Even though the internet makes it easy to hear music and see concert videos for free in the comfort of your home, there is nothing like the experience of a live concert. All big cities and many small ones have multiple live music venues, from bars to clubs to theaters and auditoriums. But when many people think of the ideal place to hear their favorite band, they think of one the top concert venues in the US, like Madison Square Garden, the Apollo Theater, or the Hollywood Bowl. What is so special about these places?

Madison Square Garden

The indoor arena in Midtown Manhattan was built above the original Pennsylvania railroad station. The venue opened in 1968 as a sporting facility, and it is currently used for hockey and basketball games, along with boxing and wrestling. The building was renovated between 2011 and 2013. Elvis Presley gave his only performances in New York at The Garden in 1972, and John Lennon gave his final performance there in 1974. The Rolling Stones, U2, Madonna, and Elton John have all played at this prestigious venue.

The Apollo Theater

Built in 1914, the Apollo is another theater in New York City, but in Harlem rather than Manhattan. Though it was a whites-only venue in its early years, it opened to black performers in 1934, and it has been strongly associated with African American culture and achievement ever since. The venue has hosted legendary musicians like Duke Ellington, B.B. King, James Brown, and Stevie Wonder. Ella Fitzgerald got her start at the Apollo’s Amateur Night in 1934. The interior of the building was restored in 2001 and a renovation of the exterior and the marquee began in 2005.

The Hollywood Bowl

The Hollywood Bowl is an outdoor theater in Los Angeles, and it is by far the most famous venue on the west coast. Set against the backdrop of the Hollywood hills, the stage is covered by an iconic white shell. Constructed in 1921, the amphitheater has been host to many of the country’s greatest performers along with international stars. Headliners over the years have included Billie Holliday, Louis Armstrong, The Beatles, Kylie Minogue, Alicia Keys, Andrea Bocelli, and Luciano Pavarotti, to name only a few.

Read more about America’s most famous concert venues here. You may find a few more to add to your bucket list.