Discover The Best Music Venues In Kansas City For Your Next Night Out

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Welcome to the exciting world of music in Kansas City! In this article, we’ll be exploring some of the best music venues that this bustling Midwestern city has to offer. If you’re a music lover, you know that finding the perfect venue is crucial to creating the right atmosphere for your favorite artists. We’ve done the research for you and compiled a list of the top music venues in Kansas City, whether you’re into rock, blues, jazz, or country. Read on to discover your next favorite music spot!

By the end of this article, you’ll have a comprehensive understanding of the best music venues in Kansas City. We’ll provide you with detailed information on each venue, so you can make an informed decision about where to go next time you want to experience live music in the city. You’ll also get insider tips on what to expect at each venue, from the ambiance to the sound quality to the drink selection. Whether you’re a seasoned concertgoer or a first-time visitor to Kansas City, this article will have you covered.

You don’t have to take our word for it – the success of these music venues is proven by the talented acts that have played on their stages. Many of the biggest names in music have graced these venues with their presence, and the crowds keep coming back for more. From intimate venues where you can get up close and personal with your favorite artists to big concert halls with booming sound systems, you’ll find a range of experiences waiting for you in Kansas City. So sit back, relax, and get ready to add some amazing new music venues to your list of must-visit destinations.

Exploring the Top Music Venues in Kansas City

Kansas City, Missouri is a city rich in music history and culture. It has produced an impressive array of music legends over the years, such as Charlie Parker, Count Basie, and Big Joe Turner. It’s no surprise, then, that the city has a thriving music scene, with a variety of venues to suit every taste. In this article, we’ll explore the top music venues in Kansas City, including their history, features, and the types of music they host.

The Midland

The Midland theater is a historic venue located in downtown Kansas City. Originally built in 1927 as a movie palace, the Midland was renovated and reopened as a concert venue in 2008. Today, it is one of the premier music venues in the city, with a capacity of 3,000 and a state-of-the-art sound system. Here are some of the features that make the Midland stand out:

  • Historic architecture: The Midland is a beautiful example of Art Deco architecture, featuring a grand lobby, ornate ceilings, and elegant chandeliers.
  • Intimate atmosphere: Despite its large capacity, the Midland has a cozy, intimate feel that allows for a great concert experience.
  • Great sightlines: With tiered seating and no obstructed views, every seat in the house at the Midland offers a great view of the stage.
  • Top-notch sound system: The Midland has a state-of-the-art sound system that delivers clear, crisp sound throughout the venue.
  • Central location: Located in the heart of downtown, the Midland is easy to get to and surrounded by plenty of restaurants and bars.

On any given night, you might find a variety of musical acts at the Midland, from indie rock to country to hip-hop. Some recent performers include The Lumineers, AWOLNATION, and St. Vincent. The Midland is also known for hosting a variety of non-musical events, such as comedy shows and theatrical performances.

If you’re planning to attend a concert at the Midland, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, parking in downtown Kansas City can be a challenge, so be sure to arrive early or consider taking public transportation. Second, the Midland has a strict no re-entry policy, so plan to stay for the duration of the show. Finally, be aware that the Midland is a standing-room-only venue, so wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to stand during the concert.

Pros Cons
– Historic architecture – Standing-room-only
– Intimate atmosphere – No re-entry policy
– Great sightlines – Parking can be a challenge
– Top-notch sound system
– Central location

In conclusion, the Midland is a fantastic music venue in Kansas City, offering a unique combination of historic architecture, great sound, and a cozy atmosphere. If you’re in town and looking for a great concert experience, be sure to check out what’s happening at the Midland.

The History and Evolution of Kansas City’s Music Scene

Music has always held a special place in the heart of Kansas City. The city’s vibrant music scene has seen many highs and lows over the years, but it has never lost its charm or its impact on the cultural landscape of the region. In this article, we will explore the history and evolution of Kansas City’s music scene, highlighting key moments, important venues, and significant musicians along the way.

The Early Years: The Birth of Jazz

Kansas City’s music scene really began to take off in the early part of the 20th century. At that time, jazz was the hottest new sound in America, and Kansas City quickly became one of the epicenters of the genre. During this period, African American musicians played a pivotal role in creating a new sound that would eventually influence the entire world. Here are some key points from this era:

  • During the 1920s and 1930s, Kansas City was home to a thriving nightclub scene that featured performances by some of the biggest names in jazz, including Count Basie, Charlie Parker, and Bessie Smith.
  • The “Kansas City Sound” was characterized by a driving beat, bluesy melodies, and a heavy reliance on improvisation.
  • Important venues during this time included the Reno Club, the Sunset Club, and the Pla-Mor Ballroom.
  • Significant musicians from the era included Count Basie, Bennie Moten, and Big Joe Turner.

The Golden Age: The 1940s and 1950s

The post-World War II era was a time of great prosperity and growth in America, and Kansas City’s music scene flourished during this period. The city’s jazz musicians continued to innovate and evolve, while new genres like rhythm and blues and rock and roll began to emerge. Here are some key points from this era:

  • The 1940s and 1950s saw the rise of new venues like the Orchid Room, the Submarine Lounge, and the Green Mill.
  • Many of the musicians who got their start in Kansas City during this era would go on to achieve worldwide fame, including Charlie Parker, Lester Young, and Mary Lou Williams.
  • Important milestones from this time include the first recording session of Charlie Parker’s “Birdland” in 1949, and the release of Big Joe Turner’s “Shake, Rattle and Roll” in 1954.
  • Kansas City also played an important role in the birth of rock and roll. In the 1950s, the city was home to radio stations like KCKN and WHB, which helped to popularize the new sound.
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The Decline and Rebirth of the Music Scene: The 1960s and Beyond

As the 1960s rolled around, the music scene in Kansas City began to change. Traditional jazz and rhythm and blues were giving way to new sounds like psychedelic rock and funk. At the same time, the city was experiencing a decline in population and economic growth, which took a toll on the music scene. However, the city’s musicians and music lovers persevered, and a new generation of artists emerged to revitalize the scene. Here are some key points from this era:

  • During the 1960s, important venues in the music scene included The Cowtown Ballroom, The Vanguard Coffeehouse, and Club Napoleon.
  • New genres like psychedelic rock and funk emerged during this time, and artists like Quicksilver Messenger Service and Sly and the Family Stone gained a following in Kansas City.
  • Major events like the 1969 Kansas City Pop Festival and the 1977 “Rock Against Racism” concert helped to keep the music scene alive during a challenging time.
  • In the 1980s and 1990s, the music scene in Kansas City experienced a resurgence, with new venues like The Grand Emporium and Knuckleheads Saloon opening up and hosting acts from a variety of genres.

In conclusion, the history and evolution of Kansas City’s music scene is a rich and diverse story that spans the better part of a century. From the early days of jazz to the birth of rock and roll and beyond, this city has been at the forefront of American music. Today, the spirit of innovation and creativity that has always defined this scene continues to thrive, making Kansas City one of the best cities in the country for music lovers of all stripes.

The Importance of Choosing the Right Music Venue

Choosing the right music venue for your night out in Kansas City can make all the difference in your experience. Whether you’re going out with friends, on a date, or simply looking to indulge in good music, you want to make sure that the music venue you choose has the vibe and atmosphere that suits your style. Music venues in Kansas City cater to various genres, audiences and preferences, but finding the one that tickles your fancy requires some research and forethought. In this section, we’ll discuss why it’s important to choose the right music venue and how you can do so.

The Atmosphere and Vibe

The atmosphere and vibe of a music venue create a unique experience for the audience. Some venues have a laid-back, intimate vibe, while others are high energy, loud, and crowded. When choosing a music venue, consider your mood and the kind of night you want to have. A more intimate and relaxed atmosphere is perfect for a date night or a chill evening with friends. However, if you’re in the mood for a lively concert experience, then a venue with a high-energy, loud vibe is what you want.

The Genre of Music

The genre of music is one of the most crucial factors in choosing a music venue. If you like jazz, then you want to look for jazz bars or clubs. If you’re into rock or blues, then your ideal venue will be one that caters to rock or blues. Kansas City has a vast music scene, with venues such as The Record Bar, Knuckleheads Saloon, and The Truman, each featuring a diverse range of genres. Knowing what kind of music you like and choosing a venue accordingly will make your night out more enjoyable.

The Location and Accessibility

The location and accessibility of a music venue can significantly impact your decision. You don’t want to venture far from home only to find yourself in a sketchy neighborhood with no parking options. Choose a music venue located in safe and easily accessible areas, with ample parking or public transportation options. Some venues even offer shuttle services to and from their location.

The Size and Capacity

The size and capacity of the music venue you choose will impact the intimacy and overall experience of your night out. Smaller venues are often more intimate, allowing you to get up close and personal with the performers. Large venues can accommodate more guests, but can also dampen the intimacy of the performer-audience relationship. If you prefer a more personal experience, then consider smaller venues like the Green Lady Lounge or the Madrid Theatre, while larger venues like Sprint Center and Silverstein Eye Centers Arena should be your choice for bigger concerts and events.

The Cost and Affordability

The cost and affordability of the music venue will play a role in your decision. Some venues require an expensive cover charge or drinks, while others have no cover charge and affordable drink options. Consider your budget and choose a venue that fits within it. Red Flag and Westport Saloon offer affordable and pocket-friendly options, while upscale venues like Folly Theater can give you a fancy night out.

Pros and Cons of Popular Music Venues in Kansas City

Kansas City has an excellent music scene with various options for music lovers. Here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons of some of the most popular music venues in town.

Venue Pros Cons
The Record Bar – Great sound quality
– Intimate atmosphere
– Affordable pricing
– Limited seating
– Small stage
– No parking lot
Knuckleheads Saloon – Large capacity
– Great lighting and sound
– Spacious dancefloor
– Expensive cover charges
– Can get crowded
– Inconvenient location without a car
The Truman – Outstanding sound system
– Large capacity for bigger concerts
– VIP seating options
– High ticket prices
– Expensive drinks
– Inefficient air conditioning
  1. The Record Bar: If you’re looking for a small, intimate venue to catch some live music, then the Record Bar is an excellent choice. With a warm and cozy atmosphere and a diverse range of genres, the Record Bar features some of Kansas City’s hottest acts. However, the venue can get crowded, and the seating is limited.
  2. Knuckleheads Saloon: Located in the East Bottoms, Knuckleheads Saloon is a spacious venue with a large dance floor, outstanding lighting, and sound. It’s also an excellent choice for blues, rock and country music lovers, with various concerts lined up throughout the year. However, the cover charges can be expensive, and the location is not accessible without a car.
  3. The Truman: The Truman is a newer, upscale venue that has made its mark in Kansas City’s music scene. The venue can accommodate over 1000 guests and features a fantastic sound system and VIP seating options. However, the ticket prices are high, and the drinks are expensive.

Whether you’re a casual music fan or an avid concert-goer, choosing the right music venue for your night out can make all the difference in your experience. Consider the atmosphere and vibe of the venue, the genre of music they cater to, the location, size, accessibility, and cost before making your decision. Use our pros and cons list to help you narrow down your options and choose the one that suits your style, budget and preferences.

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The Rising Stars and Must-See Acts of Kansas City’s Music Venues

If you are a music lover, Kansas City’s music venues should definitely be on your bucket list. This city offers a variety of music genres that will tickle your fancy. From jazz to country music, rock to classical music, there’s something for everyone.

If you’re looking to discover new music and explore the city’s music scene, there’s no better way to start than by checking out Kansas City’s rising stars and must-see acts. This section will delve into the rising stars of Kansas City’s music scene and showcase some of the must-see acts that you don’t want to miss.

Rising Stars of Kansas City’s Music Scene

Kansas City is a hotbed of talented musicians and bands who have been making waves in the music industry with their fresh sounds and unique styles. Here are four rising stars of Kansas City’s music scene that you should definitely keep an eye on:

  1. The Greeting Committee
  2. Hembree
  3. The Phantastics
  4. Samantha Fish

The Greeting Committee

The Greeting Committee is a young indie-rock band that formed in Kansas City. Consisting of vocalist Addie Sartino, guitarist Brandon Yangmi, bassist Pierce Turcotte, and drummer Austin Fraser, the band’s music is characterized by its infectious energy, catchy hooks, and poignant lyrics. The Greeting Committee has released two EPs and one full-length album since their formation in 2015, and they have toured extensively in North America and Europe.


Hembree is another indie-rock band that has been garnering attention in the music industry with their electrifying live performances and captivating music. The band consists of vocalist/guitarist Isaac Flynn, keyboardist/vocalist Garrett Childers, drummer Eric Davis, and bassist Alex Ward. Their music is characterized by its driving rhythms, infectious melodies, and soaring vocals. Hembree has performed at major music festivals like SXSW and has opened for notable acts like Phoenix and Cold War Kids.

The Phantastics

The Phantastics is a seven-piece band that has been making waves in the Kansas City music scene with their eclectic blend of funk, soul, hip-hop, and jazz. The band consists of Kemet the Phantom (emcee), Kadesh Flow (emcee/trombone), JJ Cantrell (bass), Derek “Socrates” Vaughan (keys), Danny Florez (guitar), Ashley Thompson (saxophone), and Ryan Lee (drums). Their music is characterized by its infectious grooves, funky horn lines, and socially conscious lyrics. The Phantastics have opened for major acts like Chance the Rapper and the Roots.

Samantha Fish

Samantha Fish is a talented blues guitarist and singer-songwriter who is putting Kansas City on the map with her fiery performances and electrifying guitar solos. Fish started playing guitar at the age of 15 and quickly made a name for herself in the blues scene with her soulful voice and blistering guitar skills. Fish has released several critically acclaimed albums and has won several awards for her music, including the Blues Music Award for Best New Artist in 2012.

Must-See Acts of Kansas City’s Music Venues

Kansas City’s music venues are home to some of the best live music acts in the country. Whether you’re a fan of jazz, rock, or classical music, there’s something for everyone in Kansas City. Here are four must-see acts that you should add to your list:

  1. The Elders
  2. Johnnyswim
  3. Jeremy Kittel Band
  4. Mighty Mighty Bosstones

The Elders

The Elders is a Kansas City-based band that plays an eclectic blend of Irish folk-rock music. The band’s music is characterized by its lively instrumentation, soaring harmonies, and storytelling lyrics. The Elders have released several critically acclaimed albums and have toured extensively in the United States and Europe.


Johnnyswim is a husband-and-wife duo that plays a soulful blend of folk, pop, and rock music. The duo consists of Amanda Sudano and Abner Ramirez, who both sing and play guitar. Johnnyswim’s music is characterized by its shimmering melodies, heartfelt lyrics, and soaring harmonies. The duo has released several albums and has toured with notable acts like Lauren Daigle and Kacey Musgraves.

Jeremy Kittel Band

The Jeremy Kittel Band is a contemporary string ensemble that plays a unique blend of Celtic, jazz, and folk music. The band features violinist Jeremy Kittel, guitarist Quinn Bachand, bassist Josh Pinkham, and percussionist Jonny Allen. The band’s music is characterized by its dynamic arrangements, virtuosic musicianship, and genre-defying style. The Jeremy Kittel Band has toured extensively and has performed at major music festivals like Bonnaroo and the Monterey Jazz Festival.

Mighty Mighty Bosstones

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones is a Boston-based ska-punk band that has been entertaining audiences for over 30 years. The band’s music is characterized by its skanking rhythms, brass section, and socially conscious lyrics. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones have released several hit albums, including “Let’s Face It,” which spawned the hit single “The Impression That I Get.” The band has toured extensively and has played at major music festivals like Lollapalooza and Warped Tour.

Band Genre Awards
The Greeting Committee Indie Rock None
Hembree Indie Rock None
The Phantastics Funk/Soul/Hip-Hop/Jazz None
Samantha Fish Blues Blues Music Award for Best New Artist (2012)
The Elders Irish Folk-Rock None
Johnnyswim Folk/Pop/Rock None
Jeremy Kittel Band Celtic/Jazz/Folk None
Mighty Mighty Bosstones Ska-Punk None
  • Kansas City is known as the “Heart of America,” and it has a vibrant and diverse music scene that reflects its rich cultural heritage.
  • Kansas City is home to the world-famous jazz district and has produced many notable jazz musicians, including Charlie Parker and Count Basie.
  • The Kansas City music scene is known for its grassroots approach, with many local musicians supporting each other and collaborating on projects.
  • Kansas City’s music venues offer a variety of experiences, from intimate jazz club settings to large arenas that host major concerts and events.
  • The city’s music festivals, including Middle of the Map Fest and Folk Alliance International, draw visitors from all over the world and showcase the best of Kansas City’s music scene.

In conclusion, Kansas City’s music scene is rich and diverse, with something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you’re a fan of rising stars or must-see acts, you won’t be disappointed by the quality and variety of music that this city has to offer. So grab your tickets and head to one of Kansas City’s music venues to experience the magic for yourself.

The Unique Architecture and Atmosphere of Kansas City’s Music Venues

Kansas City has a thriving music scene, and one of its defining features is the unique architecture and atmosphere of its music venues. Whether it’s a small club, a large concert hall, or an outdoor amphitheater, Kansas City’s music venues all have their own distinct character and charm. In this article, we’ll explore some of the key elements that make these venues so special.

The Architecture of Kansas City’s Music Venues

Music venues in Kansas City come in all shapes and sizes, from historic theaters to modern arenas. Here are some of the most common types of music venues in the city:

  1. Theaters: Many of Kansas City’s most iconic music venues are historic theaters that have been around for decades. These venues often feature ornate, elegant architecture and have a sense of grandeur that can’t be found in newer venues. Examples of theaters in Kansas City include The Midland and The Folly Theater.
  2. Clubs: Small clubs and bars are where many up-and-coming musicians cut their teeth in Kansas City. These venues often have an intimate, cozy atmosphere that is perfect for seeing local bands or discovering new music. Some popular clubs in Kansas City include The Riot Room and The Record Bar.
  3. Arenas: Larger music venues like arenas and stadiums are where you’ll find the biggest acts in the world. These venues are known for their massive size and state-of-the-art sound systems. Sprint Center is one of the most popular arenas in Kansas City.
  4. Amphitheaters: Outdoor amphitheaters are a great way to enjoy live music in the summer months. These venues often have a relaxed, casual atmosphere and can accommodate a large number of people. Starlight Theatre is one of the most popular amphitheaters in Kansas City.
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No matter what type of music venue you visit in Kansas City, you’re likely to find a unique and interesting architecture that adds to the overall experience.

The Atmosphere of Kansas City’s Music Venues

In addition to their unique architecture, Kansas City’s music venues each have their own distinct atmosphere that makes them special. Here are some of the elements that contribute to the overall vibe of these venues:

  • Crowd: The people who attend a music venue can have a big impact on the atmosphere. Some venues attract a more rowdy, energetic crowd, while others are known for their more laid-back vibe.
  • Lighting: The lighting design in a music venue can help create a certain mood or atmosphere. Some venues use elaborate light shows to enhance the live music experience.
  • Decor: The decor of a music venue can be a big part of its personality. From vintage posters to modern art installations, the decor can help define the overall atmosphere of the venue.
  • Sound: Of course, the sound quality in a music venue is crucially important. Venues with high-quality sound systems can make all the difference in the live music experience.

By paying attention to these elements, Kansas City’s music venues are able to create a unique and memorable atmosphere that sets them apart from other cities.

Pros and Cons of Different Types of Music Venues in Kansas City

While each type of music venue in Kansas City has its own unique charm, they all come with their own pros and cons. Here’s a breakdown of what to expect from each type of venue:

Venue Type Pros Cons
  • Historic ambiance
  • Elegant architecture
  • Intimate setting
  • Higher ticket prices
  • Less comfortable seating
  • Limited bathroom facilities
  • Intimate setting
  • Casual atmosphere
  • Chance to discover new music
  • Potentially rowdy crowd
  • Limited food and drink options
  • Poor sound quality
  • Top-tier sound quality
  • Big-name acts
  • Comfortable seating
  • Higher ticket prices
  • Parking and traffic can be a hassle
  • Less intimate setting
  • Casual atmosphere
  • Outdoor setting
  • Family-friendly
  • Weather-dependent
  • Potential for noise pollution
  • Less comfortable seating

Of course, these pros and cons will vary depending on the specific venue you visit. It’s always a good idea to do some research before buying tickets so you know what to expect.


The architecture and atmosphere of Kansas City’s music venues is what makes the city’s music scene so special. With a wide variety of venues to choose from, music lovers can experience everything from historic theaters to outdoor amphitheaters. By paying attention to the unique elements that make each venue special, visitors can truly appreciate the one-of-a-kind experience that Kansas City’s music venues have to offer.

FAQs: Music Venues Kansas City

What are the popular music venues in Kansas City?

Kansas City is renowned for its music venues. Some of the well-known venues are The Truman, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, VooDoo Lounge at Harrah’s Casino, The Record Bar, the Madrid Theatre, and Arvest Bank Theatre at The Midland.

What type of music can I hear in Kansas City?

Kansas City has a diverse music scene, and you can hear an array of musical genres like Jazz, Blues, Classic Rock, Indie, Country, R&B, and much more.

Do we have any outdoor music venues in Kansas City?

Yes, Kansas City has some exceptional outdoor music venues where you can enjoy music in natural ambiance. Some of the popular outdoor music venues are Starlight Theatre, Providence Medical Center Amphitheater, CrossroadsKC, and Knuckleheads, to name a few.

Is smoking allowed in the music venues of Kansas City?

Smoking is not allowed in any indoor music venue in Kansas City. Moreover, some outdoor venues have designated smoking areas, and some others do not permit smoking.

Do I need to book tickets in advance to attend a concert in Kansas City?

It is always better to book tickets in advance to avoid last-minute hassles. You can either book tickets online through the music venue’s website or physical tickets from the box office of the music venue.

What is the dress code for music venues in Kansas City?

There is no specific dress code for music venues in Kansas City. However, to get the best experience, it is better to check with the specific venue for any dress code restrictions.

Can I get food and drinks in the music venues?

Yes, many music venues have food and drinks available in the venue. However, the availability and prices of food and drinks depend on the specific venue.

Are the music venues kid-friendly?

Not all music venues are kid-friendly, and the age restrictions vary from venue to venue. It is advisable to check with the specific venue for its age restrictions policies.

Is there any transportation facility for music venues of Kansas City?

Yes, Kansas City has an excellent public transportation facility, and most of the music venues are easily accessible through public transport. Moreover, ride-sharing services are also available in the city.

Are music venues accessible to people with disabilities?

Yes, many music venues in Kansas City are accessible to people with disabilities. Moreover, most of the venues have specific parking areas, ramps for wheelchair access, and designated seating areas for people with disabilities.


Kansas City is undeniably one of the best places for music enthusiasts, and it offers a diverse range of music genres and music venues. From indoor to outdoor music venues, Kansas City has various options to explore. Before visiting any music venue, it is always good to check with the specific venue for its policies and restrictions. If you are a music lover, Kansas City is a must-visit destination for you. After reading this article, you can plan your visit to the best music venues in Kansas City.

Thank you for reading! Check out our other exciting articles for more information on the Kansas City scene.