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Most college students are huge fans of live music and concerts, particularly when the band is made up of UNH alums or is famous. Local music is a big part of this region’s economy and it makes a night out a lot more interesting for those who don’t want to stay in on the weekends or go to the same three bars in Durham every weekend night. Live music is very popular in the Seacoast, NH area, so this could never be a complete list. Either way, try to get to as many live, local concerts as possible with friends – they make the best memories! Here are 10 live music venues near UNH!

Freedom Café – Durham

Freedom Café is a hugely popular venue for UNH students because of it’s adorable interior and greatly important cause. All proceeds made at events here are donated to help stop human trafficking. A lot of different student organizations meet and perform here, so be sure to check it out once in a while.

What’s On Wednesday – MUB

This cute little event held by the MUB (and either CAB or SCOPE) often hosts local and up-and-coming musicians. The stage used is a small square one near Union Court, where people can choose to listen to the cafeteria-style tables or continue working on their laptops wearing headphones.

The Grind – MUB

This open mic night is home to many student musicians on campus, many of whom are extremely talented. At least one Friday per month, every month, CAB holds this event in the MUB Entertainment Center on the ground floor. The room is set up like a small café or a dinner-and-a-show theater. There’s food and it’s always a good time. Check it out!

The Press Room – Portsmouth

Like a Frat party, this bar can get pretty packed on live show nights, though maybe not so wild. The musicians here are often well known at least in the community so their shows can be a lot of fun. But if you’re claustrophobic maybe stay away when they hold live music shows.

Rira – Portsmouth

Located in the heart of downtown Portsmouth, this Irish Pub often supplies live music to go along with its Bangers and Mash. Although this particular restaurant is part of a small chain, it’s unique because it’s built inside an old bank. Some of the original bank and vault architecture still exists in the bar area. Next time you’re in town and feeling like potatoes, stop in for a bite and a listen.

The Music Hall – Portsmouth

Effectively the Radio City of Portsmouth, NH, The Music Hall is a professional, seated performance venue for live music among other things. Although tickets here may be somewhat steep, there are discounts for UNH students. Don’t let the fancy décor fool you: many of the performances here are also local musicians.

The Streets of Downtown Portsmouth

Nothing beats a humbled, talented stranger just performing on the beautiful streets of Portsmouth. You can find a lot of different art being shared throughout the year on the streets of downtown Portsmouth, and if you give them as little as a dollar sometimes they will take your song suggestions. It’s a super cute idea, and also a small way to support local musicians.

The Stone Church – Newmarket

This is the closest venue outside of Durham. Since the crowd usually is directed towards older folks, the music can make you remisce a time that you perhaps weren’t even born yet into. But nonetheless, it’s always a great place to visit on the weekends for a larger crowd or weeknights just for some light entertainment and a meal.

The Rochester Opera House – Rochester

Like the Music Hall, the Rochester Opera House holds live music concerts on a professional stage. All though slightly less famous than the Music Hall, this is a very fun and family-friendly venue for live music and the seating allows for comfort during performances.

The Lilac Grille – Rochester

Although the singing is never nearly as bad as Phoebe’s, the singers generally do take requests and this venue has the same cozy and relatable feel as that portrayed in Central Perk of the Friends TV show. However, this is more of a small, classy, family dining set-up rather than the café-style. Still, it’s a nice atmosphere and usually the small-time or local artists that play there are willing to interact with guests.

Going to concerts or small musical events are a great way to blow off steam during the stress of the academic year. It’s also a great way to explore off-campus venues and enjoy some new artists! Be sure to check out any of these awesome venues during your time at UNH.



Mikayla Clifford

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