Where to see Live Music
A city with a rich musical history, The San Francisco Bay Area is a great place to see live music. San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose and other cities in the area see an awesome selection of bands and DJs from a variety of genres like Indie Rock, Alternative, Hip-Hop, Country, Rap, Jazz, Electronic and more. No matter what kinds of music you prefer, you can find a large number of shows all year long.
One of the great things about live music in San Francisco is the amazing variety of cool music venues. From small music venues like The Independent SF to large venues like Shoreline Amphitheater, you will have a lot of options to choose from.
Large Music Venues
If you prefer larger music venues, where you can see some of the biggest acts in the world, then you can choose from places like Shoreline Amphitheater, Chase Center, The Greek Theater Berkeley, Oakland Arena, SAP Center San Jose, Concord Pavilion and Levi’s Stadium. Each of these venues feature great lineups featuring some of the biggest names in music as well as some special events and festivals.
Small Music Venues
Seeing live music at a large venue is great and you get to see much larger acts from around the world, typically with a much bigger production value. However, if you prefer to be a lot closer to the performers without having to dish out big bucks for good tickets, seeing a show at a small venue is the way to go. San Francisco has some of the best small music venues in the country, where you can see a large variety of amazing bands and DJs, a lot of whom are up and coming artists that are about to get their big break. Some venues have hosted long running events like Popscene at Rickshaw Stop, which have proven to be a great way to see some incredible bands before they blow up. Popular small music venues in The San Francisco Bay Area include The Independent SF, Rickshaw Stop, Great American Music Hall, Bimbo’s, The New Parish, Boom Boom Room, Bottom of The Hill and Neck of The Woods.
Other Music Venues
Between the large venues & amphitheaters and the intimate, small venues, are some amazing San Francisco music venues that hold between 1,000 and 2,000 people and despite the larger size, still allow you to get a great view of the performers from anywhere in the house. Included in this category are a few of The San Francisco Bay Area’s best historic venues, The Fillmore, The Warfield and Fox Theater Oakland. These venues have a consistently amazing lineup of bands and DJs throughout the year. Other medium sized venues include August Hall, The Regency Ballroom and more.
San Francisco Bay Area Music Festivals
If you love live music, then there’s nothing better than gong to a big music festival and getting a chance to see a large number of bands in a fun setting with your friends. The San Francisco Bay Area is home to some of the best festivals in the nation, so you can enjoy a great festival experience right in your backyard.
Golden Gate Park is home to the biggest music festival within the city of San Francisco, Outside Lands, which draws 200,000 people every year to have the chance to watch over 60 bands on 6 different stages. One of the newer mega festival in the United States, BottleRock Napa, takes place at the Napa Valley Expo, right in the heart of Wine Country. Not only does this festival invite some huge musical acts from a variety of genres to take the stage, but pays homage to Napa Valley with an amazing selection of wines and gourmet foods that you don’t normally see at music festivals. Other great music festivals in the San Francisco Bay Area include Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in Golden Gate Park, Country Summer Music Festival at Sonoma County Fairgrounds and Audiotistic at Shoreline Amphitheater
THE BEST MUSIC VENUES IN SAN FRANCISCO
One of the most popular music venues in San Francisco, The Fillmore has been bringing large acts to an intimate setting since it officially opened in 1954. The decor, sound system and general ambiance make it a popular place to see a show.
1805 Geary Blvd.
San Francisco, CA 94115
One of the larger concert venues in San Francisco, the Warfield can hold 2500 people in its general admission area and seated mezzanine. Originally opened in 1922, the theater has seen big acts throughout the years such as Grateful Dead, U2, Bob Dylan, Guns N’ Roses, The Killers and more.
982 Market St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
This intimate, standing room only venue is a fun place to see shows and feel up close and personal with the artists performing on stage. Despite its size, Slim’s has seen big acts likeGreen Day, Snoop Dogg, The Black Keys, Radiohead and more grace its stage.
333 11th St.
San Francisco, CA 94103
This hip music spot gets its name from the real rickshaws decorating the venue. This is a perfect place to see up and coming artists before they make it big, specifically thanks to the long running “Popscene” residency curated by San Francisco’s Aaron Axelsen.
155 Fell St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
The Independent is a small venue that feature a diverse selection of smaller artists who are just about to make it big on the music scene.
628 Divisadero St.
San Francisco, CA 94117
Formerly the famous Ruby Skye Nightclub, August Hall has transformed into an amazing place to see shows from the main floor or mezzanine levels.
420 Mason Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
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