Fifty Grande Ranks the Best Live Music Cities in the U.S.

Nashville, New Orleans, New York and several unexpected cities make the Top 20.

New York, N.Y. (April 26, 2023) — Travel magazine Fifty Grande has announced its first-ever music special feature, which includes a comprehensive ranking of America’s top live music cities and an in-depth look at several cities’ rising music scenes. The magazine’s readers have spoken, and in a recent survey named Nashville the number one live music city in the nation, followed by New Orleans, New York, Austin and Los Angeles. Several other cities that made the list may surprise some, including Asheville, NC and Columbus, OH.

“America’s live music scene is thriving. Whether it's festivals, touring artists or local scenes, the U.S. has an incredible array of live experiences for travelers,” said Fifty Grande Editor-in-Chief Chris Walsh.  “I think one of the best ways to get a taste for a city is to see local artists at small, iconic venues — places like the Longhorn in Dallas or Asheville's Orange Peel — that are part of that place's cultural fabric."

While established music city royalty like Nashville, New Orleans and New York are always dream destinations for the musically inclined, live performance aficionados should also keep the list’s up-and-comers in mind. Take for example Asheville, North Carolina whose iconic Orange Peel venue has hosted legendary artists Bob Dylan, Dave Grohl and Lauryn Hill. Or, in Columbus, Ohio, expect the unexpected checking out the city’s eclectic horror band scene. Austin’s live music scene is widely known, ranking fifth on the list, but don’t sleep on Dallas either with its mix of small, indie venues and gleaming, modern Arts District.

For the Best Live Music Cities ranking, Fifty Grande surveyed its readers, a group of active and engaged travel, music and food enthusiasts. The cities listed below are the best live music cities in America.

The Best Live Music Cities

  1. Nashville
  2. New Orleans
  3. New York
  4. Austin
  5. Los Angeles
  6. Las Vegas
  7. Chicago
  8. Memphis
  9. Denver 
  10. San Francisco
  11. Boston
  12. Washington D.C.
  13. Asheville / Seattle (tied)
  14. Detroit / Philadelphia (tied)
  15. Kansas City
  16. Columbus / Dallas / Portland (three-way tie)


Fifty Grande is a digital and print travel publication that explores the U.S. Its mission is to inspire and guide more people to take advantage of all the incredible places and experiences across America. Each themed issue includes immersive stories from a variety of voices and perspectives. Readers can expect in-depth features, essays, oral histories, roundtables, Q&As, photo essays, travelogues, hotel reviews, travel tips, cool products, under-the-radar city guides and more. Read more at