Touring Midwest Music Venues and Hotspots

Touring Midwest Music Venues and Hotspots

You wouldn’t think there would be much happening out in the midwest. After all, isn’t it all just cows and cornfields? 

Contrary to what you might believe, the midwest is home to one of the most happening music scenes in all of the country. Bands like The Smashing Pumpkins, Fall Out Boy, and Greta Van Fleet all got their start playing at local venues across the midwest, and countless others share those same origin stories. If you’re considering purchasing one of the many Cincinnati houses for sale on the market, here are some of the best midwest musical hotspots to check out once you get into town.

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Empty Bottle

1035 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL

Empty Bottle is one of the coolest indie rock dive bars in all of the midwest. Located in Chicago, Empty Bottle has hosted bands and artists across a variety of genres, from indie bands to techno acts. The ambiance of the venue is also unique, with vintage show flyers, memorabilia, and photo strips from the bar’s old photo booth plastered to the walls. If that doesn’t sound cool enough, Empty Bottle offers free shows on Monday nights! 

Fine Line Music Cafe

318 N 1st Ave, Minneapolis, MN

The Fine Line Music Cafe is one of those rare venues that has hosted both up-and-coming acts AND huge superstars. The venue, located in the heart of the Warehouse District in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota, has seen big acts like Lady Gaga, Maroon 5, and Sheryl Crow come through their doors, as well as smaller local and touring bands. Since 1987, the Fine Line Music Cafe has been a staple in the midwest music scene and continues to be a go-to spot to see live music in Minneapolis! 


3730 N Clark St, Chicago, IL

Whether you’re from the midwest or not, you may have heard of Metro. Metro is one of the most recognizable names when it comes to midwest music venues, and for good reason! The Chicago-based hotspot has thousands of bands ranging from household names to local and regional acts. With a maximum capacity of 1,100 and multiple levels, Metro is one of the best places to see live music in the midwest and has been putting on shows for decades. Future live acts you can expect to see at Metro include Alex G, beabadoobee, and Best Coast.

The Surf Ballroom

460 N Shore Dr, Clear Lake, IA

While The Surf Ballroom might not be like the other venues on this list, don’t discount how great it is. Nestled in Clear Lake, Iowa, The Surf Ballroom is one of the oldest and most historic music landmarks in the midwest. Opened in 1934, this venue has seen countless musical acts come through it’s doors, including legends such as Roy Orbison, Little Richard, and Buddy Holly. Today, The Surf Balloon still hosts many musical guests, and memorabilia from the past can be seen on the walls inside of the venue. If you ever find yourself in Iowa, The Surf Ballroom is really worth checking out, even just for a quick visit.