Expert Tips


Kansas City's Live Music Scene Showcases Jazz to Rock and Beyond

Live music is going strong in the Kansas City area. Treat yourself to some classic jazz, in the neighborhood where it all began, when you spend an evening at The Blue Room, an entertainment fixture inside the American Jazz Museum and the legendary 18th & Vine jazz district. If you enjoy the excitement of open air concerts amid sparkling city lights, make a date to enjoy some live music at CrossroadsKC at Grinders. Happily rowdy and full of great music, Howl at the Moon has become a favorite watering hole in the downtown area that especially appeals to a younger crowd. If you prefer a more intimate setting there are several great choices, from the small, dark and cozy Green Lady Lounge, just south of the urban core, to a one-time basement speakeasy offering live jazz five nights a week, which is now part of The Majestic Restaurant. Live musical remains an integral element of Kansas City's arts and entertainment scene. 

Howl at the Moon
Photo courtesy of Howl at the Moon


Part bar and part concert venue, Kansas City's Howl at the Moon has quickly become exceptionally popular among the over-21 crowd. A local Visitors' Choice Winner for Favorite Nightlife Spot, Howl at the Moon operates on both coasts as well as in...  Read More

Um-kansas City
The Kill Devil Club
Photo courtesy of Lisa Waterman Gray


If you like piano bars, you've come to the right place. You'll hear talented piano performances and much more at The Kill Devil Club, in Kansas City's bustling core. One visit will convince you why Food & Wine Magazine has named this among...  Read More

BB's Lawnside Barbecue
Photo courtesy of Lisa Waterman Gray


Since 1990, BB's Lawnside Blues & BBQ has been a landmark destination for live blues performances on many nights and weekend afternoons, meats that are slow-smoked in a 1950s 'pit,' and scratch-made Louisiana dishes such as jambalaya or...  Read More

The Levee
Photo courtesy of Lisa Waterman Gray


It's been more than five decades since The Levee opened in Kansas City, Missouri's historic midtown. A favorite destination for lovers of live music, this classic club books local and regional soul, blues, classic pop, rock and other bands on...  Read More

The Phoenix
Photo courtesy of Lisa Waterman Gray


For a small cover charge, eat and drink while listening to live jazz amid historic surroundings. This popular entertainment venue is open six days per week, and for Saturday jazz brunches (closed on Sunday). Rumored to be a bordello rather than...  Read More

18th & Vine Historic District
Blue Room
Photo courtesy of Lisa Waterman Gray


One of Kansas City's most renowned hotspots in the legendary 18th & Vine Jazz District, during the 1930s and '40s, and a fixture in the Street Hotel, The Blue Room offers some of this area's most authentic jazz performances. Live bands...  Read More

Green Lady Lounge
Photo courtesy of Green Lady Lounge


The ambiance inside The Green Lady Lounge is almost magical while showcasing local musicians and vocalists who exemplify Kansas City's jazz tradition. With a vintage tin ceiling, this dark and narrow retro lounge feels cozy and welcoming....  Read More

The Majestic Restaurant


The Majestic Restaurant has long been known for great steaks served amid 1900s ambiance. But down in the cozy basement that once functioned as a Prohibition-era speakeasy, you'll also find live jazz performances on Tuesday through Saturday...  Read More

Photo courtesy of Knuckleheads KC


Who would expect to find a thriving entertainment venue in an industrial neighborhood near a series of railroad tracks?'Where the World's Greatest Musicians Play,' Knuckleheads KC is a 'must-visit' for devoted music fans. Laid-back, funky...  Read More

CrossroadsKC at Grinders
Photo courtesy of CrossroadsKC at Grinders


From rock to reggae and bluegrass to hip hop, CrossroadsKC has enthusiastically presented outdoor shows since 2007, with Kansas City's illuminated skyline as backdrop. In cooperation with Pipeline Productions, the popular downtown venue offers...  Read More


Meet Lisa Waterman Gray

Lisa Waterman Gray moved to the Kansas City area 35 years ago and has written professionally for 20+ years. A member of the Midwest Travel Writers Association, she's excited about the...  More About Lisa