You can't swing a drumstick without hitting a musician in this underrated party town of 110,000 located about an hour north of Dallas; it's home to over 100 active bands and boasts 25 venues within walking distance of the town square. Once named the best music scene in the nation by Paste magazine, the music community here was built from the ground up with support from local stations like DentonRadio.com and one of the best music schools in the nation at University of North Texas.
You can catch bands at venues like Dan's Silver Leaf or Abbey Underground, as well as at random places all over town, from fast-food chains to donut shops. Further solidifying Denton’s burgeoning reputation as the next Austin, the town hosts the annual SXSW-style 35 Denton walkable music festival every March at bars, studios, and pizza parlors all over town.
Made famous in recent years by hometown acts like Imagine Dragons and Neon Trees, Provo's booming music scene was nurtured by the city in 2009 when a series of development projects helped revitalize a Downtown district now overflowing with music options. With 15-plus venues in town, you can get dinner with your live tunes at Guru's, check out open mic nights at Muse Music Cafe, or catch DJs and local acts at places like The Madison.
While Provo’s most famous rock venue is the Velour Live Music Gallery, the finest show in town is no doubt the annual Provo Rooftop Concert Series, where Utah acts play free sets under the stars atop buildings across town. Provo venues are typically packed year-round and the city's close proximity to the also-underrated Salt Lake City scene helps give the metro area a strong one-two punch.