The Icelandic music scene is thriving and has been for years. You’re probably familiar with the likes of Of Monsters and Men, Sigur Rós, Emilíana Torrini, Kaleo, and, of course, Björk – but Icelandic music has a lot more to offer. Would you like to discover local talent during your stay in Iceland? In this article, we will tell about the best live music venues in Reykjavík to do just that.
The Reykjavík Event Calendar
Looking for live music, big concerts, comedy shows or exhibitions? Or maybe you don’t know what you’re looking for? Reykjavík is a lively city and with our online event calendar, you can enjoy all kinds of local events that coincide with your stay in Reykjavík.
The Harpa Music and Concert Hall
The Harpa Music and Conference Hall is situated in downtown Reykjavík and houses the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and the offices of the Icelandic Opera (Harpa is the venue of the Icelandic Opera, as well). Harpa has four concert halls and meeting rooms for groups of all sizes. It’s a popular venue for classical performances, while also hosting all kinds of live concerts, art exhibitions, and theatre shows. Located on Reykjavík’s coastline, it is an impressive landmark with a beautiful light show in winter.
- We recommend the Harpa guided tour with live music.
- But there are plenty of shows and guided tours at Harpa, you can see them here.
Operated, created, and managed by artists, Mengi is a small concert venue and art centre located on Óðinsgata in central Reykjavík. While Mengi’s focal point is experimental, contemporary, and classical music, you can also visit for live music, performances, art, exhibitions, and conferences. It’s a meeting ground for creative minds, and often shows hosted at Mengi are an amalgam of different genres and art forms. Mengi also runs a recording studio, a record label, and a record store.
One of the oldest establishments in Reykjavík, Prikið has been in operations since 1951. It opens early and closes late, often branding itself as a kind of diner-during-the-day-nightclub-during-the-weekends kind of place. Immensely popular among young Icelanders, Prikið not only hosts regular concerts but also maintains a tight roster of talented DJs. If you love hip hop or/and electronic music, you should definitely visit Prikið. Rumour also has it that Prikið is where stand-up comedy in Iceland officially began, in the wake of the financial crisis in 2008.
Gaukurinn is an inclusive bar, welcoming people from all walks of life. Go here for rock and roll, electronic and pop concerts, drag shows, poetry nights, pub quizzes, karaoke, and stand-up comedy. Their programme reflects their general motto of celebrating diversity and ensuring a friendly and open space for everyone. And if you’re hungry, you can grab delicious vegan junk food at Veganæs (a small joint that serves burgers, and more, inside Gaukurinn until 9pm on all days except Monday).
Located in the old harbour in Reykjavík, Bryggjan Brugghús is a bistro and the first independent microbrewery in Iceland. Every Sunday you can enjoy live jazz music where some of the most talented jazz musicians in Iceland show off their skills. While enjoying the jazz there’s simply nothing nicer than having a nice dinner or fresh craft beers directly from the brewery.
You can take a tour of the brewery, where the brewers will personally introduce you to the world of Icelandic craft brewing. Book your beer and brewery tour here.
IÐNÓ is a living monument to older and simpler times. As Reykjavík’s oldest theatre, the building combines history, tradition, and culture tracing its origins all the way back to 1897 (it was initially the home of Leikfélag Reykjavíkur, the Reykjavík Theatre Company). Located on Vonarstræti 3 in downtown Reykjavík (the same street as City Hall), Iðnó is a place for everyone, whether you’re interested in a concert, some local theatre, entertainment, drinks or just coffee! Visit Iðnó’s Facebook page for further information regarding upcoming events.
Map of the Best Music Venues in Reykjavík
Looking for more? Check out the event calendar for more venues and events.