When most visitors think of Miami and music, they likely think of South Beach clubs and Miami club culture in general. But Miami’s live music scene is currently experiencing a growth spirt in all genres, from staples like Latin and other Caribbean music to experimental electronic music, indie rock, punk, hip-hop, and more. Here is an alphabetical list of Miami music venues, ranging from small dive bars to large arenas, where you can get a taste of the city’s burgeoning music scene. (See map below.)
American Airlines Arena
Home to the Miami Heat, American Airlines Arena also hosts the likes of Lady Gaga, Lil Wayne, and other internationally touring music superstars, as well as relatively frequent Latin concerts by Spanish-language mega-performers.
Address: 601 Biscayne Blvd., Miami
BAR is, above all, a downtown-kid dive bar hangout, though the no-frills, indoor-outdoor spot also hosts frequent late-night performances. They’re usually by local bands, but the occasional hipster-cool DJs and up-and-coming touring acts also swing through. For example, international DJ and Blackberry endorser Diplo manned the decks at BAR back in October. Update: BAR has closed at its 14th Street location.
Address: 28 NE 14th St., Miami
This intimate venue across from the Midtown mall (check the view of the Target from the windows) started out as a neighborhood boho hangout. Now it has morphed into something more akin to South Beach on the mainland, with door attitude and drink prices to match. Still, its recent musical bookings, with shows by left-field electronic artists and indie stars like Beter Bjorn & John and Junip, often make it worth the hassles.
Address: 3456 N. Miami Ave., Miami
Klipsch Amphitheater at Bayfront Park
This is a Live Nation-operated venue within the sprawling, bayside public park in downtown Miami. It hosts occasional rock, reggae, dance music, and even metal acts in a sprawling outdoor amphitheater, with a mix of assigned seating and general admission on the grass.
Address: 301 N. Biscayne Blvd., Miami
Technically, this is part of the same public park system stretching across the bay and connecting to Bayfront Park. However, Bicentennial Park itself is where the megatours and festivals go, among them past editions of the Warped Tour and the annual Ultra Music Festival. Bicentennial Park also the site of an upcoming transformation into a museum park, so its fate as an outdoor music venue remains uncertain.
Address: 1075 Biscayne Blvd., Miami
This unlikely British pub in the heart of Little Haiti has been a mainstay of the Miami music scene for more than 30 years. Its punk rock roots still run strong, and a typical night might feature over a dozen, noisy local acts. It’s also a popular spot for touring bands, and the club’s booking isn’t all guitar-based. Churchill’s regularly hosts nights of experimental theater, laptop music, underground hip-hop, and anything else that’s a little off-kilter.
Address: 5501 NE 2nd Ave., Miami
Far from any of the main nightlife drags, La Covacha is a world unto itself, a cavernous Doral dance palace devoted mostly to Latin music. Live performances are usually incorporated into all-night dance parties, with urban Latin and tropical sounds ruling, but allowing for an occasional sprinkling of rock en espanol. The club occasionally also books touring DJs and hip-hop artists as well.
Address: 10730 NW 25th St., Doral
This two-floor venue on the fringes of the Wynwood arts district is more of a funky dance club than proper venue, with music ranging from minimal techno to indie dance to dubstep. While it’s mostly DJ-centric, its recurring dance nights have hosted performances by bands like YACHT and electronic artists like Mt. Kimbie.
Address: 2826 N. Miami Ave., Miami
Since changing its name from White Room, this indoor-outdoor venue around the corner from the Vagabond and BAR has struggled to find its identity. Though a regular weekly party has yet to really stick, the venue books frequent mini festivals by local bands, as well as performances by hip-hop artists like Kool Keith and Raekwon.
Address: 1306 N. Miami Ave., Miami
Located in a renovated theater where the Jackie Gleason show was once filmed, this glamorous venue is Live Nation’s best in Miami proper. It’s where you go to catch mid-level touring bands like Phoenix and Wilco, as well as crossover DJs and electronic artists like Girl Talk, Datsik, and Zed’s Dead.
Address: 1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach
The Florida Room
This small lounge is almost hidden in the bottom of the chic Delano Hotel, and with its restored Art eco interior, feels like an old mobster’s hideout. If you’re not reserving a table, there’s not much room for you to hang out. But if you do make it in, this is the place to catch chilled-out performances by the likes of the Roots and similar grown and sexy acts.
Address: inside the Delano Hotel, 1685 Collins Ave., Miami Beach
This cavernous place in a particularly desolate strip near the American Airlines Arena is not quite concert venue, not quite dance club, and its prices are more South Beach than downtown. Still, its excellent sound system, lighting, and professional stage make it a great place to catch new bands like Surfer Blood and rare touring acts like Nitzer Ebb. After the band’s done, DJs usually keep the party going until the wee hours.
Address: 697 N. Miami Ave., Miami
This tiny, two-floor club has ben a live music staple on South Beach for a decade and a half. Though it started out mostly featuring jazz, as its name suggests, these days anything danceable goes, from Latin fusion rock to reggae to hip-hop.
Address: 1342 Washington Ave., Miami Beach
PAX: Performing Arts Exchange
A new player in the local live music circuit, its location on S.W. Eighth Street puts it a little out of the usual hipster stomping grounds. Still, it’s already beloved by a certain bilingual, bohemian subset of the local music scene, and genre-crossing acts rule the roost here.
Address: 337 SW 8th St., Miami
The beloved record store/community hub also features regular in-store concerts. These tend towards the acoustic or low-key, take place in the early hours, an always welcome all ages. There’s no booze during these gigs, but plenty of coffee and vegan snacks.
Address: 5505 NE 2nd Ave., Miami
Miami’s oldest bar is also one of its oldest live music venues, with performance areas in the outdoor patio, inside, and upstairs. You won’t find many out-of-town marquee names here, but the venue hosts a festival of some kind or another, mostly featuring local acts, almost every weekend. The bar food is pretty good, too.
Address: 626 S. Miami Ave., Miami
Around the corner from Tobacco Road, this is pretty much ground zero of the local fusion/jam scene. The sounds here are often Latin- and reggae-tinged and brass-heavy, though there is also the occasional hip-hop or straight-up rock night. Most shows are free, and though it’s a bar, many are open to those 18 and over.
Address: 729 SW 1st Ave., Miami
Opened in January 2011, The Stage was the first late-night spot to pop up in the Design District proper. The indoor-outdoor venue positions itself as a more casual Bardot; it’s comfortable and clean, not snobby, and draws a decidedly grown-up crowd. The programming here again is horn-heavy, and the bookers have a particular love for New Orleans brass sounds and blues rock. Still, you might hear everything from rockabilly to hip-hop — just no metal or anything too extreme.
Address: 170 NE 28th St., Miami
Like many other smaller venues for Miami music lovers, the Vagabond is predominantly a dance club, with band bookings incorporated into late-night parties. Still, that happens frequently, with Thursdays usually devoted to hip-hop and dubstep, Fridays to rock and indie dance, and Saturday to a grab-bag of performers.
Address: 30 NE 14th St., Miami
View Miami Music Venues in a larger map