Who doesn’t enjoy a nice evening enjoying some live music? Whether you’re into loud electronic music, indie folk, heavy rock, quiet acoustic or a funky jazz, Portland has it all. I’m here to tell you all the possible places you can enjoy whatever kind of music your into or find some music that takes you off your own beaten path.
1.The State Theater
The State Theater is one of the more popular venues on this list because of all the variety of shows they host. I’ve been to this venue many times and it still continues to be one of my favorites. When you pay for a ticket to go see a show here, it will always be general admission, which may sound off-putting to most people, but I believe it’s one of the greatest things about this venue. You aren’t required to stay in one place so you can either sit back in a comfy chair or you can try and force your way to the front of the stage in the pit, it’s really up to your preference. It’s also a small venue which is nice because you’re able to get up close and personal with the band even if your aren’t at the front of the stage. Some things I dislike about the State are that it can get pretty toasty because there isn’t much ventilation and it’s pretty difficult to get a drink since the bar is so crowded but other than that I think it’s a fantastic live music venue for a diverse age group.
2. Port City Music Hall
Port City Music hall is also a small venue right in the heart of Downtown Portland. They also show a variety of musicians and music genres. It is small but somehow there’s plenty of breathing room. This venue is very clean and not usually super packed so it’s easy to make your way up to the front. There isn’t a bad view of the stage from anywhere in the building whether you’re chilling by the bar, in the back of the crowd, in the seating area or right up close and personal which is a huge plus in my book. The bar staff is very quick at serving you but the drinks are rather expensive (I would stick to the $3 PBRs). Overall this is a great venue with an awesome vibe.
3. Merrill Auditorium
Merrill Auditorium is the grandfather of venues in Portland. Here you will find lots of dressing up and classical music but you will also find a variety of other things as well. Although it may not look like it from the outside, Merrill Auditorium has a beautiful interior and the seats are very comfortable. Some of my favorite shows that play here every year around the holidays are The Magic of Christmas and The Nutcracker. A lot of comedians like to perform here as well, like Amy Schumer and Nick Offerman this past summer. Sounds travels very nicely throughout the auditorium. It’s small enough that all the seats have a good view of the stage yet large enough so that the audience can make some noise without disturbing the show.
Blue is the smallest venue on this list but also an important contribution. If you’re a jazz fan, this is where you’ll want to be. The place has a dimly lit atmosphere that radiates relaxation. They have a fantastic wine list so you can sit back and watch fantastic musicians while sipping an a glass of vino. Every Monday, they also host a comedy night which is a plus. Overall, it’s a solid pick for jazz right off the Maine drag.
5. Thompson’s Point
If you’re looking for an outdoor venue, this is it. The thing with outdoor venues is you never know what the weather is gonna decide to do but when its sunny and warm, Thompson’s Point is the perfect little concert spot. There is also a nice wine tasting spot called The Cellardoor which does wine pairings every week.
6. Portland House of Music
This is a venue mostly for you to enjoy local bands in the heart of Portland. They have a fantastic menu of great food and their bartenders are very fast serving. It’s the kind of place that’s perfect for lunch in the daytime or kick back and listen to your favorite local bands with a few beers. The staff is very friendly and the service is fast. This is definitely one of the spots you should see in the Old Port to enjoy a few beers and listen to some of the best local band’s Portland has to offer.