Hear that? It’s the scintillating sound of Columbus’ live music venues beckoning you to a performance you’ll never forget.
The concert scene is truly unmatched in our area — from Nationwide Arena to Ace of Cups, 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.
Arenas and stadiums
Nationwide Arena | 200 W. Nationwide Blvd.
When the biggest names in the music industry come to Columbus, this is where they perform. Past local names that have played here include Twenty One Pilots and CAAMP. Other major acts include Bruce Springsteen + Peter Gabriel.
Ohio Stadium | 411 Woody Hayes Dr.
In addition to hosting home Buckeye football games, this outdoor stadium has seen some of the most iconic musicians in history. We think 2018 represents this claim perfectly — Taylor Swift performed in July followed by Beyonce and Jay-Z in August.
Schottenstein Center | 555 Borror Dr.
Just like Nationwide Arena, the Schott is a go-to for artists with large followings. This includes past performances from bands like The Rolling Stones and musicians like Neil Diamond.
The Bluestone | 583 E. Broad St.
This 115+ year old cathedral-style church is now a concert hall for rock music, country tunes, and long jam sessions. In addition to original music, this spot hosts tribute bands and cover artists.
KEMBA Live! | 405 Neil Ave.
Capacity: 2,200 indoors or 5,500 outdoors
Consider this venue your perfect medium for tours. KEMBA hosts many big-name artists, but maintains an aspect of intimacy compared to stadium shows thanks to its size.
Newport Music Hall | 1722 N. High St.
There’s a reason this is the “longest continually running rock club in the country” — the good music seemingly never stops. Past performers include Neil Young, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Foo Fighters. Longtime Columbus residents will know this venue as the Agora Theater.
Skully’s Music-Diner | 1151 N. High St.
In addition to hosting many bands, artists, and DJs, this spot also offers a large dance floor for moving and grooving. Plus, the venue is known for hosting special events, such as “Taylor Swift takeovers,” where the entire evening features her music.
Intimate settings and bars
Ace of Cups | 2619 N. High St.
The Old North is home to this bar that offers live music up to five nights a week. Plus, enjoy smoked meats from Ray Ray’s Hot Pit, a local food truck located in the back parking lot.
A&R Music Bar | 391 Neil Ave.
This spot is in the heart of the Arena District and neighbors other venues on this list like KEMBA Live! and Nationwide Arena. It’s where many now-famous bands performed on their rise to stardom, such as Fall Out Boy and The Killers.
The Big Room | 1036 S. Front St.
Find a variety of independent artists thanks to the team at CD92.9, who offer an intimate setting at the radio station. This is a great way to discover a new band or musician without digging through AI-generated playlists.
The Basement | 391 Neil Ave.
The Basement is considered a “stepping stone” to larger spots like KEMBA Live! and Newport Music Hall. Don’t get that twisted, it’s no small feat playing here — past musicians vary from Chance The Rapper to The 1975.
Natalie’s Music Hall and Kitchen | 945 King Ave.
Get the best of both worlds with shows here as Natalie’s offers local musicians and slices of delicious pizza. Check out their Spotify playlist for a taste of what’s to come each month.
Kafe Kerouac | 2250 N. High St.
Sip on a spiked tea, coffee, or latté while you listen to soothing sounds of local performers in this dimly lit, intimate café. Or, switch roles and stop by during a music open mic night to show the city your singing chops.
Rumba Café | 2507 Summit St.
Spend a relaxing evening at Rumba Café with acoustic artists, bluegrass bands, and Americana musicians. Plus, enjoy the HooDoo Soul Band every Sunday evening.
The Summit Music Hall | 2210 Summit St.
Discover local, regional, and national acts ranging from EDM to folk to light rock. Plus, grab a meal from Crunchwerx, the popular Tex-Mex restaurant located within the venue.
Breakaway Music Festival | One Black and Gold Blvd.
Listen to some of the hottest names in the modern music industry at this multi-day festival at the Historic Crew Stadium. Past iterations have included Migos, Odesza, and ZEDD.
Buckeye Country Superfest | 411 Woody Hayes Dr.
Whether you’re looking for golden era country stars, or trending talent, Buckeye Country Superfest has you covered. The 2024 lineup includes Zach Bryan, Billy Strings, and Charley Crockett.
Sonic Temple Music and Art Festival | One Black and Gold Blvd.
Formerly known as “Rock on the Range,” this show still maintains its historic roots of loud and heavy rock music. This also takes place inside Historic Crew Stadium, and bands that have performed here range from TOOL to Metallica.
Haunted Fest | 405 Neil Ave.
Capacity: 2,220 indoors or 5,500 outdoors
No need to be scared here — this show offers some of the best EDM artists in the industry at KEMBA Live! This year’s set list includes Deadmau5 + Loud Luxury.
WonderBus Festival | 2540 Olentangy River Rd.
This annual summer festival offers a little bit of something for each music fan across all three days. The last festival featured Pitbull, Demi Lovato, and CAAMP at the Lawn at CAS.