A Guide to Orlando's Music Scene
Orlando may be known for its theme parks and tourist attractions, but there's a thriving music scene that's often overlooked. From live music to dance music, there's something for everyone in this city.
If you want to experience the local music scene, head to the Mills 50 neighborhood. Specifically, the 1000 block of Mills Avenue is where you'll find the heart of the underground music scene. Will's Pub is a must-visit for music lovers, hosting indie acts in various genres, from rock and punk to electronic and rap. You'll also find other intimate venues like Lil Indie's and Dirty Laundry in the same complex. Uncle Lou's is a block down Mills and is the hub for experimental and outsider artists. With these two venues, you'll get an authentic and happening street-level snapshot of the Orlando music scene.
In Audubon Park, Park Ave CDs is the flagship independent record shop where local stars and touring indie names perform in-store. Stardust Video & Coffee is a popular neo-boho hangout featuring an eclectic range of music. The Milk District is another hub for live music. The Plaza Live is a grand old venue that hosts concerts, while Iron Cow and the Nook on Robinson are spots where you'll find interesting live events.
Downtown Orlando has legendary sister venues, the Social and the Beacham, that host primetime concerts and dance nights. The Abbey is a nice mid-sized venue in the Thornton Park neighborhood with a cool concert calendar. For an intimate neighborhood art bar that occasionally hosts underground bands, head to the Falcon.
Orlando has a deep dance-music heritage that dates back to the 1990s rave revolution. Although those days are long gone, the vestiges of the dance scene remain, and there's been a recent revival of the genre.
Ace Cafe in Downtown Orlando occupies the space that was once legendary dance club the Edge. Now, it keeps the Edge's bass-booming spirit alive with old-school dance parties stacked with golden-era DJs like Josh Wink, DJ Dan, Frankie Bones, and Micro. The Vanguard is another venue that upholds the dance pedigree almost full-time, with a more modern EDM world vibe.
Other dance hotspots in Orlando include Southern Nights, Barbarella, Celine, and Tier.
Orlando's music scene is a vibrant mix of live music and dance music, and there's no shortage of venues to visit. From the underground scene at Will's Pub and Uncle Lou's to the legendary venues like the Social and the Beacham, there's something for everyone. Don't overlook Orlando's dance-music heritage, as there's been a recent revival that's worth exploring. Whether you're a local or a visitor, you'll find something to love in Orlando's music scene.