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Yelp Teams Up With Vivid Seats to Name Top Small Music Venues Across the US



When music lovers catch a show at a local concert venue, they are doing more than creating great memories: They are supporting great local businesses. Small music venues—which contribute so much to the social fabric of communities across our country—are often independently owned. According to a recent survey from the National Independent Venue Association, many predict that they’ll even close permanently within the next few months, citing the economic impact of the ongoing pandemic. They were the first businesses to close and will be the slowest to reopen. 

In celebration of National Small Business Day (November 30), Yelp and Vivid Seats, the most trusted independent ticket marketplace, are teaming up to highlight highly-rated small music venues across the United States. The interactive map illustrates the likes of Metro in Chicago and Paramount in Seattle, as well as San Francisco’s Bottom of the Hill and Austin’s Mohawk. It showcases venues old and new, urban and rural—a diverse list of irreplaceable stages united in providing memorable experiences.

Photo via Jon L., Paramount in Chicago

“It’s important to recognize how much is on the line for these independent music venues,” said Stephen Spiewak of Vivid Seats. “If the music they produced in their neighborhoods was loud, the silence they’ll leave behind if forced to close will be deafening.”

When these concert halls and theaters suffer, entire communities also take a hit, both culturally and economically. When music fans attend a concert, they often share a meal with friends beforehand or extend the good times with drinks afterward. Acknowledging the role that small music venues play in uplifting their local business communities, Vivid Seats and Yelp have also identified highly rated restaurants and bars near each venue.

Music venues, restaurants and bars are among the many types of small businesses that need support to weather these tough times. Restaurants and bars were among the hardest hit industries in the pandemic, though in recent months they’ve shown promising signs of adaptability with a significant number of brand-new business openings in states like California, Texas and Florida.

Since April, Vivid Seats has donated more than $1 Million to MusiCares, a non-profit that helps members of the music industry affected by the pandemic, while Yelp has continued to support small businesses with new products and features to communicate health and safety information to consumers.

Browse the map by clicking any point to view the small music venue and the accompanying nearby restaurant and bar.

The music venues chosen needed to be independently owned, be highly rated (defined as 3 stars or higher) on Yelp and be important cultural fixtures in their communities. Vivid Seats data also factored into the selections.