Boston isn’t a huge city, a fact that surprises most people who visit. But this small city with a big heart houses a vibrant music community that most might not see if they only go to bigger shows with marquee acts (not that there’s anything wrong with that!).
There’s so much more to find out about Boston’s music scene, we’ve put together a quick guide for how to get more out of Boston’s music this summer on a budget!
1. Listen Local
First of all, those bigger shows are expensive. When you’ve only got ten or fifteen bucks burning a hole in your pocket, your best bet will be to catch a local artist at a small club. And why would you have it any other way? Every night of the week, small clubs around greater Boston are serving up awesome local acts and touring bands. As an added bonus, the summer humidity will feel like a cool breeze when you get out of those packed clubs.
Some of our favorites? In Allston, it’s hard to beat Great Scott and O’Brien’s. If you’re across the river in Cambridge, check out the Middle East, Club Bohemia, the Lizard Lounge, and Charlie’s Kitchen (but only on Mondays!). Somerville has its best live music in spots like ONCE, Sally O’Brien’s, and the Burren. Jamaica Plain? Deep Thoughts hosts local shows every so often, and the Midway is a sure bet for great live music most nights of the week!
And if you’re going to a house show...well, we can’t divulge any of those locations. Ask a punk.
2. Check out a new Space
Club scene not your thing? Luckily, there are unique spaces that host live music throughout the summer (and a lot of them have beer - SCORE)! In addition to having extremely Instagrammable swings, lawn games, and scenery, the Lawn on D hosts outdoor music and movies when they throw parties. Looking a little closer to the river? Check out Zone 3 in Allston! The space, operated by Harvard, and co-sponsored by Aeronaut Brewery, has pop-up events with live music and food trucks all summer long. And if you’re just wandering the city on any given day, Berklee’s Summer in the City program puts on more than 400 free shows around Boston and the rest of New England through October! It’s never been easier to catch live music in the Hub.
3. Go Record Shopping
If you’ve been paying attention over the last few years (or have stepped into an Urban Outfitters), you’ve likely seen that vinyl releases are getting more and more popular. This gives you the chance to sift through the bins of one of Boston’s many independent record stores to find some hidden gems on wax for your collection! If you’re looking for an easy place to start, you really can’t go wrong with Newbury Comics. With an awesome selection of vinyl, tapes, CD’s, new releases, and used product, you can grab a few LPs and 7 inches to get your collection started!
Trying to do a bit more digging? Easy. Tres Gatos in Jamaica Plain not only has a record store but also a bookstore and cafe so you can squeeze all your lazy Sunday activities into one stop! Planet Records, Cheapo Records, and In Your Ear Records house crates on crates of excellent used vinyl. Don’t get me wrong, it’s going to take you a while if you’re going row by row, but you never know what you’ll find when you’re sifting through those bins! If you’re looking for a little bit more edge with your selections, Armageddon Shop in Cambridge houses an impressive selection of predominantly punk and metal vinyl. Horns up, kids.
The college kids are gone - you have room to breathe. Grab yourself some tickets. We’ll see you at the gig. And if you are heading to one of those bigger venues (again, nothing wrong with that) Skedaddle is probably the best way to get there. Check out our bus trips to concerts all summer long.