America’s Best Music Cities
If you’re a music lover like me, you’ll know that sometimes the most important quality a city can have is it’s music scene. I lived in Philadelphia for two years, and about 80% of my free time was spent going to shows and immersing myself in the local music scene. The good news is, you don’t have to travel to the east coast just to find decent music. There are countless cities in America that boast a prominent music scene. Here are a few of the best.
Seattle, aka the birthplace of grunge, is one of my favorite cities for music. Legendary 90s bands like Nirvana, Alice In Chains, and Pearl Jam all hail from Seattle and its surrounding towns. The iconic record label Sub Pop was founded in Seattle and still maintains a strong presence in the music scene today. Sub Pop was the first record label to sign many alternative bands before they got big and achieved worldwide success, and released several albums in the 2000s, including three albums by The Shins and a self-titled Fleet Foxes album.
Austin is known for hosting two of the biggest annual music festivals; South by Southwest and Austin City Limits. Every year, thousands of people flock to Austin to attend these festivals and check out Downtown Austin. Despite Texas having a reputation as being a state dominated by country music, Austin actually has a very active indie scene. In fact, Iron & Wine and Spoon are two popular indie bands that call Austin home. The flourishing music scene and cultural aspect might be one of the reasons Austin real estate is so coveted!
Philadelphia is a city that prides itself on its DIY music scene. DIY, which stands for Do It Yourself, is a type of music that’s most commonly aligned with the city of Philadelphia. When a band calls themselves DIY, it means that they write, record and produce their own music, and often even book their own shows and design their own merch. This can be seen in Alex G, a DIY musician from Philadelphia who started recording his own music during his time studying at Temple University. I had the pleasure of seeing Alex G perform live a few years ago, at one of my first DIY shows. I was impressed by his ability to play multiple instruments and found myself really vibing to his music. A few of his songs are still in my daily rotation to this day.
You can’t talk about legendary music cities and not mention Nashville. Some of the biggest acts of our time hail from Nashville, including The Black Keys, Kings of Leon, and Jack White of The White Stripes. Nashville also has some of the most iconic venues in the country, like Ryman Auditorium, The Mercy Lounge, and Exit/In. After all, they don’t call Nashville “Music City” for nothing!