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10 Places for the Best Live Music in Calgary

10 Places for the Best Live Music in Calgary

Calgary is known as the Country Music Capital of Canada, so it’s no surprise that it’s the place to go for live music performances. 

Even with all the excellent venues for live music here, though, a few still manage to stand out among the rest. Today, we’ll show you our favorite live music spots in the city and review them!

How We Picked the Best Live Music Venues in Calgary

We chose the entries in our list based on the following criteria:

Music experience and artist line-up – Naturally, we want a cutting-edge sound system and great acoustics for a better experience. The ability to book well-known musicians and artists is also a plus.
Venues and capacity – The best live music place must be able to provide various venue types with ample seating (or standing) capacity each. It’s preferable that they can be booked for private events and the like. The level of comfort offered to their guests is also very important.
Amenities – The best live music venue should be able to provide its audience with various amenities like food and beverages to enjoy while they are at the venue.
Cleanliness – To provide a great overall live music experience, the best live music venue must also be clean and well-maintained.

1. National Music Centre

National Music Centre's Banner
SERVICES• Live music venue

• Educational programs

• Studio and venue rentals

• Exhibitions

ADDRESS850 4 St. SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0L8, Canada

[email protected]

ADMISSION FEESAdults: $21.50

Students/Seniors (65+): $16.50

Youth (ages 4-12): $13.50

Kids 3 and under: Free

NMC Members: Free

OPERATING HOURSWednesday - Thursday: 12:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Friday - Sunday: 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Venue capacity: 
• Performance hall: up to 276 people
• Music square: up to 200 people
• Soundscapes gallery: up to 100 people
• Skybridge: up to 150 people
Type of venue: Events venue and studio
Featured artists: Local and international artists of all genres
Open for private bookings: Yes
Music experience and artist line-up5/5
Venues and capacity4/5

The National Music Centre is one of Calgary’s premier concert and event venues. They’re regarded as one of the best places in Calgary for live music, with the goal of preserving Canadian culture through the love of music and art.

As said, they host live musical performances and feature local and international artists of all genres. Being music lovers, this is something we always look forward to – seeing new and familiar names within and outside Canada. 

This year, NMC celebrates over 50 years of Canadian music with their “Rock the Nation” show, one that includes songs from the 1960s to the present. Knowing this now, we can say that their show is perfect for an audience of all ages. 

However, what makes them a great venue for music celebrations is that they not only host musical performances but also promote them in other ways.

Being located in Studio Bell, NMC also promotes the country’s historical collections with exhibits that depict the origin of music in Canada. They have halls of fame, interactive instrument installations, and vocal booths.

These collections are just a fun addition to amp up the live music experience. After all, we all need mini breaks from fast-moving shows within a single environment. 

But the most favorable thing about all of it is that tickets for the exhibitions and regular musical performances (except for special live shows) are included in just one admission fee. 

Frankly speaking, their rates are quite pricey… but also pretty much worth it.

Fortunately, NMC believes that music is for everyone, so if their admission prices are too high for you, they’ll offer a pay-what-you-can option. Through this, you only pay for the experiences you want to see during their shows. 


  • Features various musical exhibitions
  • Available for rentals
  • Has a recording studio available for rentals
  • Features local and international artists of all genres
  • Upcoming shows available on their website
  • Admission fee includes exhibition tours and regular musical performance


  • Admission fee is a bit pricey
  • Minor complaints regarding rude staff in exhibits

Great place to learn music

Experience music! Great place to learn about Music made-in-Canada, experience music history, try different instruments and so much more. Definitely worth a visit, has great aspects for everyone. I was particularly excited about what I learned about the role of music in Blackfoot culture! – Alex Z

Would love to come back soon

One of its kind, phenomenal, incredible, magnificent, exceptionally magical. My experience here was beyond any words could describe. I’d love to come back here soon, not only to learn about the history of music but also to enjoy the beauty of art. – sarah le

2. Koi

Koi's Banner
SERVICES• Live musical performances

• Open mic

• Spoken word

• Venue rentals

ADDRESS1011 1 St SW, Calgary, AB T2R 1J2, Canada

Songwriters in the Attic: $10-15

Type of venue: Restaurant/bar
Open for private bookings: Yes
Featured artists: Local artists
Food and drinks available: Yes, both snacks and full course meal
Music experience and artist line-up4/5
Venues and capacity5/5

If you define nightlife as dancing to live music with the company of great food, then head to Koi on 1st Street. Every night, especially on Fridays and weekends, the place is packed, indicating how popular it is with the locals.

Koi is huge here when it comes to live musical performances, having different kinds of shows almost every night. For us, this keeps the excitement going so we highly favor this kind of setup they have. 

On Tuesdays, they’re legendary with their open mic session at the Attic in Inglewood. For a $5 admission fee, musically inclined customers can have the chance to showcase their talent to the audience, accompanied by the restaurant’s resident band.

There’s also a spoken word open mic on the third Sunday of every month for poetic musicians in the area. 

But, if you ask us, our favorite jam is their Fridays’ Special, in which experienced songwriters share a bit of themselves on stage – but in a song-for-song style arrangement for better entertainment. 

By the way, they operate on a first-come, first-served basis for late-night events, so it’s best to show up earlier. 

Reservations are also available for dinner shows with a wide variety of food. But there have been a few complaints about their food quality, so you may just want to feast your eyes on the captivating music shows. 

Nonetheless, Koi still exceeded our expectations when it came to providing live music events for Calgary residents. In fact, they’re also a great place to book your own musical-related show, whether it’s an album launch or a party.


  • Offers a variety of live music shows almost every night
  • Fantastic nightlife experience 
  • Reasonably priced admission fees
  • Reservation available for dinner shows
  • Can be booked for your own event


  • Friday specials are on select Fridays only
  • Minor complaints with the food quality

Fun atmosphere, intimate space

We went for an open mic night. This was our first time seeing live music in a long time and we loved every second of it! The food was delicious and drinks were great (Whiskey Ginger). Very intimate space with kind servers and a fun atmosphere. – Alethea Brown

Live music doesn’t disappoints

Wonderful locally owned restaurant with an awesome menu, and live music that never disappoints. Nothing but care and love go into this place, and it shows. Can’t wait to come back! – tamara beekman

3. Calgary Folk Music Festival at Prince’s Island Park

Calgary Folk Music Festival at Prince’s Island Park's Banner
SERVICESMusic festivals
ADDRESS1215 10 Ave SE Calgary, Alberta
CONTACT DETAILS+1 403-233-0904

[email protected]

Type of venue: Open space music festival
Venue capacity: Can accommodate up to 53,000 attendees
Food and drinks available: Food and drinks booths available
Featured artists: World class artists and indie icons

Some artists the Festival has programmed include: 
• Nathaniel Rateliff & the Nightsweats
• Sheila E., Joe Jackson
• Alabama Shakes
• k.d. Lang
• Emmylou Harris
• Michael Kiwanuka
• David Byrne
Music experience and artist line-up5/5
Venues and capacity5/5

If you’re a long-time, hardcore music fan, we’re sure you’ve heard of the Calgary Folk Music Festival. It’s actually one of the most anticipated events in the city, organized by the Folk Festival Society.

It’s a four-day music festival that has taken place in Prince’s Island Park every year since 1980. With that kind of history, we’re not surprised that they’re one of the city’s most sought-after music festivals.

Now, as the event is held in open spaces, the Calgary Folk Music Festival can gather up to 53,000 viewers. This makes it a big musical event, so the number of attendees is no joke – nor is its artist lineup.

The event has a total of 70 artists performing on multiple stages – almost Coachella-ish minus the weekend breakdowns (and more folk than pop). Audiences at this event can expect live performances that include mash-ups and the sharing of songs and stories.

This year’s Calgary Folk Music Festival returns this coming July with a lot of surprises and musical activities perfect for families and friends. It’s just that we haven’t gotten a hold of all the important information (the organizer has yet to announce these details)

This however, doesn’t necessarily affect our opinion of them as one of the best live music venues in Calgary. Indeed, the fact that many residents anticipate its ticket sales reflects how they’re perceived by the public.


  • Offers a 4-day live music festival every year
  • Ideal gathering for families and friends
  • Events held in big, open spaces
  • Accommodates up to 53,000 viewers 
  • Features world-class artists and indie icons
  • Food and drinks booths and stalls available


  • Can take a long time to update regarding ticket sales

Wide variety of music

Always a great weekend in the park! Lots of great music, multiple stages showcasing a wide variety of music from around the globe. Giant Big Rock sponsored beer garden, and family friendly everywhere! All in the heart of the city! Love CFMF! – Unknown

Outstanding. Especially when the various music festivals visit the island. I look forward to them every year. I have my Eyes and Ears wide open. Keep up the good work people. – Patrick Orr

4. Arts Commons

Arts Commons Banner
SERVICES• Hosts live musical performances

• Venue rentals

• Galleries

ADDRESS205 8 Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0K9, Canada
CONTACT DETAILS+1 403-294-9494

[email protected]

ADMISSION FEESTicket price ranges from $44 - $152 (depends on the artists)
Type of venue: Concert halls
Open for private bookings: Yes
Featured artists: International and local artists
Food and drinks available: Yes (several food stalls inside the venue)
Music experience and artist line-up4/5
Venues and capacity5/5

Arts Commons is a space for businesses and collaborative partners in the city to explore art and music together. Hence, they’re one of the perfect venues in Calgary for live musical events and just art appreciation in general. 

There have been numerous compliments on their accommodations, which include a fun waiting area for the show. The seating arrangements are also comfortable, which we loved since live music events tend to be tiring experiences. 

There’s a lot of praise for how clean the venue is with polite and professional staff. These two positives combined only amplify the fun experience that awaits each attendee. 

Speaking of the place itself, Arts Commons offers a total of five theaters, including the world-class Jack Singer Concert Hall. The rooms are adequate, so there’s no problem with them hosting a couple or many live shows at the same time.

On that note, the venue caters to about 1,800 performances and events each year. And among those are award-winning performances and concerts from various groups of global artists.

Despite the positive feedback, some of their customers still found flaws in their experiences. This includes limited parking spaces and fewer food stalls to purchase snacks for the show.

If you ask us, it’s not a major drawback for us, although it’s a frustrating one. Luckily for them, we always loved their artist lineups, which totally makes up for the few food options we get.


  • Features award-winning live musical events
  • Excellent seating and accommodations 
  • Can host many live shows at the same time
  • Upcoming shows listed on their website
  • Offers venue rentals
  • Has school programs
  • Hosts about 1,800 performances each year


  • Pricey ticket rates
  • Small parking space
  • Limited food stalls on the venue

One of a kind establishment

Love this venue. The place is always clean, and the staff are polite and professional. It’s one of a kind establishment, and I hope the city will help to keep it going. – Tito Mango

No bad seats, great venue

Saw Classic Albums Live – Eagles @ Arts Commons last night. Fantastic show, great venue! Really no bad seats. We were in the Dress Circle Right side above the stage, awesome view and sound is fantastic. Several bars to grab a drink or snack during intermission so, line ups move quickly and the staff are super friendly. – Colette Rees

5. Skunkworks Distillery

Skunkworks Distillery's Banner
SERVICES• Live music performances

• Food and cocktails

• Studio and room rentals

ADDRESS4009 4 St SE, Calgary, AB T2G 2W4, Canada
CONTACT DETAILS+1 403-404-2024

[email protected]

ADMISSION FEESLive music performance: $5 cover charge

Studio rentals: $30 peer hour

Space rentals: $300 (with a $500 minimum spend)

OPERATING HOURSThursday - Friday: 5:00 PM - 10:00 PM

Saturday: 2:00 PM - 10:00 PM

Type of venue: Distillery (night spot for cocktails, food, and music)
Venue capacity: Tasting room: 60 people
Featured artists: Underrated local artists
Open for private bookings: Yes
Food and drinks available: Yes
• Special beverages
– Moonshine cocktails
– Vermouth cocktails
Music experience and artist line-up4/5
Venues and capacity5/5

Skunkworks is known for making premium moonshine in small batches and serving Tommy Knockers’ smoked BBQ. But of course, that’s not all – they also have a space for live music and events, allowing customers to fully enjoy their signature cocktails.

With its comfortable, cozy, and laid-back atmosphere, the place is ideal for unwinding, especially if you’re feeling tense and stressed. Well, there’s nothing more relaxing than sipping a good drink while listening to live music, right?

Skunkworks actually has an amazing artistic lounge for their events, so that’s a real plus. We love that they have both indoor and outdoor music in their tasting room and patio, so you can choose which space is best for you. 

What we appreciate the most is definitely their artist lineup. Their live music isn’t performed by popular local artists but rather by various underrated artists who want to promote their music.

Why is that great? Because we’ve found so many hidden gems here! The place is great for discovering some of the up-and-comers and less-mainstream artists in the area.

They even have their professionally built studio rented for band rehearsals and recordings for $30 per hour. It’s one sign showing how committed they are to helping the local music industry in Calgary.

When we talked to others who’ve been here, we found that some of them had a disappointing experience. But this was due to not seeing the distillery process they promised in the first place – not their live music events. 

So, aside from these remarks, Skunkworks is truly a great venue for live music in the city. And cocktails too – don’t forget that! 


  • Offers signature cocktails
  • Comfortable and cozy atmosphere
  • Has both indoor and outdoor music venues
  • Features various underrated local artists 
  • Often have open mic sessions
  • Studio is available for rentals for rehearsing and recording
  • Open to private bookings, parties and events


  • Minor comments regarding disappointing distillery experience
  • Only open three days a week

Would really recommend

Great Friday evening with new cocktails & live music!  My first time here and would really recommend others to come out and try out some moonshine and live music!! – merion malone

6. Cornerstone Music Cafe

Cornerstone Music Cafe's Banner
SERVICES• Live music venue

• Music lessons

• Catering

ADDRESS14919 Deer Ridge Dr. SE #139, Calgary, AB T2J 7C4, Canada

[email protected]

[email protected]

ADMISSION FEESFree live music entertainment for cafe customers
OPERATING HOURSMonday - Thursday: 9:00 AM - 9:00 PM

Friday - Saturday: 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Type of venue: Cafe
Open for private bookings: Catering private events
Featured artists: Local artists
Food and drinks available: Yes (menu available online)
Music experience and artist line-up4/5
Venues and capacity4/5

It’s no secret that Cornerstone Music Cafe is an excellent option if you’re looking for quality music lessons in Calgary. They actually have quite a reputation as a traditional music studio since 1989 and are still doing great today.

However, as their name implies, they’re also a cafe that features live music. Imagine getting your daily dose of caffeine while enjoying the calm noise of an artist’s sound!

They regularly host live music featuring local artists, which for us is a perfect way to enjoy the cozy ambiance of their cafe. And if you’re a parent, it’s a nice venue to wait for your kids as they go through their music lessons.

You may find yourself listening to music while indulging in a variety of cuisines, such as Italian, Mexican, and Thai. They even have special dietary options, including gluten-free, low-carb, vegan, and vegetarian. 

We’re talking a bit more about food here because we appreciate the convenience of the setup. Plus, some people simply want live music as a bonus – most times, they simply drop by cafes for a quick meal. 

There were just some minor flaws in service: longer wait times and often slow in taking orders (as they only have limited staff on hand). Thankfully, there’s great live music by local artists to at least ease these frustrations. 

In sum, Cornerstone Music Cafe is a good place to go if your goal is to get musical training or support local musicians. Also, the music is free – we almost found it difficult to complain.


  • Great selection of food and coffee
  • Features local artists
  • Also a venue for quality music lessons
  • Offers catering of events
  • Cafe menu available online
  • Free live music for cafe customers 
  • Cozy and relaxing ambiance 


  • Early closing on Saturdays
  • Closed on Sundays
  • Minor flaws in service due to limited staff

Awesome food, great live music

Great place for super yummy food, ambience and Music!! Oh yah and Jim and Sylvia are also awesome!

The best place in the city for awesome food, great pour over coffee or barista cappuccino, millions of tea varieties all made in front of you.. Great live music Friday and Saturdays drop by for a friendly time .. You will never do a drive through again.

7. Calgary House Concerts

Calgary House Concerts Banner
SERVICESHosts live concerts/performance
ADDRESS3344 Boulton Rd NW, Calgary, AB T2L 1M4, Canada
CONTACT DETAILS+1 403-605-4177

[email protected]

ADMISSION FEES$20 (flat-rate)
Type of venue: Concert house
Services offer: Live music venue
Venue capacity: 750 seats
Featured artists: Local artists 
Food and drinks available: Food is included in the entrance fee
Music experience and artist line-up4/5
Venues and capacity3/5

Calgary House Concerts hosts some of our favorite live music performances in the city, making it ideal for many music fans. They’re also one of the best spots to see local artists perform, which they’ve done since health restrictions were implemented.

However, before that, the House has been bringing world-class artists and audiences together to create unforgettable musical experiences. It’s something we’ve always looked forward to since 2012, but we’re just as excited now for local artist lineups. 

Now, what’s great about them is that they always make sure to update upcoming performances on their website. Announcements include show dates and times, as well as ticket prices and amenities.

Additionally, it’s a plus for us that their fees include food at a reasonable flat rate of $20. The majority of the performances they host are open to the public, so seeing live music at Calgary House Concerts can literally be a family outing.

Venue-wise, the Calgary House Concerts are quite big, having had the opportunity to cater to up to 750 seats for each performance. It allows for a bigger audience while also maintaining that sense of intimacy in each show.

Overall, their sold-out tickets imply that they’re sought-after in the area.  Well, who can blame viewers when the admission is fair, the music is good, and the food is just as scrumptious as the fair venue during the nights?  


  • Currently features local artists 
  • Flat-rate entrance fee
  • Food is included with the entrance fee
  • Always update websites with the upcoming shows
  • Adequate sitting for each live performance 


  • Live performance is scheduled
  • No performance from international artists, as of writing (due to restrictions)

Great venue to see local musicians

“Great way to see live music and support local musicians. Dave cares about the experience of both musicians and guests and is a great host.”

“great music…great host and great food…am I making it sound GREAT???….cause it is”

8. Murrieta’s West Coast Bar & Grill

Murrieta’s West Coast Bar & Grill's Banner
SERVICES• Live music performances

• Private event bookings

• Foods and drinks

ADDRESS808 1 St SW #200, Calgary, AB, Canada
CONTACT DETAILS(403) 269 7707
ADMISSION FEES$10 cover for the live band
OPERATING HOURSMonday - Thursday: 11:00 AM - 10:00 PM

Friday: 11:00 AM - 1:00 AM

Saturday: 4:00 PM - 1:00 AM

Type of venue: Restaurant
Venue capacity: Up to 170 people
Featured artists: Local artists
Open for private bookings: Yes
Food and drinks available: Yes
• Wine: $6 5.5oz pours
•Food: varies
Music experience and artist line-up4/5
Venues and capacity4/5

Murrieta’s West Coast Bar & Grill in Calgary is popular not only for its renowned cuisine and fine wine but also for its live bands on select days. For this restaurant’s specials, they feature some of the hottest local artists in the area.

For most of their customers, the restaurant serves as a great venue for a classy meet and greet with friends– packed with exquisite food and beverages. Of course, there’s also a little sing along to spend the evenings.

If you want to experience that, you should go on Fridays and Saturdays, as those are the nights when they have live music in the iconic Murrieta’s Lounge. The live band begins at 10:00 PM., with a $10 cover charge to see the event.

Murrieta’s lineups are posted on their website regularly, by the way. It’s also important to highlight that the restaurant is available for private event bookings, and we believe you can arrange for a band to perform at your event. 

However, customers who previously requested this experienced difficulty in booking due to the band’s availability. With that said, it’s not something we can strongly recommend at the moment. 

Overall, the restaurant has a special place in the hearts of all Calgary residents because of its superb ambiance for enjoying a diverse food scene while listening to live music. And with that, Murrieta’s West Coast Bar and Grill earns a spot on our list.


  • Classy venue to eat out and enjoy live music
  • Live music on every Fridays and Saturdays
  • Features various local artists in the area
  • Always updates which band will be featured (on the website)
  • Available for private event bookings
  • Can also book live bands to perform


  • Can be difficult to book a live band to perform
  • Limited live music performance (Fridays and Saturdays only)

Would return on special occasions

Overall a very nice restaurant. Would return on special occasions. Tonnes of room and nooks and rooms to hideaway in or nice patio overlooking Stephen Ave if you prefer to people watch. The happy hour food and Price’s was lovely and well presented. The staff were extremely friendly and helpful – Graham Black

Great venue to meet with friends to celebrate together. Apparently, the building was the first hotel in Calgary. Food was fantastic. Service was great. I had a mixed green salad, the trio dip and this grilled octopus dish. See photo below. – Jason Chung

9. Palomino Smokehouse

Palomino Smokehouse's Banner
WHAT WE DO• Independent live music performances

• Private event bookings

• Foods and drinks

ADDRESS109 7 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2P 3E6, Canada
CONTACT DETAILS(403) 206-1564
OPERATING HOURSMonday - Thursday: 11:30 AM - 10:00 PM

Friday: 11:30 AM - 1:00 AM

Saturday: 12:00 PM - 1:00 AM

Sunday: 12:00 PM - 11:00 PM

Type of venue: Restaurant
Open for private bookings: Yes
Featured artists: Independent local artists
Food and drinks available: Yes
• BBQ: $30 and under
Music experience and artist line-up4/5
Venues and capacity3/5

If you envision your Friday nights like this – slow-smoked BBQ, rustic space with a full bar, and fantastic live music – then Palomino Smokehouse is the answer.

Actually, the place doesn’t always have live bands, but when they do, it’s a guaranteed good time. This is all thanks to the Palomino Smokehouse Showroom which is spacious enough to accommodate big crowds for an independent live music show.

When we visited their showroom, we were welcomed by its ambiance and scene driven for exciting nightlife. However, it’s important to note that the venue doesn’t have fixed seating or reserved tables – you’d have to be early to get a good spot. 

On the good side though, they can accommodate whatever seating arrangement and table setup you like if you ever wish to rent their place for private events.

But while the music accommodations are good, the hot ventilation almost kills the experience. If it was not for the good show and fantastic food, we wouldn’t have found ourselves returning when they have a live music event. 

On top of that, they’re amazing in making everything convenient for their customers. Ticket prices and the details regarding the band performing – what time the show starts and other related matters – are all available on their website and social media accounts.


  • Combines BBQ and independent live music performances together
  • Spacious showroom for any type of live music shows
  • Showroom is available for rentals
  • Informative website
  • Rustic space with a full bar 
  • Competitive admission fees


  • Does not have fixed seating or reserve tables
  • Minor complaints regarding hot ventilation

Absolute best live music in Calgary

One of the absolute best live music venues in Calgary.  A pillar of the scene, in fact.  Drinks are well-priced and the food is amazing.  Curious if your date is actually into you?  Order a plate of their deliciously pungent garlic fries and if they still want to kiss you after dinner then you know it’s love. – Electronicorn Partypus

Amazing local music

An amazing local music venue in Calgary that has so much character. Great food too! – Elyse Bouvier

10. The StainGlass Social

The StainGlass Social's Banner
WHAT WE DOOnline live music performance
ADDRESS Calgary, Alberta 
ADMISSION FEESNone (donations only)
Type of venue: Online live music performance
Services offer:  Live music performances
Featured artists: Local country music artists
Open for private bookings: No
Food and drinks available: None
Music experience and artist line-up3/5
Venues and capacity4/5

While in-person shows are always superior (in our opinion), we know there are also music lovers who are fond of virtual performances. If that’s the case then The StainGlass Social can provide you with that online experience. 

For a quick background, they only debuted in 2020, when normal operations were limited. They have since focused on delivering virtual shows, focused on country music productions. 

As a matter of fact, their vision is to become a cultural destination for country music performances in Calgary. That’s why, when you tune in with them, you can expect to listen to American folk music.

What makes them incredible is that, in addition to celebrating and promoting country music, they also support local charities. Their debut performance actually was produced through donations from their generous viewers. 

We find it best to note that proceeds were donated to the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society and the Alpha House Society.

Now, since The StainGlass Social is only doing virtual live concerts, we understand how some people find it unlikable. However, we appreciate that they made it possible for people to relive the experience by making it available on their website, which deserves a plus from us.

All in all, The StainGlass Social appears to be a promising platform for Calgary residents to enjoy live music performances. And we believe they will get more positive feedback once they start doing in-person live shows.


  • Focused on hosting live country music performances
  • Virtually available
  • Supports local charities
  • Friendly accommodations


  • Currently focused on virtual live concerts only

FAQs About Live Music in Calgary