SJtoday City Guide Live Banner

Give these San Jose live music venues a listen

We’ve made a concerted effort to orchestrate this roadmap, so you can focus on finding the artists you adore.

The SAP Center from the front, at night.

Take to the Tank for some more fun.

Photo by SJtoday staff

Table of Contents

Hear that? It’s the scintillating sound of San Jose’s live music venues beckoning you to a performance you’ll never forget.

The concert scene is truly unmatched in our area — from the large SAP Center to the intimate Break Room, there’s a stage for any type of tune. To get to know them all, you must do three things.

Put your hands in the air, wave ‘em like you just don’t care, then lay your eyes (and ears) on our guide.


SAP Center | 525 W. Santa Clara St.
Capacity: ~18,000
This venue is the official home of the Sharks, but hosts ~100 other events a year which include ice skating shows, sports matches, and live music.

Levi’s Stadium | 4900 Marie P. DeBartolo Way, Santa Clara
Capacity: 68,500
As the official venue for the San Francisco 49ers since 2014, this stadium boasts ~68,500 seats and 80+ concession stands. It was host to big acts like Taylor Swift + Beyonce this year.

The stage at San Jose Civic with a packed audience.

The San Jose Civic often hosts big name electronic + dubstep DJs.

Photo by SJtoday staff

Concert halls

San Jose Civic | 135 W. San Carlos St.
Capacity: 2,850
Since its original opening in 1936, this small but mighty venue has hosted music legends, political figures, boxing matches, symphonies, and more. Fun fact: The Who had their first headlining US tour here in 1968.

The Ritz | 400 S. First St.
Capacity: 375-500
Hosting everything from emo ragers to throwback nights, this both large + intimate venue in the SoFA District holds an interesting history. Enjoy a full bar inside and an eclectic lineup of music acts from Thursdays through Saturdays — shows are 21+.

San Jose Center for Performing Arts | 255 S. Almaden Blvd.
Capacity: 2,677
Originally opened in 1972 by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, the expansive theater boasts stunning circular walkways and high, vaulted glass windows. Whether you’re seeing a fabulous Broadway production, a concert, or event, the multi-level seating ensures you’ll always have a great view of the stage.

California Theatre | 325 S. First St.
Capacity: 1,122
Walk into this theater + be transported into the 1920s. With its twinkling marquee, ornate details, and expansive halls, the building is considered to be one of the best-preserved examples of 1920s-era motion picture houses in the US. It is the official home of Opera San Jose.

The lawn seating at Shoreline Amphitheater.

Shoreline Amphitheater has plenty of lawn seating.

Photo by SJtoday staff


Shoreline Amphitheatre | One Amphitheatre Pkwy., Mountain View
Capacity: 22,000
Just up 101 in Mountain View is this open-air venue with both lawn + premium seating. The amphitheater is host to ~30 major music events every summer. To name a few from this past 2023 season — Ne-Yo, Jonas Brothers, and Post Malone made visits to the South Bay.

Mountain Winery | 14831 Pierce Rd., Saratoga
Capacity: 2,500
This historic vineyard opened its Concert Bowl in 1958, and since then, has seen performances from major acts like Diana Ross, Willie Nelson, and Ray Charles. The venue hosts a Summer Concert Series annually from August to November.

A band plays on the small stage of Art Boutiki.

Experience an eclectic lineup of artists at Art Boutiki’s Music Hall.

Photo via @chaekate

Restaurants + bars

SLG Art Boutiki & Gallery | 44 Race St.
Capacity: 200
Comic books, records, apparel, and kicking live shows + events. Sporting ti leaves, tiki statues, a cafe, and bright art + paint, they host weekly drink ‘n’ draws, open mics, and jazz shows.

San Pedro Square Market | 87 N. San Pedro St.
Capacity: 250-500
Listen to live music almost every day from local bands in San Pedro Square Market’s back patio or inside the Three Sisters Bar. This casual venue allows you to grab a drink and a bite from its 10+ food vendors, and kick back to local tunes.

Caravan Lounge | 98 Almaden Ave.
Capacity: 88
One of San Jose’s oldest live music venues, this dive bar features black painted walls, brick + bright neon signs. The gruff exterior belies an atmosphere of warmth and community, and one of the most intimate concert venues in town.

Mama Kin | 374 S. First St.
Capacity: 180
As Cafe Stritch’s successor, this venue still keeps the spirit of jazz, rock n’ roll, folk acts on its relatively small, but intimate stage. The kitchen also keeps great Cajun food + drinks flowing for its patrons all night.

The Back Bar SoFa | 418 S. Market St.
Capacity: 130
This dive bar took over the former Cactus Club in 2003, and hosts themed parties, music nights, and local musicians + bands. Its club atmosphere is amplified with state-of-the-art LED light displays + dancefloors — shows are 21+.

The empty stage at Tabard Theatre, lit with purple theater lights.

This intimate venue hosts a variety of open mics, comedy nights, and more.

Photo by SJtoday staff

Intimate spaces

The Tabard Theater | 29 N. San Pedro St.
Capacity: 100-150
Located just behind Dr. Funk at San Pedro Square is this hidden gem. The venue puts on comedy + spoken word nights, musicals, and concerts to both its in-person and live-stream audience. Its exposed brick walls, velvet curtains, and theatrical lighting will transport you into a time of speakeasies.

SJZ Break Room | Address
Capacity: 100
Opened in 2020, this is San Jose Jazz’s first official venue that has welcomed more than 80 local artists since its conception. Get ready for weekend shows starting Friday, Nov. 10, which feature up-and-coming, as well as award-winning musicians from across the country.

W.I.T.C.H (We Intend To Cause Havoc) performs at San Jose Jazz Fest.

San Jose Jazz Fest won “Best Music Festival” in 2023.

Photo via San Jose Jazz


San Jose Jazz Festivals | Locations vary
Winter Fest (February-March), Summer Fest (August), New Works Fest (April-May)
The local jazz organization hosts seasonal festivals that showcase the best and up-and-coming artists in blues, R&B, soul, electronic, and more. Its New Works Fest aims to showcase rising musicians commission by San Jose Jazz’s Jazz Aid Fund.

Music in the Park | Plaza de Cesar Chavez
Held June-September
This festival has rocked downtown San Jose since 1989, bringing high profile artists to the park — including Maroon 5, Tower of Power, The Wailers, and most recently, CeeLo Green. Along with music, festival goers can also enjoy local vendors, beer + wine, and food trucks.

Blues & Brews Festival | Plaza de Cesar Chavez
Held May-June
The Bay Area’s longest-running blues festival was started in 1981 from San Jose State’s Associated Students organization’s desire to put on a free festival for students. Today, it has grown to welcome 2,500+ attendees and offer vintage games, craft beer, Southern cuisine, and of course, great tunes.

Pacific Feats Festival | Plaza de Cesar Chavez
Held July-August
This festival is fairly new to the Silicon Valley, but presents two days of Pacific Island beats, merchandise, food, dance, CBD, nonprofits, and more. The 2023 event featured artists Sammy Johnson and Common Kings.


What would you rate our city’s music scene on a scale of 1-10? Let us know.

Check out our other Guides
We’re bringing you some fun facts about San Jose and its history. If you’re a trivia master (or local enthusiast), give these a try.
Tell us you’re from San Jose without telling us you’re from San Jose.
From hideaway casitas to the Hayes Mansion, San Jose is full of special places to stay that offer guests a break from traditional motels and hotels.
From authentic NY slices to craft pies, your next pizza party is covered.
Check out these brunch restaurants, cafes, and diners in San Jose, serving a variety of egg dishes, mimosas, bloody marys, and more.
To help make your entire process at the San Jose Mineta Airport as smooth as possible, we’ve created a guide that covers everything from gates and parking to details on the airport’s 41 nonstop flights.
From lifting weights, indoor rock climbing, personal training, dance fitness, boxing classes, and martial arts programs — we’ve rounded up 40+ gyms and fitness offerings around San Jose.
Explore the great 408 through its history, drink, and art on these tours.
Explore these dog-friendly businesses and places in San Jose that span from places to eat, drink, shop, exercise, and stay the night.
Let’s jump into San Jose’s forecast for the first three months of 2024.