Frat parties aren’t for everyone, but music is universal. Throughout North Carolina, cool concert venues are tucked away in the mountains, and some only require a 30-minute drive. If you’re looking to step outside the bubble and are in the need of a concert fix, here’s a guide to the hippest venues around.

Disclaimer: Gas money is not included in the ticket cost. So, you’ll need a car. Or a friend’s car. Or a really expensive Uber ride.

30 Minutes Away:

Haw River Ballroom, Saxapahaw

What to expect: Set in a former cotton mill, this music venue is literally in the middle of nowhere — yes, literally. But the balcony, exposed brick walls and massive windows make it an unforgettable experience.

Who to expect: X Ambassadors / Oct. 28

45 Minutes Away:

Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro

What to expect: Tucked behind the back of an old shopping center and across the street from a cute coffee shop, they have a main room and a back room, and most nights there are two shows happening at once.

Who to expect: The Academy Is… / Dec. 6

1 Hour Away:

The Ritz, Raleigh

What to Expect: Typically described as a metal box on the side of the road, this venue has attracted big names such as Bastille and Jay Z. Earlier this year, this live music haven received a facelift giving music lovers a ritzy VIP area and an outdoor patio.

Who to Expect: Andrew McMahon and the New Politics / Nov. 8

2 Hours Away:

The Fillmore Charlotte, Charlotte

What to Expect: Giant chandeliers hanging over the audience give this concert hall a touch of elegance. This venue is a part of the NC Music Factory, so there’s plenty of bars, comedy clubs and restaurants within walking distance.

Who to Expect: Mac Miller / Dec. 8


Please note All comments are eligible for publication by ENN.