Los Angeles has always been home to great music. So many artists begin here — and if they don’t, they end up playing here at one of the city’s many venues. From intimate shows of barely over a hundred people to stadiums holding almost 20,000, the Culture Trip has narrowed down the best of the best when it comes to LA’s concert venues.
This famous West Hollywood venue is an intimate club with a capacity of around four hundred. Host to nearly every kind of music, the Troubadour has hosted artists like Elton John, Guns N’ Roses, Radiohead, and the Eagles at the beginning of their respective careers. The inside is standing room and general admission on the floor with seated balconies above, allowing you to choose how personal you want your concert experience to be.
The Troubadour, 9081 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, CA +1 (310) 276-1158
The Roxy skyrocketed to fame when it premiered the first showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show upon its opening, and it has also hosted a diverse lineup of famous musicians. Guns N’ Roses recorded live at the Roxy in 1986, and John Lennon and Alice Cooper used to spend their time hanging out in the bar above the Roxy. This Sunset Strip nightclub can hold around five hundred with standing room only, but the intimate size of the space means that it’s not hard to see the stage from any spot in the room.
The Roxy, 9009 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA +1 (310) 278-9457
Located below its sister venue, the Echo (though it has its own entrance), the Echoplex is the larger of the two venues, with a capacity of around seven hundred. The venue, along with the Echo, offers a free Monday residency which has helped the careers of many bands. While the Echoplex is typically home to an indie-band crowd, the venue has seen all kinds of musicians grace its stage—The Rolling Stones even played a show here in 2013.
The Echoplex, 1154 Glendale Blvd, Los Angeles, CA +1 (213) 413-8200
One of LA’s top venues for years now, the famous Fonda Theatre was originally known as Carter De Haven’s Music Box and was one of Hollywood’s first legitimate theatres. It was given its current name after a 2012 renovation, and while the theatre holds non-music events, its primary focus is hosting concerts. The Fonda stage has seen just about everyone from Katy Perry to the Black Eyed Peas to Stevie Wonder to Lido. It can fit around 1,200 people and has both a standing general admission floor and a seated balcony — the intimacy of the space means that no matter where you end up, there’s a pretty good view of the stage, and you’ll be completely surrounded by a wall of sound.
The Fonda, 6126 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA +1 (323) 464-6269
The Hollywood Palladium
The Palladium opened in 1940 but was reopened in 2008, marking its return with a performance by Jay-Z — which is fitting for LA’s most popular mid-size concert venue. The Palladium was originally built as a dance hall, so the wide open floor space serves as a standing, general admission area that can hold around 3,700 people. There’s limited balcony space, but the venue doesn’t seem to need it — despite the larger capacity, it’s easy to feel up close and personal with the performers from wherever you are on the floor.
The Hollywood Palladium, 6215 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA +1 (323) 962-7600
The Forum originally opened as an arena but was renovated by the same people who own Madison Square Garden into a concert venue in 2014. Famous bands play shows at the Forum — they’ve featured everyone from U2 to Mumford and Sons, and they recently gave two nights to the Weeknd for his ‘Beauty Behind the Madness’ tour in December 2015. Located in Inglewood in the former home of the LA Lakers, this space can hold around 17,000 people. Because it was renovated specifically for concerts, even the highest seats have good views!
The Forum, 3900 W Manchester Blvd, Inglewood, CA +1 (212) 465-6741
The Staples Center
Opened in 1999, the Staples Center is a multi-purpose arena that hosts basketball games, hockey games, and concerts for some big-name artists. The arena is built to hold over 19,000 people, and in August 2015, Taylor Swift sold the arena out for five straight nights. Because of its size, it’s one of the least intimate music experiences around, but it’s also one of the only ways to accommodate the enormous demand for today’s biggest acts.
The Staples Center, 1111 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA +1 (213) 742-7100
By Katherine Myers