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Boston's Best Cheap Live Music Venues

One of the high points to living in Boston is access to all kinds of great live music. Of course, one of the downsides to living in Boston is blowing your entire paycheck on going to see all the great live music. If your bank account has been feeling the pinch lately, never fear. There are plenty of cheap, affordable ways to see live music in Boston if you know where to look. So next time you're about to slide your credit card out of your wallet for music tickets, check these venues first and see if there's something a little more modestly priced to see that night.
The Red Room at Café 939
(Photo from: Café 939/Facebook)

The Red Room at Café 939
939 Boylston St.
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 747-6038

You know who needs affordable music venues? College students. So it should come as no surprise that Berklee College of Music offers an incredibly priced venue that features everything from classical to rock and jazz to hip hop. The Red Room at Café 939 is small but that's one of its charms. It's an intimate setting to hear live music and really feel up close to your favorite performers. Tickets range from free to $15, great prices for any budget. This is one of the most affordable all-ages venues in the city of Boston.

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Hatch Shell
Hatch Shell in Boston. (File Image)

DC Memorial Hatch Shell
47 David G Mugar Way
Boston, MA 02108
(617) 626-1250

Forget about cheap. How does free live music sound to you? Each summer, the city of Boston puts on a wide variety of musical acts, free to the public, at the Hatch Shell. The Hatch Shell is easy and convenient to get to and located right on the sunny banks of the Charles River. If the idea of a mob scene turns you off, you'll be pleasantly surprised at how orderly the whole thing is. There's plenty of room to lay out a blanket and enjoy the music. You can also usually catch a less populated concert rehearsal the evening before the free show goes on.

(Credit: Club Passim)

Club Passim
47 Palmer St.
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 492-5300

Harvard Square just wouldn't be the same without this highly underrated little gem. Club Passim is a non-profit dedicated to bringing the best musical acts, at an affordable price, to Boston. It can be small, and cramped, and maybe just a tad rough around the edges. But you're going to see incredible music at an equally incredible price. Club Passim is an all-ages venue and children under two don't need a ticket at all. So don't let lack of a babysitter keep you from a night of music.

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Wally's Cafe

Wally's Cafe
427 Massachusetts Ave.
Boston, MA 02118
(617) 424-1408

If you love jazz and blues music, you'll instantly fall in love with Wally's Café. Yes it's small and loud. But you're not going to find a better place to hear some amazing up-and-coming musicians at such a great price. The club is 21-plus and the drinks are known for being a little pricier than in many similarly sized places. But Wally's has no cover charge, which easily makes up the difference.

Paradise Lounge
(credit: Paradise Lounge)

Paradise Rock Club
967 Commonwealth Ave.
Boston, MA 02215
(617) 562-8800

Paradise Rock Club is pretty singular in the Boston music scene. That is, it gets quality music, doesn't charge an arm and leg for it and it's still a pretty good sized club. That doesn't mean you should expect anything fancy. But you will get drinks at a price that's as decent as what you pay for your ticket. And you will see music you'll love. What more could you ask for?

Renee Mallett is the author of several books about art, culture, and New England. She was the owner and director of an art gallery and has written about arts and entertainment on a national level for several print and online journals. Her work can be found at

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