Explore Seattle

Touring Seattle's Musical Roots

An insider's guide to the top stops and things to do for music fans in Seattle

Seattle's musical roots go deep. Vibrant, cutting edge and independent, true revolutions in sound were born here—the home of Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Bing Crosby, and Macklemore. Grunge is one of the city's claims to musical fame, but our musical history isn't entirely summed up by grunge—Ray Charles came up in Seattle, as did Jimi Hendrix and the ladies of Heart. If you want to see a few of the lesser known spots tied to our city's rich musical history, check out the ideas below!

MoPOP

The EMP Museum, designed by architect Frank Gehry
MoPOP designed by architect Frank Gehry (©joyfuldesigns/Shutterstock)

There is no place in Seattle for music lovers like the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP). Start your day here so you have plenty of time to check out all the exhibits and brush up on your musical history. Housed in a unique Frank Gehry-designed building, MoPOP features exhibits like the Guitar Gallery and SoundLab, where you can learn to play the regional rock classic, "Louie Louie." 325 Fifth Ave. N

Dick's Drive In

Dick's Drive In, Seattle
Dick's Drive In was old school even before the old school rap hit by Sir Mix-a-Lot. (Courtesy Seattle Municipal Archives)

When lunchtime rolls around, feed your hunger at this hidden historical musical gem. Dick's is the home of the Deluxe burger, and a local legend in its own right, but the Capitol Hill location got national exposure when it was immortalized in Sir-Mix-A-Lot's 1989 hit, "Posse on Broadway." Local phenoms Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have also filmed a music video on the roof of the building. 115 Broadway E

The Crocodile

The Crocodile music club, Seattle
The legendary music club lives on, still packing the stage almost every night. (©bgarciagil/flickr)

This is a great spot to end the day with a drink and a show. Everyone who is anyone in the Seattle music world has played this rock 'n' roll venue—from Nirvana, Pearl Jam and R.E.M, to Cheap Trick and Death Cab for Cutie. The Crocodile is one of the most beloved clubs in the city and has live music nearly every night of the week. Plus, the pizza is pretty tasty. 2200 Second Ave.

Jimi Hendrix Statue

Jimi Hendrix statue Seattle
Jimi, in bronze, on Pine Street. (©jbthescots/flickr)

Privately commissioned, this bronze statue depicts Seattle's legendary electric guitarist rocking out for fans. 900 E Pine Street, Seattle, Wash.

The Edgewater Hotel

The Edgewater Hotel Seattle
The Edgewater Hotel, where groups like the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and The Beatles all stayed. (©mrkathika/flickr)

With its stunning views of Elliott Bay, The Edgewater was the go-to hotel for 1960s and 70s rock stars like the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and The Beatles. You can even stay in the Beatles suite where the Fab Five fished out the window all those years ago. Pier 67, 2411 Alaskan Way

Viretta Park

Kurt Cobain bench in Viretta Park
This bench in Viretta Park has become an unofficial memorial to Kurt Cobain. (©KWDesigns/flickr)

Located near Kurt Cobain's former home, the graffiti covered bench in this park is an unofficial public memorial to the Nirvana frontman. 151 Lake Washington Blvd. E

Black (Hole) Sun

Isamu Noguchi's Black Sun sculpture, inspiration for Soundgarden's hit "Black Hole Sun."
Isamu Noguchi's Black Sun sculpture, inspiration for Soundgarden's hit "Black Hole Sun." (©hackerfriendly/flickr)

Head to Volunteer Park to see the "Black Sun," a doughnut-like sculpture by Isamu Noguchi. It's rumored to be the inspiration for Soungarden's grunge anthem, "Black Hole Sun." 1247 15th Ave. E

The Vogue

Vain hair salon, Seattle, former home of The Vogue
Nirvana played their first show here when it was The Vogue music club. (©Mary Sue/flickr)

One of the first clubs where the Seattle sound originated, this was the location where Nirvana played their first show in 1988. Vain, an edgy hair salon, art gallery and boutique, now occupies the space. 2018 First Ave.