Cambridge music is as diverse as its population – you can find everything here, from classical concerts to Goth nights (black outfits required to get in the door).

Venues in Cambridge provide live music all over Cambridge’s squares (Harvard, Inman, Central, Kendall and Porter) while more traditional concert spaces like Sanders Theater schedule a wide range of high-profile performances, booking everything from Ladysmith Black Mambazo to the Boston Conservatory Orchestra.

Cambridge Music Venues

Ryles Jazz Club

Photo courtesy of Ryles Jazz Club

Many of Cambridge’s most popular bars and restaurants also serve as live music venues.

A large percentage of these places are bars shooting for a consciously alternative aesthetic so many of the acts, then, are what you’d expect (garage bands, acoustic guitar, high-pitched vocals).

As with most live music venues, these acts are hit or miss. But these venues also book a decent amount of folk, bluegrass, and jazz.

The Toad, in Porter Square, is a casual, chill (hipster!), inexpensive (no cover!) venue to listen to local sounds (such as a bluegrass/folk group shred the banjo and mandolin, New Orleans Jazz or classic rock).

Club Passim and Veggie Planet are good bets if you like vegan/vegetarian food and folk music; both have a strong reputation for booking talented folk and bluegrass artists (including Arlo Guthrie, Dar Williams, John Gorka, and Sean Colvin, big names all).

cambridge music club passim

Photo courtesy of Club Passim

The Plough and Stars in Central is a traditional Irish Pub with a surprising musical range; go there for everything from the expected (Irish folk, acoustic bands), to reggae, old school punk, and the pub’s staple Tuesday act, the jazz trio Attack of Le Pigeon.

The Think Tank in Kendall Square, a place dominated by young professionals who want to get their dance on, serves up higher paced, electronically geared artists every Tuesday, whereas the Lily Pad takes the opposite approach; a bare bones space in Inman (no food or drink, just music) that specializes in quieter vibrations.

And then there is Xmortis, home of Goth Night (every 2nd Friday of the month); all black attire (whip optional) is required to get in the door.

Cambridge Music Wrap-Up

These venues are just the tip of the ice-berg. Music in Cambridge is vast and incredibly diverse. So go explore everything from venues to music stores in Cambridge.

You can find more information about some of Cambridge’s best known music venues by clicking on its name on the left. Or stroll Cambridge’s streets and follow the music.