Not only do the state's venues put on great shows, they do so in locations well-known for other aspects, like their architecture or hosting famous names.
Probably best known for a live album recorded here by The Beatles, the Hollywood Bowl is situated in an iconic location, below the famous Hollywood sign in the surrounding hills. In case you're interested in visiting but not attending a concert, you might enjoy the on-site museum, home to various musical memorabilia.
First opened in 1957 in West Hollywood, this 500-person capacity venue has been well known for providing many big-name artists, such as Elton John and Guns 'N' Roses, with their initial breaks. As a home to heavy metal and glamrock bands in the 1980s, this California music venue became synonomous with the scene and gave an outlet to many up-and-coming acts.
Named the sixth best rock club in America by Rolling Stone magazine in 2013, this San Francisco venue has played host to a range of performances, including burlesque. First opened in 1907, this concert hall is as well known for its architecture as it is for its music.
Designed by Frank Gehry, this stunning Downtown L.A. performance space is home to the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Classical music enthusiasts should be sure to add it to their list.
People flock to California for a reason. Hit two birds with one stone and take in an outdoor show, letting you make the most of the music and the great weather.
Although only opened in 1986, this outdoor venue in the San Francisco area has staged many festivals over the last 30 years, including dance, metal, hip hop, and alternative music events. With its large, open-plan layout, the amphitheatre provides space for up to 30,000 people.
Managed by a not-for-profit organization, this outdoor venue holds a bit fewer than 5,000 people. The Santa Barbara Bowl is the most well-known music venue in the area, and only hosts concerts from around April through to October, when the weather is at its best.
Located in Indio, this polo club is home to the annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in April, featuring a host of both well-known and up-and-coming artists. One of the largest venues of its kind in the US, the Empire Polo Club is renowned for its sunsets and location well away from major cities, giving the venue a holiday feel.
Many of California's venues have continuously operated in the same spaces for decades, making them a visual, as well as auditory, treat.
Opened in 1930, the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles has seen many types of acts grace its stage, including pop music, plays, and even graduation ceremonies from local schools. With great acoustics thanks to its outdoor location, the theatre has a rich history within easy access to Downtown Los Angeles.
Situated on Hollywood Boulevard, this theater is named after actor Henry Fonda, although it has been known by several other names since it first opened in 1927. The top venue in Los Angeles, according to the local paper the LA Weekly, it hosts musical gigs as well as plays and movie screenings, and is home to a radio broadcast studio.
This legendary San Francisco music venue is renowned as much for its psychedelic signature posters as for the roll call of iconic late 1960s bands and artists who performed here. A focal point of that decade's counterculture movement, the Fillmore was even referenced by Hunter S. Thompson, in his book "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas." Even better, if you're feeling peckish, there are free apples upon entry.
A nightclub inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? You better believe it. The Whisky, as it's commonly known, is an integral piece of the California music scene. With a capacity of only around 500 people, gigs here are energetic and let up-and-coming bands grow by playing to limited, loyal audiences. Few places match the atmosphere or the location of this historic Sunset Boulevard venue.