The 10 Best Places for Live Music in Dallas, TX
Dallas offers a lot more than world-class shopping, tourism, and barbecue restaurants. Luckily for visitors and locals, this city has a thriving scene with its huge assortment of music venues that play host to acts of varied genres and popularity levels. So whether you’re in the mood for a pleasant evening of jazz or wish to revel in soft rock, Dallas doesn’t disappoint! You’re most likely to find a Dallas music venue to suit your preferences.
While terrific places to catch live music can be found throughout the city, they all differ in terms of capacity. Here’s a short rundown of the 10 best music venues in Dallas, ranked by size.
Venues of <500 Capacity
- Dada Dallas
- The Kessler Theater
- Good Records
Accommodation Capacity: 400
The local music scene at Deep Ellum is buzzing with plenty of live music venues. One of the best music venues here is Dada Dallas. While the place, in itself, isn’t very impressive with its brick walls, plain cement floors and a boring bar with the usual offerings, the low-slung corner stage sees a great deal of action. On any given night, you can witness the audience swaying to the tunes of a popular band playing music. The USP of Dada is that it hosts a complete range of genres, right from hip-hop to bluegrass. Additionally, the ample sound system and an extra patio space for those looking to unwind in silence, deserve a thumbs up. The fact that this place serves beer makes it just perfect for a casual evening with old friends.
Accommodation Capacity: 300
Gone are those days when people enjoyed concerts with rapt attention rather than concentrating on clicking pictures for micro blogging sites. The Kessler Theater attempts to re-capture the age-old charm of concerts and present the very best concert-viewing experience to music-lovers. While the tickets are general admission, the seats are spread throughout the balcony and floor, with resplendent VIP tables set near the stage. Visitors love the seating facility that comes across as a welcome change from those painful moments of standing endlessly during shows. Rest assured, you’ll never get bored by the talent on display, and the adjacent bar just takes the experience to a whole new level altogether. There’s an exhaustive selection of house cocktails and local brews to choose from, making The Kessler Theater a refreshing place to catch a show.
Accommodation Capacity: 75
Good Records opens its doors to a poignant stage that has witnessed some of the most popular touring acts to date. Bands playing sold-out shows at other places make it a point to play on this tiny stage clad in a glowing green carpet considered somehow suitable for competitive sports. Although Good Records is more of a record store and less of a music venue, the fact that it hosts popular band performances on a frequent basis ranks it as one of the best music venues in Dallas. Moreover, it deserves a thumbs up for staging free shows.
Venues of 500-2000 Capacity
Accommodation Capacity: 1,500
The country music fans may know the South Side Music Hall as Gilley’s but others would identify it as The Palladium Ballroom. While this concert venue does flaunt an all-new refurbished look, it still remains untainted by touches of flashy, contemporary decor. Besides the little “sign out” front, locals still recall it as a classic place to revel in some pleasant live music. South Side Music Hall plays host to the most nationally popular touring acts and the bands you see playing here are usually on their last stop of venues this size.
Accommodation Capacity: 1,150
Remodeled recently into a movie theater, Granada Theater on Greenville Ave hosts a mind-numbing variety of sports watch-events, classic movies, and popular touring music acts. Tucked away in a neat corner, the concession booth that once served popcorn and candy now offers a full spectrum of adult drinks. The place, with all its ancient charm, does bear a trendy look too, with psychedelic murals gracing the walls and ceiling. There are three well-defined areas to enjoy the music: a loosely arranged floor area, a congested space set in front of the stage and a spacious balcony area resting atop. Seats are allocated on a first-come basis, so you have to arrive early to take your pick.
Accommodation Capacity: 650
If you’re searching for an all-rounder (in terms of ambiance, popularity, seating arrangement and location) then Trees is undoubtedly the best music venue in Dallas. This is one of the few places where eminent bands to the likes of Nirvana perform. No wonder then that it has maintained an unrivaled status quo for two decades in the concert business. The medium seating capacity is a big advantage and makes it the best place to catch both, bands on the pinnacle of stardom as well as the good local ones vying for attention. To top it all, the interiors are particularly striking. While the standing-room floor slopes conveniently to give everyone a good sightline, the balcony railing offers a great vantage point for a bird’s-eye view.
Venues of >2000 Capacity
- American Airlines Center
- Gexa Energy Pavilion
- The Bomb Factory
- Winspear Opera Center
Accommodation Capacity: 21,000
If Victory Park defines the music scene of Dallas, then American Airless Center is its crowning jewel. Considered to be the hub of high-profile music lovers, this venue has played host to plenty of popular bands that with their stellar acts went on to occupy the top position. The best thing about this stadium venue is its seating capacity, which is huge enough to accommodate large crowds of people and offer the complete experience of a band concert. Watching bands perform in a space so huge is more about the lights, the theatrics and the pyrotechnics and less about the performance, but that’s not an issue because the music system of this place is pretty good.
Accommodation Capacity: 20,111
Gexa Energy Pavilion at Fair Park is true to its name- A concrete pavilion pulsating with loud music and energy. Bearing the age-old tag of “the crudest Dallas music venue”, it doesn’t have much to offer in terms of interiors. Instead, it is actually a plain big place featuring steel beams and concrete floors. As much you hate the place for its crude surroundings, you’re sure to get fascinated by all the popular bands that come to play here. That stereotypical scene of a hair-metal band playing at a booming noise to huge crowds of people, with the audience responding in full zest, is what you get to witness at Gexa Energy Pavilion. If you want to let your hair down and party like crazy, then Gexa is where you should be.
Accommodation Capacity: 4,300
The Bomb Factory, with its fascinating sound and size, aims to please. Established by the same cool couple that refurbished Trees years ago, this place has recently ushered into the Dallas music scene as a remodeled version of the early Deep Ellum. This plush new Dallas music venue features a plethora of improvements as compared to its predecessor. To start with, it has air-conditioning, which is quite a big change, plus premium suits, as well as a spacious seating space that’s devoid of beams to block your vision.
Accommodation Capacity: 2,300
Luckily, you don’t have to be an out-and-out opera lover to enjoy this trendy performance hall. Designed for top-notch acoustics rather than capacity, Winspear Opera Center is flocked by rock stars of both, past and present fame. Visually too this place is impressive, with its ruby red interior and a splendid retractable chandelier, all of which contribute to a magnificent setting that you’ve to see to believe! Winspear Opera Center is, in essence, the nexus of comfortable seating, grand setting and refined music. No wonder then that it has quickly emerged to become the center stage of musical activity in the Dallas Arts District.
Whatever your musical preferences, the aforementioned venues have something to offer every music fan in Dallas. Whether you wish to watch a pleasing concert, shout out loud with the performing band or simply indulge in a romantic musical revelry, there is a Dallas music venue for all your needs.