L.A. landmark with a capacity of up to 2,200 fans.
3790 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90010. livenation.com
The Viper Room
Want to party somewhere historic? This intimate local venue is tucked away on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood. What sets apart this venue from others is the size. The 250-person capacity dissolves the barrier between the fans and the artist. The sunken dance floor allows fans to get up close and personal with their favorite artist.
8852 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069. www.viperroom.com.
The Fonda Theatre
Who doesn’t love venues that are small, yet have enough space to move freely? The Fonda packs about 1,200 and has a huge dance floor, rooftop bar and balcony seats. There’s plenty of space to get lost. Plus, it’s a good place to enjoy high-qualify performances. The metro is two blocks away and parking is decent. Big names have performed here, including The Rolling Stones, Justice and Moby.
6126 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028. http://www.fondatheatre.com