Pitch Perfect: Las Vegas' 10 Best Live Music Venues
By Heather Turk
Las Vegas Local Expert
Las Vegas is home to some of the world's most popular singers for a reason: our music venues are all topnotch. After all, how could we be the Entertainment Capital of the World if we didn't have some of the country's coolest stages to perform on? From the house Celine Dion built, The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, to the most rockin' venue in town, The Joint, artists have not one, but several state-of-the-art theaters to choose from whenever they come to Las Vegas.
While the city may be home to some of the most prestigious theaters in the country, though, part of what makes Las Vegas such a cool place for artists and music fans alike is that it is always welcoming exciting new venues into the mix. Take, for instance, Brooklyn Bowl, which lets concert goers enjoy a show while bowling. The spacious venue also serves fare by celebrated restauranteurs Blue Ribbon, offering guests a concert experience that's simply unmatched.
The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, meanwhile, offers guests several performance venues in one place, so visitors have a variety of artists and shows to choose from. From jazz musicians to Broadway musicals, there's sure to be something for everyone to enjoy on its diverse schedule of events.
So whether you want to see your favorite singer perform in a large arena or an intimate concert hall, our list of Las Vegas' 10 best venues for live music is guaranteed to hit all the right notes.
House of Blues
Featuring state-of-the-art sound and lighting technology in a one-of-a-kind custom-designed environment aimed at bringing fans and artists together, the House of Blues inside Mandalay Bay is one of the country's preeminent live music venues--not to mention the Vegas home of Carlos Santana. True to its Southern theme, the House of Blues' decor feels like you've stepped into a Vegas version of New Orleans. The stage and music hall are at the center of HOB, with the area directly in front of the stage typically being standing-room only. During its popular Sunday Gospel Brunch, food stations are set up throughout the venue and tables are set up on the dance floor for guests to eat at. Diners can get their fill of Southern-style food before a soulful performance of authentic Gospel music. In addition to musical acts like Flogging Molly and the Gin Blossoms, House of Blues also hosts popular comedians. (702-632-7600, 702-632-7607)
The Smith Center
This $470 million world-class performing arts center in downtown Las Vegas features a blend of performances by resident companies (including the Las Vegas Philharmonic and Nevada Ballet Theatre), first-run touring attractions and internationally acclaimed performers in music, theater and dance. The five-acre campus boasts four performance spaces, including the 2,050-seat Reynolds Hall, complete with stunning balconies, a dramatic stage and a full orchestra pit capable of seating up to 100 musicians; the 258-seat Cabaret Jazz, ideal for jazz, cabaret and other performances best seen and heard in an intimate setting; the 250-seat Troesh Studio Theater, ideal for rehearsals, children's theater, community events and private social gatherings; and the 1.7 acre Donald W. Reynolds Symphony Park, perfect for outdoor concerts. Artists who have performed at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts include Kristin Chenoweth, Yo-Yo Ma, John Legend and Joshua Bell. (702-749-2000)
The AXIS Powered by Monster
Originally the Aladdin Theater for the Performing Arts, The AXIS Powered by Monster is the newly renovated 7,000-seat theater at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. Featuring programming by Live Nation, the venue hosts a variety of events ranging from concerts and award shows to charity benefits. It's also the home of Britney Spears' Las Vegas resident show, "Britney: Piece of Me." A venue unlike any other, The AXIS features an innovative dance floor and VIP table seating concept that allows guests a one-of-a-kind concert experience that's made even more exceptional by the nightlife-oriented service provided by Drai's Management Group. Artists who have previously performed at the state-of-the-art venue include New Kids on the Block, Marc Anthony, Tool and the Backstreet Boys. (866-574-3851)
It should come as no surprise that the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is home to one of Billboard Magazine's "Top 25 Music Clubs in the U.S." (2013). Having racked up numerous awards, The Joint delivers unforgettable live music experiences with performances by both legendary and groundbreaking artists, including Paul McCartney, The Killers, Imagine Dragons and The Who. Featuring seven luxury suites, a VIP studio level, a state-of-the-art sound system, a superior video system and a production package tailor-made for artist comfort, The Joint can accommodate up to 4,500 music fans at once. In addition to hosting touring acts, the intimate venue is also known for hosting such successful rock 'n' roll residencies as Guns N' Roses' "Appetite for Democracy" and Def Leppard's "VIVA Hysteria!" (702-693-5000)
One of Las Vegas' premier music venues, The Pearl is known for its eclectic bookings; everyone from Jay Z and Gregg Allman to LCD Soundsystem and Further has graced its stage. Able to accommodate up to 2,500 guests, the intimate venue features a stage just four feet from the floor with the farthest seating area being a mere 120 feet from the stage. When building The Pearl, the team literally sat in every seat in the venue to insure that sightlines were clear for all guests. That is one of the reasons, along with the sound, that the venue is so spectacular for concert goers. A marvel of modern technology, The Pearl features only top quality sound and video equipment throughout. Its acoustically treated walls and well placed sound system allow for the highest quality of sound control. No wonder it's been tops with music lovers since opening in 2007! (702-944-3200)
Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas
One of the largest music venues in the country, Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas is quickly becoming the place to see a concert. With three levels spanning nearly 80,000 square feet, it offers programming throughout the day and late into the night. On many nights, guests can come early and stay late to experience multiple shows with just one ticket. Previous acts who have performed on Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas' stage include The Roots, Jane's Addiction and O.A.R. To further complement the live concert experience, Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas features five on-site bars showcasing local craft brews and rockin' comfort food by the world-renowned Bromberg Brothers' Blue Ribbon Restaurants, including their iconic Fried Chicken celebrated on Food Network's "The Best Thing I Ever Ate." (702-862-2695)
Inspired by some of the world's most iconic venues, including Paris' Olympia hall, London's Apollo Theatre and Prague's Estates Theatre, The Chelsea is The Cosmopolitan's versatile 40,000-square-foot performance and event space. Designed by internationally acclaimed firm AvroKO, the venue evokes an abandoned glass factory turned working theater with remnant brick tiling, an eclectic collection of stage production props, a vintage lobby bar, private VIP opera boxes and a memorable grand staircase complete with a dramatic chandelier. Able to accommodate more than 3,000 guests, the striking space is the Las Vegas home of Bruno Mars. Other artists who have performed on its stage include Chelsea Handler, Fitz & The Tantrums and Cage the Elephant. (877-763-2267)
Mandalay Bay Events Center
If your favorite artist is coming to Las Vegas, odds are they're performing at this modern 12,000-seat sports and entertainment complex if they're not across the street at its sister property, the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Having played host to everything from massive headliners like Katy Perry and Jennifer Lopez to huge TV specials like the Latin Grammy Awards and American Country Awards, the Mandalay Bay Events Center is one of Las Vegas' premier music venues. When artists like Janet Jackson, Journey and Rihanna aren't filling up its seats, chances are it's hosting a major sporting event like UFC or PBR. Either way, something is always going on for guests to enjoy. (702-632-7777)
MGM Grand Garden Arena
When Barbra Streisand's the first person to perform on your stage, you know you're destined for greatness. Home to major awards shows and music festivals including the Billboards Music Awards, the Academy of Country Music Awards and the iHeartRadio Music Festival, the MGM Grand Garden Arena is one of the Strip's top music venues. The multi-purpose venue has hosted numerous world-class concerts over the years, including U2, Madonna, Paul McCartney, Bon Jovi, Reba McEntire, Tina Turner, Bruce Springsteen, The Rolling Stones, Whitney Houston and Justin Timberlake. It's also the site of several major sporting events, including championship boxing, UFC and NBA preseason basketball. (702-891-7777)
The Colosseum at Caesars Palace
Las Vegas' premier music venue, The Colosseum at Caesars Palace has been home to some of the world's greatest entertainers since opening its doors in 2003. Built at a cost of $95 million, it was originally created for Celine Dion's "A New Day..." but has gone on to host more than 2,000 events. In addition to being the current Vegas home of Celine Dion, Elton John, Shania Twain and Rod Stewart, The Colosseum is home to one of the largest indoor, high-definition LED screens in the world, standing 110 feet wide by 34 feet tall and weighing 31 tons. Its stage is equally massive, measuring 120 feet wide by 60 feet deep. No wonder Shania Twain felt comfortable bringing live horses onstage during her earlier performances! (888-929-7849)
About Heather Turk
A graduate of the University of Southern California, Heather's byline has appeared everywhere from The Los Angeles Times to Playboy.com--with her review of The Truman Show making the front page of The Detroit News' movie section when she was just 16 years old. When she's not at her computer writing a story for one of the many outlets she freelances for (including Allegiant Air's in-flight magazine Sunseeker, the Los Angeles Times Las Vegas Guide and CBS Las Vegas), she can often be found at the movies, on the Strip checking out the latest restaurant/show/spa/hotel opening or at Disneyland.
Read more about Heather Turk here.