Seattle is the home of grunge, rainy day creativity, and a widely successful music scene. Because of the large square mileage of the city, the neighborhoods are expansive, allowing for several different small-scale venues to succeed. Each neighborhood has its own feel and style so the venue types follow as such. Check out our top 5 best live music venues in The Emerald City.
Best Live Music Venues – Seattle
The Crocodile (Belltown)
The Croc is a small, lovable venue located in classy Belltown. When it opened in the 90s, it hosted an array of rock bands like Nirvana, Alice in Chains, and R.E.M. After it re-opened in 2009, it became a popular spot for hip-hop acts. It has a small bar and small mezzanine, but feels cozy instead of cramped. The Back Bar is attached, which serves wood fired pizza and hosts small events.
Neumos: Crystal Ball Reading Room (Capitol Hill)
Neumos is located right in the heart of the popular Pike/Pine area of Seattle. It is the perfect venue for all genres from indie to rap to rock to electronic. It first opened in 1994 as Moe’s Mo’Roc’N Café and was re-launched as Neumos in 2003. Neumos is the best place to catch a great band before they get big. They have a small bar and friendly service.
The Showbox (Downtown)
The Showbox is one of the oldest venues in Seattle, as it opened in 1939. These walls have witnessed Seattle’s music evolution from jazz to grunge to neo-folk. Another location was opened in the SoDo district in 2007. It is one of the most well-known and influential venues in Seattle. The Showbox also has the most elegant full bar you’ll see in a smaller venue.
The Vera Project (Lower Queen Anne)
The Vera Project is an all ages music and arts center that focuses on Seattle youth. It is volunteer run and is the essence of what Seattle is about: community, arts, and music. It’s a safe place for kids to engage in and learn about music and music production. But just because its centered towards youth, doesn’t mean its not fun for the over 21 crowd too. It’s a clean, well-run facility that not only hosts local high school rockers, but also bands like Foxy Shazam and Seapony.
El Corazon (South Lake Union)
El Corazon is by no means the cleanest or classiest venue in the city, but it is the place you will find your favorite rock bands when they come through. It caters more towards the punk, metal, and hardcore scene, and usually runs 21+ shows. El Corazon does often have all ages shows as well. On any given weekend, you’ll find the Warped Tour kids getting their angst out. But on the other hand, you’ll see a longhaired 30-year-old head banging there as well. If you’re looking for a place to mosh and crowd surf, this is it.
Article by Jess Keller