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Best Spots To Enjoy Concerts in Kansas City

Image of Union Station in downtown Kansas City at dusk with a partially lit skyline City & Venue Guides

Along with amazing sports teams and delicious BBQ, Kansas City is also a hub for live music of all kinds. From jazz to country to pop and more, the City of Fountains has no shortage of concerts by local and international artists. Read on for a rundown of the best Kansas City concert venues and discover which popular artists have performed there live.

The Truman

One of the best concert venues in Kansas City is The Truman, which is located in the city’s Crossroads District. The building was constructed in the 1930s and served as the site for Sterling Engine Parts until 2017. That September, the building was converted into a concert hall and The Truman’s debut was marked by a performance from Tech N9ne, a Kansas City-based rapper. The Truman has had incredible concerts by Shakey Graves, K. Flay, and Tyler, the Creator as well as Lil Yachty, MUNA and Black Tiger Sex Machine.

With more than 10,000 sq. ft. of space, The Truman has a standing room capacity of 1,200 and can seat up to 420 guests if organized in a theater arrangement. A lounge with a bar is located near the main entrance and there are additional bar areas within the main room. There is also a VIP area on the second floor and an open-air patio with great views of the downtown area. Along with concerts and other live shows, The Truman can be rented out for charity events, weddings, corporate events and trade shows.

The Midland

This concert venue is located downtown near Kansas City’s Power & Light District. The Midland Theatre’s doors first opened in 1927 and was the largest theater within 250 miles of the city. The Midland is a prominent venue in the city, putting on everything from concerts to stage productions to plays and comedy shows. Many locals and famous stars have performed at the Midland, including Mannheim Steamroller, Florence and the Machine and Godsmack

With five giant Czechoslovakian hand-cut crystal chandeliers, priceless art pieces, fantastic woodwork and more than 500,000 feet of gold leaf, the 3,000-seat theatre is a beautiful venue that blends the elegance of the past with present technology.

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

This performing arts center is easily recognizable as the immense, shell-shaped building that rests along the Kansas City skyline. Since it opened in 2011, the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts or the Kauffman Center has helped the performing arts scene in Kansas City flourish. In 2017, more than 2.5 million people attended events at the Kauffman Center. The venue is around 285,000 square feet with a lobby and the Brandmeyer Great Hall, enclosed by a giant wall of glass. The Kauffman has two major performance halls in its two shells: Muriel Kauffman Theatre and Helzberg Hall. 

Muriel Kauffman Theatre can accommodate 1,800 visitors and is typically reserved for live concerts, comedy shows and Broadway performances. Muriel Theatre also houses the Kansas City Ballet and the Lyric Opera of Kansas City

Helzberg Hall has a max seating capacity of 1,600 and a stage that takes up one-third of the hall’s space. The Helzberg hosts events by regional and international artists and typically features solo concerts along with chamber music and orchestral events. This performance hall is also home to the Kansas City Symphony and the Kauffman Center’s Casavant Organ, Opus 3875. 

Starlight Theatre

This outdoor theatre in Swope Park is the largest and oldest operating performing arts organization in the city. Starlight Theatre opened in 1950 and celebrated the city’s 100th birthday with Thrills of A Century, a costumed drama on the history of Kansas City. The following year, Starlight became a non-profit organization and for the first decade of operation put on light operas and Broadway musicals, with The Desert Song kicking off the theatre’s debut Broadway season. 

With a 10-story stage house and a seating capacity upwards of 7,700, Starlight Theatre is able to provide entertainment to the public all year round. In 2015, this theatre implemented the indoor theatre series, Starlight Indoors, which features smaller events like comedy shows, parodies, musicals and more inside the performance space of the Cohen Community Stage House. Starlight Theatre has presented Broadway productions like The Music Man and Hairspray as well as concerts by the likes of Melissa Etheridge, 30 Seconds to Mars, HAIM, Incubus and more. 

Uptown Theater

When it opened in 1928, Uptown Theater served as the city’s best spot for seeing first-run movies. It showcased films along with live stage productions and vaudeville shows. In 1979, Uptown Theater was added to the National Register of Historic Places, by which time it would operate mainly as a concert venue. After closing in 1989, the Uptown underwent renovations beginning in 1994 to restore the atmospheric theater’s original splendor. 

With the $15 million renovation, the ceiling was redecorated as a night sky, complete with clouds, twinkly stars and even mechanical birds. The renovations also included an addition of 33,000 sq. ft. with a brand-new lobby, bar, office and banquet space. In 2021, it made Pollstar’s list of the Top 100 Theatre Venues in the World. With a capacity of 2,4000, this theater is a community marvel that has featured shows by local groups as well as national and global artists like Gov’t Mule, O.A.R., CHVRCHES and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Image of four friends walking outside and laughing together

Folly Theater

The Folly Theater was built in 1900 as a vaudeville hall called Standard Theatre and was designed by Louis S. Curtis, a local architect. The theater underwent several name changes from Century Theater to Shubert’s Missouri before becoming ‘The Folly’ in 1941, with a specialty for burlesque shows. Facing the risk of permanent closure in 1973, locals and members of the Performing Arts Foundation rallied together to keep the theater open. Their hard work paid off as Folly Theater was bought, placed on the National Register of Historic Places and gained a million-dollar grant. 

After seven years of renovation, the Folly finally reopened in 1981. It is one of the city’s best venues for concerts from performers like Los Lobos, Samara Joy, Weird Al Yankovic and even Michael Buble. The main performance area is C. Stephen Metzler Hall which can hold up to 1,016 people. Along with the JKD Patron’s Lounge, which can seat up to 65 guests, the Folly has space for recitals, auditions, photoshoots, award ceremonies and more.

Grinders KC

Along with having some of the best pizza around, this restaurant in the Crossroads District is one of the largest outdoor gathering places in downtown Kansas City. Grinders KC can host up to 2,500 people for live shows, concerts and other special events. Ziggy Marley, Fitz and the Tantrums, Upchurch, along with GWAR and The National are several amazing artists that have performed at Grinders KC. This place has a full bar with 22 specialty brews on tap and a dedicated kitchen that serves delicious hand-tossed pizzas, including the famed Chili-bomb, local BBQ, authentic Philly cheese steaks and other treats. 

Azura Amphitheater

The Sandstone Center for Performing Arts is an open-air amphitheater that opened in 1984 in Bonner Springs, Kan., located about 20 miles from Kansas City, Mo. Locals call the venue ‘Sandstone,’ although it was officially titled Azura Amphitheater in 2021. It has an overall capacity of 18,000, which consists of GA Lawn seating along with reserved and box seating for certain shows. Chance the Rapper, The Killers, KISS, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews are among the many performers that have entertained the masses gathered at Sandstone. 

This location underwent renovations in 2008 and 2016, which created extra lawn seating. This amphitheater shares its grounds with that of the Kansas City Renaissance Festival and is close to the Kansas Speedway

Arenas and Stadiums

Arrowhead Stadium

GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium, aka Arrowhead, first opened in August 1972 and is home to the Kansas City Chiefs NFL team. As the fourth-largest NFL stadium in the country, Arrowhead can host more than 76,000 people within its grounds. Beyonce, Guns N’ Roses, Taylor Swift as well as Garth Brooks and U2 have all performed at Arrowhead over the years.

Cable Dahmer Arena

Cable Dahmer Arena, situated in the KC suburb of Independence, Mo., is a multi-purpose arena that opened its doors in 2009. It is the home arena for the indoor soccer team, the Kansas City Comets and the Kansas City Mavericks hockey team. For hockey games, the arena can seat up to 5,800 people and for concerts and other events, it can seat up to 7,000.

Cable Dahmer Arena has hosted stars like Bruno Mars, Zac Brown Band, Ariana Grande and Miranda Lambert along with AEW Wrestling and circus shows.

T-Mobile Center 

When this multi-purpose arena first opened in 2007, it was called the Sprint Center, however, the name changed in 2020 after the takeover of Sprint by T-Mobile. The arena has a maximum seating capacity of upwards of 19,200 for concerts and has seen show-stopping performances by Lady Gaga, Motley Crue and Shania Twain. For sporting events, the seating capacity ranges from 17,000 to 18,000 people. From 2010 to the present day, T-Mobile Center has acted as the host venue for the Big 12 Men’s Basketball Tournament and will continue to do so until 2025.

Other Kansas City Concert Venues 

Here are some additional venues for live concerts in Kansas City you need to check out: 

Find Live Entertainment in Kansas City

No matter which of these venues you decide to visit, TicketSmarter has thousands of Kansas City concert tickets available to suit all of your live music needs. Make sure to check out HotelPlanner for exclusive Kansas City travel deals.