America's music venues have a symbiotic relationship with the country's musical eminence. From intimate listening halls and revered dive bars to outdoor amphitheaters in the wilderness and rock music meccas. These music venues are crucibles of creation and have been muses for the world's greatest musicians. They have witnessed epoch-making performances by American greats such as Art Tatum, Billie Holiday, and Elvis Presley. Here are some of America's greatest music venues.
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Music Venues in the USA: Top Destinations
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America's Best Rock Music Venues
American history is interlaced with its music. Rock 'n' roll, along with American values, swept across the Western world, revolutionizing everything in its path. The country's top rock music venues provided a megaphone that enabled the spirit of America to reverberate throughout the rest of the world. You will never forget a gig at these world-class US music venues:
1. Madison Square Garden
Billing itself as the world's most famous arena, musicians consider playing Madison Square Gardens as the mark of success. Home of the New York Rangers and Knicks, the venue was named 'America's Coolest Arena' by legendary rock magazine Rolling Stone. Rock royalty like Elvis Presley, John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen and The Who have played New York's premier entertainment arena.
2. Merriweather Post Pavilion
A venue so iconic, it inspired an album by Animal Collective, Merriweather Post Pavilion is regularly ranked amongst the top five arenas in America. It was designed by celebrated architect Frank Gehry and has seen performances by the likes of Led Zepplin, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and The Grateful Dead.
3. Hollywood Bowl
Los Angeles's most famous outdoor venue is the home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and has been a major landmark on the entertainment capital's live music scene since the twenties. Set into the concave hillside, the bowl has seen performances by the world's most famous and virtuosic musicians, including Judy Garland, Billie Holiday, Art Tatum and Nat 'King' Cole.
4. Cain's Ballroom
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Cain's Ballroom is a revered venue in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The thirties structure reverberates with the echoes of legendary rock performances by the likes of the Sex Pistols and was the headquarters of The Texas Playboys' radio broadcasts.
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America's Best Small Music Venues
America is blessed with a number of highly influential small music venues. Having both inspired and boosted the careers of the legendary artists who have played them, these small but perfectly formed US Music Venues have attention commanding credentials. They stand for a unique and covetable musical heritage that resounds in each new performance. Here are the clubs that catapulted the most acts to worldwide acclaim and secured their places among the gods of music:
Hollywood's famous nightclub on La Cienega Boulevard has a reputation as the epicenter of sixties folk music. The likes of Elton John, Joni Mitchell, Carole King, and Fleetwood Mac have played this 500 capacity venue, earning it a prominent position in America's list of legendary venues.
2. Bowery Ballroom
This celebrated 1920s style venue is located in the Bowery district of New York City. It inspired Joan Baez's album Bowery Songs and appears in the 2000 film Coyote Ugly. With a capacity of just under six hundred, gigs here are world class while remaining intimate.
3. Metro Chicago
With a capacity of a thousand, Chicago's Metro is somewhere between a club and an arena. Springing up in the seventies, the venue has seen performances by R.E.M., Sonic Youth, The Ramones, New Order and Depeche Mode. Regular DJ sets by legendary record spinner Frankie Knuckles attest to the caliber of this leading small music venue.
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Best Outdoor Music Venues in the US
America's greatest outdoor venues look out onto some of the world's most dramatic vistas, including the unique landscape of Colorado's Red Rock Park, dynamic mountain ranges, mighty rivers and glittering ocean. Here are the most magical outdoor music venues in the country:
1. Shoreline Amphitheatre
Mountain View, California is the location of the 22,000 capacity arena founded by local promoter Bill Graham. The building's design was inspired by the Grateful Dead's "Steal Your Face" logo. The band opened the venue back in 1987, recording a live album, "View from the Vault, Volume Three."
2. Red Rocks Amphitheater
Colorado's dramatic rock formations have produced one of the country's most visually spectacular venues. At an elevation of almost 7,000 feet, the amphitheater offers superb views of the 868 acre Red Rocks Park along with naturally superb acoustics.
3. Gorge Amphitheatre
Voted best outdoor music venue on multiple occasions, the Gorge Amphitheater enjoys sweeping views of the Columbia River and the Cascade Range of mountains. It regularly hosts world-class music festivals Arena, Creation, and Sasquatch!, as well as solo performances by Pearl Jam and Dave Matthews Band.