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Top Spots to Catch Live Music in Wilmington and Beaches

The best concert halls, amphitheaters, breweries, and lounges to catch live music

Top Spots to Catch Live Music in Wilmington and Beaches

Wilmington, Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Wrightsville Beach are home to a number of great musicians, and each town's music venues reflect the diversity and talent of the area's music scene. Wilmington and Beaches' music venues range from state of the art, historic concert halls to outdoor amphitheaters and relaxed, local pubs.

Here, local musicians, artists, and other tastemakers share their recommendations for the best spots for live music in Wilmington and Beaches, where you can have a different listening experience each night of the week.

Hugh Morton Amphitheater at Greenfield Park

Recommended by: Dean Neff, Billy Mellon, James Doss, Ashley Tipper, Randy McQuay, Khalisa Rae Williams

Neighborhood: South Front Street District

Phillip Phillips Performing at Greenfield Lake Amphitheater

The Hugh Morton Amphitheater at Greenfield Park is a large outdoor venue that has become a go-to music spot among locals and visitors alike, showcasing national acts like Willie Nelson and Phillip Phillips. Dan Brawley of Cucalorus Film Festival, says that the Hugh Morton Amphitheater at Greenfield Lake Park is gorgeous:

"You’re basically sitting in a grove of bald cypress trees, watching the sunset immersed in this zen-like environment listening to live music."

Brooklyn Arts Center at St. Andrews

Recommended by: James Doss, Randy McQuay

Neighborhood: Brooklyn Arts District

The Brooklyn Arts Center

The Brooklyn Arts Center is another great, large spot for live music in the heart of Wilmington's Brooklyn Arts District.

Wilmington's local musician Randy McQuay of The Randy McQuay Trio says, “When it comes to music in Wilmington, for larger venues I think Hugh Morton Amphitheater at Greenfield Lake Park and Brooklyn Arts Center are definitely two of the bigger, better spots in town.”

Satellite Bar and Lounge

Recommended by: Dean Neff, Craig Love, Ben Mabry, Jess Reedy, Khalisa Rae Williams

Neighborhood: South Front Street District

Satellite Bar

Satellite Bar and Lounge is not only a great spot for drinks, but it’s also an awesome venue for live music and hanging out with friends, especially on Sundays when there's loud and live Bluegrass.

Chef Dean Neff describes Satellite as a “really beautiful, large bar that has inside seating with large windows and exposed-air areas. There’s a patio area where they play movies, and you can play corn hole.”

Bourgie Nights

Recommended by: Dan Brawley

Neighborhood: Wilmington's Historic Downtown / River District

Source: Facebook

Bourgie Nights is a secret, off-the-beaten-path gem of a lounge that's attached to the beloved manna avenue. 123. Wilmington's local and traveling musicians often stop by to play sets in this intimate space, while bartenders make craft cocktails.

The Whiskey

Recommended by: Billy Mellon, Randy McQuay

Neighborhood: Wilmington

"The Whiskey is a good medium-sized, national venue in Wilmington and Beaches," according to Randy McQuay.

Billy Mellon of manna ave. 123 and Bourgie Nights says, “The Whiskey kind of focuses a lot of their attention on jam bands, and it's a really cool spot to go.”

Duck and Dive Bar and Pub

Recommended by: Sam Cahoon, Dani Bearss, Randy McQuay

Neighborhood: Wilmington's Historic Downtown / River District

Source: Facebook

Duck and Dive Bar and Pub is a smaller pub that has nightly live music and is a favorite among locals, like Sam Cahoon, Owner and Chef at Savorez.

Dani Bearss, Head Brewer at Waterline Brewing Company, says, “The Duck and Dive is a little English-feeling pub with great $4 Bloody Marys that are totally unexpected!" And with no cover, a trip to Duck and Dive is certainly worth your time.

Waterline Brewing Company

Recommended by: Randy McQuay, Dani Bearss, Aaron Skiles, Mike Barlas

Neighborhood: Wilmington

Facebook

Waterline is a talented brewery that’s good across the board, according to Aaron Skiles of New Anthem Beer Project.

Waterline Brewing’s music scene is also a major draw, according to Randy McQuay of the Randy McQuay Trio. He says,

"Waterline Brewing is one of those breweries that's a gem in itself. They were so willing and wanted to do live music no matter what, even if they went bankrupt doing it. They ended up having such a great product with their beer, and on top of that, it's just become such a great space for music. The team at Waterline Brewing has done nothing but nurture that space, building up the sound."

Thalian Hall Center for Performing Arts

Recommended by: Gwenyfar Rohler, Rhonda Bellamy, Billy Mellon, Dan Brawley, Khalisa Rae Williams

Neighborhood: Wilmington's Historic Downtown / River District

Thalian Hall Center for Performing Arts is a must-visit in Wilmington and Beaches. “Going to a show at Thalian Hall is something everybody should do at least once while they’re here. It’s one of the most beautiful theaters I’ve ever walked into in my life!” says Gwenyfar Rohler, Owner of Old Books on Front Street. “If you can't fall in love with the magic in that building, you never will.”

Thalian Hall Center for Performing Arts was built in the 1850s and is a beautiful, historic building in Wilmington.

The Wilson Center

The Wilson Center

Recommended by: Shane Fernando, Rhonda Bellamy

Neighborhood: Wilmington's Historic Downtown / River District

The Wilson Center is the largest and most technologically sophisticated performing arts center in Eastern North Carolina, according to Shane Fernando, Executive Artistic Director for the Wilson Center: “We have the PNC Broadway Series, where we bring in national tours to Wilmington. We have our Star Series, where we bring in national headliners, sometimes comedians, and we also have a Contemporary Dance Series. We have two symphonies in residence, three dance companies in residence, and a variety of other events throughout the year.”

Rhonda Bellamy, Executive Director of The Wilmington Arts Council says it most clearly, “I love to see musicals at the Wilson Center.”

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