Tampa Bay’s top 20 concert venues

click to enlarge The Pussycat Dolls at the USF Sun Dome. - OwenImages.com
The Pussycat Dolls at the USF Sun Dome.

Tampa Bay live music lovers can be found absorbing loud sonics and sweaty sights in venues ranging from cozy rock dens to plush theaters to humongous arenas to moonlit lawns peppered with empty beer cups. Everybody has his or her fave. Here at Creative Loafing, we have dozens of preferred rock, jazz, country, blues and experimental noise destinations. Which made whittling our list of Top 20 concert venues a real bitch, wrought with heated arguments and a near wrestling match between Snider and Tatangelo.

Here's what remained standing after the dust cleared. We've organized the venues according to capacity, listing them from biggest to smallest in each of five categories. But this isn't an end-all declaration. Think of our list as a springboard for a regularly expanding venue directory that will be found on Creative Loafing's awesomely retooled music page, due to drop next week. We'll also share memories there of our favorite gigs, as we do in the list below, and we hope to hear about some of your own booze-soaked recollections. You caught Green Day at the Brass Mug? You were there when Pearl Jam grunge-rocked Jannus Landing? Share your tale in the comments section found online under each venue. Enjoy.

On the Creative Loafing home page: Radiohead's Thom Yorke at the Ford Amphitheatre. Photo by Phil Bardi.


Since 1988, CL Tampa Bay has served as the free, independent voice of Tampa Bay, and we want to keep it that way.

Becoming a CL Tampa Bay Supporter for as little as $5 a month allows us to continue offering readers access to our coverage of local news, food, nightlife, events, and culture with no paywalls.

Join today because you love us, too.

Eric Snider

Eric Snider is the dean of Bay area music critics. He started in the early 1980s as one of the founding members of Music magazine, a free bi-monthly. He was the pop music critic for the then-St. Petersburg Times from ‘87-’93. Snider was the music critic, arts editor and senior editor of Weekly Planet/Creative...
Scroll to read more Local Music articles

Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.