As the capital of Wisconsin, Madison offers some of the state’s most famous exports: bratwursts, cheese curds, and beer. The city also has some great spaces for listening to music. The following venues are all options to consider for any music lover who wants to check out a show, whether it’s from a favorite national act’s tour or some tunes from local musicians.
The Orpheum Theater is more than just one of the best music venues in town; it is also a Madison landmark with its recognizable sign hanging over State Street. The structure dates back to the 1920s, with an interior designed in the French Renaissance style and an Art Deco exterior. Few changes have been made over the years in order to preserve its historic beauty; however, the theater was the first building in the state to have air conditioning.
The North Street Cabaret is a small but inclusive venue where all are welcome. Concert and comedy events take place regularly, and jazz tunes can be heard at this venue on a weekly basis. If you feel inspired to take the stage yourself after seeing a show, you can pop next door to the Tip Top Tavern for open mic night every Sunday.
The Majestic Theatre, opened in 1906, is the oldest theater in Madison. It has hosted many types of entertainment over the years, from vaudeville and movies to bands and DJs. Today, it continues to be a top destination for live performance art, not only limited to music but also including stand-up comedy, dance parties, and the occasional burlesque show.
On Madison’s east side, The Knuckle Down Saloon puts equal emphasis on providing excellent live music and hearty food. Not only do they serve up delicious specialty burgers, but it’s also one of the hottest spots on the city’s Blues scene. There is no cover charge on Thursdays, so if you’re not familiar with Blues music, it’s a great opportunity to check it out and see what it’s all about.
From large national acts to local artists, the High Noon Saloon features a bit of everything. You can see performances from almost every genre at this live music venue, and it is consistently voted one of the best in the city. When it’s warm, visitors can even enjoy some free live tunes in the fresh air on the outdoor patio.
A more intimate setting with a capacity of only 175, The Frequency is one of Madison’s favorite live music spots. The venue hosts performances from local to international acts seven nights a week, so there is always a great new show to catch. While being entertained by what’s happening on stage, visitors can also enjoy some great local Wisconsin beer and pizza.
The Overture Center for the Arts in Madison is both a performing arts center and an art gallery. Home to the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, the center also includes several theaters, which set the stage for world-class musical performances. The Overture Hall is the primary theater of the Madison Symphony Orchestra and Madison Opera, and the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra is a resident company of the Capitol Theater.