Myrtle Beach may be better known for its sights than its sounds. And while it's hard to compete with the Atlantic Ocean, the beach and all the attractions, the Grand Strand also has a pretty impressive musical lineup and history.
From the beach music and shag dancing days in the 1950s and 60s, to country-music super group Alabama getting its start here in the 1970s, Myrtle Beach has a strong musical heritage and an even stronger local music scene. From the shag clubs in North Myrtle beach to the beach bars in Myrtle Beach, there's a lot of great music going on. Ranging from modern concert halls and theaters to hole-in-the-wall watering holes, here are five hot spots to check out when you want to hear some great live music on the Grand Strand:
* Carolina Opry: This big, beautiful building houses an outstanding music and concert hall that holds off-Broadway-style shows and occasional live concerts. Located on the northern end of Myrtle Beach near Restaurant Row, Carolina Opry features award-winning shows like “Good Vibrations,” a musical that gives visitors a lovely tribute to the sounds of the 1960s, '70s and '80s. From the British invasion led by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones to hippie days of Woodstock and the magic of Michael Jackson, the Carolina Opry delivers a musical stroll down memory lane. For show schedule and ticket information, visit www.carolinaopry.com.
* House of Blues: This national chain is dedicated to the legacy of American music, and there's no better place on the Grand Strand to catch a concert. Featuring national and regional touring acts in the main concert hall, House of Blues is the only place in town where you can catch stars this bright. HOB also features a main dining facility specializing in Southern cuisine and an indoor/outdoor bar, Crossroads, that also hosts live music by local bands. The Sunday Gospel Brunch also offers great food and music for the soul. For a full list of upcoming concerts, visit www.houseofblues.com/myrtlebeach.
* Pawleys Island Tavern: Good concert venues are hard to find on the south end, but the PIT has one of the best outdoor venues on the Strand. Hidden behind a row of hammocks shops featuring a patio deck covered by twisting live oaks draped with Spanish moss, the PIT provides a nice little hideaway for intimate shows under the stars. This small venue brings in some surprisingly big names from the Charleston and Myrtle Beach areas, and the outdoor bar allows guests easy access to cold beverages. For a full list of upcoming concerts, visit www.pawleysislandtavern.com.
* Plyler Park: The centerpiece of the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk, Plyler Park serves as the staging area for the Hot Summer Nights Concert Series, as well as other special events that bring big-name acts to the outdoor stage. Free concerts are held every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday night during the summer months, and the Downtown Myrtle Beach Redevelopment group hosts year-round celebrations that attract big crowds to the streets. For more information on live shows and upcoming events, visit www.myrtlebeachdowntown.com.
* The Boathouse: Come by car, boat or kayak to this outdoor concert venue on the Intracoastal Waterway. Located beneath the Highway 501 Bridge, the Boathouse features an outdoor stage on the Waterway where guests can take a plunge in the river and catch some rays on the dock. The Summer Concert Series features free shows by national and regional touring acts on Sunday afternoons. The Boathouse also has a much smaller indoor stage for evening shows throughout the week. For a full list of upcoming concerts, visit www.boathousemb.com.
(photo courtesy: The Boathouse)