Where to Find Concerts under $30 around Boston
Rock out without breaking the bank.
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It’s no secret Boston can be a pretty expensive city to live in. But don’t despair: there are still ways to have fun around here that don’t break the bank. That’s where this guide to seeing concerts in Boston for less than $30 comes in handy. Gone are the days of scrounging around for that rare ticket under $100 dollars AND within eyesight of the performer. And despite the challenges of the last couple of years, Boston still offers plenty of smaller venues where you can see a wide variety of genres of music live.
One caveat: While all the venues on this list offer at least some ticket prices under $30, you can expect some of the usual ticket buying fees that might push it over $30 if you buy tickets online. Try visiting box offices in person when you can to avoid fees. Plus, some of these venues do offer shows over $30; we’ve included them since they offer abundant concerts that do hit that price point, so plan to do some filtering while you’re browsing the upcoming shows.
Berklee School of Music
Cost: $10-25 (for non-Berklee students)
It’s no secret that Berklee has a history of serving as an incubator for stars in the making, boasting a list of former students ranging from John Mayer to Esperanza Spalding to Natalie Maines of the Chicks. So why not see a few of those stars of the future today? The college hosts regular shows open to the public, featuring everything from award-winning student a cappella to Elton John tribute shows. Tickets are available for purchase online and at the door (for slightly increased rates), but shows do often sell out in advance. Berklee also hosts Summer in the City, a completely free concert program that lasts from July through September (and even includes a few outdoor venues). 136 Massachusetts Ave., Boston, berklee.edu.
Harvard offers a range of concerts open to the public, mostly on weekends. Buy tickets online in advance to student a cappella, choir, drumming, orchestra, and more. Harvard Box Office, 1350 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, boxoffice.harvard.edu.
Cost: free- $20
BU’s live music offerings are predominantly in classical genres, from chamber music to trombone ensembles. Shows are happening almost every day of the week at no cost to the public, save for a few special events, for which advance registration and ticket purchase is required. 855 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, bu.edu.
Standing Room Only
Cost: free- $25
Whether you’re feeling some British R&B, post-punk, or indie rock jams, the Sinclair has it all, from national tours to beloved local acts like Oompa or Sidney Gish. The venue hosts shows nearly every day, with most tickets purchased in advance. Avoid extra fees at their no-fee box office on Fridays from 12-6 p.m. and any show night after doors open. 52 Church St., Cambridge, sinclaircambridge.com.
Paradise Rock Club
Cost: $19.50- 65
Paradise tends to book artists who can sell out their 933 person-capacity space, so expect bigger crowds and slightly bigger names here. Tickets can be purchased in person or online, in advance. 967 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, crossroadspresents.com.
Brighton Music Hall
Located not too far from the Paradise, Brighton Music Hall is a hotspot both for national artists touring in Boston and local acts. But it’s also enjoyably intimate, offering ample opportunity to imagine you’ve made eye contact with the lead singer of your favorite indie rock band. 158 Brighton Ave., Boston, crossroadspresents.com.
The Middle East
This Cambridge multi-venue spot offers music in all five of its rooms on any given night of the week. Tickets can be purchased in advance or at the door, and shows tend to run late—be prepared to chug cold brew all morning the next day if you go on a weeknight. 10 Brookline St., Cambridge, mideastoffers.com.
- Corner is the smallest room at the Middle East, mostly featuring locals, especially quality cover acts. Cost: free-$10
- Zuzu is host to DIY DJ events, from electronic music and hip hop to the occasional jazz. Or test out your own skills at an open mic night. Cost: free-$10
- Upstairs hosts mostly new local talent and smaller touring acts—great for discovering new Boston artists. Cost: $12-20
- Sonia is the newest space at the Middle East, featuring a new sound system. Stop by on Wednesdays for the regularly featured Bearly Dead (a Grateful Dead cover band) or Heroes (’80s new wave, electro punk and old school goth), every other Friday. Cost: $12-40
- The biggest and most boppin’ room, the Middle East Downstairs can hold up to 550 people, and hosts bigger name acts like Yoke Lore…plus the occasional Taylor Swift dance party. Cost: $15-40
Crystal Ballroom at Somerville Theater
Crystal Ballroom is the newly renovated space at Somerville Theater, offering mostly general admission shows, with around a third of events sold with cabaret-style seating (these tend to sell out more quickly). They host concerts nearly every day of the week, with genres ranging from indie punk to experimental pop to rock. Plus, the affiliated movie theater offers one of the cheaper ticket prices around, so you can make a whole budget night of it while you’re at it. 55 Davis Square, Somerville, crystalballroomboston.com.
Sit Back and Relax
Sofar is easily the most unusual concert experience on this list, given that, when buying a ticket, you don’t know where the concert is or who will be performing. The organization offers at least three events a week, with tickets available four to six weeks in advance. Plan ahead for this—tickets generally sell out a few days before an event, sometimes more. 36 hours in advance, Sofar sends out the exact location and ticket-holders discover the artists (three different performers, often representing a wide range of genres, from rock to poetry to bluegrass and much more) when they show up at the venue. Locations range—you could find yourself anywhere from an art gallery after hours to someone’s backyard. Locations include Jamaica Plain, SoWa, Beacon Hill and more, sofarsounds.com.
This homey bar reflects the kind of hole-in-the-wall dive culture we love to see still kicking in Allston Rock City, even as the neighborhood faces the same gentrifying pressures as the rest of the city. Catch concerts here any night of the week, and bask in the vibes of Allston at its finest. 3 Harvard Ave., Allston, obrienspubboston.com.
Check out this Cambridge staple for folk music, from Celtic, bluegrass and old-time to indie, blues, and beyond. With events every night of the year, there’s no shortage of folksy tunes coming from this Harvard Square landmark. 47 Palmer St., Cambridge, passim.org.
Boston Symphony Orchestra
Cost: $10-25 for rush tickets and $25 under 40 deal
The BSO’s usual ticket prices are definitely north of $30, but they have a special initiative to bring in younger classical music fans with their $25 Under 40 program. But never fear—if you’re over 40, there are still ways to get discount tickets: $10 tickets are available during Rush Ticket sales on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays. 301 Massachusetts Ave., Boston, bso.org.
This classic club has been around for over thirty years, pumping out funky bops across jazz genres—Latin and contemporary, blues, soul, R&B and world music. Shows are mostly on weekends, and can get a little pricey, but there are under $30 options if you buy in advance and look carefully before purchasing. 400 Soldiers Field Road, Boston, scullersjazz.com.