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The dulcet tones of sax, trombone, and piano waft out of Vilnius’ underground jazz clubs. During festival season (the spring, summer, and fall), jazz tunes permeate the city, and music lovers flock to Lithuania’s capital for four days of non-stop jazz entertainment. From the best live jazz venues to a musical hotel, here is a jazz lover’s guide to Vilnius, Lithuania.
Vilnius Jazz Festival
The Vilnius Jazz Festival is the best option for jazz lovers and is one of the oldest annually occurring music festivals in Vilnius. Running yearly since 1987, the 2017 festival is sure to be spectacular, as it will be celebrating its 30th year. Featuring jazz artists and bands from all over the world, the Vilnius Jazz Festival is a huge draw for music lovers. The 2016 festival featured music from Andrew Lamb, Warren Smith, Arkady Gotesman, De Beren Gieren, The Thing, Atomic, and many more.
In 2017, the Vilnius Jazz Festival will run from October 12 through 15. Tickets and band details haven’t yet been released, but check their website and Facebook page soon for upcoming updates.
Frank Zappa Memorial
One of the quirkiest attractions in Vilnius is by far the bust of Frank Zappa located in a small courtyard near a health clinic. The Frank Zappa statue, however, holds a lot of meaning for Lithuanians as it was erected shortly after Lithuania regained its freedom, thus testing the grounds of freedom of expression. Surely Zappa and any jazz lover would dig that.
Comfort Hotel LT Rock ‘N’ Roll Vilnius
Although not specifically jazz related, if visiting music lovers want to be fully immersed in music, Vilnius offers a hotel for that! The Comfort Hotel LT Rock ‘N’ Roll Vilnius is located slightly out of the city center in an up-and-coming area. Though putting visitors slightly outside of the general vicinity of the best things to do in Vilnius, this hotel features musical decor, a 24/7 gym, and a complimentary organic breakfast, all at affordable prices. Room rates start at only €61 per night, so visitors can opt to blow their budget on concert tickets.
Kauno g. 14, Vilnius, Lithuania, +370 5 250 5111
Jazz Cellar 11
Jazz Cellar 11 is Vilnius’ top rated jazz bar, featuring local and international bands as well as jam sessions. Jazz Cellar 11 is a budget-friendly venue to enjoy a mellow evening of jazz music at any time of year. Upcoming events include the Leonid Sinkarenko Quartet, The NORD/Canada – Denmark Jazz4, and Jazz from Paris “Levita.”
Aušros Vartų g. 11, Vilnius, Lithuania, +370 684 11382
Aula Restoranas features live jazz, rock, and blues bands in their indoor and outdoor venue. This highly rated restaurant serves up delicious Lithuanian cuisine such as potato pancakes, dumplings, fresh bread, and other homemade delights. For lighter options, a platter of Lithuanian cheese is a perfect accompaniment to a glass or two of wine.
Pilies g. 11, Vilnius, Lithuania, +370 5 268 7173
As one of the best overall bars in Vilnius, Peronas is a cool live music venue just next to the train tracks. Railway enthusiasts will enjoy watching trains pass by during live jazz, rock, and alternative music. Their events schedule is packed and performances cost as little as €3. They also occasionally have jazz festivals and pop-up shops featuring items created by Lithuanian designers.
Geležinkelio g. 6, Vilnius, Lithuania, +370 616 74754