If New Orleans down south is a jazz enclave, the machine city of Detroit is a haven for techno outfits, hip-hop heads, and alternative rock acts.
However, America’s Comeback City is not the only place one can experience phenomenal music. Spread throughout Michigan are bars, pubs, restaurants, and other establishments that play soul-rocking live music.
Don’t believe us? Here are the ten best spots to go for live music in Michigan.
1. Listening Room In Grand Rapids
You do not need to stay in Detroit to enjoy electrifying live music performances. You can always head out to Grand Rapids and check out this music venue. Capable of seating 200 guests, the Listening Room features premium-quality sound equipment in a close and intimate setting, perfect for couples and close friends.
Its hemispherical seating arrangement makes for more engaging entertainment, allowing musicians to captivate their audience like no other. It does not matter if it is rock, folk, or country you love. This live music venue gives you the ambiance of a jazz tavern with craft beer and cocktails to go.
2. Tin Roof Detroit
One of Detroit’s favorite party places, Tin Roof offers an exciting blend of powerful live music performances and extraordinary bar foods. Their Chefs complement the legendary skills of their guest musicians, having played host to some of the music kingdom’s biggest names and brightest stars. But, of course, the venue also gives wannabes and have-been a shot at exciting the crowd.
Tin Roof may not be Detroit’s glitziest party scene. However, its vibe is as welcoming as home. It is a favorite for music lovers, artists, and non-musicians alike.
3. Ziggy’s In Ypsilanti
Ypsi is not only famous for Domino’s Pizza, summer festivals, and First Fridays. This eastern Michigan city is also home to Ziggy’s, Ypsilanti’s fast-rising live music spot. It all started as a listening room where locals get warm and cozy while enjoying house-made espressos.
Today, Ziggy’s plays host to hippie hip-hoppers, jazz musicians, indie-folk artists, underground Detroit techno groups, and everything in between. Some of their guest artists also perform soul-reaching R&B, while avant-garde musicians test the waters with their ingenious creations.
4. DTE Energy Music Theatre in Clarkston
Up in Clarkston is one of the country’s most traveled music venues, ranked by Billboard as one of the nation’s most attended amphitheaters for more than two decades. It can seat more than 15 thousand people with a gigantic canopy over their heads and a lush green lawn at the rear.
If you are lucky, you might even hear a famous female guitarist execute an electrifying guitar solo. Boy bands, pop stars, rock and roll greats, and heavy metal stars queue to get a schedule at the DTE, proof of the music venue’s importance in the American music scene.
5. Otus Supply In Ferndale
The Parliament Room is a favorite hangout of night owls visiting Ferndale, Michigan. This music venue started in late 2016, bringing American, bluegrass, folk, funk, jam, jamtronica, and New Orleans brass. It is one of the state’s best places to hear bands, enjoy amazing food, and take pride in the community of music lovers from all parts of the country.
The vibe is electrifying, the sound is crystal clear, and the crew is always friendly and accommodating. Frankly, you will never want to leave Michigan once you have a taste of Otus’ musical treat.
6. Freedom Hill Amphitheater In Sterling Heights
With permanent seats for 3,200 guests and another area for extra 3,000 music-loving souls, Freedom Hill in Sterling Height’s answer to Clarkston’s DTE Music Energy. Its 120-acre grounds with a spacious center stage is perfect for festivals and other large gatherings showcasing the music industry’s best and brightest stars.
It has some of the state’s most advanced sound and lighting systems, providing for a live music experience very few other venues can provide. A favorite of Boys II Men, John Legend, Goo Goo Dolls, and other stars, Freedom Hill excites the senses like no other.
7. Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo
Bell’s was not always Kalamazoo’s favorite nightspot for fascinating music. After all, it started as the beer-in-a-glass-serving Eccentric Café in June 1993. In 2010, the Brewery decided to transform its warehouse into one of Kalamazoo’s most advanced music venues.
What is great about the music industry is that it teams up exceptionally well with the hospitality industry. Bell’s Brewery not only serves fascinating music by the nation’s foremost artists and budding musicians. It also offers exceptionally crafted beer and Michelin Star-worthy dishes to complete the experience.
8. The B.O.B. of Grand Rapids
If you’re looking for cities offering live music in Michigan, head west. Grand Rapids’ most iconic places to hear live music is The B.O.B., where fantastic performances meet gastronomic delights and blissful handcrafted beers. There is a smokehouse for those who want a sumptuous slab of meat in their hands while listening to upstart bands slaying a few numbers on the stage.
There is also a karaoke area for those who want to flex their vocal muscles, although drowning the ears with electrifying sounds from live performers usually does the trick for most guests.
9. Cork on Saginaw In Flint, Michigan
If you love sipping wine while enjoying jazz, neo-soul, jazz fusion, or funk, head to Flint, Michigan, and visit Cork on Saginaw. This unassuming establishment is popular among wine lovers for its summer wine tasting and a regular lineup of live music performers.
It is the perfect pair for a lovely evening with your loved one or when closing a business deal with a prospect. The music here is as smooth as the wines they serve. It’s one of the prime spots for live music in Michigan.
10. Turnstiles Bar In Grand Rapids
Featuring local talents homegrown in Grand Rapids’ thriving music scene, Turnstiles Bar is a favorite of musicians, music lovers, and gourmands. This quaint bar pairs its cocktails or beer with some of the city’s best musical performers on stage.
The drinks celebrate all that is best in Michigan, complementing the guitar riffs, drum solos, and keyboard sounds of artists doing their thing on the floor. It is an experience worth having if you get to this part of Michigan.
Final Thoughts on Live Music in Michigan
The Michigan music scene is as vibrant as ever, reliving its musical roots of techno, Motown, and proto-punk and adding a few contemporary elements to wow an expanding base of audiophiles. Grand Rapids was our surprise metro area among these ten best spots to go for live music in Michigan. This gives music lovers an experience of a lifetime, one they can tick off from their to-do lists.
About the Author
Charles Vallena is the author, and editor-in-chief of Guitar Junky, an online music blog dedicated to helping aspiring musicians become real musicians. He provides expert insights, guides, lessons, and reviews on acoustic guitars, keyboards, drums, and other musical instruments. Follow Guitar Junky on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
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