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5 Great Music Venues in the Portland Area to Check Out for Your Next Pacific Northwest Tour

Image via Shutterstock

The Pacific Northwest of the US is amazing for so many different reasons: the mountains, the natural history, and definitely the music. I mean, Seattle alone was home to Kurt Cobain, Quincy Jones, and Jimi Hendrix. I think those three are enough to convince you that this region is one of the best for music scenes.

But with the famed names aside, Oregon has much to offer for everyone in the music industry, especially Portland. Portland prides itself on its eclectic counterculture, amazing food, and inclusiveness. There's just about anything for anyone in Portland, including the up-and-coming and breakthrough musicians.

Portland's wide variety of venues and performance spaces makes it a great city to hit up for a tour or even just as you're passing through. From historical venues to chill coffee houses, here are just some of the venues in Portland and surrounding areas you should check out for the next time you plan to head out on a tour.

Music Venues You Need to Know About: Portland's Hawthorne Theatre and Lounge

Photo by Kimberly Lawson via Flickr / CC BY 2.0

The building that houses the Hawthorne Theatre has seen a lot of uses: for 70 years from the '20s onward, it was a Masonic Building, then a series of pubs, then a ballroom, and later, it was a comedy club, a record store, then an art gallery. Since 2005, though, it's been a staple Portland venue for bands and artists of all genres, both established and up-and-coming.

5 Best Venues in Portland for Bands New to the Scene

Photo by Jami Dwyer via Wikimedia Commons

In Portland's music history, there are more than a few way-back-when legends and plenty of modern icons. Among the greats once based there, whether by birth or relocation, are the Wire, Dead Moon, the Decemberists, Sleater-Kinney, Elliot Smith, and the Shins. It was in Portland that Kurt Cobain first met Courtney Love, who was living there at the time, at a now-defunct punk club. All that clout naturally makes a magnet of the scene for bands both local and touring – which complicates things for up-and-coming groups looking to break in.

Rest assured, there are still plenty of smaller spots that welcome new talent. Places like these, after all, are of the same variety where many now-famous bands cut their teeth, cultivating their sound and style along the way. Everyone's got to start somewhere – and these five Portland bars and clubs encourage artist development by providing those spaces.