City Guide / Charlotte

Where to Find the Best Live Music in Charlotte, NC

By Ramsey Qubein | Oct 4, 2022
Man playing outside at one of the best places to find live music in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Charlotte is a happening place with impressive museums, eclectic dining, ample outdoor activities, plenty of entertainment and nightlife venues, and fun things to do. If it’s live music you’re after, you’ve come to the right place! Whether you’re looking for headline musicians, bands and performances, or al fresco music from every genre, Charlotte has a great mix every night of the week.

Visitors regularly comment on the breadth of options, and those moving to Charlotte will soon discover they’ve chosen well if they enjoy music. Here are 15 of the top places to find live music in Charlotte, NC, no matter what your main jam is:

  1. The Evening Muse
  2. Visulite Theatre
  3. The Rabbit Hole
  4. Middle C Jazz
  5. Spectrum Center
  6. The Fillmore
  7. Underground
  8. Blumenthal Performing Arts Center
  9. Knight Theater
  10. NoDa Brewing Company North End
  11. Snug Harbor
  12. Coyote Joe’s
  13. The Local
  14. PNC Music Pavilion
  15. Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheater

Let’s get started!

The best small music venues in Charlotte for live music

1. The Evening Muse

Perfectly situated for the independent spirit of the NoDa Arts District, The Evening Muse is a small-scale venue with music for all preferences. This spot has an indie vibe that is welcoming to people from all backgrounds, and the bar is always open (score!).

Because the Evening Muse is only designed for just over 100 people in a standing-style setup, the place can feel full, especially when chairs are added. East Rich, Chris Canterbury, Trent Thompson, and Rigometrics have all taken to the stage here. If you’re feeling particularly in the moment, you can even join their ranks by participating in the Evening Muse’s open mic night every Monday night.

Parking is easy to come by here, although often has a small fee in different nearby lots.

2. Visulite Theatre

In the Elizabeth neighborhood on the edge of Uptown Charlotte, Visulite Theatre is a great spot to catch local bands and artists getting their start, among other talented performers. Seating at this small-scale venue is limited and first-come, first-serve.

There is no menu here, but visitors can bring in food from some of the nearby restaurants (although outside drinks are not permitted). It’s always a good time at what is dubbed “Charlotte’s premier live music club.”

Parking is shared with neighboring venues, but a light rail stop is just a few steps from the front door. For those coming from other parts of town, it is only five minutes from I-77 and I-85.

3. The Rabbit Hole

The music at the Rabbit Hole is always a draw, with many regulars frequenting this bar and live music spot. The Rabbit Hole has performers with all kinds of talent across multiple genres, including punk, bluegrass, and blues, among others.

It’s the perfect spot for Plaza Midwood’s laid-back yet bustling scene, and its menu includes pub fare and plenty of libations. This is a neighborhood bar that is welcoming and great for those living in the area.

Parking is available nearby but can go quickly, so we recommend getting there early.

4. Middle C Jazz

As the name suggests, Middle C Jazz is a chill spot for live jazz music, craft cocktails, and a menu of small plates, from roasted brussels sprouts with honey mustard to naan flatbreads. It’s the perfect combination for a relaxing after-work drink or a weekend outing.

Far from the raucous dive bar scene or rock-‘n’-roll-style venues with larger concerts, this lounge attracts a more mature clientele looking to wind down rather than rev up.

Middle C Jazz is located in Uptown, making it easy to get here from the nearby light rail station. There is also parking available. While the venue does have a local membership option, tickets to the calendar of performances are open to the public.

The best large music venues in Charlotte for live music

1. Spectrum Center

Located in the Uptown neighborhood, Spectrum Center is an all-purpose arena that hosts everything from sports games to concerts. Live entertainers of all kinds perform here, from Carrie Underwood and Elton John to Mary J. Blige and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. The venue has a capacity of just over 20,000 people. When the Charlotte Hornets are not playing, the arena hosts other events including World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).

If you aren’t enticed by the wide range of dining around the Uptown area, the arena has several restaurants of its own inside. Dining on the concourse is also available, with the option to buy food and drinks, including several Charlotte-born craft beers.

Locals will appreciate the nearby light rail stop that makes it easy to reach without searching for an expensive parking spot.

2. The Fillmore

The Fillmore takes its name from the famous concert hall of the same name in San Francisco and is located in a former textile mill that is now part of an entertainment and office complex known as AvidXchange Music Factory in Uptown’s Fourth Ward.

This popular live music venue has space for around 2,000 people but is a mostly standing-room-only spot. Come here ready to sing and dance the night away on your feet (although there are a few VIP seating areas if you’re willing to pay a bit more). Stadium-style tiers mean the views are rarely obstructed, and the production quality here is epic.

Past performers have included The Black Crowes, Mastodon, and Peach Pit. Food and drinks are available onsite, while pub fare is also sold next door at VBGB Beer Hall and Garden, which has more than 30 local craft brews on tap.

It is easy to reach by public transportation, and there is plenty of parking across the street.

3. Underground

The sister venue to The Fillmore in Uptown’s Fourth Ward, Underground has space for around 800 people to enjoy its live music performances. Like The Fillmore, Underground is located at AvidXchange Music Factory.

The focus here is on up-and-coming performers, and it hosts a wide range of acts you’ll want to catch now so you can eventually brag, “I saw them when…” You can expect everything from rock and roll to EDM here.

Underground is primarily a standing-room-only spot, so come prepared to dance the night away on your feet. Feeling hungry? You can grab a bite next door or opt for refreshments during the performance, too. This venue is easy to reach by public transportation, and there is plenty of parking across the street.

4. Blumenthal Performing Arts Center

One of the most popular live entertainment venues in Charlotte is the Belk Theater at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, which brings some of the best musical production shows from Broadway and the West End to North Carolina’s largest city. This Uptown spot hosts not only theatre productions, but also live music from Opera Carolina and the Charlotte Symphony.

Inside the performing arts center, which seats just over 2,100 people in a four-tier setup, concessions sell craft beer, wine, cocktails, and light snacks. The theater is proud to say that the farthest seat from the stage is less than 135 feet away.

Parking is available in nearby lots around the city, but many choose to park elsewhere and use the light rail, which stops not far from the entrance. All of Uptown’s varied dining scene unfurls outside the theater, and there are bars on almost every street corner.

5. Knight Theater

Part of the Levine Center for the Arts, the Knight Theater is a few blocks down from the Belk Theater. Performances include Broadway plays and musicals, as well as musical shows from Arturo O’Farrill & The Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble and the Charlotte Symphony. The three-tier theater has seats for 1,191 people.

Inside the theater, there is the option to buy concessions, but there is so much choice for great dining and drinks Uptown, that most visitors head to the area early or stick around after the show to make the most of their evening out. The light rail makes convenient stops nearby, but there is also plenty of parking in the vicinity for a fee.

The best bars with live music in Charlotte

1. NoDa Brewing Company North End

With a mix of indoor-outdoor space, this is a popular spot on both warm days and chilly nights. Famous for its long list of locally produced craft beer, NoDa Brewing Company is a casual spot for friends, families, and even date nights. Food trucks complement the snack and drink menu on offer. As eclectic as the beer roster is the type of entertainment offered here, from local performers strumming a guitar to performances by the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra.

This neighborhood is known for its diversity and artsy feel, making it popular for all ages and backgrounds. Parking is available in nearby lots, but don’t be surprised to see people walking or biking over from nearby neighborhoods.

This place is quite popular, with two locations in town. You’ll also find NoDa Brewing Company beer in local supermarkets and even at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, where there the brewing company has another bar.

2. Snug Harbor

This dive bar hosts live music and visiting DJs regularly and is a great spot for laid-back entertainment. Nautical decor fits the theme of Snug Harbor, given the name, but there is no one set agenda for the type of performers here, as acts have included indie bands, karaoke nights, and drag shows.

Most performances require tickets, but when it’s the audience’s turn for karaoke night on Sunday, entry is free. Outdoor seating is popular on warm days, and the menu includes casual fare and a long list of drinks to go with the talented performers.

Located on the edge of Plaza Midwood, Snug Harbor is as relaxed and unpretentious as it gets. Parking is available but can go fast!

3. Coyote Joe’s

Country music fans, rejoice! Coyote Joe’s is a western-themed saloon and nightclub that has a dance floor and regular live music from country bands and other talented musicians. Come here to experience bands like Kat Jam, Scotty McCreery, Cole Swindell, and Hardy.

On Friday and Saturday nights, the house band, Out of the Blue, takes to the stage. Coyote Joe’s also hosts a ladies’ night on Wednesdays, with free entry for women and a $4 cover charge for men, plus free mechanical bull rides and line dancing lessons. The wild, wild west comes alive with photographs, mounted animal heads, and other themed decor hanging on the walls. It’s a fun atmosphere for all!

Beer and drinks are cheap, and the music promises that there is always a good time to be had here. Remember that this is a cash-only spot though. There is parking available near the venue on Wilkinson Boulevard, though many opt to hop an Uber or Lyft instead.

4. The Local

Located Uptown and close to plenty of parking and public transportation options, The Local is a popular bar that stays busy throughout the week and especially on weekends when DJs from around the state pay a visit. Live bands are a mainstay here, and the style of music changes by the night.

The bar at The Local opens early with a late-afternoon, early-evening happy hour with $5 appetizers and drink specials, and stays open late. The restaurant menu runs the gamut with beer, wine, and cocktails, plus tasty fare like buffalo shrimp tacos, macaroni and cheese bites, burgers, salads, and even a spaghetti sandwich served on a garlic-toasted hoagie.

Weekly trivia nights draw a crowd, too. Restaurant and bar by day before transitioning to a lively bar setting with food and live music at night, The Local is a favorite for those that work and play Uptown.

The best outdoor venues in Charlotte for live music

1. PNC Music Pavilion

This outdoor amphitheater hosts concerts large and small, with its audience enjoying the music and fresh air. This venue can host almost 19,000 people, which draws headliner performers like Aerosmith, KISS, Rascal Flatts, Tim McGraw, Coldplay, Dave Matthews Band, Pearl Jam, Phish, and Gwen Stefani, just to name a few. PNC Music Pavilion is also home to many visiting music festivals, such as Lollapalooza and Ozzfest. These rain-or-shine performances are always a hit!

Visitors are permitted to bring a clear bag of food and one bottle of water into the venue—otherwise, there is beer, wine, and snacks available for sale. This pavilion is located in the University City area of Charlotte near I-85 and I-485, making it easily accessible from all around the metro area. The city’s CATS buses also operate near the venue. Ticket prices here include parking, but there is an option to buy access to a premium parking spot for a shorter walk.

2. Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre

Part of the AVidXchange Music Factory entertainment complex in Uptown’s Fourth Ward, this entertainment hot spot is part of numerous bars, restaurants, and live music venues in the area. The Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre has elevated lawn seating as well as a separate section of reserved seats, with the city’s skyline serving as a dramatic backdrop.

Come here for the outdoor setting and stay for the awesome spread of musical talent that has played here, including Kacey Musgraves, Travis Scott, and Richard Swift. You’ll be singing along with 5,000 other concertgoers, which makes this place an uplifting and lively place no matter who is performing.

There is plenty to eat and drink in the entertainment complex itself, but you can also find something to quench or satiate your appetite at the Bourbon Street-style concession area. Parking is readily available if you choose not to take public transportation from nearby Uptown.

Make time to enjoy the best music venues in Charlotte with Landing

Charlotte has a lot going for it, and you will be glad if you find a place to live in the center of it all. After deciding between the best neighborhoods in Charlotte, you’ll want to pick an address close to the entertainment you most enjoy. Landing has done a lot of the legwork for you by offering furnished apartments in Charlotte that come with a flexible lease (no landlords or leasing offices to deal with!) so that moving to town can be simple and easy. That means more time to get out and explore the best live music venues in Charlotte. It’s time to get those toes tapping and sing along to your heart’s content!

Looking for more fun things to do in town? Check out our guide to the best sports bars in Charlotte.

Ramsey Qubein

Ramsey Qubein is a freelance travel journalist covering hotels, cruises, airlines, and loyalty programs from around the globe. His work has appeared in numerous publications, including Conde Nast Traveler, Travel+Leisure,,, AFAR, Robb Report, Readers Digest, BBC Worldwide, USA Today,,,, Fortune, Travel Weekly, and many others. Ramsey flies more than 450,000 miles per year and has traveled to 166 countries, all seven continents, and 50 U.S. states.