The rise and fall of some of Miami’s beloved music venues is a sensitive subject. Music fans will forever mourn the loss of Grand Central, Studio A, the Vagabond, Will Call, Tobacco Road, the Stage, and many others. But we are hopeful that Miami’s current stages will fill the gaping void.
Then there are the lesser-known spots, some of the 305’s uncharted territory.
Here are the five best music venues in Miami you might have overlooked. They all warrant a visit.
1. Olympia Theater
A link to Miami’s past.
Photo by Jessica G.
174 E. Flagler St., Miami; 305-374-2444; olympiatheater.org
In the heart of downtown Miami stands a 91-year-old relic that’s a link to Miami’s past. Opened in 1926 as a silent-movie palace, this historic theater embodies Miami glamour. Take just one step inside and you can instantly feel the venue's rich past. Elvis Presley, B.B. King, and Etta James have performed here. With its twinkling night-sky ceiling, opulent decor, and red velvet curtains, this theater drips elegance. Watching a concert here is nothing short of majestic. The Olympia Theater hosts a wide variety of events, from live music performances to film festivals. There are great acoustics and comfortable tiered seating, so wherever you sit guarantees an epic experience. In recent years, some incredible acts have graced the Olympia stage, such as Sufjan Stevens, Kraftwerk, Neutral Milk Hotel, and the Jesus & Mary Chain. Parking in downtown Miami isn’t the most pleasant experience, so take Metromover.
2. North Beach Bandshell
Look at all of that dancing room.
Photo by Monica McGivern
7275 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 786-453-2897; northbeachbandshell.com
Located in the North Shore Historic District of Miami Beach, this outdoor, family-friendly venue has experienced a serious resurgence. When we think about the impressive roster of bands that have rolled through this venue over the past few years, not to mention the stacked music festivals in the past couple of months, we’re ecstatic. Fair warning: The Bandshell does not run on Miami time. According to the site’s renter’s information packet, the venue has a strict curfew, and all events must finish by 10 p.m. But if you ask us, that’s not a bad thing. Because shows start early, you can appreciate the breathtaking backdrop of palm trees swaying in the cool ocean breeze and take part in a sunset dance party. For certain events, a stage is set up on the beach. If you’re like us and must have ten feet of personal space around you at all times, the Bandshell is for you.