Hear that? It’s the scintillating sound of Derby City’s live music venues, beckoning you to a performance you’ll never forget.
The concert scene is truly unmatched in our area — from the KFC Yum! Center arena to the intimate setting of Zanzabar, there’s a stage for any type of tune. To get to know them all, you must do three things.
Put your hands in the air, wave ‘em like you just don’t care, then lay your eyes (and ears) on our guide.
KFC Yum! Center | 1 Arena Plaza
When the biggest national touring acts come to town — think Barry Manilow, Aerosmith and Elton John — they make a stop here.
Freedom Hall | 937 Phillips Ln.
As the second largest indoor venue in the city, Freedom Hall in south Louisville hosts nationally touring acts from musicians to rodeos.
Louisville Palace | 625 S. 4th St.
Louisville’s majestic Palace Theatre features a range of musical acts, including established hit-makers as well as up-and-comers. Pro tip: Arrive early to take in the architecture, which dates to 1928 — you’ll feel transported to the Italian Renaissance.
Brown Theatre | 315 W. Broadway
Built in 1925, the Brown is adjacent to the historic hotel of the same name. It hosts nationally touring musicians, as well as performances from the local arts community — including the Louisville Ballet.
Whitney Hall| 501 W. Main St.
Located in the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, Whitney Hall is the largest of the three venues in the Kentucky Center network, all hosting a variety of musical performers, including the Louisville Orchestra. It’s also home to PNC Broadway shows.
Iroquois Amphitheater | 1080 Amphitheater Rd.
Nothing says “summer vibes” in Louisville quite like a warm evening concert at this South End amphitheater. Built in 1938 during the Great Depression, the venue underwent a major renovation in 2003 to bring it up to modern standards. Fun fact: it is the official amphitheater of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Big Four Lawn | 1101 E. River Rd.
Since 2002, public radio station WFPK has hosted its freeWaterfront Wednesday summer concert series at this public park on the banks of the Ohio River, bringing in indie and alternative acts from around the country.
L&N Stadium | 2550 S. Floyd St.
While most often used for Louisville Cardinals football games, L&N Stadium also sets the stage for high-profile music stars, like Beyoncé and Kenny Chesney.
Old Forester’s Paristown Hall | 724 Brent St.
This venue has the feel of a nightclub, with a couch-lined balcony and dueling bourbon bars on opposite walls. It also has a wide, general admission floor, so arrive early to get a spot close to the stage.
Headliner’s Music Hall | 1386 Lexington Rd.
In business since 1998, this venerable club hosts rock, metal, acoustic, hip-hop, and alternative bands. Over the years, many acts — like My Morning Jacket and Kings of Leon — played this venue on their way to bigger fame, so see a show here and you can say, “I saw them when...”
Mercury Ballroom | 611 S. Fourth St.
Located next door to the Louisville Palace in downtown Louisville, this venue’s historic building offers Late Gothic + Tudor Revival-styles of architecture.
Bars + Restaurants
Stevie Ray’s Blues Bar | 230 E. Main St.
There’s live music six days a week at this downtown blues bar, so pull up a stool and order a drink — they’ll be jamming on stage into the wee hours.
Zanzabar | 2100 S. Preston St.
Known by locals as “Z Bar,” the stage at this Saint Joseph neighborhood spot hosts nationally touring acts for intimate performances. Pro tip: hang around after the show to test your skills at one of the best collection of pinball machines in Derby City.
Number 15 | 121 W. Main St
This “social hall” offers live music on a stage set beneath a large window overlooking Whiskey Row — quite the backdrop for the slew of local artists and entertainers who play here seven nights a week.