Los Angeles is known as the home of Hollywood studios as well as all the glamour and excess, but it’s also been a key location for the music industry. In addition to being at the center of much of the music industry’s history, it’s arguably one of the best places to find live music in the US today. Whether you’re looking for live music, souvenirs or simply to walk in the footsteps of your musical heroes, Los Angeles is a must-see destination. This essential guide outlines the best places for music lovers who are headed to the City of Angels.
Visit Capitol Records
So many legendary artists have recorded their music at Capitol Studios in LA that it’s impossible to list them here without doing some a disservice. Needless to say, it’s well worth visiting the studio and taking photos of the tower and the Hollywood Jazz mural. Tourists aren’t allowed inside generally, but sometimes ticketed events are available.
Relive Rock History on the Sunset Strip
The Sunset Strip runs along Sunset Boulevard and is around 1.5 miles of music venues, rock clubs, and huge billboards. Made famous in the 1960s as the place to be for any up and coming musician, it has been frequented by many of the world’s musical legends including Jim Morrison and David Bowie. Catch a gig at one of the clubs such as the Viper Room or The Troubadour.
Do Some Record Shopping at Amoeba Music
Amoeba Music is one of the biggest and most famous record stores in the world. Spread over two floors the store is a music lover’s paradise and has even hosted free live gigs by artists like Paul McCartney who recorded his 2007 EP – Amoeba’s Secrets – in an unannounced performance.
Take a Stroll Down the RockWalk
While the Hollywood Walk of Fame is a popular attraction for tourists, music fans tend to gravitate towards the Guitar Center RockWalk. This is a section of the sidewalk reserved for rock musicians and is outside the Guitar Center on Sunset Boulevard. Take a trip to the RockWalk to find the handprints of some of rock’s greatest legends from Iron Maiden to The Cure.
Catch a Live Gig at the Hollywood Bowl
The most famous venue in LA is the Hollywood Bowl, which opened in 1922. Many of the world’s most legendary acts have played there from The Beatles and Tony Bennett to Lady Gaga and Nine Inch Nails. Even if you don’t see a gig, it’s worth a visit just for the free museum.
If you’d rather discover some new music, then you’ll be spoilt for choice as there a vast number of bars and venues with live music including The Echo in Echo Park, Teragram Ballroom in Westlake and Silver Lake’s The Satellite. Of course, if you fancy a break from music during your trip, then why not catch a live sports game as well? Take a look at www.ticketsales.com to find out what’s on during your trip.
Visit the Grammy Museum
The Grammy Museum is a must-see attraction for music fans. It includes a wide range of artifacts from music history as well as rotating interactive exhibits about musical genres and individual artists. There are also events and lectures in the museum’s Clive Davis Theater.
Tour the Los Angeles Music Center
The LA Music Center is downtown and consists of the Walt Disney Concert Hall (designed by architect Frank Gehry), the Keck Amphitheater, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the Ahmanson Theatre, and the Mark Taper Forum. You can take a free 90-minute tour of the buildings to learn about their history but make sure you check the specific tour days.
Grab a Sandwich at Canter’s
You’ll not only enjoy a delicious sandwich at this delicatessen but can also experience a piece of rock history. The deli has been a favorite hangout for rock musicians since the 1950s because of its location amidst rock and comedy venues. The owner, Marc Canter, was a childhood friend of Slash of Guns ‘n’ Roses and rumor has it that a fight broke out here between The Bags and Tom Waits.