Rock Your World With These Top Music Venues Columbus Ohio

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Hello music lovers, welcome to an article that will take you on a journey to explore the music venues of Columbus, Ohio. The Central Ohio region boasts a lively and diverse music scene with impressive venues that host a variety of music genres. However, if you are new to the area or are looking to explore beyond your usual hangouts, you may feel overwhelmed as to where to start. That’s where we come in! In this article, we’ve explored some of the top music venues that are a must-visit for any fan of live music in Columbus.

After reading this article, you can expect to have a better understanding of the music scene in Columbus, Ohio. We will provide you with a comprehensive guide to some of the top music venues in the area, covering their unique features, music genres they cater to, and upcoming shows that we think you’ll love. Not only that, but we’ll also give you tips on how to make the most of your concert-going experience by highlighting some of the best bars and restaurants to visit before or after a show.

So, what are you waiting for? All you need to do is sit back, put on your headphones and delve into our guide to discover the best music venues that Columbus, Ohio has to offer. Whether you’re a fan of rock, jazz, blues, or any other music genre, we’ve got you covered. With our help, you’ll be able to navigate the music scene like a pro and experience some of the best live music that Columbus has to offer.

Top Music Venues in Columbus Ohio

Columbus is a city in Ohio that is renowned for its lively music scene, with numerous music venues across the city hosting performances by artists from all genres. This article explores the top music venues in Columbus Ohio, showcasing their unique features, strengths, and weaknesses.

1. The Newport Music Hall

The Newport Music Hall is a legendary venue for music lovers in Columbus Ohio, located at 1722 N High St, Columbus, OH 43201. Founded in 1923, this venue is the oldest music venue in the city and has hosted some of the most iconic music acts over the years, making it the quintessential destination for any true music fan.

The Pros The Cons
  • Rich History: The Newport Music Hall has a long and illustrious history in Columbus, hosting some of the biggest names in music over the years, including Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie, and the Rolling Stones.
  • Intimate Setting: The venue has a capacity of 1700 people, ensuring a more intimate and engaging atmosphere for the audience.
  • Location: The Newport Music Hall is centrally located in the city, easily accessible by public transportation and within walking distance of a variety of bars and restaurants.
  • Outdated Facilities: The venue’s equipment and facilities are dated and are occasionally subject to technical issues.
  • Seating Arrangement: The seating arrangement is often not adequate for each performance, causing the audience to be cramped.

With its rich history and eclectic lineup of performers, The Newport Music Hall is a must-visit music venue in Columbus Ohio. If you are looking for an intimate, authentic, and engaging music experience coupled with top-notch performances, this is the place to be. However, the drawbacks to the venue’s outdated facilities and seating arrangements may affect your overall experience, so it’s important to manage your expectations.

2. Express Live!

Express Live! is an indoor/outdoor music venue located at 405 Neil Ave, Columbus, OH 43215, with a capacity of 2,200 people in the indoor venue and 5,200 people in the outdoor venue. Originally known as Promowest Pavilion, the venue was renovated and rebranded in 2016, complete with state-of-the-art equipment, bars, restaurants, and VIP lounges.

The Pros The Cons
  • State-of-the-Art Equipment: Express Live! boasts some of the most high-tech sound and lighting systems, ensuring an unmatched experience for concertgoers.
  • Outdoor and Indoor Venue: The venue offers both indoor and outdoor spaces for concerts, making it perfect for any type of musical act.
  • Food and Drinks Options: Express Live! has five bars and multiple restaurants with diverse food and drink options.
  • Crowded: Express Live! regulars would testify that the venue often gets crowded, giving an uncomfortable experience.
  • Pricey: Some drinks and food items at the venue are expensive, causing them to be unaffordable for some.

Express Live! is the perfect destination for music lovers looking for a modern, high-tech venue with both indoor and outdoor spaces, and a variety of food and drink options. However, the venue may often get crowded, resulting in an uncomfortable experience for some. Additionally, some of the items sold at the venue are expensive, making them unaffordable for some music lovers.

The History of Live Music in Columbus Ohio

The city of Columbus, Ohio, has a long and vibrant history of live music, with its roots tracing back to the early 1800s. Today, Columbus is home to a diverse music scene that features everything from indie rock and world music to jazz and blues. In this section, we’ll take a closer look at the city’s rich musical heritage, tracing its evolution from its early days to the present.

The Early Days of Columbus Music

Columbus has always had a thriving arts scene, which includes music, theater, and dance. But it wasn’t until the mid-1800s that the city’s music scene started to take shape. At that time, several music halls opened up in the city, including the Columbus City Music Hall, which hosted a variety of concerts and performances. Classical music was the dominant genre during this time, and it remained so until the early 1900s.

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The 20th Century

The turn of the 20th century saw the emergence of new musical genres, including jazz and blues. Columbus soon became a hub for these styles, with several jazz clubs and blues halls opening up throughout the city. One of the most famous of these was the King of Clubs, which hosted legendary musicians like B.B. King, Ray Charles, and James Brown.

In the 1960s and 70s, Columbus saw the rise of rock and roll, with bands like the Raspberries, the McCoys, and the James Gang making a name for themselves in the city’s nightclubs. At the same time, the city’s symphony orchestra continued to thrive, with the opening of the Ohio Theatre in 1928 providing a new venue for classical performances.

The 21st Century and Beyond

Today, Columbus is home to a thriving music scene that continues to evolve and grow. Indie rock has become particularly popular in recent years, with venues like The Basement and Ace of Cups attracting up-and-coming bands from across the country. Meanwhile, jazz and blues continue to thrive in the city’s many clubs and bars, and world music has also become increasingly popular.

The city is also home to several music festivals, including the Columbus Arts Festival, which features live music, theater, and dance performances, and ComFest, a community festival that showcases local musicians and artists. In recent years, Columbus has also become a hub for electronic music, with festivals like Breakaway Music Festival drawing huge crowds.

Table: Pros and Cons of Columbus Ohio Music Venues

Pros Cons
Large variety of genres High noise levels in some venues
Accessible to both locals and visitors Some venues can be crowded and difficult to navigate
Plenty of venues to choose from Some venues have limited capacity
Opportunities for up-and-coming artists Some venues may have high ticket prices
  • Columbus has a large variety of music genres to choose from, including indie rock, jazz, blues, and world music.
  • The city’s music venues are accessible to both locals and visitors, making it easy to enjoy live music no matter where you are.
  • With a plethora of music venues to choose from, Columbus has something for everyone.
  • Local venues provide opportunities for up-and-coming artists to showcase their talent and grow their audience.
  • However, some venues can be noisy, crowded, and difficult to navigate, and some may have limited capacity.
  • In addition, some venues may have high ticket prices, which can be a barrier for some music lovers.

Despite these challenges, Columbus’ music scene continues to thrive, providing a rich and diverse array of options for music lovers of all ages and tastes. Whether you’re a lifelong resident or just visiting the city, be sure to check out its many music venues and festivals, and get ready to experience the sounds of this vibrant and ever-changing city.

Outdoor music venues in Columbus Ohio

Columbus Ohio is a vibrant city with a thriving music scene, and it comes as no surprise that it has some great outdoor music venues. These venues provide a unique experience for music lovers as they get to enjoy live music under the open sky. In this article, we will explore the outdoor music venues in Columbus, Ohio, and delve into the various concerts, festivals, and events held at these venues.

Top Three Outdoor Music Venues in Columbus Ohio

Columbus, Ohio has a plethora of outdoor music venues, out of which we’ve shortlisted the top three based on popularity, acoustics, and amenities. These venues are CareSource Pavilion at RiverScape MetroPark, Ohio State Fairgrounds, and Express LIVE!

CareSource Pavilion at RiverScape MetroPark

CareSource Pavilion at RiverScape MetroPark is located in the heart of downtown Dayton and is known for hosting music concerts by local and national artists. The venue is an open-air pavilion which also serves as a beautiful scenic backdrop for concerts, with its location along the Great Miami River. The amenity-rich park is home to an ice rink during the winter months, a paddleboat rental facility, and a food court. The venue, which can accommodate up to 7,000 people, is also popular for hosting weddings and other events.

  • The venue is easily accessible via public transport and has ample parking nearby
  • The venue has a variety of food and beverage options available on-site
  • Outdoor events may face weather-related challenges such as rain or extreme heat, which can hamper the experience of the attendees

Ohio State Fairgrounds

Ohio State Fairgrounds, located in Columbus, Ohio, is a sprawling complex that hosts numerous events all year round, including the Ohio State Fair, which is the longest-running state fair in the country. The music venue has multiple outdoor stages that host concerts during the summer months. The Ohio State Fairgrounds is one of the largest multi-purpose buildings in the United States, occupying more than 360 acres of land.

  • The venue is large enough to accommodate large crowds and is easy to navigate
  • The Ohio State Fairgrounds has multiple stages that host different genres of music simultaneously
  • The Ohio State Fairgrounds charges parking fees for cars and has limited public transportation options available

Express LIVE!

Express LIVE!, situated in downtown Columbus, Ohio, is a music venue that has hosted some of the biggest names in music, including Rihanna, Taylor Swift, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The venue has an open-air stage and covered pavilion that offer clear sightlines to the stage from any vantage point. The venue also has a full-service bar and restaurant and can host up to 5,000 people. Express LIVE! is also characterized by its state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems.

  • The venue has excellent acoustics and boasts a lively atmosphere
  • Express LIVE! has a variety of food and drink options available on-site
  • The venue can get packed quickly, leading to long queues for food and drinks and limited seating options

Concerts, Festivals, and Events at Outdoor Music Venues

Outdoor music venues in Columbus, Ohio, host a wide range of events and concerts throughout the year. These include music festivals, concerts, live events, and community events.

Music Festivals

Music festivals are one of the most popular events at outdoor music venues in Columbus. The city hosts a wide range of festivals, from Ohio State Fair to The Columbus Arts Festival, which features music performances, including local and national artists.

Festival Name Date & Time
Ohio State Fair July 21-August 1, 2022
Columbus Arts Festival September 17-19, 2021
Rock on the Range Not Scheduled in 2021

Some of the must-attend music festivals in Columbus are:

  1. Ohio State Fair – The state fair is an annual event that showcases music from all genres, carnival rides, and games
  2. Columbus Arts Festival – The festival is a showcase of fine arts curated by the Greater Columbus Arts Council and features music performances, street performers, and local artisans
  3. Rock on the Range – Although it was not scheduled in 2021, it is a three-day rock music festival that has been held annually since 2007, featuring the biggest names in rock and metal music

Concerts and Live Events

Outdoor music venues in Columbus, Ohio, offer a range of concerts all year round, including events curated by local artists, cover bands, and national headliners.

  • The indoor-outdoor venue, Express LIVE!, is known for hosting popular musicians
  • CareSource Pavilion at RiverScape MetroPark is known for hosting local bands and has a loyal following among Daytonites
  • The Ohio State Fairgrounds hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including the annual Buckeye Country Superfest and the Jazz and Ribs Festival
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Community Events

Outdoor music venues also serve as community event spaces, attracting people from all walks of life to embrace their shared love for music. Some community events hosted by outdoor music venues in Columbus are:

  • Nelsonville Music Festival – Held in June in Athens, Ohio, the festival is a celebration of the Americana, bluegrass, and indie rock genres
  • Goodale Park Music Series – This event is held every Sunday from June through August and features free concerts performed by local musicians
  • Festival Latino – This event takes place in mid-August and showcases Latin music and culture with performances, dance, and food

In conclusion, outdoor music venues in Columbus, Ohio, offer a diverse selection of concerts, festivals, and events that cater to music lovers’ preferences. These venues provide a unique backdrop for music lovers, where they can enjoy their favorite artists while simultaneously being exposed to the natural beauty of Ohio. Regardless of your musical taste, Columbus’s outdoor music venues are sure to provide an unforgettable experience.

How Columbus Ohio music venues support local artists

Columbus Ohio has a thriving music scene that is well supported by various dedicated music venues. These music venues provide a platform for local artists to showcase their talent, grow their fan base, and gain recognition. In this article, we will look at how Columbus Ohio music venues support local artists.

Music Venues as a Platform to Showcase Talent

Music venues in Columbus Ohio are vital to the city’s music scene as they offer local artists a platform to showcase their talent. These venues host musical events that attract a diverse range of attendees, from locals to tourists. Artists are given the opportunity to showcase their talents and attract fans, which is important in building a successful career in the music industry.

Music venues give local artists the opportunity to perform in front of people who may not have heard of them before. By doing this, music venues provide exposure to local talent, which is important for gaining recognition and growing a loyal fan base. This exposure can also attract the attention of music industry professionals who are always on the lookout for new and fresh talent.

The variety of events held by music venues in Columbus Ohio is enormous, with each event tailored to a particular genre or style of music. This means that artists have the opportunity to reach a diverse audience, which is important for building a successful career in the music industry.

Networking Opportunities

Music venues also provide opportunities for local artists to network with other artists, venue owners, and industry professionals. This networking not only helps local artists to establish relationships but also helps artists to understand the workings of the music industry.

By networking with other artists, local artists can collaborate on projects, learn from each other, and even perform with other artists. This collaboration is instrumental in building a strong musical community in Columbus Ohio.

Networking with venue owners is essential as it helps local artists to understand the business side of the music industry. Venue owners can provide local artists with valuable insights into the music industry, such as what it takes to draw a crowd and the financial aspects of organizing a concert.

Networking with industry professionals, such as music producers or record labels, can also help local artists advance their music careers. Building a strong relationship with industry professionals can lead to opportunities such as record deals, music gigs, and collaborations with influential musicians.

Support for Music Education

Music venues in Columbus Ohio also support music education in the city. Some venues collaborate with local schools and universities to provide students with education on sound engineering, music production, and performance.

This support for music education is incredibly important as it helps to nurture new talent and foster a strong musical community in Columbus Ohio. Venues can provide students with access to professional equipment and trainers, which is essential for a successful music career.

The support for music education can also extend to offering scholarships or bursaries for students pursuing careers in music. This support can be truly pivotal in helping students to realize their musical ambitions and can help to attract new talent to Columbus Ohio.

Economic Benefits for Local Community

Music venues also provide significant economic benefits to the local community. The events hosted by these venues attract a diverse range of people, which means that they contribute to the city’s tourism industry. This can have a positive impact on the local economy, as visitors to the city will spend money on accommodation, food, and other tourist activities.

Additionally, music venues provide employment opportunities for local residents. These jobs can range from part-time employment to full-time positions, such as sound engineers or lighting technicians. The jobs created by music venues help to stimulate the local economy and provide employment opportunities for local residents.

In conclusion, music venues in Columbus Ohio play a crucial role in supporting local artists. They provide a platform for local artists to showcase their talent, network with other professionals, and gain valuable exposure. Music venues also stimulate the local economy and support music education in the city. All of these factors help to foster a strong musical community in Columbus Ohio, which is critical for nurturing new talent and building a successful music industry.

Pros Cons
Provide local artists with a platform to showcase their talents Some events may not attract as many attendees, leading to financial losses for the venue
Give opportunities for networking with other artists and industry professionals Risks associated with music venues, such as rowdy or disruptive audiences
Support music education in the city, which can help to nurture new talent High costs associated with running a music venue, such as rent, insurance, and equipment maintenance
Contribute to the local economy by providing employment opportunities and attracting visitors to the city Competition from other music venues in the area can make it harder to attract a loyal fan base

The Future of Music Venues in Columbus, Ohio

The capital city of Ohio, Columbus, is known for its vibrant music scene that has fostered some of the most significant musicians in the country. It is home to multiple music venues that provide varying, yet remarkable musical experiences. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly affected the entertainment industry, impacting music venues in Columbus, Ohio. In this section, we will take a closer look at the future of music venues in Columbus, Ohio, discussing the lasting impact of COVID-19, the steps taken to mitigate the pandemic’s effects, and the potential innovations that may shape the music scene.

The Lasting Impact of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly affected the music industry, with numerous music venues forced to shut down temporarily, postpone or cancel shows, and reduce capacity to meet social distancing guidelines. In Columbus, Ohio, most venues have been closed since March 2020, leading to a significant loss of business revenue, and the unfortunate reality of laying off employees to curb expenses. The pandemic has also led to the cancellation of numerous music events and festivals, such as the famous Columbus Jazz and Rib Fest that draws thousands of visitors every year.

Steps Taken to Mitigate the Pandemic’s Effects

Music venues in Columbus, Ohio, have put various measures in place to mitigate the pandemic’s effects, ensuring that concerts and events are safe for artists and patrons. One such measure is reducing the venue’s capacity to adhere to the recommended social distancing guidelines by state and local authorities. Additionally, venues have enforced mandatory mask-wearing, instituted frequent sanitization protocols, and enforced contactless payments to curb the spread of the virus.

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Potential Innovations that May Shape the Music Scene

The COVID-19 pandemic has expedited the adoption of technology and innovative solutions that could potentially shape the music scene in Columbus, Ohio. As music venues continue to navigate the ongoing pandemic, they have taken up virtual performances as an alternative to traditional in-person shows. By offering shows and concerts online, music venues have been able to reach a broader audience and generate revenue through ticket sales and online advertisements. The adoption of virtual performances has allowed musicians to continue engaging with their fans and keep the music scene alive despite physical restrictions.

Pros and Cons of Virtual Performances for Music Venues

Pros Cons
  • Increased reach to a broader audience.
  • Ability to charge for virtual tickets.
  • Reduced overhead costs, such as venue rental costs, electricity, and other overhead expenses.
  • Reduced interaction between the artist and the audience, resulting in a less personal experience.
  • Virtual performances cannot replace the atmosphere, vibe, and excitement of an in-person concert.
  • The internet’s unpredictability may cause disruptions during the performance.

The Future of Music Venues in Columbus, Ohio

Despite the challenges brought on by the pandemic, the future of music venues in Columbus, Ohio, looks promising. Music venues have demonstrated their resilience, adapting to the changes brought on by the pandemic, and organizing innovative events to keep the music scene alive. In turn, the people of Columbus, Ohio, have shown enthusiasm for live music, rallying behind their favorite artists and venues. The Columbus music scene has provided a platform for budding artists nationwide to showcase their talents, and with an array of innovative solutions and cautious measures in place, the future remains bright.

FAQs: Music Venues in Columbus, Ohio

What are the best music venues in Columbus, Ohio?

There are several excellent music venues in Columbus, Ohio that are worth checking out. Some of the best venues include the Newport Music Hall, Ace of Cups, Express Live!, The Basement, and Skully’s Music-Diner.

What types of music can I find in Columbus, Ohio?

Columbus, Ohio’s music scene is incredibly diverse, and music lovers can find virtually any genre of music they want. From indie rock and electronic music to blues, jazz, and country music, Columbus has something for everyone.

What are the age restrictions for music venues in Columbus, Ohio?

Age restrictions vary from venue to venue in Columbus, Ohio. Some venues are all-ages, while others require patrons to be 18 or 21 and over. If you’re unsure about an event’s age restrictions, check with the venue before you go.

How can I get tickets for music events in Columbus, Ohio?

You can get tickets for music events in Columbus, Ohio through a variety of channels, including the venue’s website, Ticketmaster, or third-party ticketing sites. It’s always a good idea to purchase tickets in advance to ensure you can attend the event.

Are there any free music events in Columbus, Ohio?

Yes, there are several free music events in Columbus, Ohio throughout the year. For example, the Columbus Arts Festival features a variety of musical performances, and the Music in the Park series offers free concerts in local parks during the summer months. There are also frequent free concerts at the Columbus Commons.

What is the best time to see live music in Columbus, Ohio?

The best time to see live music in Columbus, Ohio depends on your personal preferences. Some venues offer shows throughout the week, while others have more robust schedules on the weekends. It’s always a good idea to check the venues’ schedules in advance to find the events that work best for you.

Are there any outdoor music events in Columbus, Ohio?

Yes, there are several outdoor music events in Columbus, Ohio throughout the summer months. Some of the most popular events include the Jazz and Rib Fest, the Ohio State Fair, and the Columbus Arts Festival. You can also find outdoor concerts in local parks throughout the summer.

What are the best venues for live jazz music in Columbus, Ohio?

Columbus, Ohio has several excellent venues for live jazz music. Some of the best places to catch a jazz performance include Notes, Dick’s Den, Natalie’s Coal Fired Pizza and Live Music, and The Refectory.

Can I bring my own food and drinks to music venues in Columbus, Ohio?

Generally, music venues in Columbus, Ohio do not allow patrons to bring their own food and drinks. However, most venues offer a selection of food and drinks for purchase during events.

What is the dress code for music venues in Columbus, Ohio?

The dress code for music venues in Columbus, Ohio varies from venue to venue. Some venues have a more upscale dress code, while others are more casual. It’s always a good idea to check the venue’s website for any dress code guidelines before attending an event.


If you’re a music lover in Columbus, Ohio, you’re in luck – the city has an incredible music scene with something for everyone. From indie rock and electronic music to jazz and country music, Columbus has a venue and event to suit your tastes. Whether you’re looking for free concerts in local parks or want to splurge on a ticket to a high-end venue, there’s no shortage of live music events in Columbus. After reading this article, you might want to check out upcoming events and start planning your next musical adventure. Good luck and have fun exploring Columbus’s incredible music venues!