Downtown Venue Bucket List


By: Chantel Ouellet, Michaela Fuchs



Do you love music? Did you come to U of T ultimately as a way to experience the city? Are you pumped to see amazing concerts and experience iconic venues? That’s totally understandable. 

As you begin navigating the Toronto music scene you may hear some weird names for venues thrown around pretty casually, as if everyone goes to them all of the time. We here at the newspaper have been to our fair share of concerts, so we have compiled a venue bucket list that we’d like to share with you. These are the venues you absolutely must see a show at before you die or graduate (whichever comes sooner). So with that, let’s get to it.


the newspaper’s Top Pick

Massey Hall

Location: 178 Victoria St.

Famous Acts: Neil Young, Rush, Cream, The Kinks, Billy Joel, Leon Bridges 

Upcoming Acts: Lauryn Hill on Thursday, Sept. 15 and Friday, Sept. 16 

Why?: This building is freaking beautiful. Seriously go see a concert here just for the building itself. Along with the amazing architecture, Massey Hall provides great acoustics for whoever it is you are seeing, and being so close to the downtown core makes it a great destination.

The Horseshoe Tavern

Location: 370 Queen St. W

Famous Acts: The Rolling Stones, The Ramones, The Police, and many more

Upcoming Acts: Adam Green on Friday, Sept. 9

Why?: The Horseshoe Tavern is a classic Toronto music venue! It’s great for showcasing the city’s local talent, plus viewing some bigger acts in a more intimate space. If you want to experience a classic rock-bar, definitely go check this place out. 


Lee’s Palace

Location: 529 Bloor St. W

Famous Acts: Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Arctic Monkeys, Mumford and Sons

Upcoming Acts: The Sheepdogs on Wednesday, Sept. 14, Allah-Las on Thursday, Sept. 22

Why?: Lee’s Palace is pretty famous here in the city—it was even a set for the movie Scott Pilgrim vs. the World! Being so close to campus makes this venue a must see, especially with so many upcoming famous acts. 


Sound Academy

Location: 11 Polson St.

Famous Acts: MGMT, Chance The Rapper, James Bay

Upcoming Acts: Young the Giant on Wednesday, Sept. 21, Glass Animals on Sunday, Oct. 2 

Why?: This once-dreaded pier is another classic Toronto venue that has been going through some much-needed renovations. You will definitely be there at some point during your time in Toronto, especially if you’re attending the UTSU’s After Party on Friday, Sept. 9!


The Drake Underground

Location: 1150 Queen St. W

Famous Acts: M.I.A.

Upcoming Acts: Shy Kids on Friday, Sept. 9, Paper Bird on Friday, Sept. 16

Why?: The Drake Underground has the hippest of all concerts. The venue tends to show underground artists who are just edgy enough to be cool without being weird. Also be sure to check out the slam poetry at this venue!


The Silver Dollar Room

Location: 486 Spadina Ave.

Famous Acts: Bob Dylan, Barenaked Ladies, Blue Rodeo

Upcoming Acts: Morgan Delt on Friday, Sept. 16 

Why?: Do you want to experience a grungy concert? The Silver Dollar Room is the perfect scene for that. With many great shows, the small space can heat up quickly—full of mosh pits and great cheap drinks!


The Opera House

Location: 735 Queen St. E

Famous Acts: Nirvana, Eminem

Upcoming Acts: The Growlers on Friday, Sept. 23

Why?: Like many of the venues on this list, if the list of famous acts doesn’t intrigue you then the historical architecture will pull you in for sure.


The Mod Club

Location: 722 College St.

Famous Acts: Muse

Upcoming Acts: Gallant on Friday, Sept. 9, gnash on Friday, Oct. 14

Why?: This venue is known for its state of the art sound quality and ’60s-inspired interior. It’s one of those retro venues you just have to experience.


The Rivoli 

Location: 334 Queen St. W

Famous Acts: Gord Downie, Just for Laughs 

Upcoming Acts: The Lazys on Friday, Sept. 16, Tami Neilson on Thursday, Oct. 6

Why?: The Rivoli is located next to The Horseshoe Tavern,  but it has a completely different vibe! The venue has a classy restaurant and patio in the front (with some really great food), and then the party happens in the back. There’s also a billiard hall above it, so there is always lots happening!


Danforth Music Hall

Location: 147 Danforth Ave.

Famous Acts: Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Metric, Father John Misty, Disclosure

Upcoming Acts: Eric Andre Live! on Wednesday, Sept. 14, Blood Orange on Wednesday, Sept. 21

Why?: For a slightly larger Toronto venue, the Danforth Music Hall still manages to keep their shows intimate. They also tend to have a killer lineup of concerts.


Junction City Music Hall 

Location: 2907 Dundas St. W

Famous Acts: Stella Ella Ola

Upcoming Acts: Olivia and the Creepy Crawlies on Saturday, Sept. 3, King Cuddy Record Release on Saturday, Sept. 10

Why?: Free arcade games before 10 p.m. and haunted mirrored hallways. What else would you want from this unique music venue? This former biker bar has been renovated into a great venue that is located in one of the city’s hippest areas—a great place to go check out smaller Toronto acts and play pinball at the same time!

This article was originally published on our old website at