Guide to Trendy Venues Hosting Live Music in San Francisco

Live Music in San Francisco

by lsmithdennis
live music in San Francisco

San Francisco has a long and historic music heritage, dating back to the 1960s Haight Ashbury movement. The hippies may be dressed differently, but the music scene in the city is as active as ever, with some of the country’s most iconic yet beautiful concert halls & stages. Here are a few of the trendy spots hosting live music in San Francisco.  

The Fillmore

The Fillmore has been SF’s flagship musical arena since the 1950s and is among the world’s most beloved music venues. The Fillmore, which first opened as a nightclub in the 1930s, gained popularity in 1952 when a local business owner began booking blues acts such as James Brown and Ike & Tina Turner. The venue became the center of cultural and musical expression.

The Warfield 

This famous SF hotspot, which opened in 1922 as a vaudeville theater, was a launching pad for stars like Charlie Chaplin & Louis Armstrong. Later on, the theater became a kind of playground for the Grateful Dead, which performed 15 sold-out concerts in 1980 and has retained its reputation as one of the city’s top live music venues.

Great American Music Hall

The Great American Music Hall is recognized for its ample seating capacity and diverse lineup of performers (including jazz, folk, and rock shows). Concertgoers adore the spectacular architecture, which includes beautiful balconies, lofty columns, paintings, and a carved-out wood interior. Patti Smith and Van Morrison, as well as Arcade Fire & Godspeed You, have all performed at the opulent theater.

The Independent

The Independent is a great music venue that is one of the city’s most popular hangouts for new bands. Some of today’s top indie and upcoming bands perform at this small yet private venue. The crowd enjoyed the relaxed environment and clear sound.

The Kennel Club, which hosted performances by Nirvana and Jane’s Addiction in the late 1980s, also hosted the inaugural annual Noise Pop Festival, which has since evolved to become one of the city’s most known music festivals. The venue relaunched as The Independent in 2004 after a succession of false starts and alter egos and has been hosting an eclectic roster of top performances from all over the world ever since.

Bottom of the Hill

You must be doing something right if Rolling Stone calls you “the best spot to listen to live music in San Francisco.” This intimate, 350-capacity venue, housed in a two-story Edwardian building in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill district, is consistently voted the city’s best. Frequently the big hit shows performed by The Beastie Boys, The Strokes, Elliott Smith, and Alanis Morissette are just a few of Bottom of the Hill’s success stories.


Slim’s is a smaller venue, but don’t let its little size fool you; it was created by R & B great Boz Scaggs and featured a wide range of music from folk to metal to hip-hop. Under 21? This is one of the top spots in the city for young people to be a part of live music events. 

Plan your next live music events in these hottest venues and enjoy San Francisco’s nightlife.

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