The Best Live Music Venues in Atlanta, GA

E71H0M Atlanta, Georgia downtown skyline at sunrise.
E71H0M Atlanta, Georgia downtown skyline at sunrise. | © Sean Pavone - Alamy Stock Photo
Richard Tulis

Atlanta is the ideal city to be outside in. With such comfortable temperatures, plenty of sidewalk space, and greenery all around, this city makes for a highly desirable open-air live music scene. Atlanta also has several impressive indoor theaters, and the city boasts one of the most architecturally unique premises nationwide with its historic Fox Theatre. Join us as we delve into and assess the best venues for live music the city has to offer.

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Chastain Park Amphitheater

‘No ceilings’ describes both the venue as well as the talent it draws on a seasonal basis. Playing host to some of the most eloquent artists Atlanta has ever seen (Elton John; Hall & Oates; Earth, Wind, & Fire; Neil Young), this musical shrine provides unforgettable nights under the stars and can make for the perfect couples evening. The arena is comfortably nestled within the Chastain Park area of Buckhead, surrounded by a golf course, Horse Park, neighborhood housing, and local tennis courts. Find a parking spot next to the park and take a pre (or post) concert stroll – all of the aforementioned spots are well within walking distance of the amphitheater itself.

On the edge of downtown, the Fox Theatre acts as midtown’s historic centerpiece for live performances. Once a vaudevillian movie palace, the Fox was nearly removed in the 1970s to make room for a corporate office. But, alas, the wondrous, Moorish-designed edifice was saved by native Atlantans keen on preserving the amazing décor and inner design, which boasts an organ consisting of 3,622 pipes (second only to Radio City Music Hall’s organ in New York) and an Arabian ceiling mural of the night sky. This venue is truly one-of-a-kind and is absolutely not to miss.

Tabernacle

Formerly a Baptist Church, the Tabernacle building is shrouded in historical couth. Standing for over one hundred years, the 1910 building has seen renovations several times over to accommodate its sizable crowds. The venue now houses thousands on a nightly basis as famed artists take the stage in downtown Atlanta’s most popular musical scene. Allot time for parking, theater entry, and seating when arriving to a show here; the venue is known for its packed house events and much awaited shows.

Variety Playhouse

When searching for a more intimate, lesser sized venue, look no further than Little Five Points prize, the Variety Playhouse. This inconspicuous pearl has showcased some of the indie scene’s biggest and best, years before their success on the mainstream scale. Artists like Vampire Weekend (back in 2008) often select Variety Playhouse as the perfect performance spot and thereby kindle long lasting fans from such shows. Located smack in the center of one of Atlanta’s most eccentric and unique areas (Little Five Points), the concert venue is much more than a local favorite – to many, it’s the best live music venue there is.

The EARL

Unquestionably an East Atlanta favorite, the EARL is another fantastic venue for alternative acts and an intimate live music experience. Serving hearty bar food and a wide range of cocktails and draft beers, the restaurant and bar has turned into more of a music club over the years, but it maintains its culinary acumen nonetheless. Interestingly enough, the actual bar top is constructed of a tree that fell on the property years ago. There’s never a dull moment here; the EARL is an ideal Atlanta spot for dinner and a show.

Buckhead Theatre

Right in the backyard of Atlanta’s posh Buckhead bar area, Buckhead Theatre stands up to its surroundings quite well. The renovated structure has champion accommodations, including a stylish carpeted lobby and bar, impeccable lighting and sound specifications, and an elegant upper balcony inside the theater itself. The location is walking distance from a bustling bar district – a huge bonus for any thirsty attendees looking for some late night fun. Flush to the street, Buckhead Theatre has a tantalizing façade and an inviting feel. Make sure to stroll in for a show sometime soon.

Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre

This highly versatile venue is home to a wide variety of the performing arts. Ballets, operas, and musical concerts – the Cobb Energy Centre has it all. Erected in 2007, the building is very new, and it’s easy to tell: the elaborate auditorium features an extensive seating arrangement, with a full orchestra pit and several protruding balcony areas. The acoustics have been mastered so that regardless of seating, you are sure to enjoy the audiovisual experience at hand. Admire the ballroom chandeliers and silken-carpeted entrance as you make your way inside. Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta, GA, USA,

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