Best Live Music in Portland

Portland's Live Music Scene Offers Something for Everyone

Portland, Oregon, often recognized as one of the top music scenes in the nation is home to thousands of musicians and you can find them playing around the city in different venues every night of the week. Portland concerts are entertaining for all different tastes in music from indie to mainstream and pop to blues. Portland hosts multiple music festivals each year that bring in hundreds of musical groups, including the Waterfront Blues Festival, Portland Jazz Festival, River City Music Festival, PDX Pop Now, and the massive Musical Fest NW.

With so many places in the city offering live music it was hard to narrow them down, but we have, and we think you will enjoy them all. We’ve included bars that offer live music with no charge like Landmark Saloon, Kells and White Eagle Saloon, all three of which happen to also be local favorites.

We've included places that have live jazz like Jimmy Mak's over in the Pearl District. Doug Fir made the list, because it is considered one of the Top 40 music venues in America and their acoustics are amazing. We’ve also included a few larger venues that consistently bring in good groups like the Crystal Ballroom.



The Edgefield by McMenamins offers live music almost every single night of the year, many of which is completely free to enjoy. Which means the Edgefield is a great place to have a drink and catchup with friends over live music. Often times there will be more than one group playing at a time. For some low key music check out the wine bar. The Little Red Shed area is another nice place to catch live music while sitting around a fire. Throughout the warmer months they host large muscians that perform large concerts on the lawn. These types of events do cost and you can purchase a ticket in advance.

Recommended for Live Music because: The Edgefield has live music every day somwhere at the entertainment complex.

Meagan's expert tip: Check their website to see who is playing and where.

Read more about Edgefield →

Old Town

A self proclaimed little diamond in the rough of Old Town Portland and confirmed by the locals that love it, Valentines is a go to place for live music ever night of the week. A place for music, art, film screenings, poems, DJs that play records you love but never heard before, first meetings with future friends, and hangouts with old ones. Valentine's has a full bar with an excellent bartenders. They also serve food like sandwiches and tapas. If that isn't enough just head to Voodoo Doughnuts across the alley. Open 7 days a week from 5pm-2:30am with happy hour from5-7pm everyday. On summer weekends they open at 1pm!

Recommended for Live Music because: Valentine's is a good place for live music in a fun area.

Meagan's expert tip: If you are unsure which drink to order try a Gin Rickey.

Read more about Valentine's →

North Portland
White Eagle Saloon

White Eagle Saloon is one of the oldest bars in Portland and McMenamins has done a great job preserving the best features, including the original oak back-bar and ceramic-tiled floors. White Eagle Saloon has live music nightly with a dance floor. The music acts vary, so check the website to see who is performing. There's a lovely outdoor beer garden with a firepit. They serve Northwest pub far based on what's on season and available from local and regional growers. They have McMenamin beers on tap and offer McMenamin wines and spirits. It's a casual place with a relaxed vibe.

Recommended for Live Music because: Another great McMenamins property that has the added bonus of live music every single night.

Meagan's expert tip: Order a Spanish coffee and enjoy the show as they flambe their spanish coffee cocktail.

Read more about White Eagle Saloon →


A favorite downtown spot for people of all ages, Kells offer Irish food and drink with a Northwest influence. Live nightly shows make this pub the best place in Portland to hear traditional Irish music. The music can be quite loud. A separate cigar lounge (with separate ventilation, of course) offers a wide selection of smokes. Though Kells offers Guiness Stout and a selection of beers and wines, it really stands out with its menu of single-malt scotch and Irish whiskey. The menu offers some traditional Irish favorites along with some more typical American fare. Kells is also open for and breakfast on the weekends.

Recommended for Live Music because: Kells is an exciting place to hangout and a locals' favorite.

Meagan's expert tip: On weekends Kells can get very crowded. Happy hour is generally low-key.

Read more about Kells Irish Restaurant and Pub →

Comfortable and accommodating, this two-level club is gaining favor with a variety of Portland's residents. The lower-level venue has an allure all its own, thanks to relaxed seating, subtle colors and great music. Depending on the night you're around, you'll find live musicians, a rocking jukebox or DJs playing all sorts of danceable tunes. Jazz, soul, rock, reggae and hip-hop tempt patrons to get out of their booths and show the crowds their best moves. Upstairs you can play pool for free and play darts or just nurse a cold brew. A great gathering place, with both local microbrews and national/international beers on tap, plus a wide assortment of bottled beers, wines and lambics.

Recommended for Live Music because: Goodfoot has a variety of live music that changes thoughout the week.

Meagan's expert tip: Go on a Monday night to enjoy open mic night.

Read more about The Goodfoot →


If you love country music, Bluegrass or Texas rock you are going to love the LandMark Saloon. Here they have everything a country bar should: a massive bar, quality libations like cold beer and signature cocktails served in mason jars, live honky tonk music, a small dance floor for two stepping and a killer outdoor area. Out back you can sit around a fire or play a round of corn hole. Their spacious patio includes a covered seating are and another bar. They even have decent bar food, if you like hotdogs. Unlike many bars in the area Landmark Saloon is open everyday of the week and many nights there is no cover charge!

Recommended for Live Music because: Landmark Saloon features some of the hottest country bands in the region and is open everyday.

Meagan's expert tip: For some fresh air go play corn hole in the back yard where you will still be able to here the music.

Read more about Landmark Saloon →

Jimmy Mak's
Photo courtesy of Vincent Clervi

Located in the trendy Pearl District, this jazz haven features live music Monday through Saturday nights. During the day it serves as an authentic Greek restaurant that offers outstanding homemade eats, but when evening arrives it morphs into one of the hottest jazz and blues spots in all of Stumptown. There is a cover charge some evenings and the price varies based on who is performing. The menu includes tasty signature dishes like Pasticio, a Greek lasagna, and Souvlaki Kasa, a skewer of chicken, beef, lamb or prawns grilled and served atop a bed of rice vermicelli. A beer, wine and cocktail menu is also available.

Recommended for Live Music because: This is the place to enjoy jazz in the Pearl District.

Meagan's expert tip: Jimmy Mak's is closed on Sundays.

Read more about Jimmy Mak's →

McMenamin's Crystal Ballroom

The Crystal Ballroom occupies the upper floor of an entertainment complex that also houses Lola's Room (a smaller live music and dancing venue) and Ringler's Pub (food, drinks, and pool). The structure premiered in 1914 and has hosted the likes of the Grateful Dead, B.B. King, Jefferson Airplane, and Buffalo Springfield. These days, you'll find a host of popular regional and national bands (Liz Phair, Dar Williams, Alien Crime Syndicate), along with dancing on the expansive 7500-square-foot dance floor (which is said to float, thanks to installation on rockers and ball bearings). Food is available, along with McMenamins hand-crafted ales and wines, plus cocktails. The Crystal Ballroom features all genres of live music.

Recommended for Live Music because: The Crystal Ballroom has a variety of live music to choose from.

Meagan's expert tip: Check their website to see which bands are performing.

Read more about McMenamin's Crystal Ballroom →

Doug Fir Lounge
Photo courtesy of Courtesy Travel Portland

Located below the Doug Fir Restaurant, the Doug Fir Lounge is a hip live music spot that's got a dedicated following who show up to listen to the mix of regional and national musicians booked to play every night of the week. An outstanding food and cocktail menu is available, compliments of the Doug Fir Restaurant and Bar. They offer breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late night food. Although shows have different time, generally doors open at 8pm, with shows beginning at 9pm; call or check their website for specific dates, times and shows. Doug Fir was listed as one of the Top 40 music venues in American by Paste Magazine. Doug Fir Lounge offers free wifi.

Recommended for Live Music because: Doug Fir is considered one of the Top 40 music venues in America.

Meagan's expert tip: Check their website to see upcoming shows.

Read more about Doug Fir Lounge →

North Portland

Of all the live music venues in Portland, Mississippi Studios holds a special place in the hearts of many concert goers. Considered by many to be the best place in town to see a live show, the small, intimate space has amazing, clear sound. When it's not too crowded, the main floor is great for dancing, while the balcony has seating for those who prefer it. Audiences are so close to the performers that a concert can become an interactive, shared experience. Food and drinks are available for both lunch and dinner, and patios offer outdoor seating as well as a second performance stage. Occupying a quaint, historic building in the hip North Mississippi neighborhood, this is a great place to see concerts by big names and small indy bands alike.

Recommended for Live Music because: The perfect place to see your favorite band in an intimate setting.

Meagan's expert tip: Try the Bar Bar Veg Burger before the show.

Read more about Mississippi Studios →


Meet Meagan Wristen

Meagan Wristen is an Oregon resident by choice and thinks Portland is a tremendous city that everyone should visit. Originally a Texas girl, she has lived all around the United States,...  More About Meagan