Live music fans:
I was surfing around and found a great article from Paste Magazine. It lists the top 40 venues in the America. My 9:30 Club in DC is on that list, as is The Living Room and Red Rocks. I haven't been to most on the list, but from those examples, I can tell you that the person who compiled this list definitely knows the greats.
I'm a huge singer-songwriter/ boy-with-a-guitar-who-also-plays-piano fan. The Hotel Cafe, on the list, is a haven of singer-songwriters. This 21+ venue is popular in the Los Angeles scene, mostly for up-and-coming artists. How could you turn down a place where Rachael Yamagata, Cary Brothers, Sara Bareilles and Joshua Radin are regulars? The names usually aren't outrageously famous, but they're usually getting there. If I lived in L.A., I'd find my way to the Hotel Cafe often. To go there is to hear great music.
The venue that I frequent — and by frequent, I mean have stints where I'll go once a week — is the 9:30 Club in DC. The first time I went to this place, I thought I was going in and never coming out. It's not in the best part of town, and there absolutely no frills. Their signs are printed off of the computer and taped onto the walls. None of it matters; the acts more than make up for it. I've seen the up-and-comers on their first headlining tours and huge bands like Incubus and the Goo Goo Dolls. The best part about the place is the fact that it hits max capacity at 1,200. If there's a big band coming, it's a quick sellout, and if it's a newcomer, it's still just as intimate. The 9:30 Club is a place that mostly caters to the local college students. Ticket prices are reasonable and it's metro accessible. You really can't go wrong with this one.
There's a characteristic about each music venue that makes it the best. Whether it's the size of the place or the superb location, every concert goer looks for that special something. This list gives the best of the best, and why it's listed as such. The 9:30 Club, as mentioned above, is listed as "The best place to see a show in the worst neighborhood," which is a perfect description.
The article starts in the West with venues like The Fillmore in San Francisco and The Troubador in Los Angeles, goes to the Southwest with Stubb's in Austin, hits the Midwest with Schubas, and then the North and Southeasts with venues like The Bowery Ballroom in New York and The Tabernacle in Atlanta.
With each venue, there comes a list of artists that have played, along with the address and corresponding website. Make sure you pick a few and make it a point to stop on by.
But chances are, if you're the type of person who has already heard of these venues, you have probably been to at least one already.