The Best Live Entertainment Venues in Orange County
Where to See Live Music in the OC
Just outside of LA, Orange County has its own rival music scene where dozens of bands destined for fame come to hone their craft in front of enthusiastic audiences. From hardcore punk to traditional rock n’ roll headliners, this upscale neighborhood has a little something for every music lover.
Orange County’s Observatory isn’t just for star gazing these days. New owners have completely renovated the venue’s sound system, turning this academic institution into one of the area’s best live music venues. The outside venue offers stunning views of Santa Monica at night, while the smaller, inside venue creates a more intimate listening environment. The owners have been known to book two shows at once, so the sounds from the other performance might distract from the show you paid to see.
Relive your college days at Chain Reaction, a small live music venue that features mostly hardcore punk bands. The ticket prices are cheap and there’s an anything-goes vibe that makes everyone feel welcome. The theater tends to attract a young crowd, as jumping and moshing is frequent. Chances are you won’t be able to hear yourself think and forget about trying to hold a conversation while the lights are low. Just put your worries aside and dance like there’s no tomorrow.
The House of Blues has been a live music mainstay in Anaheim for decades. There is one in just about every major city in the country, so the bands tend to be more mainstream compared to some of the other venues on this list. Major pop and rock stars love tearing up this House of Blues, offering a more intimate setting than some of the chain’s busier locations. But, now that the LA House of Blues is permanently closed and slated for demolition, more star-studded talent is coming to Anaheim.
An intimate space featuring some of the hottest music performances in town, The Wayfarer has evolved from a punk side-show to an entertainment behemoth in the OC. For most up-and-coming bands in the neighborhood, this might be considered the creme de la crème of performance venues. You’ll find a mix of die-hard hipster fans and some older attendees that appreciate a good round of beats. It is a bit classier than some of the previously mentioned venues with a price tag to prove it.
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