From Arenas to Coffee Houses: Where to Catch Live Music in Duluth

A guitar player performs at Reggaefest
Photo: Bayfront Reggae & World Music Festival

From national acts like Bob Dylan, Trampled by Turtles and Low, to local favorites like Cars & Trucks and AfroGeode, Duluth’s music history runs deep. There is just something about the city on the lake that inspires musicians and music lovers alike.

We’ve gathered some of the most popular spots that host musical acts, from large artists to local bands, so you can be sure to find something to get your toes tapping.

If you’re hoping to catch bigger acts, check what’s happening at the DECC or Bayfront Festival Park. From James Taylor to Duluth natives Trampled by Turtles, these venues have hosted hundreds of acts over the years.

Rex Nightclub is located on the lower level of the Fitger’s complex. Featuring live entertainment every weekend, this is a must-visit!

Black River Revue with Jacob Mahon plays at Sacred Heart Music Center
Photo Credit: Michael K. Anderson courtesy of Sacred Heart Music Center

Sacred Heart Music Center is a former cathedral in Duluth’s Central Hillside neighborhood. In addition to a performance space, it’s home to Sacred Heart Recording Studio and the historic Felgemaker organ, one of the oldest organs in the state.

If country is your jam, then check out Spurs on First. Boasting great beer specials and a fun atmosphere, Spurs on First is Duluth’s country bar and features a variety of live entertainment, including various country acts. 

The West Theatre, in addition to being a movie theater, also hosts live performances throughout the year. Come for the performances, stay for the historic Art Deco architecture. The theater first opened in 1937 and was fully restored in 2019.

You don’t need to go to a music venue to catch good tunes, though. The Rathskeller, Duluth’s only speakeasy, frequently features jazz music and singer/songwriters to listen to while sipping whiskey and craft cocktails. Similarly, Black Water Lounge offers live jazz music in their sophisticated lounge setting.

A band performs at Black Water Lounge
Photo Credit: Black Water Lounge

If you’re looking for something a bit more casual, Sir Benedict’s Tavern on the Lake may be just the spot. They host live music 5-7 nights a week in an authentic English pub setting with a stunning view of Lake Superior. They also have over 20 beers on tap, so it’s a great spot to grab a pint while you listen!

The Brewhouse Barrel Room in the Fitger’s Complex is another spot to catch live music, often featuring open mic nights if you’re inspired to become a performer yourself!

Wussow’s Concert Café in West Duluth features a full espresso bar, locally sourced food and drink, and a stage for live music that is a favorite for both local and national touring acts alike.

Ripple Bar features live music throughout the week and spots like Mr. D’s and R.T. Quinlan’s feature a variety of performers almost every single weekend.  Periodically, NorShor and Clyde Iron Works also feature music – be sure to check their websites for calendars!

Duluth’s breweries, cideries and distilleries, local bars and coffee shops are other places to catch live music. From singer-songwriters to full bands, these spots frequently host live music – check out your favorite place’s social media or events calendars to stay up to date.

Be sure to check out the event pages on each venue’s website to see who is performing next. Also visit our events calendar and save the dates for the many music festivals held throughout the year in Duluth.

Whether it’s an old favorite you’ve wanted to see for a long time or a new discovery who you’ll add to your Spotify rotation, Duluth’s music scene has something for everyone’s taste.