Coolest Concert Venues
Coolest concert venues: Where to catch great live performances — big and small — in Houston
Want the low-down on where to see some of the best concerts Houston has to offer?
Whether you're looking to see your favorite touring band at an enormous venue or a fantastic local act in an intimate setting, we've got you covered with the top concert venues in the city.
813 St. Emanuel St.
Located near downtown on the East End, Warehouse Live is a 1920s warehouse that has been reborn as a concert venue for major bands as well as those on the verge. It features fantastic acoustics and attracts artists ranging from Drake and Rilo Kiley to Yo La Tengo and Passion Pit, just to name a few.
2706 White Oak Drive
A Houston Heights staple since 1977, Fitzgerald's was once home to acts like James Brown and Stevie Ray Vaughan. The renovated dive is considered a local music headquarters for up-and-coming and established independent acts — think Aesop Rock, Minus the Bear and Twin Shadow — as well as local favorites like The Suffers and Los Skarnales.
1204 Caroline St.
The House of Blues (and the accompanying Foundation Room) located in downtown's GreenStreet complex brings major acts (MGMT, Bone Thugs N' Harmony, The Black Crows) but is sometimes better enjoyed for its crazy cover bands — from Michael Jackson impersonators to '70s-inspired phenoms Le Freak.
2005 Lake Robbins Dr.
Although it's a bit of a drive for inner loopers, The Woodlands' Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion snags the biggest names coming to town — Lana Del Rey, Elton John and ZZ Top are just a few of the acts to grace the stage this year so far. If you don't want to pony up for the covered seats, the lawn is moderately priced. Rules on what you're allowed to bring can vary depending on the performer, so be sure to check the website beforehand.
1510 Polk St.
With a capacity of more than 18,000, Toyota Center vies with the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion for the biggest names in music, attracting pop superstars like Beyonce and Miley Cyrus, country legend Garth Brooks, rap impresario Kanye West or old-school rockers like Billy Joel and the Eagles. Easy access in downtown Houston and amenities, like separate restrooms and concessions, for club level ticketholders, make it a convenient venue for top-of-the-line concerts.
520 Texas St.
Located in the heart of downtown at Bayou Place, Bayou Music Center (formerly known as the Verizon Wireless Theater) is the perfect place to catch major acts in a more intimate setting. Although it plays host to touring comedians like Chelsea Handler and Kathy Griffin, musical acts such as Jill Scott, Danzig and Damien Rice are just a few who are scheduled to perform later this year.
1120 Naylor St.
After relocating from their long-time location on Washington, Walter's transitioned to a new space across town on Naylor Street and has continued to draw droves of dedicated local fans to their shows. Whether you're looking to see indie darlings Of Montreal, experimental musician Sir Richard Bishop or garage rockers King Tuff, the venue hosts a wonderfully eclectic variety of shows.
3700 Main St.
Located on Main Street in Midtown, the Continental Club draws classic acts from multiple genres, from Nick Gaitan & The Umbrella Man to Beetle to A Fistful of Soul (a no-cover '60s soul dance party hosted every third Friday of the month). The Houston counterpart to the Austin staple features a unique atmosphere, with original fixtures from the building's previous incarnation as a 1920s department store, along with tin ceiling tiles and vintage neon light fixtures.
300 Westheimer Rd.
A Houston institution, this Montrose spot is known to attract a diverse, dance-loving crowd who enjoys uninhibited fun and live music acts that run the gamut from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs to Ministry. Be sure to check out Classic Numbers Night each Friday, Houston's longest running weekly event that features music and videos from the '80s mixed by long-time Numbers DJ, Wes Wallace.
411 Westheimer Rd.
Avant Garden, a bar and performance art venue in a 102-year-old converted Victorian on lower Westheimer, was formerly known as Helios. Something creative happens almost every night, from jazz, ferocious DJs and live bands to poetry slams, belly dancing, improv comedy and much, much more.
3718 Main St.
Sitting only a few doors down from The Continental Club on Main Street, Alley Kat features a separate 'backroom' used for hosting great local concerts — ranging from rock to electronic — in an intimate space. You also can catch sets in the front bar area by incredible local DJ's like Gio Chamba and Damon Allen.
2010 Waugh Dr.
The upstairs space at Rudyard's delivers throbbing live music six nights a week with high-octane bands such as Flowers to Hide and the Fatal Flying Guilloteens. The venue also features Western Swing Wednesdays each week and hosts a number of events by local comedy theater troupe BooTown, including the ever-popular Grown-Up Storytime. This Montrose area institution also offers a fine selection of beers, mixed drinks and hearty pub food downstairs.
1403 Nance St.
This funky north downtown bar, concert venue and restaurant is on the National Register of Historic Places. It's nondescript (you've got to know where it is and knock to enter) but also super laid back with a back patio strewn with Christmas lights — and good Mexican food, to boot. The stage out back hosts bands like Green Mountain Grass, Steve Straker and Potroast, geered for a 19-and-up crowd.