While Alaska technically does experience all four seasons, any local will tell you that there are pretty much 6 months of winter. Although the Summer is short, Alaska makes up for it with the midnight sun and our locals soak up every minute of it. Concerts, festivals, fairs, and local outdoor markets are common during this time of year and we can’t get enough of them! Alaskans love their music and we love to support our thriving local talent. If you live in Alaska you likely have been to many of these. If you haven’t and you’re visiting in the Summer don’t miss out! Here are our Top 5 Best Live Music Venues in Alaska.
While this isn’t our #1, we thought it was worth mentioning because we know that they are not producing concerts now but will be coming back strong when they do. Until covid Moose’s Tooth was the place for live music in the city, hosting live local music weekly and bringing in a consistent flow of national acts on a regular basis. The venue is large enough for big-name bands to play but small enough for it to feel intimate and special.What We Love: The mix of genres, acts and style of entertainment provided, such as dj’s, comedy, live theater, modern bands, and more. Not to mention the all too popular Moose’s Tooth pizza being at your fingertips.What We Don’t:
Parking. Parking. Parking. Count yourself lucky if you can get a parking spot and you don’t have to park down the street.
#1 Williwaw Social – Anchorage
With Moose’s Tooth backing off of live music, there was certainly a live music void in town, and Williwaw Social has been happy to step in and keep the scene going. That’s actually a bit of an understatement – the Williwaw has been absolutely killing it lately, with shows all the time, a wide range of acts and genres, a great industrial-styled space, and one of the best rooftop decks in town.
What We Love: You can enjoy the Williwaw in a variety of ways depending on your vibe for the night. Live music, the Speakeasy, or the rooftop **weather permitting.
What We Don’t: It definitely gets crowded and attracts a younger, party crowd, but that’s not always a bad thing. The food has also been inconsistent as they have been changing their menu over the years.
#2 Matanuska Brewing Company – Eagle River
This venue does have some indoor seating but makes for a great little outdoor concert venue. If you are looking for a place to sit in the sunshine on the grass with friends, your dog, and a great beer, you have found your home. Matanuska Brewing Company is one of our favorites for a chill outdoor concert setting within driving distance from Anchorage.
What We Love: This little venue has no pretentiousness to it. Show up in your fishing waders, your Xtratufs, and your hiking gear, and you’re in good company.
What We Don’t: As always with Alaska with outdoor venues, you have to expect that the weather may not cooperate for you, and if you’re not the put-on-your-rain-boots and stick it out kind of crowd then that might deter you.
#3 49th State Brewing Company – Healy by Denali State Park
Much like our #2 choice, 49th State Brewing Company is a great space for outdoor concerts. Their Healy location in particular greets out-of-towners to unwind with a beer and great music after a day in Denali State Park. Whether you were sightseeing on a tour bus or just getting back from a camping trip this venue brings warmth and local cheer to all that enter.
What We Like: The backyard vibe of their outdoor concert area is all too wholesome. Not to mention the replica bus lawn ornament that all out-of-towners love to get photos of from the true story that inspired “Into the Wild”.
What We Don’t: This venue is a bit out of the way for the everyday tourist or local. Unless you have a trip planned specifically to go to Denali State Park it’s quite a trek otherwise. But don’t despair, in their genius they also built a location right in Anchorage that has great food, great beer, and often DJ’s and bands too.
#4 Humpy’s Great Alaskan Alehouse – Anchorage
Humpy’s is great, and about as Alaska as you can get. It’s loud, it’s warm and the drinks are strong. Whether you go for food and some music, food and a drink, or just food, Humpy’s is always a good time, ….and always good food. The local vibe runs thick at Humpy’s, and that’s the way we like it.
What We Love: Lots of great local beers on tap, and did we mention the food is really good? New in town? Try the halibut tacos.
What We Don’t: Humpy’s is definitely more dive bar than it is a music venue, and oftentimes the music plays second fiddle to the shenanigans happening inside. Don’t say we didn’t warn you……
#5 Red Dog Saloon – Juneau
So while Humpy’s made the list as half music venue and half diver bar, the Red Dog Saloon is just pure dive bar. But with live music. But actually with great, local, live music. Red Dog is an experience and a unique mix of locals and visitors. An authentic Alaskan bar, with sawdust on the floor, beer running freely, and a regular lineup of fantastic local bands.
What We Love: This place is legendary and harkens back to the old mining days of Juneau’s past. A visit to Red Dog is like a step back in time.
What We Don’t: Because it hangs its hat on local, authentic and a little bit old school, it’s not uncommon for really long waits for food and drinks and very limited selections.
We love a good concert and supporting all of our local businesses that help to produce them.
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