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Top Live Music Venues In Philadelphia

Philadelphia has an abundance of music venues, both large and small, and the city is a stop for most touring artists. Although each venue offers something different to concert goers, there are a few that stand out. Read on for some of the best spots to catch a live show.
Johnny Brenda's
1201 Frankford Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19125
(215) 739-9684

Johnny Brenda's is a favorite venue in Fishtown for discovering both local and national indie musicians alike. It's cheap (most shows cost between $10 and $12), for one, and on the smaller and more intimate scale, as it only seats 250. A balcony (with its own bar) overlooks the main stage and this venue has bands almost every night of the week.  Johnny Brenda's doesn't just support local musicians, however. It also supports the local community by locally sourcing most of its ingredients and only serving draft beer from local breweries.

The Mann Center For The Performing Arts
5201 Parkside Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19131
(215) 546-7900

The Mann Center is one of the best (and most picturesque!) outdoor concert venues in the region, not to mention the country. It is located in the quiet Fairmount Park and seats around 14,000, including about 4,700 seats undercover and approximately 8,600 seats outside, including the lawn. Many rock and popular groups frequently perform here, and of course opera and orchestral concerts also take place. The skyline stage was introduced a few years ago and features a more intimate show at the top of the hill with great views of the city skyline. The Mann is also easily accessible, and a SEPTA bus designated just for concert goers runs through center city before and after the show.

1315 Sansom St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 985-4800

On any given night, you can hear music emanating from the windows of Time while walking past on Sansom Street. In fact, it is a popular spot for jazz enthusiasts to listen or play. Jazz is performed every night in its restaurant and bar area during dinner and, some nights, into the early morning hours. Budding musicians will appreciate the Sunday night jazz jam where all are welcomed to come display their improv skills, or the Tuesday night open mic, perfect for bands or solo artists.

Related:  Top Venues For Affordable Live Music In Philadelphia

Union Transfer
1026 Spring Garden St.
Philadelphia, PA 19123
(215) 232-2100

Union Transfer is located in a historical building (the signage from the early 20th century farmer's market still remains carved in the walls) on Spring Garden Street and is a unique space, fitting 1000 concert goers, with superior sound and light quality. It's a general admission venue on a first come-first served basis. It's mostly standing room only with a limited availability of seats on the upstairs balcony, although Union Transfer once in a while hosts seated shows. Its three bars (limiting your wait time) have a good selection of craft beer, many of them local.

World Cafe Live
3025 Walnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 222-1400

World Café Live is the premier venue in West Philadelphia, designed especially for live music. There are two stage areas, both with a full restaurant and bar. With excellent sight lines, acoustics and lighting, the three-tiered Downstairs Live is its main concert hall. Its second stage, Upstairs Live, features a smaller side stage with performances frequently held during dinner. World Café Live often partners with WXPN. Come here Fridays at noon for a free show highlighting many popular musical acts.

Related: Top Venues With Weeknight Shows In Philadelphia

Kelly Neilson is a freelance writer living and working in Philadelphia. Her work can be found on
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