What are the best places to hear live music in Jacksonville?

Answers from Our Experts (1)

Natalie Wearstler

Jacksonville is home to one of my favorite concert venues: the historic Florida Theatre. Since 1927, the stage has served as a temporary home to troubadors of all styles, from country music legend Kris Kristofferson to indie rock darlings Death Cab for Cutie. To me, the loge seats are the best in the house.

Another great venue is Underbelly, a relatively new music hall and bar that's a short walk from the Florida Theatre. Local bands and independent bands come through regularly; in the months before I moved out of Jacksonville, I saw Lost in the Trees, an orchestral folk band, and Sunbears!, an indie-pop duo. The crowd here tends to be hip, but friendly. It's a favorite stop for the city's creative professionals.

If the Florida Theatre and Underbelly draw an NPR crowd, then Veterans Memorial Arena takes care of the Top 40 fans. This is where big-name acts like Justin Bieber and Mary J. Blige book their shows. Concerts here are big, loud and bold. I saw Bob Seger here in 2012, and even in his aging state, he put on a fun and energetic show that kept the entire audience on their feet.

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