Atlanta, Georgia is a music lover’s paradise, with ties to rap, R&B, country, pop, and electronic. There are countless venues around town to see live music and annual festivals like Shaky Knees and Music Midtown.
The city has launched the careers of artists like The Indigo Girls, TLC, OutKast, Childish Gambino, Travis Tritt, Mastodon, and Gladys Knight.
This post highlights the most popular spaces, but other incredible venues include Apache Cafe, The Earl, The Loft, The Masquerade, and Terminal West.
Editor’s Note: Obviously, a lot of places are closed during the Coronavirus pandemic. We are aware that the situation is continuously changing and all are encouraged to stay home. But we will continue to write stories to inspire you for when places are open again.
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Named for Georgia-born blues legend Blind Willie McTell, Blind Willie’s opened in the Virginia-Highland neighborhood in 1986. Co-founders Eric King and Roger Gregory, musicians themselves, hired both local and national acts.
All shows are 21 and over and doors open at 5 pm. There’s no cover but tipping the band is highly encouraged. The venue also serves Cajun-inspired food and drinks.
Set in a 1930s Spanish Baroque-inspired movie theater, the Buckhead Theatre has undergone extensive restoration in 2010. The space hosts musicians along with comedians and other performers.
The venue has a lower level and balcony and hosts nearly every genre of music. Among the acts to offer memorable performances are Phish, Wynonna Judd, and Hanson.
Attending an outdoor concert at Buckhead’s Chastain Amphitheater is a time-honored Atlanta tradition. Concertgoers book tickets well in advance and bring picnics to enjoy with the show. The space first opened in 1944 and has both seats and a general admission lawn.
The seasonal lineup includes performances by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra along with a wide range of artists. Past performers include Guster, Leon Bridges, Aretha Franklin, and James Taylor.
Perhaps no venue in Atlanta has become a launching pad for up-and-coming artists more than Eddie’s Attic in Decatur. Opened in 1992 by Eddie Owen, the intimate stage hosts popular open mic nights.
Big names like John Mayer, The Indigo Girls, and Shawn Mullins have graced the stage. Owen no longer books the acts, but his legend lives on.
The Fox Theatre
The Fox Theatre is one of Atlanta‘s most sacred spaces, built as a Moorish-inspired movie theater in 1929. It was saved from the wrecking ball many times over the years but is now an important part of the downtown landscape.
The theater hosts a range of acts including ballet, Broadway shows, and concerts. Past performers include The Black Crowes, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Liberace, and Prince.
The smoky dive bar is one of the best places to see blues music. Located in a 1940s grocery store on the Westside, it’s been welcoming fans since 1972, even with constant changes to the area.
As the name implies, The Tabernacle is a circa 1911 church steps away from downtown Atlanta’s top landmarks like Centennial Olympic Park.
It became a venue in 1996 and since then has hosted Bob Dylan, Butch Walker, Adele, and Eminem, among many others. It also hosts comedy and other performances.
Another converted movie theater, the Variety Playhouse opened in 1940 in the heart of the Little Five Points neighborhood. It sat vacant for two decades before reopening as a music venue in 1989.
The theater hosts both local acts and national musicians, especially indie acts, as well as cover bands and comedians. Rilo Kiley, Modest Mouse, and Gnarls Barkley have all taken to the stage.