Culture + Style

Tune In: Hear Killer Live Music at These Vegas Hot Spots

Check out resident artists, including Jennifer Lopez, at Planet Hollywood. (Photo: Denise Truscello)

From glitzy showgirls to the acrobatic antics of Cirque du Soleil, Las Vegas has long been known for its entertainment, but only recently has the city become a recognized hot spot for live music. Concentrated on the four-mile stretch known as the Strip and in the newly revitalized downtown area, Las Vegas’ music scene is best explored at its established venues, with a resident artist or during a music festival. Get ready to rock.

Check Out a Concert Venue

Vinyl Vegas
Vinyl at Hard Rock Hotel attracts an impressive array of musicians to its stage. (Photo: Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas)

Whether they seek a small, intimate space or massive show environment, travelers can easily find a concert venue that fits their fancy. The vast majority of Las Vegas’ show spaces – such as the House of Blues at Mandalay Bay, Vinyl at Hard Rock Hotel and Brooklyn Bowl in the LINQ Promenade – hold a couple thousand people but attract an impressive rotation of artists all year long. Some venues, like the T-Mobile Arena, hold significantly more, while others, such as The Sayers Club at SLS, comfortably fit only a few dozen people.

The city’s concert calendar is jammed with great artists year-round, but summertime in Las Vegas presents even more concert opportunities. On the Strip, The Cosmopolitan and Mandalay Bay are known for their poolside performances, while downtown’s Fremont Street Experience holds several free concerts featuring well-known artists like Three Doors Down, Vertical Horizon and Smash Mouth.

And don’t forget to check out the pool parties and nightclubs as well: Big-name DJs like Calvin Harris, Steve Aoki and Tiësto light up the dance floors across the city with EDM on a nightly basis.

Rock Out with a Resident

Musicians from around the world pop in and out of Las Vegas daily, but a few have hung a shingle and signed on for a series of shows. Caesars Entertainment hosts many of these resident artists, including Britney Spears and Jennifer Lopez, who currently hold multiple concerts each week at Planet Hollywood.

Across the street at Caesars Palace, The Colosseum, which holds slightly more than 4,000 people, has played host to a number of musical legends who are also dedicated resident artists. Celine Dion is perhaps the city’s best-known resident artist; her premiere residency started in March 2003, and though she’s taken occasional breaks, she continues to pack the house. Other residents at The Colosseum have included Shania Twain, Mariah Carey, Elton John, and Rod Stewart.

Festival Time

Life is Beautiful
Rock out at the Life is Beautiful festival in Vegas. (Photo: Life is Beautiful Music & Arts Festival)

Up until just a few years ago, Las Vegas locals had to make their way out of state to California’s Coachella festival for a multi-day music extravaganza. This trend is changing, and now the city draws tens of thousands of travelers who visit specifically to attend homegrown music festivals.

Life Is Beautiful, which will turn five years old in 2017, embraces its Las Vegas roots when it takes over several city blocks in the downtown area. This three-day event is best known for its incredible music line-up, which has included headliners such as Kings of Leon, Foo Fighters, Stevie Wonder, The Killers and Imagine Dragons. But visitors should also look beyond the main stages for emerging music talent, inspirational conversations and performance art.

Top 40 fans can find all their favorite artists at the iHeartRadio music festival, which packs a punch with dozens of today’s hottest acts. And those into country music should dust off their cowboy boots and head to Las Vegas for Route 91 Harvest, featuring artists like Toby Keith, Keith Urban and Tim McGraw.