Music to My Ears: The Haute 5 Live Music Venues in Los Angeles

walt disney concert hall

Live music in LA? Wow, have we got that covered. While LA may not be the “live music capital” that Austin, Texas, claims to be, fact is, these days we have an impressive array of venues ranging from a world-class opera house to all kinds of funky little spots. Pick a Haute 5? Sigh, if I must…

Walt Disney Concert Hall

Well of course I had to start here. Designed by Frank Gehry for acoustic perfection as well as architectural excellence, Disney (above) has been revered as one of the world’s best since virtually the day it opened (2003). Today, it’s the home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic as well as an impressive array of International talent. Upcoming shows include Itzhak Perlman, Natalie Cole, and Wynton Marsalis.

Walt Disney Concert Hall is located at 111 South Grand Avenue, 323.850.2000

hotel cafe

The Hotel Café

It may seem a stretch to call this tiny Hollywood storefront one of LA’s best, but it’s organic, attitude-free vibe is incredibly uncommon, and the chance that you’ll see some genuine talent on the way up the ladder very strong (and maybe a celeb like Robert Pattinson or Katherine Heigl). Go early to score a table. Upcoming shows include Bardo, Rachel Yamagata, Gary Jules.

The Hotel Cafe is located at 1623 1/2 North Cahuenga Boulevard, 323.461.2040

hollywood bowl

Hollywood Bowl

A world famous icon for decades, the Bowl’s massive size and the often arduous task of getting into it disappear once a show starts, and the intimate communal feeling rushes in. When an artist feels they’re playing somewhere special, it makes the performance more special too. Box seats are prime, but “pond” seating even better. Upcoming shows include Harry Connick Jr (this weekend!), The Chemical Brothers, and Earth, Wind & Fire(works).

The Hollywood Bowl is located at 2301 North Highland Avenue, 323.850.2000

el rey

El Rey

No matter what kind of show you’re seeing, there’s nothing like a classic theatre, and this restored 1928-vintage 700-capacity venue on the Miracle Mile has seen some great shows indeed. Upcoming shows include Justin Nozuka, Charlatans UK and Sebastien Tellier.

The El Rey is located at 5515 Wilshire Boulevard, 323.936.6400

the echo los angeles


Unlike all the above venues, the Echo and Echoplex venues in Echo Park aren’t necessarily great venues. In a barely-converted former Mexican Restaruant (the Nayarit—they never bothered changing the sign) both rooms are pretty grungy, But sometimes that’s the best environment to see great indie and underground music (just ask Avril Lavigne or Lindsay Lohan), and veteran talent booker Liz Garo simply gets the best. Upcoming shows include Southern Culture, The Gories, Jim Jones Revue, Tom Tom Club.

The Echo/Plex is located at 1822 West Sunset Boulevard, 213.413.8200

And I didn’t even mention: Gibson Amphitheatre, Café Largo, The Wiltern, The Mint, Catalina Jazz Club, Jazz Bakery, House of Blues, Kodak Theatre, Dorothy Chandler Pavillion, LA Live, Staples Center, The Roxy, Palladium, Greek Theatre, Avalon, Troubadour, McCabe’s, Santa Monica Pier, Mayan Theatre and the Music Box.