If you love live music, then you'll love Phoenix. This month, the city is host to several music festivals featuring many different genres. This weekend, VIVA PHX features 80 acts at 20 different venues around downtown and the Pot of Gold musical festival is taking over Tempe Beach Park for four days. Later on in March, the McDowell Mountain Music Festival hits town as well.
While these special festivals will be great, Phoenix actually has great, affordable live music almost every night. From jazz to indie pop to electronic music, Phoenix has something for everyone.
Crescent truly has it all when it comes to live music and entertainment -- from indie rock shows to trivia nights to drag shows. All shows in the lounge area are free while most others are just $10 to $20. Crescent also has a full kitchen serving Mexican inspired dishes until midnight every night. The venue is located just a block west of the Van Buren light rail stop, making it easily accessible from the hostel by public transportation.
This restaurant bar has free live music most Fridays and Saturdays. Located around an outdoor patio with a collection of other locally owned small businesses, Third Space serves brunch, lunch, and dinner as well as wine and beer. When the weather is nice (aka anytime but summer) shows are held on the outdoor patio, but when the rare rain storm or chilly night rolls in, shows are held inside among comfy couches and an exposed brick wall interior. Located on the corner of Grand Avenue and 11th Avenue, Third Space is about a 15 minute walk from the hostel.
There's no better kind of live music than FREE live music. Located in a revamped house on 5th Street, Lost Leaf has a free show every single night starting at 9 pm. Artists range from rock bands to indie acts to house DJs. The bar serves up a great selection of Arizona brews and features a back yard patio area to escape the sometimes cramped quarters of the 'stage' area. Lost Leaf is about a half hour walk from the hostel or a cheap uber or taxi ride.
This is the prime destination for jazz music in Arizona. The Nash is an intimate club in the arts district on Roosevelt Row and has live jazz just about every day. Ranging from blues to big band to Latin style jazz, it's a great place for casual fans and jazz aficionados alike. Most shows range from $5 to $15 and there are usually tickets available for purchase at the door.
While there is a small selection of snacks and drinks for sale inside, you're best off visiting a neighboring bar for sustenance beforehand if you want a nice meal or more drink options. Short Leash, a bar/restaurant next door, serves gourmet hot dog dishes, homemade donuts, and has a huge selection of canned craft beers. They also have a few local Arizona wines on tap. Or you could check out Carly's just another block down the road for bistro plates and specialty cocktails. And all this is within a 25 minute walk of the hostel or a quick bike ride.
(Brought to you by Ally Thibault)