If you’re looking to see live music while visiting Boston, there are plenty of options that cater to a variety of tastes. Our list includes the big venues – the TD Garden, Fenway Park and Gillette Stadium – along with picks for a casual night out, clubbing and everything in between.
Gillette Stadium may be home to the New England Patriots, but it’s also where many top artists perform for their Boston tour stops, primarily from spring through fall as it’s outdoors. Recent and upcoming performances include Taylor Swift, the Rolling Stones, Kenny Chesney, Ed Sheeran, Jay Z and Beyoncé. Gillette Stadium is technically not in Boston, just over 20 miles south of the city in Foxboro, but it's still one of the most popular places to see concerts. Keep in mind that traffic pre- and post-events can be rough, so either get there early, give yourself plenty of time, or opt for an option like taking the MBTA Commuter Rail for $20 round-trip.
The TD Garden is where you can catch a Boston Celtics or Bruins game, but they also host plenty of other events, including concerts, throughout the year. Top performing artists can be seen here, ranging from Ariana Grande and Elton John to Carrie Underwood and the Backstreet Boys. The TD Garden is convenient to get to by train whether you’re already in the city or taking the MBTA’s Commuter Rails, as it’s connected to North Station.
Fenway Park is one of Boston’s most popular attractions, so at the very least, plan to stop by the Kenmore Square area to get a taste of what it’s all about. If you’re not into the Boston Red Sox or baseball at all, you’re in luck because Fenway has become a go-to concert venue over the past several years. Big names like Zac Brown Band, Billy Joel, Phish and Pearl Jam play here during the summer. While some may argue that the acoustics in stadiums like this aren’t as good as other venues, the experience of seeing a concert at Fenway Park is one you won’t want to miss.
City Winery, one of the newest music venues in Boston, opened in the West End neighborhood in late 2017. Listen to live music in this 300-seat venue while you enjoy their portfolio of over 400 global wines, 20 of which are made in house. The names performing here aren’t as big as those at the TD Garden, Gillette Stadium or Fenway Park, but you can still catch familiar artists, such as Sara Evans, Talib Kweli and Los Lobos. City Winery has over 20 live music shows set up each month.
House of Blues Boston
The House of Blues Boston came to life through founder Isaac Tigrett’s love for “the Blues,” with the first location opening in an old house in Cambridge in 1992. The goal was to highlight rural Southern music — from the Blues and Gospel, to Jazz and Roots-based Rock & Roll. Today, the House of Blues Boston is located on Lansdowne Street near Fenway Park and the venue remains committed to offering a lineup of diverse artists to celebrate Southern and African American art and music. Examples of artists who perform here are Wu-Tang Clan, New Found Glory, Carly Rae Jepsen and Jill Scott.
The Middle East Restaurant and Nightclub
The Middle East Restaurant and Nightclub is known as a spot for underground and indie artists. Located in Cambridge, their Downstairs area is where the bigger (and more expensive) shows are, but you can also experience talented live musicians in their other areas, the Corner, Zuzu and Upstairs.
Looking for a night out to a no-frills bar with live music to dance to? Lucky’s Lounge on Congress Street at the intersection of Fort Point and South Boston. Check the schedule before you go — a few nights a week they have talented live musicians that will play songs you’ll want to sing and dance along to. One former regular band recently ended up on The Voice! Like most popular Boston bars, Lucky’s does fill up on nights with live music and weekend nights, so keep that in mind as you plan your evening.
The Grand is Boston’s most popular club, where the live music doesn't come from someone singing or playing an instrument, but instead from top DJs. It’s a much different experience than the venues listed above — more of a Las Vegas-style club with bottle service and dancing – but it is where you should go if you’re looking for a big night out listening to DJs playing EDM and hip-hop.