Top 10 Best USA Cities for Music Lovers

Edited by @kimberlyanneinc

Many contemporary musical movements that are now prevalent all over the world had their beginnings in the United States of America. It doesn’t matter if you’re a fan of rock, jazz, or country music; the United States is home to a plethora of fantastic cities that are worth traveling to in order to enjoy outstanding music scenes.

1. New York, NY

We start out our list with what songwriters have penned in “the greatest city in the world” – a city where if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere. New York City, affectionately known as The Big Apple, is home to rock, jazz, and hip hop scenes, along with the likes of classical music and of course, Broadway.

Photo by Steve Cancel

New York offers something for all tastes, with five boroughs consisting of beautiful, unique neighborhoods bursting with their own signature music scene – from small bars and clubs to sprawling venues like
Madison Square Garden, Apollo Theater, Lincoln Center, and Radio City Music Hall.

The best thing? In New York, the journey is half the fun. The street entertainers and subway musicians of this metropolis are famous throughout New York City, but particularly in the borough of Manhattan.

Keeping this in mind, you have a good chance of listening to some one-of-a-kind melodies when you are cruising to your final destination; hence, New York is quite possibly the coolest city for music lovers of all kinds, regardless of their origins.

2. Nashville, TN

Photo by Travis Saylor

Nashville also known as Music City, is another great destination for music lovers, especially for those looking for cost-efficient vacations.

The Music City is home to plenty of free music venues that cater to everyone from country and rock n roll, to blues and the underground scene.

Plenty of local songwriters perform in neighborhoods across the city, especially around the city’s own Broadway, known as the Honkey Tonk Highway.

In 1950 Nashville was officially dubbed Music City USA by Radio WSM’s announcer David Cobb. The name has stuck since then!

Many of the dance floors are free of charge and are great destinations for those who love fashion and food.

Across the city, there’s no need to worry about staying up late – the tunes keep pumping until the early morning hours, with plenty of crowds cheering for more.

3. New Orleans, LA

Photo by

For lovers of jazz and big band, New Orleans, the birthplace of it all, is a prime destination. From Mardi Gras to Jazz Fest, the city boasts an amazing scene for music fans.

Neighborhoods around the French Quarter are home to popular jazz and blues joints, while Mid-City, Uptown, and even the Bywater neighborhoods are also all great places to take in the lounge scene and enjoy local acts.

New Orleans has live music going on every night of the week and a calendar full of festivals.

For lovers of jazz and big band, New Orleans, the birthplace of it all – is a prime destination.

In addition, a blossoming opera and the state symphony scene take the stage. Finally, if you ever wanted to master the fine art of cajun dancing, New Orleans is your place to hit up a restaurant, bar, or even a street corner in the Mid-City.

There, you can show off your new moves among tourists and locals alike as descendants of local French musicians sing and show you how it’s done.

All of this excitement makes New Orleans one of the best places for music lovers, especially in the South.

4. San Francisco, CA

San Francisco also makes our list of the best cities for music lovers with its diverse array of performers and venues.

Top destinations include Haight Ashbury with its classical jazz scene and SoMa, the home of literal underground speakeasies.

The Civic Center flaunts plenty of musical experiences, especially a thriving pop music scene, but make sure you get your tickets early, as they tend to sell out.

Photo by

Parkside hosts a variety of free concerts throughout the day and night and is a great location on a nice weather day.

From the Mission District to Market Street, music lovers of all backgrounds are likely to find a destination they love in San Francisco.

5. Memphis, TN

When it comes to Memphis, music is everywhere.

– Memphis Tourism Board

“When it comes to Memphis, music is everywhere,” says the tourism board.

This is the place where rock ‘n’ roll and soul music got their start, and there are many historical sites to see in this city.

Not only does Memphis have a variety of live venues, but it also has a large number of iconic recording studios and attractions.

Photo by Magda Ehlers

Its suburbs are home to expansive parks that host festivals and musical performances throughout the year.

Memphis is one of the greatest places to visit if you want to experience a blast from the past, and it is especially recommended for people who are interested in the history of music and country legends.

6. Los Angeles, CA

For those music history buffs looking to explore the subject that they love, Los Angeles is a destination like no other.

LA is the home of Capitol Records and other timeless record labels, alongside famous concert halls like the Hollywood Bowl and the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Photo by RODNAE Productions

The streets of the city are lined with historical landmarks, museums, venues, and record shops, leaving something to be found for any music lover.

Even in a city like Los Angeles, there are free and cheap date ideas for those with a passion for music.

Amoeba Music offers music shows free of charge, along with thousands of records visitors can spend hours browsing, making Los Angeles another one of our coolest cities for music lovers.

7. Seattle, WA

Coffee, evergreens, a giant space needle, technology, and grunge music: these, perhaps, might be what the great city of Seattle is best known for.

Newer genres taking over Seattle’s music scene include feminist indie rock and folk music.

Each neighborhood has its own unique scene and history, from Capitol Hill to Pioneer Square.

Photo by Seattle Met

From a variety of pop and rock music venues where greats like Death Cab For Cutie and Modest Mouse got their start in museums and street performers, Seattle is another one of our coolest cities for music lovers, especially those who dig that indie and folk vibe.

8. Austin, TX

The city of Austin has earned the title of “Live Music Capital of the World®.”

After it was determined that Austin hosted a greater number of live music venues per capita than any other city in the United States, the tagline was formally adopted in the year 1991.

Austin, Texas is officially known as the “Live Music Capital of the World®.”

Photo by Austin Culture

Much like some of its coastal counterparts, the Texas city of Austin boasts a fair variety of quality music, whether you’re looking for pop, country, classical, or electronic music.

Also known for its amazing barbecue cuisine, Austin will welcome you with the best of food and fun in its plentiful districts, particularly the Red River District, where visitors can find historical culinary and queer spaces, some of which invite you to join the dance.

Whether you’re searching for national tours or the best-kept local secrets, the music scene of Austin offers something for everyone, making it another one of the best cities for music lovers.

9. Detroit, MI

Detroit has always been known for its music, becoming especially synonymous with the Motown scene.

Even among the city’s recent struggles, downtown has maintained its reputation for being one of the best destinations for music lovers.

A walk through downtown’s West Grand Boulevard takes music lovers on a journey through some of Motown’s greatest locations.

“Motown was about music for all people – white and black, blue and green, cops and the robbers. I was reluctant to have our music alienate anyone.”

– Berry Gordy
Photo by Curbed Detroit

In addition, Detroit has its own distinct hip-hop scene, which in recent years has contributed to the city’s revitalization efforts.

This city next to Lake Erie is an excellent place for people who love music because it welcomes up-and-coming hip-hop artists to spread their music throughout the city and has skateparks and galleries that do so.

10. Miami, FL

Miami is known for its music festivals, especially EDM – but this southern Florida city is the place to be for all music lovers.

It boasts a unique scene for Latin music and is home to plenty of bars where you can enjoy a cocktail while soaking in the live music.

Little Havana, named after the city just over 200 miles away, has been adding spice to the life of Floridians since the early 1900s with its lively beats and salsa lessons.

Photo by Mango’s Miami

Music lovers can find the best pizza and DJs in the city. Festival headliners including Zedd and other big names can also be seen while in Miami.

Those who enjoy their sip of wine with a touch of jazz find their best destinations in Midtown – all of the vivid neighborhoods in Miami adding their own special touches to one of our best cities for music lovers.

Whether you live in the US or are just visiting, there are cities across the country that have a
robust history and a bright future when it comes to the music industry – and they are just waiting
to welcome you home.

Top 10 Best US Cities for Music Lovers
by Julianna Charlene Kolczynski

Julianna is a New York City-based campaign organizer and history nerd making her way across the East Coast. In her free time, she enjoys reading about women’s history, cooking, and singing. Julianna is a steadfast advocate of the Oxford Comma.

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