10 Live Music Spots In Seattle

Live Music In Seattle

Seattle has served as the home of many music legends, including but not limited to Jimi Hendrix, Bing Crosby, Nirvana, and Pearl Jam. Today, it continues to churn out a good number of musical acts. Travelers can easily feast their ears on a number of their performances, as there are a number of venues in the city that feature live performances from artists coming from different genres. Take a look at this list if you’re looking for where to listen to live music in Seattle.

1. Showbox at the Market

Lorde in Seattle 2013 -1
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Kirk Stauffer used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Showbox at the Market is at the top of the list when it comes to legendary music venues in Seattle. Established in 1939, this art deco building hosts about 200 musical performances per year, with acts ranging from homegrown talents to established performers such as Mae West, Blondie, The Police, Dave Matthews, and Death Cab for Cutie. A little over 1,000 people can fit in the venue at a time.

Showbox at the Market

Address: 1426 1st Ave, Seattle, WA 98101, USA

Website: Showbox at the Market

2. The Crocodile

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Philo used under CC BY 2.0

The Crocodile was practically a grunge institution in the ‘90s, hosting acts such as Nirvana and Pearl Jam. It closed down briefly in 2007 before re-opening in 2009 under new management, and has since opened its doors to artists of other genres such as hip-hop, alternative, indie pop, and even folk. This bar is standing room only. For those feeling peckish while here, pizza and drinks can be ordered from the bar.

The Crocodile

Address: 2200 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA 98121, USA

Website: The Crocodile

3. Columbia City Theater

The Head and The Heart at the Columbia City Theater
Source: Photo by Flickr user David Lee used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Built in 1917, this establishment is the oldest vaudeville theater in Washington, and has seen several musical eras come and go, from jazz to punk to rave. Renovated in 2010, it has since earned a reputation for being the “finest-sounding room” in Seattle, according to a New York-based magazine. Many of the acts here play rock, hip-hop, burlesque, electronica, and jazz. Besides musical performances, the establishment also hosts dance and theatrical performances. Columbia City Theater comes with a full bar.

Columbia City Theater

Address: 4916 Rainier Ave S, Seattle, WA 98118, USA

Website: Columbia City Theater

4. Cafe Racer

God's Favorite Beefcake
Source: Photo by user Marlow Harris used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

This venue is for music and art lovers alike. This bar and cafe is decorated with quirky artwork, proof positive that it also doubles as the official home of the Official Bad Art Museum of Art (OBAMA). Folk, jazz, punk, and rock acts are usually the performers here. If you’re a fan of improvisational music, Sundays are given to musicians who want to jam and collaborate here.

Cafe Racer

Address: 5828 Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105, USA

Website: Cafe Racer

5. Royal Room

The Royal Room is the place to be for those who enjoy easy listening tunes, as the music played here is primarily jazz and blues, although there are occasional artists who perform funk, soul, and R&B as well. It also provides space for musicians who want to jam. Full meals and drinks are offered here. Reservations are recommended here, as the small space can quickly fill up with people. The Royal Room is located in Columbia City but is easily accessible from Seattle via light rail.

Royal Room

Address: 5000 Rainier Ave S, Seattle, WA 98118, USA

Website: Royal Room

6. Seamonster Lounge

Playing the Trumpet at the Seamonster Lounge
Source: Photo by user Alan Turkus used under CC BY 2.0

Don’t mistake Seamonster Lounge for your typical hole-in-the-wall establishment. This bar hosts musicians playing funk, soul, blues, or jazz practically on a nightly basis. Food and drinks are served here. Although it expanded in 2016 to accommodate more people, the relatively small location ensures an intimate experience. That those interested to catch some acts will still need to get here early to make sure they’ll be able to get in or if they want assured seats.

Seamonster Lounge

Address: 2202 N 45th St, Seattle, WA 98103, USA

Website: Seamonster Lounge

7. Neumos

Wheedle's Groove 35
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Joe Mabel used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Originally opened in the ‘90s as a diner that hosts grunge acts, Neumos has since expanded its food and music menu, welcoming artists from just about every genre. Ranked as one of the best mid-sized music venues in Seattle, Neumos features performers that range from homegrown talent to well-known names. It comes with three full-sized bars that serve both food and drinks, although it should be noted that this is primarily a standing room.


Address: 925 E Pike St, Seattle, WA 98122, USA

Website: Neumos

8. Tractor Tavern

Various Seattle musicians at Townes Van Zandt tribute 01
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Joe Mabel used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The cowboy boots and the cow skull that serve as this bar’s decor already gives a hint on what you can expect from Tractor Tavern. If you’re lucky, you may even get to learn how to square dance when you drop by. However, country music is not the only type of music you can hear while you’re here; on any given night, expect tunes that fit any of the following genres besides country: rock, rockabilly, bluegrass, and blues. Snacks and drinks are served here.

Tractor Tavern

Address: 5213 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107, USA

Website: Tractor Tavern

9. The Triple Door

The Paperboys Triple Door Seattle 1
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Andi Szilagyi used under CC BY-SA 2.0

A variety of local and international artists have passed through the doors of The Triple Door to entertain its guests with their own musical flavor. The great acoustics, coupled with its low lighting, makes this a good destination for those who want to spend an intimate night out listening to good music. The Musicquarium Lounge, a 1,900-gallon freshwater fish tank, is a quirky addition. Besides drinks, the bar also has a dinner menu.

The Triple Door

Address: 216 Union St, Seattle, WA 98101, USA

Website: Triple Door

10. The Highline

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Hinnerk Rümenapf used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

The Highline is the place to be in Seattle for those who like their music loud and their meals meatless. Boasting of a vegan menu, this bar, more often than not, caters primarily to the metal crowd. Tuesdays, however, are karaoke nights, perfect for those who love to make music as much as they love listening to it.

The Highline

Address: 210 Broadway E, Seattle, WA 98102, USA

Website: The Highline

More than just grunge

Seattle may be known for helping popularize grunge, but it’s far from being the only genre played by musical artists playing here. Given the sheer number of venues and acts in the city, you will never find yourself disappointed if you’re looking for a specific type of sound on your night out in the area.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Melanie is a freelance travel writer. She considers freelancing for Trip 101 to be a combination of two of the things she loves: writing and traveling.

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