These days your Spotify playlists are probably filled with more kindie rock bands than indie rock bands and more KidzBop than “Blitzkreig Bop”. And even if your days of headbanging in dingy clubs is long gone, it doesn’t mean you have to give up the live music scene. Around the country, concert venues that are all about all age show are popping up. Here are 9 bars, music halls, and theaters that let everyone enjoy live music. Even if it’s “Mary Had A Little Lamb,” and not Lamb Of God.
The Vera Project, Seattle, WA
The Vera Project is Seattle’s non-profit community venue “for kids, by kids” — kind of like a Kids Incorporated for Gen Z. Weezer, The Shins, and Macklemore have all breezed through here, as have tons of local acts. No alcohol on the premises — which is either a good thing (no drunk fans yelling for “Freebird”) or a terrible thing (staying sober in a crowd of high schoolers on first dates.)
Thee Parkside, San Francisco, CA
During Sunday brunch hours, Thee Parkside is a hungover parent’s dream. Playground for the kids. Comfort food and hair of the dog for you. The live music lineup often features bands from SF’s School of Rock, so there’s a good chance you’ll see the next generation of Bay Area punks — or at the very least grandkids of the Dead.
Beat Kitchen, Chicago, IL
Chicagoans may think of Beat Kitchen as more of a “shitshow fueled with cheap beer” than as a “nice place to take your family,” but the Sunday concert series gives the Roscoe Village venue a completely different vibe. There’s a full brunch and kid-friendly performers with names like “Little Miss Ann,” “Mr. Singer” and “The Boogers.” Actually, that last act could go either way.
ACME Feed & Seed, Nashville, TN
ACME Feed & Seed is the place to hang out on Nashville’s Lower Broadway that doesn’t involve throwing up on your new cowboy boots. Their Soul and Rockabilly Sunday brunch is an all-age live show that gives your kids a taste of the real Music City. Also, a taste of biscuits and gravy.
Broad Stage, Los Angeles, CA
Starting this month, LA’s Broad Stage offers Sunday workshops that let the whole family take the stage. Your dream of soloing like Bonzo might be crushed through — music-making activities are mostly body percussion, singing, and dance aimed at a younger set. Time to put the gong back in the garage.
BAMKids, Brooklyn, NY
No sleep ‘till Brooklyn — mostly because the majority it is now full of screaming babies. But with the kids comes more things around town for new parents to do (and also $8 lattes). Which is why the Brooklyn Academy of Music offers BAMKids, a yearlong family series with concerts, workshops, and live performances from bands too cool for Rolling Stone.
Threadgill’s, Austin, TX
Two things keep Austin weird: Its preoccupation with barbecued meats and eclectic music. Thankfully, Threadgill’s has both. The restaurant/music venue has 2 locations in the north and south parts of the city, and a loooong history (since 1933) of supporting local bands. First, hit the jukebox to teach your kids the difference between Count Basie and Captain Beefheart. Then, head to the outdoor stage — where they’ll have plenty of dance around while you put hushpuppies in your face.
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Portland, OR
The phrase “concert hall” screams top hats and tails, but Portland’s Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall (aka “The Schnitz”) is a family-friendly exception. Give Little Mozart an introduction to classical music with performances by the Portland Youth Philharmonic and The Oregon Symphony. Apparently classical makes people smarter, so it’s never too early (or maybe in your case, too late) to start.
Tipitina’s, New Orleans, LA
The iconic New Orleans bar, Tipitina’s, recently resurrected its free Sunday Music Workshop Series, where students have the chance to play with some of the best musicians in the city. Workshops are only for students, but the public is welcome to attend. A pre-jam pit stop at Cafe Du Monde for some beignets is recommended.