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Music is a tangible experience – see it, hear it, hold it 

You better shop around

face it, you're going to need the occasional escape valve from the pressures of higher learning, and here in Orlando there are plenty of distractions of the sonic variety. Most weeks will yield at least one high-caliber concert by either touring or local acts, but the venues depend on your comfort level – do you want the band 6 inches or 60 feet from you?

While we're at it, we've gotta talk for a second about how Orlando has a plethora of solid record stores that will be more than happy to take your hard-earned student dollars in exchange for audio gems of all types. If you're a music fan, you're going to be busy.

Amway Center

400 W. Church St.


The downtown mega-arena that hosts everything from the Orlando Magic to Justin Bieber.


37 W. Pine St.


Smallish downtown venue that keeps it pleasingly gritty with an almost nightly lineup of touring and local punk, hardcore, metal and hip-hop.

The Beacham

46 N. Orange Ave.


Longtime general admission club with a little bit more elbow room that's hosted everything from the Refused to Ghost to They Might Be Giants. A lot of history has gone down here.

CFE Arena

12777 N. Gemini Blvd.


Arena located on UCF property (convenience!) hosts national touring bands and comedians like Halsey, Meghan Trainor, Katt Williams and Amy Schumer.

Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

445 S. Magnolia Ave.


Generally highbrow spot for classical and theater, but they take the occasional walks on the wild side with the likes of Alice Cooper and Maxwell.

Hard Rock Live

6050 Universal Blvd.


Part of Universal's CityWalk area of bars and clubs, Hard Rock Live has distinguished itself as an essential place to see acts both old and new, and check out more intimate performance series like the Velvet Sessions and the Living Room Sessions.

The Haven Lounge

6700 Aloma Ave., Winter Park

Was it Def Leppard who inquired so long ago, "Do you wanna get rocked?" If the answer is yes, you'll be spending a lot of time here, where metal shows are given pride of place.

House of Blues

1490 E. Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista


Even though this club is on family-friendly Disney property, it still cuts loose with the likes of Muse, Los Van Van and the Kills. Shows start a bit earlier here than at other venues, so be warned.

The Social

54 N. Orange Ave.


An intimate and close-quarters venue that tends more toward the indie rock spectrum. Also a good landing point for newer electronic and EDM.

Timucua Arts White House

2000 S. Summerlin Ave.

If you're not familiar with the house show concept, it's a more intimate affair, stripped of the trappings of a club or bar. Now imagine a house that was specifically constructed to hold shows. It's hard to describe how rare this is. Shows are free and the calendar is adventurous.

Uncle Lou's Entertainment Hall

1016 N. Mills Ave.


Let your freak flag fly at this hole-in-the-wall haven for DIY and underground shows of all stripes – punk, metal, hip-hop, indie, alt-country, experimental. Odds are there's something going on every night.

Will's Pub

1042 N. Mills Ave.


Anything goes here, and this venue has the sound system and stage to back up that adventurous booking palette. A tiki party, the Total Punk fest, a Japanese noise show and Colleen Green are only a few of the more recent engagements.

East West Music & More

4895 S. Orange Ave.


The inspired anarchy of East West is just something you don't get to experience in most record shops circa 2016. LPs, CDs and DVDs wash toward you like a tidal wave. Digging will yield unexpected treasures.

Foundation Records College Park

2529 Edgewater Drive


The new kid on the block. Small but tasteful used vinyl selection – with a lot of hip-hop – along with clothing, shoes ... and soon, they plan to get the equipment to lathe-cut records on site.

Park Ave CDs

2916 Corrine Drive


For new vinyl and adventurous inventory, Park Ave CDs has no local peer. Want the newest Weeknd LP? How about an acouostic Sir Richard Bishop album? Why not both?

Rabbitfoot Records and Coffee Lounge

307 E. Second St., Sanford


Intimate record store/coffee bar with on-site lathe cutting. Cut your own record and cut out the middleman!

Retro Records

59 N. Bumby Ave.


Behind the unassuming beige storefront of Retro Records lurks a treasure trove of new and used LPs, and also CDs, tapes and strange forgotten toys.

Rock and Roll Heaven

1814 N. Orange Ave.


The Heaven is like this weird pop/rock culture time capsule. Stuffed to the gills with records, CDs, tapes, memorabilia, toys, posters, buttons and stereo equipment, there's really nothing else like it. Dig deep.

Uncle Tony's Donut Shoppe

703 N. Orange Ave.


Small but immaculately curated boutique shop geared toward serious collectors of hip-hop, jazz, soul, world music and sundry collectible wax.

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