Hoosiers love music. Come hang out at one of our indie music rooms, or dress up and attend an opera or other musical theater performance at one of our fine arts centers. Either way, your toes are sure to be tapping! Here are our 9 favorite music venues in Indiana.
Formerly known as the Deer Creek Amphitheater and the Verizon Center (not the one in D.C.), the Ruoff Music Center draws big names in music and entertainment, including Ozzy, All American Rejects, Gwen Stefani, and many more. Twenty-four thousand seats make this amphitheater an incredible venue for the big-crowd experience. Six thousand of those seats are under the pavilion, but the other eighteen thousand are in the open air.
A popular stop for touring shows and concert tours is Emens Auditorium on Ball State University campus. The 3,581-seat auditorium features a proscenium stage and scalloped ceiling which alone are enough to earn it a top grade for acoustic excellence, but top-of-the-line sound systems push the quality of the experience over the top. In addition to touring shows, guest artist concerts and lectures, and Ball State Opera performances, Emens Auditorium also sees graduation exercises for the College of Fine Arts every spring. But, thanks to Ball State's cutting-edge capabilities, Emens is not the only excellent music venue on campus. A short walk away is Pruis Hall, often booked for one-person concerts and smaller musical groups. World-class performers have complimented the perfection of the sound. Across Riverside Avenue from Emens' entrance is Sursa Hall, another favored spot especially for orchestral and classical vocal performances. Although it isn't as busy as Emens, the acoustic design of Sursa allows singers to perform without microphones or other amplification of any kind.
Pronounced like “Clues,” the theater of Butler University's campus is another top destination for touring shows and concerts. The décor is edgier and more modern, but no less majestic in visual impact. Seating 2,148, it's a little smaller than Emens, but it draws big names as well: Izhak Perlman, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and Sir Elton John are only three of the world class performers who have graced the stage.
If you're in the mood to trade auditorium size for history, visit the Memorial Opera House in Valparaiso just south of Lake Michigan. The 120-year-old building has been restored to its former glory for 384 people to enjoy musicals and plays on the very same stage where a production of “Little Lord Fauntleroy” starring Beulah Bondi was staged. That name ring a bell? She played Jimmy Stewart's mother in his most famous films “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” and “It's a Wonderful Life!” John Philip Sousa also conducted several of his famous marches on the opera's stage, and the Marx Brothers also walked the boards in 1919.
Looking for something edgier and more modern than a traditional sit-down-and-look-at-the-stage theater experience? Check out the HiFi … but only if you're 21 years or older, no exceptions, thanks to the well-stocked bar and craft beer tap. The HiFi hosts several different genres, styles, and types of music, from intimate one-person performances to groups of a garage band flavor, “just as long as it's REALLY good.” Wear comfortable shoes, too, because according to the website, it's standing room only. Hey, when the music's good, ya gotta dance, right?
The Tin Roof is definitely part of the nightlife in Indy. Indie musicians come and play, then hang with the small crowds over a draft beer and bar food redefined. The urban jungle atmosphere paired with a basement-hangout feel practically buzzes with creativity accented by beats from musicians, both solo and group. Fun events where everyone can let their hair down include trivia nights with reduced-price beer, privately hosted parties, and public parties honoring the great musical and fashion traditions of past decades.
It's everything you ever wanted in an outdoor concert venue. It's big. hey have a limited number of beach-style chairs available or you can bring your own, or you can relax in the grass. There's lights. There's an incredible sound system. And there's big-name performers. Bob Dylan, Phillip Phillips, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Barenaked Ladies, Peter Frampton, the Goo Goo Dolls, and most impressively the Beach Boys are just a few of the world-class music entertainers this massive outdoor concert venue has contracted with.
For those who prefer their music of a strictly classical or orchestral nature, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra calls the Hilbert Circle Theater their home and welcomes guest artists from all over the world. The building is stunning inside and out, with old world charm and a dreamy elegance that will enrich your experience of the classics with all the ambiance and décor of the era.
Formerly known as the Murat Center for the Arts, this incredible and majestic building takes center stage in the limelight for Indiana's 10 best music venues. Inside is a step back in time to the glorious and opulent days when theater was at its height for a ritzy evening out. Gold scrollwork, plush carpets, and chandelier lighting add to the dripping-with-diamonds atmosphere. But the theater itself? Acoustically brilliant and visually stunning in a very Paris Opera way, with the not-so-vintage addition of speakers to enhance the music experience. While there aren't any private boxes available to be away from the 2,500-seat crowd, you can feel pretty isolated in the seats the end of the balcony which sits directly over the orchestra section.