Go Underground: Get the Inside Scoop on Homegrown Music, Arts, and Entertainment at Your Next Destination

From small towns to bustling metropolises, every destination has its own arts and entertainment scene. Indulge yourself in the joys of discovering rising stars and unknown artists, while supporting the local arts, on your next sojourn. Here’s how.  

Go Online: 

Before you visit a place, often just doing a little research on the Internet can reveal a lot about the arts and entertainment happening in that area. You may find that you have a complete itinerary of galleries, theaters, and musical venues before you even pack your bag.

Head to the Coffees Shops: 

Local coffee shops are a hive of information and community. Check out the bulletin board, browse any items for sale by local artisans, eavesdrop, and don’t be afraid to query your neighbor at the table next to you. In addition, coffees shops are often launching pads for aspiring musicians and poets.

Look for Open Mics: 

In any area, you will find a population of people who work by day and trot out their creative expression by night. Look for open mic nights, especially in cities with known artsy areas. You’ll be amazed how many talented people there are in the world, and you could be listening to the next rising star.

It’s the Best Alternative:

Most destinations, whether a large city, mid-sized town, or tiny tourist haven, have some sort of an alternative paper or small press. These local papers are a great place to start when you want to get an overall sense of a community and the artists and entertainers who live there. Read the whole paper, diving into feature stories and scanning classifieds. You will be surprised how much you know about a location once you finish.

Visit the Small Galleries

Check out local galleries that often feature artists from the area. If you are lucky, you may be able to time your trip with an opening reception or two, where you can meet the artist in person. Galleries are a nexus for local arts, and you can often start there as a place to get in touch with the underground scene in a city or town.

Ask the Kid with the Pink Hair:

The pink-haired barista pulling your espresso is likely to be among the best informed about the local music and arts scene. The point is that if you want to get the insider info, you need to be willing to get outside your comfort zone and talk to people you make not normally interact with in your daily life. You’ll be amazed what you learn once you strike up a conversation with an artsy local.

Poetry Slam, Anyone?

There is much bemoaning the loss of the written word, but the fact is that poetry is alive and well, with poetry events and slams popping up in every area. You may hear some amazing work, and you might want to consider sharing something of your own, if you are so inclined. This is art at street level. The urge to be creative is a natural human quality, and getting in touch with creative people in a new place can inspire and renew you.

Native Theater

Regional theater is thriving, and much more affordable than big budget productions. Take a chance and check out a show, even if you know nothing about it. Playwrights often find more opportunities to showcase their work in smaller towns, so you can be exposed to some amazing original work and actors in the most unexpected places.

Make the Music Scene:

Music is often the vibrant lifeblood of the arts scene in an area, and taking the time to check out local bands can make for great entertainment and original tunes or a happy night of dancing to familiar covers. Either way, it’s a wonderful way to support the local arts and have a good time along the way.