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8 Cities With The Best Music Scenes

Alexandra Fong |
February 22, 2014 | 8:11 p.m. PST

Staff Reporter

If there’s one thing we all have in common, it’s our love for music. Whether you’re into the likes of Beyonce, Justin Bieber (don’t worry, I’m not judging), Lorde or obscure hipster bands, we can all agree that music makes the world go round. But if you’re searching for a memorable musical experience, some cities are definitely better than others.

In order to prevent you from being deprived of great music, we’ve compiled a list of what we think are cities with the best music scenes from around the world. 

Barcelona, Spain

It’s no secret that Barcelonians love their music. Timeout Magazine describes the city as offering a wide array of options, from classical and opera to jazz, flamenco, latin, rumba, hip-hop and electronic. There’s also an endless list of popular concert venues that cater to any music taste. Sala Apolo is a concert hall and nightclub frequented by young Barlceonians looking for a night of dancing and music from international artists. For those interested in soaking up more of Barcelona’s culture, head to Luz de Gaz, an old music hall where concerts and benefit events are frequently held. The venue keeps things exciting by changing its music every week, from blues to pop to disco. You’ll be sure to have a great time. 

French Quarter Festival (Tumblr)
French Quarter Festival (Tumblr)

New Orleans, USA

New Orleans, otherwise known as the birthplace of jazz, is definitely a one-of-a-kind city where music rings from every street corner and every alleyway. The city’s lively musical ambiance attracts streams of visitors every year. If you’re in the mood for a symphony, you’ll have no problem finding an orchestra show. If you’re visiting during the spring, you’re in great luck. The Jazz and Heritage Festival is a week-long event held in late April that features world-renowned artists from all over the globe. Also in April is the French Quarter Festival, where over 150 entertainers perform on five stages over four days. With events catering to the likes of all kinds of music, there’s no question why New Orleans made our list. 

London, UK

Thankfully, London’s music scene is nowhere near as depressing as its weather. No matter what day of the week it is, you’ll have no problem finding music shows to go to. From rock to jazz, folk and EDM, London has got it all. Dance clubs, such as Plan B and Rhythm Factory are popular choices if you’re a fan of hip-hop, soul and dubstep. Folk fans should head to Cabbage Patch or Bush Hall to enjoy some rather traditional English and Irish sounds. With pubs and underground venues scattered throughout the city, there are endless options to satisfy whatever music your heart desires. 

San Francisco, USA

Hipster or not, everyone can enjoy the music this eclectic city has to offer. The colorful culture of San Francisco is strongly influenced by its artists (and let’s not forget that it was also the birthplace of flower power). There are a variety of popular music locations, such as the Rickshaw Stop, which is known to hosts big acts like Vampire Weekend. Rock lovers can head to Bottom of the Hill, and order some great grub while they watch a local band. There’s also the Fox Theater, also known as the most beautiful music venue in the Bay, according to Time. If you’re a true music lover, this city is definitely worth visiting!

Swedish House Mafia performing at Madison Square Garden (Tumblr)
Swedish House Mafia performing at Madison Square Garden (Tumblr)

New York City, USA

New York City is a mish-mash of cultures, cuisines and of course, music. From world-famous venues like Madison Square Garden and Carnegie Hall to musicals on Broadway, New York City is the place to go to for an extraordinary musical experience. Located in Brooklyn is the popular Music Hall of Williamsburg, where you can see local and up-and-coming indie/rock bands. If you’re looking to spend a night relaxing with a nice cocktail and good music, check out 169 Bar in Chinatown, or Café Wha?, located in Manhattan. Lastly, don’t forget check out some of the hip-hop, disco and punk rock shows the city has to offer. 

Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town is a lively and vivacious city where you can experience a blend of African and mainstream music. There are plenty of venues for those of you who want to get a taste of some live African music, such as Mama Africa and Karibu to name a couple. Capetown even hosts its own Electronic Music Festival every year in February where international and local DJs gather to give the crowds a unique three-day electronica experience. The city also loves rock n’ roll with popular locations such as Aces n’ Spades and The Assembly, there’s always somewhere to go to enjoy some indie.  

Austin, USA

As the world’s center for live music, Austin is a go-to destination for music lovers everywhere. With genres ranging from folk, to rock, jazz, hip hop and indie, Austin’s manic music scene is surely the best of the best. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a theater fan, or if you prefer dive bars or nightclubs; Austin has got something for everyone. But it all culminates at the city’s epic music festival, South by Southwest (SXSW). With over 2,000 performers playing in more than 100 venues, SXSW holds the reputation for being one of the world’s largest music festivals. How could you pass up an opportunity to go?

Reach Staff Reporter Alexandra Fong here



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