One of the great things about San Francisco is all of the places you can go to hear live music. There are concerts, performances, and live bands happening all of the time, all over the city. In fact, there are so many options, you might find it hard to choose which one you want to go to on any given night.
To help you decide, below are some of the best live music spots in San Francisco. Go through the list, see which ones are playing the type of music that you like, and then head on out for a fun evening.
List of Best Music Venues in San Francisco
- Cafe Claude – First up, we have Cafe Claude. This French bistro is located in downtown San Francisco and is a little bit off the beaten path. Here you’ll find some great food, outdoor seating, a bar, and live music. If you go Thursday through Saturday, you’ll be treated to live Jazz.
- Amnesia – Next, a place so good you won’t forget it, despite its name. Amnesia has live music every night of the week and typically plays Jazz or Blues music. If you get there early enough, you can grab yourself some cheap drinks before the crowds arrive.
- The Independent – This bar is known for its ability to book great bands. Even if you have never heard of the band playing, show up anyway, and you’ll likely head home at the end of the night being glad you went. At The Independent, you might even get to see the occasional big-name band in a surprise show (join their mailing list for these sorts of updates).
- The Great American Music Hall – This concert hall has been serving up great musical performances since it opened back in 1907. It’s a great place to see a live band, or even grab a bite to eat while the show is going on.
- Sigmund Stern Grove – If outdoor concerts are your thing, be sure to head on over to the Sigmund Stern Grove, located at 2750 19th Ave. During the Summer months there are plenty of free concerts to attend, so grab a blanket and enjoy the show from the grass on a nice Summer day.
- The Revolution Cafe – A great spot to relax and enjoy a drink, the Revolution Cafe offers live music most nights of the week. If you’re a traveler staying at the Elements Hostel, you’re only a short walk away.
- Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall – When you want a more formal show, rather than a band at a bar, consider this Symphony Hall. All sorts of concerts are playing here year round, so you’re sure to find something you’ll live.
Pro Tip: Order your intermission drinks before the start of the show, and the bartender will have them ready for the break.
- The Chapel – Need some more soul music in your life? Head on over to The Chapel, located at 777 Valencia St. Built inside an old church, The Chapel offers some great Soul and Jazz music on a regular basis, in addition to a great bar.
- Atlas Cafe – On a nice day, head on over to the Atlas Cafe, sit outside with some drinks or one of their many affordable sandwiches, and enjoy their live music selections. When the weather isn’t ideal for sitting outside, you can move on inside and take a seat at their great bar, and enjoy one of the many beers they have on tap.
- Brick and Mortar Music Hall – This spot is a little hard to find, but worth it if you can. Located under the freeway on Mission St, Brick and Mortar offers a great live music selection, with a good sound system to match. The drinks might be a little on the pricey side, but they are good nonetheless.
- Elbo Room – This tiny spot is tucked away in the Mission, but has some great music playing on the weekends if you make your way upstairs. Make sure you have cash with you, as credit cards are not accepted at the bar.
- Rite Spot Cafe – When you just want to have a nice relaxing evening with some live music playing, you want the Rite Spot Cafe. Live music is on Friday nights, and if you get there early enough, you can probably get table service (something rare at Mission bars these days). There are also some great happy hour specials, which is just another reason to head over early.
- Verdi Club – Finally, when you have a swing in your step, stop by the Verdi Club. Located at 2424 Mariposa St., the Verdi club offers swing dancing lessons on Tuesday nights, and you can stay after for the live band to show off your new moves. They also have bawdy storytelling, so you might not want to bring your kids (or parents!). Sometimes you don’t want to just stand and listen to the music, so when you have to move, consider the Verdi Club.
Plenty Of Options On Where To See Live Music In San Francisco
As you can see, there are plenty of options for live music in San Francisco. The above list is just the tip of the iceberg, and there are countless more options if you’re willing to look around.
San Francisco has something for everyone, no matter what type of music you’re into. So whether you want a nice quiet morning with an acoustic guitar, or a loud evening with some swing music or a rock band, San Francisco has you covered.
Hopefully, the above list will get you started, and before long you’ll be an expert yourself on where to see live music in San Francisco. Be sure to check out our San Francisco Music Calendar, your resource for all Bay Area music events.
Photos courtesy Louis Raphael