located on the corner of broad and locust in the heart of center city, philadelphia, lies one of the city’s most historic buildings and interesting music venues. it sits calmly in the shadows of skyscrapers on a street lined with flashy buildings, but don’t let its unassuming exterior deceive you – on the inside it is one of the most breathtaking buildings in philadelphia. built in 1857, the academy of music is the oldest opera house in the united states that is still used for its original purpose.
i can vividly recall my parents dragging me here as a child to see the orchestra… the smell of perfume and lingering cigar smoke as we made our way through the crowds of people in their finest evening wear and were shown to our seats by the usher. curling up in the red velvet seats, my view obstructed by a column but not minding because my eyes were usually fixed on the massive chandelier hanging from the ceiling. falling asleep with the sound of violins and horns fading in and out of my dreams.
while i lacked appreciation at my young age i’ve come around now and have a whole new love for the building as a concert venue. most recently, i saw the monsters of folk there and they completely blew me away. it’s really cool to hear modern music played in such an old, historic space – and despite the small floor seating area and the multiple balconies that extend towards the ceiling the venue has an unexpected intimacy and leaves you feeling like you were a part of something quite special.
they don’t have concerts there very often so if you’re able to catch one, do. for more info check out their website.
do you have a favorite or unique venue that you love where you live? i’d love to hear about it!