Top ten music venues

Mississippi Studios is quite possibly one of the best venues around Portland.

Mississippi Studios

3939 N Mississippi Ave.

(503) 288-3895

Mississippi Studios is quite possibly one of the best venues around Portland. Not only does it have a gorgeous interior, but it is also wonderfully intimate and the acoustics couldn’t be any better. Located on the ever-trendy Mississippi Avenue, this venue hosts a wide variety of artists, from folk music to blues to pop. And to make it even more appealing, the staff is friendly! Its menu boasts your typical bar food (with vegan options) and an array of beers.

Someday Lounge

125 NW 5th Ave.

(503) 248-1030

Located in downtown Portland, the Someday Lounge is a quirky little venue that’s a lot of fun. Though the crowd can be a little iffy at times, the staff is very helpful and the food is great. And don’t worry; there are quite a few vegetarian dishes. It has hosted some great bands—anywhere from rock to instrumental—and has plenty of standing room. But if standing isn’t your thing, there’s also a nice little lounge looking out over the stage.

Bossanova Ballroom

722 E Burnside St.

(503) 206-7630

Bossanova Ballroom not only features live music, but fashion shows, dance parties and anything else you can think of. Walking into the ballroom, you’ll find plenty of space and a beautiful vintage stage curtained with plush red velvet drapes. There’s also an upstairs section that provides a bird’s eye view of the stage. Though prices vary depending on what event is going on, there is a full bar that’ll keep you satisfied all night.

Alberta Rose Theater

3000 NE Alberta St.

(503) 719-6055

Alberta Rose Theater originally opened as a movie house in 1927 until its doors closed in 1978. However, it has since been reopened and hosts a diverse mix of musical genres ranging from country and Americana to jazz and rock. Not only is it welcoming and down-to-earth (a relief from some of Portland’s other rather exclusive venues), but the sound is great and the staff is incredibly helpful. And don’t fret; Alberta Rose Theater is cheap, too.

Doug Fir Lounge

830 E Burnside St.

(503) 231-9663

This retro-inspired venue has established quite a name for itself in Portland. It’s easily the trendiest place in town, so if that’s what you’re looking for, Doug Fir Lounge is the place to be. Its interior is designed with impressive woodwork and includes an intimate lounge with both standing and seated areas. Most of the artists that perform there are of the indie genre, both local and international.

The Know

2026 NE Alberta St.

(503) 473-8729

The Know primarily caters to the grunge rock/punk scene in town, but it also hosts dance parties, film screenings and art openings. It’s a small, dive-y venue and the music is loud, so don’t go there expecting a peaceful evening. A word of advice: If you’re not of the crusty hipster-type, you’ll probably get snubbed by the staff. But if you go there during happy hour, you’ll find some incredibly cheap drinks ($2.50 for a well drink, anyone?). There’s also a pool table to keep you busy.


1001 SE Morrison St.

(503) 239-7639

Holocene isn’t for everyone, but it definitely deserves a place on this list. Known for its dance parties, this venue the perfect place to go to for a night on the town. Located in a warehouse, hip electronica artists and deejays frequent the venue. There is also a large open dance floor to get your groove on and a semi-private “necking” room for hooking up (if you don’t mind PDA). The bartenders are super friendly, though you’ll probably have to stand in a long line for a drink on busy nights.

Ash Street Saloon

225 SW Ash St.

(503) 226-0430

Ash Street Saloon features live bands seven nights a week (primarily rock music). Situated in downtown Portland, this saloon not only promises a fun time, but is also easy on the wallet. Where else can you find a decent burger for only $3? There are also a variety of beer choices. Though the crowd can be sketchy at times, depending on the band playing, Ash Street Saloon definitely has it going on.

Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall

1037 SW Broadway

(503) 248-4335

Where would this list be without at least one music hall? Located just blocks away from Portland State’s campus, the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall was built in 1928 and still retains that early 20th century feel. It hosts a variety of renowned local and national artists, as well as symphony orchestras inspired by classical favorites such as Bach and Stravinsky. Though tickets are spendy, it’s worth sacrificing an extra $20 to see a show here.

Oregon Zoo

4001 SW Canyon Rd.

(503) 226-1561

Okay, so it’s not really a venue, but each summer the Oregon Zoo hosts its Summer Concerts at the Zoo, where concert-goers can enjoy the warm summer nights (hopefully) in the zoo’s large grassy amphitheater. In the past, big name acts such as the Avett Brothers have headlined there. Though the 2011 lineup hasn’t been announced yet, it’s sure to be good. Make sure to buy tickets soon, as they usually sell out.