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Best Live Music Concert Venues in Houston

Forth Worth

Unlike Austin and Forth Worth, Houston isn’t always considered one of the best cities in Texas for live music. However, we have several places that are unique to Houston and that offer plenty of reasons to visit for concerts. Most bands stop off in Houston for their tours before heading to Austin, San Antonio, and DFW, so people travel from all over Texas to hear the music first.

Depending on what type of music you are looking for, there are several venues that cater to specific genres, so you will want to check the schedules online before buying tickets. Almost all of the concerts offered in Houston make tickets available at ticketmaster.com and their own specific websites.

The Engine Room
1515 Pease
Houston, TX 77002

The Engine Room of Houston is located downtown near several paid parking areas. It was originally a concrete garage, and has been converted into a concert venue and bar for the hard rock and heavy metal fans in Houston. Many up-and-coming bands play here in an attempt to get the word out about their music, and they also often hold signing parties for new bands and for bands promoting a new album. Tickets are available at ticketmaster.com or at the door before the show, as long as it hasn’t been sold out.

This is one of my favorite places to go because the music cannot escape! The building isn’t soundproofed, and metal bands can be heard from nearly a block away, but the sound reverberates through solid concrete walls and gives the effect of super surround sound. There isn’t any climate control, so enormous fans blow cool air during the summer and winters can get rather chilly. This is also a small concert venue, so be prepared to get close to your neighbors! But who cares when you’re listening to hot music and jamming with your friends?

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The Engine Room accepts all major credit cards, including Diners’ Club, and offers all types of alcoholic drinks. There is usually are usually sales for band t-shirts, hats, and signs, so be sure to bring a little cash. Doors open thirty minutes before the shows start.

The Balinese Room
310 Main Suite 200
Houston, TX 77002
713.227.6653 (owner)
409.762.9696 (office)

The Balinese Room isn’t actually in Houston, but in Galveston, which is about twenty miles south of the Beltway. This establishment is one of the oldest buildings in the Houston area, and was originally a plush gambling room and bar. “Way back in post-WWII Texas, one nightclub stood above the rest. It offered the best entertainers, the hottest crowds, and the best illegal gambling in the state. It was the infamous Balinese Room on Galveston island, the swankiest spot on the Gulf Coast.

The legendary Balinese Room in Galveston has been restored and reopened, after nearly twenty years of neglect and vacancy. This historic night club is located 600 feet into the Gulf of Mexico on a pier at 21st Street (across from the Galvez Hotel on Seawall Blvd.). The original South Seas Ballroom, complete with the original 1940’s tropical murals, arched ceilings, and neon and copper palm trees has been restored to its former glory. The club is part of a $600,000.00 renovation and is open Friday and Saturday nights for either private special events or for shows open to the public. In addition to the Club, the long pier has a series of shops that are now open, including the Balinese Gift Shop and Museum; a Hair salon; and a Massage Therapy room with a glass floor so that the ocean can be seen as the massage is received. The shops are open during winter season, Wednesday through Sunday, 12:00am to 6:00pm, and The Ballroom is available for private special events.

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For lovers of jazz, blues, motown, and country, this is the place to go for specialty concernts. It offers a new venue for brand new artists, as well as a returning point for the seasoned ones. The atmosphere – dim lighting, dark colors, and 40’s architecture – offers a quiet place to enjoy the music or chat with friends.

There are also many ghost stories surrounding the Balinese room, as many famous people have walked the halls and performed on stage, and the building is so old. Read some on their web site, or visit the Room to hear them yourself.

Cynthia Woods Mitchel Pavilion
2005 Lake Robbins Drive
The Woodlands, Texas 77380
Phone: 281-363-3300
Fax: 281-364-3011

This is one of the most popular venues for live music in Houston. Located just north of the airport, in the posh Woodlands Center, the Pavilion is home to a beautiful grassy hill and an expansive pit area. Most of the more famous bands and singers perform here, from all types of genres. I’ve see Aerosmith, Greenday, Clay Walker, Kid Rock, Eminem, and Cheryl Crow on stage, and thousands of artists stop through on their tours.

The Pavilion offers grass seats, pit seats, and VIP Premium seating. Tickets depend on the artist, of course, and can be purchased via ticketmaster or their website. They accept all major credit cards, and always have lots of food, beer, and gifts.

Parking can be a problem, and on concert days the streets surrounding the Pavilion are packed. I recommend arriving at least an hour early to account for traffic and parking, as well as the long line of people waiting to have their tickets checked and their bags searched.