BOSTON, MA - MAY 30: Steven Tyler and Aerosmith perform during the Boston Strong: An Evening Of Support And Celebration at TD Garden on May 30, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Live music is taking center stage this month in Massachusetts. Many outdoor venues are opening, and the Boston Calling Festival will take place on Memorial Day weekend. To add to the excitement, Fifty Grande released survey results that named Boston a top music city in America.

Boston Ranked #11

Fifty Grande’s list features the top 20 cities in the country based on a survey released in December. Their criteria centered on music’s importance to the reader when making travel plans. “As a music fan, when you’re considering travel plans, these are the cities that should be high on your list to visit,” the report states.

Boston certainly has a lot to offer if live music is essential in booking travel plans. In addition, there are numerous events coming up that fans might consider for a road trip.

Boston Concert Calendar

In addition to the aforementioned Boston Calling Festival, we have the Levitate Music and Arts Festival right outside the city in July. The Xfinity Center opens next week, and the Leader Bank Pavilion has an incredible four-month lineup starting in June. This shed is right on the scenic and boat-filled Boston Harbor. Furthermore, Taylor Swift is coming to town. Swift is bringing her three-hour, forty plus song, The Eras Tour for three nights, on May 19-21.

What Else?

Concerts aren’t the only thing that make Boston a great music city. Berklee College of Music is situated right in the heart of the city. The Symphony and Boston Pops perform regularly. This includes their free July 4th show along the Charles River at historical Hatch Shell on the Esplanade.

Fifty Grande also mentioned the Verb Hotel, which neighbors Fenway Park. The Verb is a music-themed boutique hotel where each room has a custom rock and roll design. Coming into Beantown to see Guns N’ Roses perform at Fenway and then staying at the Verb Hotel sounds like a pretty rocking adventure.

To read more about Boston being named a top music city in America, check out Fifty Grande’s full report here.

Ranking Massachusetts Best Outdoor Music Venues

Spring is upon us in New England and outdoor live music events will be taking place over the next few months. We have compiled a list of the best outdoor music venues in Massachusetts.

Like many other major markets, the great Boston music scene has a systematic approach to which size venue a particular artist will play when they roll into town. There are not many outdoor spaces that match the exact capacity of another venue in the area. We have a large capacity outdoor venue that come in the form of stadiums and amphitheaters. Deep within the seaport district, there’s a harborside pavilion. Then, adventuring out a bit, there’s a haven within the Berkshire Mountains and a backyard venue (yes, really, a backyard) on the south shore that is booking major national names.

Venturing out

To compile this list, we had certain criteria that would qualify the location to be a potential top outdoor concert venue in Massachusetts. First, it has to be an in-state destination as opposed to in New England. It has to be a venue that is aligned to major tour stops and ticketing platforms. Lastly, it must offer the ability to actually watch the show outside under the open-air sky.

It’s important to note that ground-hosting festivals sites as a one-off weekend or standalone event would not qualify. For example, the Harvard Athletic facilities where Boston Calling weekend takes place once per year.

Those that did rank open for the season starting in late May. Before we get into the list, let’s give an honorable mention to the Cape Cod Melody Tent and South Shore Music Circus (who are sister venues). They were not considered as part of this list due to the fact that although there are open air spaces, you are technically covered under the tent for the duration of the show.

Alas, let’s build some excitement for all of the outdoor concerts coming our way this season and take a look at the best outdoor venues in Massachusetts.

  • #6 Xfinity Center, Mansfield

    What was once Great Woods and the Tweeter Center always gets a plethora of major national tours. It’s your standard amphitheater experience that does not have any local feel in terms of your outdoor environment. This season opens with a bang as Janet Jackson comes to town on May 19th. From Chris Stapleton to The Cure to Snoop Dogg, Xfinity’s 2023 calendar is filled with big names. However, the fact that getting out of the parking lot at the end of the night usually takes longer than the concert, is the primary reason it sits at number six.

  • #5 Gillette Stadium, Foxboro

    Yes, this is the home of the New England Patriots and Revolution about 45 minutes outside of Boston. However, this stadium is the spot for many of the year’s biggest tours. Taylor Swift kicks off a three-night run on May 19th. Luke Combs, BeyoncĂ©, Bruce Springsteen, Ed Sheeran, Billy Joel, Stevie Nicks and Metallica are the other major acts taking the Gillette stage this year. Though the atmosphere is electric, a Patriot Place surrounding the venue helps ensure that the experience feels like you’re in a stadium.

  • #4 Fenway Park

    Sticking with the professional sports theme, Fenway Park has become a Boston landmark for summer concerts in addition to baseball. It’s an ideal location that neighbors the new state-of-the art MGM Music Hall. Regardless of who is performing, seeing a show upon the outfield grass of this historic venue is always an experience to behold. Kane Brown kicks things off on June 23rd, followed by Dead & Company, P!NK, Fall Out Boy, Morgan Wallen, Zac Brown Band and Guns N’ Roses.

  • #3 Levitate Backyard, Marshfield

    The Levitate Music Festival is always a summer weekend to circle. This same small business has an outdoor venue attached to their surf shop. It’s literally in the backyard. The capacity is a perfect 200 ticket limit, providing an intimate music experience at every show. Food from their in-house Mexican restaurant is available, as is their homemade canned Margaritas. Furthermore, the Levitate Backyard venue attracts major national acts like Trevor Hall, Citizen Cope, G.Love, Ripe and Matisyahu.

  • #2 Tanglewood - Koussevitzky Music Shed, Lenox

    This is an excursion out to the Berkshires that is worth every minute of the drive. You’re free amongst nature in a landscape of green pastures. The outdoor shed gets a variety of special tour stops each summer. Brandi Carlile spoke very highly of the place while performing there last year. James Taylor, Robert Plant, and Train are just some of the names on tap this year.

  • #1 Leader Bank Pavilion, Boston

    The setting is simply breathtaking. A nice evening you are under blanket of stars, dancing to music within a venue that rests right upon the Boston Harbor. You get a cool, salty breeze off the shoreline and have the option to roam out from under the shed. Every note is audible in the fully outdoor spaces and there is clear visibility to the state. It opens on June 2nd and runs nonstop until the season closes at the end of September with Hozier performing.

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