The 10 Most Affordable Cities for Music Lovers

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The 10 Most Affordable Cities for Music Lovers

Cleveland rocks.

With the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s annual induction ceremony coming up next week, Redfin decided to look into the most affordable cities for music lovers. After all, a huge part of buying a home is enjoying the fun things your city has to offer – especially when the price is right!

With the help of online ticket marketplace StubHub, we examined several factors that make it easy and affordable to enjoy live music, including concert ticket prices and frequency, median home prices and Walk Scores, in more than 40 metro areas across the U.S.

The results confirm that Cleveland rocks, with C-Town coming in first place.

“Cleveland is one of the most affordable housing markets in the United States, yet the city is often underestimated when it comes to lifestyle,” said local Redfin agent Joe Rath. “Sure, we’ve had a drought of championship sports teams, but we have an amazing music scene, sprawling metroparks and world-class museums that make Cleveland a destination for culture seekers on a budget.”

Other historic music cities such as Detroit, St. Louis and Philadelphia made the top 10. Perhaps most surprisingly, San Francisco made a top 10 list with the word ‘affordable’ in it, powered by the area’s frequency of events and high Walk Score. Stalwarts like Nashville, Chicago and Austin didn’t make the list due to their high ticket prices, higher median home prices and lower frequency of events relative to other cities.

Here are the 10 most affordable cities for music lovers:

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1. Cleveland‘Cleveland Rocks!’

Average Ticket Price: $96.67
Nearby Concerts: 47 per 10,000 people
Walk Score: 57
Median Home Sale Price: $105,000

“Cleveland is known as the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but that’s only a small part of the picture. You wouldn’t talk about music in Cleveland without mentioning the Cleveland Orchestra, consistently ranked among the best in America. Beachland Ballroom & Tavern in Collinwood is consistently voted the best music venue in the city and has featured some of the best up-and-coming talent. In 2002, the Black Keys played their first show in the club’s tavern in front of eight people.” – Cleveland Redfin agent Joe Rath

2. St. Louis‘Meet me in St. Louis’

Average Ticket Price: $84.30
Nearby Concerts: 37 per 10,000 people
Walk Score: 60
Median Home Sale Price: $150,000

“St. Louis has everything from jazz and blues to rap and rock, with plenty of venues for enthusiasts. One of my favorite pastimes is Twilight Tuesdays, the Missouri History Museum’s outdoor music festival on Tuesday evenings, which starts in the spring and runs through early fall.” – St. Louis Redfin agent Tamika Evans

3. Pittsburgh‘America’

Average Ticket Price: $104.79
Nearby Concerts: 98 per 10,000 people
Walk Score: 60
Median Home Sale Price: $135,000

“A lot of Pittsburghers take our local music scene for granted, but we’re lucky to have so many large music venues like Heinz Field, PNC Park and the First Niagara Pavilion where ticket prices are relatively affordable. There’s something for everyone to enjoy several nights a week, including outdoor concerts in spring and summer. The North Shore has been attracting homebuyers from in and out of town for its walkability, particularly to the nearby entertainment venues.” – Pittsburgh Redfin agent Keith Jimenez

4. Cincinnati‘WKRP’

Average Ticket Price: $93.69
Nearby Concerts: 61 per 10,000 people
Walk Score: 50
Median Home Sale Price: $135,000

“Cincinnati has lots of affordable options for live music, many of which can be found in walkable neighborhoods like Over-the-Rhine and Corryville. The 86, Bogart’s and MOTR pub all attract great musical acts at affordable prices. Washington Park is a great place to listen to music in the summer. It has a dog park, plenty of green space and affordable parking.”  – Cincinnati Redfin agent Trina Walton

5. Richmond – ‘Virginia is for lovers

Ticket Price: $77.62
Nearby Concerts: 30 per 10,000 people
Walk Score: 49
Median Home Sale Price: $135,000

“Richmond’s climate is ideal for three seasons of outdoor concerts and festivals, and one of the most popular is the Richmond Folk Festival in October. Great live music can be found throughout the region at events such as Friday Cheers, Innsbrook After Hours, Groovin’ in the Garden and Music at Maymont. Music is part of Richmond’s DNA and the city has been home to many diverse and talented bands and musicians over the years, including Bill ‘Mr. Bojangles’ Robinson, Lamb of God, Robbin Thompson, GWAR, Bio Ritmo, Cashmere Jungle Lords, RPG and many, many more.” – Richmond Redfin agent Warren Teller

6. Washington D.C.Heart of Rock and Roll

Ticket Price: $96.74
Nearby Concerts: 48 per 10,000 people
Walk Score: 74
Median Home Sale Price: $340,000

“It’s fitting that our nation’s capital is home to a long-standing musical history since the days of John Phillips Sousa — yeah, the guy who brought us the July 4th classic, ‘The Stars and Stripes Forever.’ In the ‘30s, U Street brought to the national scene local jazz acts that can still be heard at places like Bohemian Caverns, The Howard Theatre and the Duke’s own Duke Ellington’s (now the 9:30 Club). The ‘60s and ‘70s brought us Go-Go music with folks like Chuck Brown. The ‘80s ushered in D.C.’s punk scene with Bad Brains, Henry Rollins and Dave Grohl at Madam’s Organ, the 9:30 Club, DC9 and The Black Cat. Today you can hear top acts and local bands, from classical to electronic to hip-hop, at venues across the city including: U Street Music Hall, The Hamilton, The Lincoln Theater, DAR Constitution Hall, Echostage and the Kennedy Center. Any flavor, you don’t have to search far to find a venue to suit your musical stylings.” – Washington D.C. Redfin agent Steve Centrella

7. Detroit‘Detroit Rock City’

Ticket Price: $101.79
Nearby Concerts: 19 per 10,000 people
Walk Score: 52
Median Home Sale Price: $113,950

“Detroit is the home of Motown and to historic venues such as Fox Theater, St. Andrews Hall and The Fillmore. They’re all in lovely older buildings with character and charm. And there are also places like the Crofoot that have multiple venues to meet the needs of different types of shows. For a historical oddity, the Majestic Theater was the last place Harry Houdini ever performed, while the nearby Magic Stick is a pool hall and intimate venue. There are tons of concert options at an affordable price in Detroit.” – Detroit Redfin agent Terry Kaltsas

8. San Francisco‘We Built This City’

Ticket Price: $116.62
Nearby Concerts: 109 per 10,000 people
Walk Score: 84
Median Home Sale Price: $1,069,000

“San Francisco has made a name of itself as a music mecca largely because of the amount and variety of music festivals that take place here. In addition to the now world-famous Outside Lands, there are also a variety of other festivals including Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, where every band name is a pun, and Phono Del Soul, a hybrid music and food festival. If festivals aren’t your thing, the city also has a ton of great venues, from the tiny Bottom of the Hill, where a lot of major acts first started out, to the Bill Graham, where massive acts play nearly nightly.” – San Francisco Redfin agent Mark Colwell. 

9. Memphis – ‘Walking in Memphis

Ticket Price: $88.43
Nearby Concerts: 20 per 10,000 people
Walk Score: 33
Median Home Sale Price: $138,000

“Memphis is often overlooked as a music city in favor of nearby Nashville, but famed musicians like Elvis Presley, Otis Redding and Justin Timberlake have all lived or recorded music in Memphis. Beale Street has been named ‘the Home of Blues’ and we still have a lively music scene with genres like rock n’ roll, country, soul and jazz still reigning supreme. It’s always fun to go to the Orpheum and catch a show, or smaller venues like Hi-Tone Cafe, Levitt Shell or B.B. King’s Blues Club.” – Memphis Redfin agent Karen Walker

10. Philadelphia – ‘South Street

Ticket Price: $101.51
Nearby Concerts: 19 per 10,000 people
Walk Score: 77
Median Home Sale Price: $210,000

“Philadelphia has a lot to offer a music lover. Big-name acts play at the stadiums and South Philly and at the Tower Theater in West Philly. South Street, ‘the hippest street in town’ in the ‘60s according to the Orlons, is still home to the Theater of Living Arts, and Fishtown is popular for small gigs performed in bars and restaurants. What’s great is that all of these music destinations are accessible by public transportation.”  – Philadelphia agent Jimmy Caraway

Methodology

Average ticket price data was provided by StubHub from 2015. For nearby concerts, StubHub provided the total number of concerts in each state in 2015. We divided the total concerts in the state by the city’s population, and divided it by 10,000 (note: for D.C. we used all the events in Maryland/Virginia/DC). Walk Score and Median Home Sale Price was taken from Redfin.com (February 2016 values were used for the median home sale price). The final list of cities was determined by ranking the average of all four categories across 40 metros.

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