Hear that? It’s the scintillating sound of Portland’s live music venues beckoning you to a performance you’ll never forget.
The concert scene is truly unmatched in our area — from blues by the water to pianos in the park, there’s a stage for any type of tune. To get to know them all, you must do three things.
Put your hands in the air, wave ‘em like you just don’t care, then lay your eyes (and ears) on our guide.
Moda Center | 1 N. Center Court St.
When the biggest names come to town — think Elton John — they make a stop here, surrounded by thousands of cheering fans. It can also be reconfigured to the Theater of the Clouds, which lowers the number of seats to no more than 6,500, creating an up-close experience.
Veterans Memorial Coliseum | 300 N. Ramsay Way
As the original venue at the Rose Quarter, this building has seen plenty of history since it was built in 1960, hosting The Beatles, Johnny Cash, Queen, and the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, just to name a few.
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall | 1037 SW Broadway
Beneath the dazzling lights of the Portland sign, guests enter a three-level foyer and are immediately transported to a time long past. Restored Italian Rococo Revival architecture continues inside the theater, where the Oregon Symphony (the sixth oldest orchestra in the US) plays for dedicated crowds.
Keller Auditorium | 222 SW Clay St.
Known as the “workhorse” of Portland'5 Centers for the Arts due to the diversity of events it puts on, guests can enjoy everything from Broadway musicals to operas with a dash of concerts, from groups like Wilco and Natalie Merchant.
Revolution Hall | 1300 SE Stark St., Ste. 203
The brick building that once housed Washington High School now contains offices and a live music venue inside the former auditorium. Before the first song, concertgoers can grab a beer and soak up the views from the rooftop bar. On the ground level, venue-within-a-venue Show Bar is a worthy destination in itself — trust us, try the burgers — and hosts The People’s Jam, a free community performance, once a month.
Mississippi Studios | 3939 N. Mississippi Ave.
Billed as the “musician’s music venue,” this award-winning location and the attached Bar Bar are like heaven for live music lovers. Unbroken sight lines and quality A/V specs make for a smooth show devoid of unwanted distractions.
Restaurants and bars
White Eagle Saloon | 836 N. Russell St.
Though perhaps not the most iconic McMenamins concert venue in the city — we see you Crystal Ballroom — this ivy-adorned, allegedly haunted rock hotel is decked out in musical memorabilia and band photos. Order some Cajun tots and let the rhythm fill your soul.
The Goodfoot | 2845 SE Stark St.
You’ll find pool, pinball, and pub grub on the ground level and plenty of singing and dancing in the basement. If you’re looking for a neighborhood hangout, this is your place.
Landmark Saloon | 4847 SE Division St.
Boot scootin’ boogie over to this country music outpost in the city, where cowboy hats and rhinestones are always acceptable — especially on Whiskey Wednesdays.
The Old Church Concert Hall | 1422 SW 11th Ave.
Portland’s “Sanctuary of Sound” began life in 1882 as a place of worship built in the Carpenter Gothic style, and was eventually saved from demolition by community members in the 1960s. Today, it’s operated as a nonprofit, non-religious, all-ages venue whose stage is beautifully framed by stained-glass windows and a massive pipe organ.
Doug Fir Lounge | 830 E. Burnside St.
Sporting a “Twin Peaks meets The Jetsons” vibe, the venue beside the Jupiter NEXT hotel has been the go-to on East Burnside Street since 2004. Between the top-notch production and a nostalgic dedication to show posters, this is a must-visit for music lovers, whether you live here or are visiting from out of town. All performances are ages 21 and older.
Piano. Push. Play. | Locations vary
For more than a decade, this nonprofit has rescued old pianos and tuned them up, turning them into one-of-a-kind pieces of art that are then scattered across the streets and parks of Portland. Once positioned, the instruments are available for anyone to play, leading to impromptu concerts that bring people of all backgrounds together. Fans can purchase a passport and visit each location to earn a stamp, hidden in the pianos’ benches.
Pickathon | 16581 SE Hagen Rd., Happy Valley
3,500 paid attendance
Friday, Aug. 3-Sunday, Aug. 6, 2023
This experimental music festival distills the sounds of summer into far-out design, weaving nature, curated food and drink, plus conviviality into an unforgettable experience. Attendees can even camp in the nearby woods, ensuring they never miss a moment. Lineups regularly feature local bands and under-the-radar talent.
Portland Jazz Festival | Locations vary
18,000 tickets sold in 2023
Thursday, Feb. 22 – Saturday, March 2, 2024
Over the course of 10 days, lovers of all things musically improvised can take in approx 100 events across the City of Roses. Performances range from sold-out headliners to underground shows where you can post up in a corner booth and just chill. Tickets will be available in October.
Portland Music Month | Locations vary
Held throughout the first month of the year, this is the ideal time to cross many of the aforementioned (and beyond) venues off your bucket list. The entire city becomes the stage for 100+ shows, getting people out and about during the dreary season. A portion of the proceeds is also reinvested into Portland’s music economy, providing support for independent artists.
We want to hear from you
While the show must always go on in Portland, it’s time for our list to take a bow. We know there are even more venues to be added — share them with us and they may see the spotlight in the future.