Best Venues to Watch Local Bands in Philadelphia
There's nothing like a good live music show, and Philadelphia has quite a tradition of putting them on.
Philly's music tradition is rich, encompassing everything from American Bandstand to hip hop to soul to Hall and Oates. As of now, the City of Brotherly Love has collected a large roster of quality music venues, in all different parts of the city. Sure, the big acts that come to town tend to play the Wells Fargo Center, or the amphitheater of many names that's now called the BB&T Pavilion, or even the baseball or football stadiums. But this list of 12 venues are where you can see a combination of local acts and touring indie performers:
The Electric Factory (421 N. 7th Street, Philadelphia)
This large indoor venue, highly visible from I-676, is literally built in a former electric factory at 7th and Willow Streets. It first opened in 1968 and after closing in the early '70s, reopened in 1994.
World Cafe Live (3025 Walnut St, Philadelphia)
This lovely music venue and restaurant is located at the headquarters of WXPN at the University of Pennsylvania. Among other things, it plays host to the nationally syndicated NPR show World Cafe.
Mann Music Center (5201 Parkside Avenue, Philadelphia)
Based in Fairmount Park, Mann Music Center, was named the "Best Major Outdoor Concert Venue" by Pollstar.
MilkBoy (11 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia)
A recording studio and music venue that dates back to the early '90s. It has moved first from North Philadelphia to suburban Ardmore to its current location in the city's Old City neighborhood.
Union Transfer (1026 Spring Garden St., Philadelphia)
Based in a former Spaghetti Factory restaurant on the northern outskirts of Center City.
The Trocadero Theater (1003 Arch St., Philadelphia)
A former opera house in what is now Chinatown, "The Troc" dates back to the 19th century. More recently, It was the venue where Tesla recording its famous "Five Man Acoustical Jam" album in 1991.
The Tower Theatre (S 69th St, Upper Darby)
Located slightly outside of the city limits of Philadelphia, the Tower dates back to 1927, with a sign (and actual tower) visible miles away.
The TLA (334 South St., Philadelphia)
The TLA, which stands for "Theatre of Living Arts," has stood for more than 100 years and operated under various names, although it's only been a concert venue since the 1980s.
Johnny Brenda's (1201 N. Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia)
This bar, restaurant and music venue in the city's Fishtown neighborhood was first opened by boxer Johnny Imbrenda in the 1960s, but opened in its current incarnation in 2003.
The Fillmore Philadelphia ( 29 E Allen St, Philadelphia)
This large, gorgeous venue is located in a rising section of the Fishtown/Kensington area. It features a huge main stage and a smaller club-within-the-club called the Foundry.
Ardmore Music Hall (23 East Lancaster Ave., Ardmore)
This rock club, formerly known as 23 East Cabaret and Brownie's 23 East, has been known as the Ardmore Music Hall since 2013. The venue hosts a combination of local and national acts.
The Grape Room (105 Grape St, Philadelphia)
This bar, located in the city's Manayunk section near the Schuylkill River, features two levels, an extensive beer menu and frequent live music.
Stephen Silver is a journalist who has lived in Philadelphia for 11 years. A father of two, his work has appeared in Tablet Magazine, Philadelphia Magazine, New York Press, SB Nation, The Daily Banter, CSNPhilly.com, the Good Men Project, Chatterblast's The Lightning Strike, Splice Today, Screenrant.com and the Philadelphia area's Patch websites. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.