Home Music Music Lists

The Best Music Venues in America: Readers’ Choice

Your picks for the most rocking rooms in the country

Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN

25 Jul 2006, Nashville, Tennessee, USA --- Located in downtown Nashville, Ryman Auditorium is the mother church of country music. Nashville is also known as Music City and the home of the Grand Ole Opry. --- Image by © Jason Moore/ZUMA/Corbis

© Jason Moore/ZUMA/Corbis

This March and April, our expert panel of artists and insiders picked the best clubs, big rooms and ampitheaters in America. Then, in May, we asked you to choose from the list of 40 finalists and submit your favorite. Read on to see if your favorite venue made the list, then visit our Venues That Rock page for an interactive map and much more.

CC Image courtesy of Fire At Will [Photography] on Flickr

1

Norva in Norfolk, VA

The club with the hot tub, not to mention a sauna and game room on the premises, opened in 2000 after owner A. William Reid saw gold in Norfolk's rising downtown area. He sunk $6 million into the project, a Roaring Twenties movie hall that had evolved over the decades into an athletic club (thus the hot tub). The first show was James Brown in 2000, but over time, the Norva developed a reputation, drawing headliners from Prince to Dylan to Justin Timberlake. Reid later told the Virginian-Pilot that his only regret was not asking the Godfather of Soul to join him in the tub, thus reprising Eddie Murphy's famous Saturday Night Live skit. "Because he was so gracious," Reid said of the headliner who established his club, "I never quite had the nerve to ask him."

Capacity: 1,450
Website:
http://www.thenorva.com
Fun Fact:
Prince opened his 2001 show here with "Purple Rain," then played, among others, "Cream," "Kiss" and "I Wanna Be Your Lover."