Rock The Night Away Discover The Best Kansas City Music Venues

Welcome to the eclectic music scene of Kansas City, where a blend of jazz, blues, rock, and country music seamlessly melds together. In this article, we’ll be taking you on a tour of some of the top music venues in Kansas City, the establishments that have been paving the way for talented musicians and ardent music lovers alike. We understand that finding the sound you’re looking for in a new city can be a daunting task – that’s where we come in! Whether you’re a local, a recent transplant or simply passing through the Midwest, we’ve got it all covered.

Looking for a night out filled with live music and a great atmosphere? Look no further! By reading this article, you can expect to learn about some of the most legendary music venues in Kansas City, complete with vibrant music scenes, unique character, and unforgettable experiences. Are you a fan of jazz, blues, rock or country? Or do you prefer an off-beat fusion of genres? We’ve got you covered! With a list of some of the best music venues in Kansas City, you’ll be in the know and ready for an unforgettable night – or several – of entertainment.

You might think finding your music sweet spot in Kansas City is an insurmountable task. Don’t worry – we’ve got your back! With years of experience exploring the music scene of Kansas City, our team has scoured the city to bring you the best of the best. With a focus on the unique character and atmosphere of each venue, we’ll show you why these venues are a must-visit for any music lover. So, sit back, relax and take a journey with us through the heart of Kansas City’s most iconic music establishments.

The Ultimate Guide to Kansas City Music Venues

Kansas City is a city that boasts a rich music scene that spans a range of genres, including jazz, blues, rock, and country. As such, it’s no surprise that there are many music venues in the city that cater to local and touring musicians alike. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the top music venues in Kansas City.

1. The Uptown Theater

The Uptown Theater is one of Kansas City’s most iconic music venues. Located in the heart of Midtown, the Uptown has been hosting concerts and events for over 90 years. Originally opened in 1928 as a movie theater, the Uptown has since been renovated and transformed into a premier music venue that is known for its stunning art deco architecture and outstanding sound quality.

  • The History of the Uptown Theater
    • The Uptown Theater was originally built in 1928 as a movie theater.
    • It was designed by John Eberson, a famous theater architect known for his elaborate interior designs.
    • The Uptown closed as a movie theater in the 1980s and underwent extensive renovations to become a music venue.
  • The Venue’s Features
    • The Uptown has a seating capacity of 1,700, making it one of the largest music venues in the city.
    • The venue features state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems, ensuring that every performance sounds and looks fantastic.
    • The stunning art deco architecture of the Uptown makes it an architectural landmark in Kansas City.
  • The Uptown Experience
    • The Uptown Theater is a must-visit music venue for any music lover in Kansas City.
    • With a wide range of performances that cater to a variety of musical tastes, there is something for everyone at the Uptown.
    • When attending a performance at the Uptown, be sure to arrive early to take in the stunning architecture of the venue, and be prepared for an unforgettable night of music.

| Pros | Cons |
| Large seating capacity | The Uptown is an older venue, which may be less comfortable for some patrons |
| Stunning architecture | The venue can get quite crowded during popular events |
| State-of-the-art sound and lighting systems | Parking near the Uptown can be difficult to find |

The Uptown Theater has played host to some of the biggest names in music, including Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, and Prince. Today, the venue continues to attract both established and up-and-coming musicians from a range of genres. If you’re looking for a true Kansas City music experience, the Uptown Theater is a must-visit venue.

Historic Music Spaces in Kansas City You Must Visit

Kansas City has a rich musical heritage that dates back to the 1920s. Over the years, the city has been home to a vibrant music scene that has produced some of the most influential musicians in the world. The city’s numerous music venues bear testimony to this fact. In this article, we take a look at some of the most historic music spaces in Kansas City that you must visit.

The Folly Theater

Built in 1900, the Folly Theater is one of the oldest and most iconic music venues in Kansas City. This historic building has been revived from its former past, which ranged from a vaudeville house to a porn theater. Now, the Folly is an important cultural landmark and hosts some of the most notable acts in music and comedy.

Pros Cons
Historic Architecture Small Capacity
Unique Interior Expensive Drinks
Cultural Relevance Difficult Parking
Central Location Not Enough Restrooms

  • The Folly is one of the oldest music venues in Kansas City, with a rich history that dates back over 100 years.
  • The unique interior of the Folly, with its ornate architecture and beautiful decorations, provides an unforgettable experience for patrons.
  • The Folly has been renovated and updated, while still retaining its historic charm and cultural relevance.
  • The central location of the Folly makes it easy for patrons to get to and from the venue, whether they are coming from downtown or the suburbs.
  • Parking can be a challenge around the Folly, and patrons often have to park in nearby lots and walk to the venue.
  • The small capacity of the Folly means that tickets can be hard to come by, and the limited number of restrooms can cause long lines during intermissions.
  • Drinks at the Folly can be expensive, so patrons may want to bring their own refreshments if they are looking to save money.
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The Gem Theater

The Gem Theater is a historic music venue that has played an important role in the development of Kansas City’s jazz scene. Originally built in 1912, it was the first African-American theater in the city, and was home to some of the most famous jazz musicians of the 20th century.

Pros Cons
Historic Significance Small Stage
Great Acoustics Limited Parking
Central Location Outdated Seating
Cultural Relevance Expensive Tickets

  • The Gem Theater was the first African-American theater in Kansas City, and played an important role in the development of the city’s jazz scene.
  • The theater has great acoustics, which make it a favorite destination for musicians and music lovers.
  • The Gem is located in the heart of Kansas City, making it an easy destination for visitors and locals alike.
  • The Gem has been renovated several times over the years, but still retains its historic significance and cultural relevance.
  • Parking can be a challenge around the Gem, and visitors may need to park in nearby lots or on the street.
  • The stage at the Gem is relatively small, which can limit the types of acts that can be featured at the venue.
  • The seating at the Gem can be old and uncomfortable, which may be a turn off for some visitors.
  • Tickets for shows at the Gem can be expensive, so visitors should be prepared to pay top dollar for a night out.

The Uptown Theater

The Uptown Theater is one of the most iconic music venues in Kansas City. Built in 1928, this historic theater has hosted some of the most famous musicians in the world, from Duke Ellington to Elvis Presley.

Pros Cons
Spacious Interior Poor Location
Iconic Landmark Tight Security
Great Acoustics Expensive Seats
Modern Amenities Large Crowds

  • The Uptown Theater is one of the most iconic music venues in Kansas City, with a history that stretches back over 90 years.
  • The spacious interior of the Uptown makes it an excellent choice for large concerts and other events.
  • The Uptown has great acoustics, which provide an excellent listening experience for concertgoers.
  • The theater has been updated with modern amenities, including state-of-the-art sound and light systems, making it a popular destination for musicians and music lovers alike.
  • The Uptown is located in a less-than-ideal location, which can be a turn off for some visitors.
  • Tight security measures at the Uptown can create long lines and a less-than-pleasant experience for some visitors.
  • Tickets for shows at the Uptown can be expensive, so visitors should be prepared to pay top dollar for a night out.
  • The large crowds at the Uptown can make it a bit overwhelming for some visitors, so people who are looking for a more intimate music experience may want to look elsewhere.

In conclusion, Kansas City has a rich musical heritage that is reflected in its numerous historic music venues. Whether you are a jazz aficionado or a rock and roll lover, there is something for everyone in the city’s vibrant music scene. So, next time you are in Kansas City, be sure to check out some of the amazing music spaces that the city has to offer.

Kansas City Jazz Clubs: A Nostalgic Experience

Kansas City is known for its strong jazz scene that emerged in the 1920s and 1930s. During this time, jazz legends like Count Basie, Charlie Parker and Big Joe Turner performed in the city’s lively jazz clubs, creating a historic music legacy that still resonates to this day. With many jazz clubs still operating today, visitors can experience the vibrant energy of Kansas City’s jazz scene for themselves.

The History of Kansas City Jazz

Jazz music was introduced to Kansas City in the early 1900s by traveling bands and musicians. The city quickly became a popular destination for jazz musicians and aficionados alike, with jazz clubs popping up throughout the city. During the 1920s and 1930s, Kansas City’s jazz scene experienced a golden age, with legendary performers like Count Basie and Charlie Parker playing in clubs like the Reno Club and the Blue Room.

The city’s jazz scene experienced a decline during the 1950s, due in part to changing music tastes and the rise of rock and roll. However, efforts have been made to preserve and celebrate Kansas City’s jazz legacy, with the American Jazz Museum opening in 1997 and various jazz festivals held throughout the year.

The Best Jazz Clubs in Kansas City

There are many jazz clubs in Kansas City that visitors can explore to experience the city’s rich music legacy. Here are some of the best:

  • The Green Lady Lounge: Known as one of the top jazz clubs in the city, the Green Lady Lounge features live music every night and an intimate atmosphere that makes for an authentic jazz experience. The lounge has been praised for its cocktail menu and knowledgeable bartenders.
  • The Blue Room: Located in the historic 18th & Vine District, the Blue Room is a popular jazz club that features both local and national acts. The club is part of the American Jazz Museum, so visitors can learn more about the city’s jazz history while enjoying the music.
  • The Majestic: This jazz club and restaurant has a unique history, as it was once a speakeasy during Prohibition. Today, visitors can enjoy jazz music while dining on classic dishes like steak and seafood. The Majestic is also known for its extensive whiskey collection.

Pros and Cons of Visiting a Jazz Club

Visiting a jazz club can be a unique and memorable experience, but it’s important to consider the pros and cons before planning a night out. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Pros Cons
  • Experience live music in an intimate setting
  • Learn about Kansas City’s jazz history
  • Savor delicious food and drinks
  • Can be expensive, depending on the club and performers
  • May be loud or crowded, making it difficult to fully appreciate the music
  • Not always appropriate for families with young children

Despite the potential drawbacks, visiting a jazz club in Kansas City is a must-do for music lovers and anyone interested in the city’s rich cultural history. With many different clubs to choose from and a variety of musical styles, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

The Best Live Music Venues for Local Artists in Kansas City

Kansas City is a hub of various music genres, producing talented local artists. Local musicians are in search of venues to perform and showcase their art. Several venues in Kansas City are designed to cater to local artists, making it challenging to choose the best one. Here are the best live music venues for local artists in Kansas City.

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The Riot Room

The Riot Room is a live music venue in Westport, Kansas City, offering an intimate experience for local artists. It has a capacity of 400 guests and a reputation for hosting hard rock, metal, punk, and electronic music shows. The venue’s stage area has excellent acoustics, and the DJ booth is world-class. The Riot Room is perfect for solo acts, rock bands, and DJ sessions.

If you’re a local artist seeking exposure and recognition, The Riot Room is an excellent choice. You can take advantage of The Riot Room’s Wednesday Open Mic Nights when the venue is open for local artists to perform.


  1. Excellent acoustics and world-class DJ booth
  2. Hosts hard rock, metal, punk, and electronic music shows
  3. Intimate experience for local artists


  1. Not suitable for large bands due to the limited capacity of 400 guests
  2. Not ideal for musicians looking for a laid-back, relaxed venue

The Record Bar

The Record Bar in Crossroads Arts District, Kansas City, is a live music venue that caters to local artists performing various music genres, such as rock, indie, and folk. The venue has a capacity of 400 guests and has hosted live music shows since 2004.

The Record Bar is an ideal venue for local artists in Kansas City due to its exceptional acoustics and sound system. If you’re not playing music, you can visit the venue’s Record Exchange at the front of the facility, which houses a collection of vinyl records.


  1. Amazing sound system and acoustics
  2. A wide variety of music genres
  3. The Record Exchange – a collection of vinyl records


  1. The venue can get a little cramped when it’s full
  2. The Record Exchange can be distracting during a performance.

Jazzhaus of Lawrence

The Jazzhaus of Lawrence, located in Lawrence, Kansas, is a music venue characterized by its warm ambiance and cozy setting, catering to musicians playing jazz, blues, and soul. The venue is decorated with rich-textured fabrics that make the space feel inviting.

The owners of the Jazzhaus of Lawrence manage the stage’s acoustics to provide the best sound possible, with the venue’s sound system tuned precisely for acoustic music. Local artists looking to play in a relaxed and welcoming setting should consider Jazzhaus of Lawrence.


  1. An intimate and cozy setting
  2. A warm ambiance that creates an inviting space
  3. Excellent sound system tuned for acoustic music


  1. The venue is not ideal for larger musical acts
  2. During peak seasons, parking can be challenging, especially on Friday and Saturday nights.

The Granada Theater

The Granada Theater is located in Lawrence, Kansas, and has hosted live music performances since the 1940s. With its capacity of 1100 guests, it is one of the largest music venues in the region, and it has hosted various musical legends such as Willie Nelson, Snoop Dogg, and Katy Perry.

Local artists looking for exposure and a professional music venue should consider The Granada Theater. The venue’s stage and sound system were built to accommodate professional musicians, ensuring perfect pitch quality and fantastic sound.


  1. One of the largest music venues in the region, with a capacity of 1100 guests
  2. Hosted various musical legends
  3. Professional setup, accommodating professional musicians.


  1. The venue is less intimate than other venues that cater to local artists
  2. Due to the size of the venue, it can be challenging for smaller acts to attract a large audience.
Venue Location Capacity Genres Hosted
The Riot Room Westport, Kansas City 400 guests Hard rock, metal, punk, and electronic music shows
The Record Bar Crossroads Arts District, Kansas City 400 guests Rock, indie, and folk
Jazzhaus of Lawrence Lawrence, Kansas N/A Jazz, blues, and soul
The Granada Theater Lawrence, Kansas 1100 guests Multiple genres

In conclusion, choosing the right music venue plays a crucial role in an artist’s career. All the venues listed above provide local artists with a great platform to showcase their talent. The right venue will boost the artist’s career in terms of exposure, connections, and fan following. Get out there and show the world what you’ve got!

Exploring the Best Hidden Gems of Kansas City’s Underground Music Scene

In a city like Kansas, there are numerous options for music enthusiasts to groove to. However, the real charm lies in discovering and exploring the underground music scene that thrives in the heart of the city. With dozens of music venues across the city, including some hidden gems, each with their own style and flavor, this can be a daunting task. This article will break down some of the best-hidden gems of Kansas City’s underground music scene, where enthusiasts can experience some of the hottest, freshest, and most innovative sounds the city has to offer.

The Rhino

Located in the heart of the Crossroads Arts District, The Rhino is one of the best-hidden gems in Kansas City’s underground music scene. Established in 2005 as an intimate venue, it started hosting live music shows in 2010. Since then, it has become one of the most sought-after places for music enthusiasts in the city.

– Unique ambiance: The Rhino boasts an industrial, yet cozy ambiance with exposed brick walls, a vintage stage, and light strings that offer an enchanting ambiance.
– Diverse genres: The venue hosts a wide range of genres ranging from blues, rock, indie to experimental music.
– Epic lineup: The Rhino has a meticulously curated line-up that features upcoming and established bands and artists from across the country.

The Ship

For a unique and memorable experience, The Ship is a must-visit venue in Kansas City. The tiny bar is home to one of the most distinctive underground music scenes in the city.

– Nautical theme: As the name suggests, The Ship is nautically themed, offering an intimate and cozy ambiance that immerses visitors into a completely different world.
– Quality over quantity: The venue may be small, but it hosts quality live music nights featuring talented and upcoming artists that offer an unforgettable experience.
– Specialty cocktails: The Ship offers an excellent selection of whiskey and whisky cocktails that are sure to satisfy the taste buds of both aficionados and novices alike.

The Record Bar

The Record Bar is another great haunt in the city filled with incredible music, whiskey, and beer. Located in the legendary Crossroads Arts District, The Record Bar’s 300-person capacity makes it the perfect venue for catching upcoming acts and established artists.

– Extensive beer collection: The Record Bar offers an extensive beer collection, with over 25 beers on tap from all over the region.
– Unmatched sound quality: The venue has an exceptional sound system that makes live performances truly unforgettable.
– Quirky interior: The interior is a must-see – it features a 40-foot custom-shaped bar, quirky art installations, and comfortable booth seating.

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RiØTT has taken Kansas City by storm, becoming one of the hottest underground music venues in town. Established in 2018 in the heart of Kansas City’s Westport neighborhood, it has quickly become the go-to place for music enthusiasts.

– Eclectic performances: The venue features an eclectic mix of genres, including indie rock, rap, and EDM, ensuring that there’s something for everyone.
– Digital experience: The venue prides itself on an innovative digital experience that incorporates interactive visuals and sound design, taking the live music experience to another level.
– Perfect place for artists playing their first gig: RiØTT offers new and upcoming artists the opportunity to perform on their stages, giving them a chance to showcase their talent to a sizeable and enthusiastic crowd.

The Brick

The Brick is a staple of the underground music scene in Kansas City. Established in the early 2000s, it is a venue that has gained a reputation for offering excellent live music performances.

– Variety of live performances: The Brick offers an eclectic selection of live music performances, ranging from jazz, blues, and soul to indie rock, punk, and alternative music.
– Genuine atmosphere: The venue is a cozy, brick-walled space with a laid-back atmosphere that makes it the perfect place to kick back and relax with some great music.
– Quality over quantity: The Brick does not compromise on the quality of performances it offers, ensuring visitors leave with an unforgettable experience.

Venue Location Capacity Specialty
The Rhino Crossroads Arts District 150 Diverse Genres
The Ship Crossroads Arts District 40 Whiskey and Whisky cocktails
The Record Bar Crossroads Arts District 300 Beer Collection
RiØTT Westport 200 Digital Experience
The Brick Westport 100 Variety of live performances

In conclusion, there’s no shortage of hidden gems when it comes to exploring Kansas City’s underground music scene. Whether visitors are into indie rock, jazz, blues, or punk, there is something for everyone. The Rhino, The Ship, The Record Bar, RiØTT, and The Brick are just some of the city’s best-kept secrets worth discovering. With their unique ambiance, high-quality performances, and amazing specialty drinks, these venues offer an unparalleled experience that is sure to leave a lasting impression on music enthusiasts.

FAQs: Kansas City Music Venues

What are some popular music venues in Kansas City?

Some popular music venues in Kansas City include the Uptown Theater, the Riot Room, the Granada Theater, the Record Bar, and Knuckleheads Saloon.

What types of music can I find at Kansas City music venues?

Kansas City music venues offer a wide variety of music genres such as rock, hip hop, country, blues, jazz, and more. You can find everything from local indie bands to nationally recognized artists.

What is the atmosphere like at Kansas City music venues?

The atmosphere at Kansas City music venues varies, depending on the venue and its particular show. Some venues have a more laid-back atmosphere, while others are known for their energetic and lively crowds.

Do Kansas City music venues serve food and drinks?

Most Kansas City music venues do serve food and drinks. Depending on the venue, the menu may include a variety of food options and alcohol options.

Is there parking near Kansas City music venues?

Yes, there is parking available near Kansas City music venues. Some venues have parking lots, while others may have street parking available or nearby parking garages.

Do Kansas City music venues offer seating?

Depending on the venue, some may offer seating while others may be standing room only. Some venues may have both seating and standing areas available.

Can I purchase tickets for Kansas City music venues online?

Yes, most Kansas City music venues offer online ticket purchasing options through their website or through popular online ticket vendors like Ticketmaster or StubHub.

What is the best time to arrive at a Kansas City music venue?

The best time to arrive at a Kansas City music venue is typically an hour or so before the show starts. This will give you plenty of time to find your seat or spot and grab any food or drinks you may want.

Are Kansas City music venues accessible to those with disabilities?

Yes, many Kansas City music venues are accessible to those with disabilities. Some venues may have wheelchair ramps or elevators, and others may offer special seating areas for those with disabilities.

Are Kansas City music venues pet-friendly?

Most Kansas City music venues do not allow pets, with the exception of service animals. Pet policies may vary by venue, so it is best to check with the venue beforehand.


Kansas City is a bustling musical city with a thriving music scene. There are plenty of music venues to choose from, ranging from intimate settings to larger, more lively establishments. Visitors can find a variety of musical genres to enjoy, with food and drink options available at many venues. Visitors can arrive early to secure a good spot or seat and grab any refreshments before the show starts. Many venues are also accessible to those with disabilities. Whether you’re a local or a visitor to Kansas City, exploring the city’s music venues is a must-do experience.

After reading this article, be sure to check out other interesting articles on Kansas City’s top attractions and events.