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