Live Music and Performing Arts

Updated: February 14, 2017

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Live Music

Seattle cemented its place in music history when a young man named Kurt Cobain launched a band called Nirvana – the sound was called grunge and it defined Seattle in the 90s. But Seattle was a music town before flannel and Doc Martins were high fashion. Jimi Hendrix, Quincy Jones, and Ray Charles all called Seattle home. 60s pop-rock act Paul Revere and the Raiders were Seattle based. Ann and Nancy Wilson, the sisters who formed Heart, hip hop star Macklemore, poetic Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie… there must be something in the water; so much great music, of all kinds, comes from Seattle.

Here’s where to go to find the best:

  • Downtown
    The Triple Doorcalendar – Eclectic. Jazz, Folk, Indie pop and rock. Table seating. Food and cocktails. 216 Union Street.
    Showboxcalendar – Rock & Indie Alternative. Established local acts and national/international tours. 1426 1st Ave.
    The Paramount Theatrecalendar – Historic 2,800 capacity theater. Popular and eclectic touring acts, stage productions. 911 Pine Street.
    The Moore Theatrecalendar – Seattle’s oldest operating theater. Like the Paramount, but smaller. 1932 2nd Avenue.
    Highway 99 Blues Clubcalendar – Blues, honkey-tonk, country, rockabilly. Serves Creole food. 1414 Alaskan Way.
  • Belltown
    The Crocodilecalendar – Indie rock, hip hop, eclectic. 2200 2nd Avenue.
    Dimitriou’s Jazz Alleycalendar– Nightly jazz performances. National/international touring acts. Table seating. Food and cocktails. 2033 6th Avenue.
    Tula’scalendar – Local jazz. Supper club. 2214 2nd Avenue.
  • Seattle Center
    Key Arenacalendar – Big name, touring shows. Stadium seating. 305 Harrison Street.
    Vera Projectcalendar – All ages (early shows, no booze). Indie Rock, up and coming NW bands. 305 Harrison Street.
  • South Lake Union
    Lo-Fi Performance Gallerycalendar – Hop hop, Indie rock, DJ shows. 429 Eastlake Avenue E.
    El Corazon/The Funhousecalendar – Two venues, one roof. The Funhouse is all punk, while El Corazon showcases punk, metal, and hardcore rock. The Waffle Window serves both. 109 Eastlake Avenue E.
    Victory Loungecalendar – Rock: hard, punk/post punk, surf. Serves hot dogs. 433 Eastlake Avenue E.
  • Capitol Hill
    Neumoscalendar – Eclectic mix of the region’s top talent: indie rock, hip hop, electronica, roots, more. A Cap Hill powerhouse and one of Seattle’s best clubs. 925 East Pike Street.
    Barbozacalendar – Neumos’ basement bar also has live music. 925 East Pike Street.
    Highlinecalendar – Metal, Punk. Serves food (vegan). 210 Broadway Avenue E.
    Chop Sueycalendar – Eclectic: hip hop, indie rock, metal, etc. 1325 East Madison.
  • Ballard
    Tractor Taverncalendar – Roots, country, Americana, new folk, rockabilly, singer/songwriter. 5213 Ballard Ave NW.
    Sunset Taverncalendar – Indie rock, eclectic, dive bar. 5433 Ballard Ave NW.
    Conor Byrne Pubcalendar– Irish, folk, bluegrass, roots, singer/songwriter. 5140 Ballard Avenue NW.
  • Fremont
    Nectarcalendar – Hip hop, reggae, bluegrass, indie folk. Indoor/outdoor. 412 North 36th Street.
    High Divecalendar – Eclectic: Indie rock/pop, roots, Americana, metal. Great BBQ. 513 North 36th Avenue.
    Fremont Abbey Arts Centercalendar – Local music, spoken word, storytelling and dance. Beautiful venue in an 100 year-old church. All ages. 4272 Fremont Avenue North.
  • University District/Wallingford
    Neptune Theatrecalendar – Converted movie theater features prominent NW rap and indie rock, as well as touring and eclectic acts. 1303 NE 45th Street.
    Sea Monster Loungecalendar – Jazz, funk. Food/drinks. 2202 North 45th Street.
  • Columbia City
    Columbia City Theatercalendar – Local and regional artists, burlesque. 4916 Rainier Avenue South.
    The Royal Roomcalendar – Jazz, folk, world music. Some table seating, food/cocktails. 5000 Rainier Avenue South.

Performance Arts

Seattle’s got a fantastic performing arts scene – whether you’re in the mood for opera, musical or dramatic theater, comedy, or dance, there’s sure to be a show in town that’ll knock your socks off. It’s best to buy tickets in advance (via the venue website or TheaterMania), but many venues will hold a number of tickets for last-minute buyers – if you’ve got your heart set on a sold-out show, it can be worthwhile to call the box office and ask nicely. A good hotel concierge may be able to help you score some hard-to-come-by-seats, as well. Here’s what’s playing:

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