While this list is not 100% complete, here is a quick rundown of the big LA electronic dance music spots ranging from the bigger venues to the clubs. This list will be updated periodically; feel free to leave a comment if you feel like something is excluded or if you want to contribute a tip!
Our figures for venue capacity are pulled from promoters and the venue sites. They are given as estimates; it is impossible to determine the actual capacity because realistic attendance figures are rarely released (as we all know these events tend to be/seem oversold).
Table of Contents:
In A Nutshell: Massive indoor arena
Capacity: Approximately 30,000
Tips: This place is huge. Make sure you set up a spot to meet if going with a group. A good place might be the ATM near the stairs on the top floor. The downstairs arena is a jungle so you better meet by the back somewhere.
Water, as we know, is a precious commodity at dance events. However the arena has a water fountain on the main floor in the back by the bathrooms.
The best part of this venue is the escalator/walkway between the top and bottom floors. Make sure to start epic chants and cheers as you traverse these paths.
When the big events end, everyone gets on their cell phone. You may not have reception. Plan ahead and figure out a meetup spot an hour before you plan on leaving in case you get split up.
In A Nutshell: LA’s premium club for world-renowned electronic DJs
Capacity: Approximately 1,500
Tips: Vanguard gets PACKED. For big DJs definitely get there early and buy tickets in advance. I arrived at 10pm for David Guetta and couldn’t even get in even though I was on the list. Buy your ticket online.
Bring cash. Vanguard usually has a credit card minimum that is pretty high, anywhere from 20-40 bucks. The ATM costs 5 bucks.
Be sure to check out the back patio if you want to relax. The bars usually have short if no lines at all, and there is generally chill house music playing. It’s got a nice chill-out buddha theme too; the issue is finding a place to sit because it’s all cabanas but you can usually find a spot.
As usual, water will cost you some cash. Nothing you can do about it – there are attendants in the bathrooms so don’t bother trying to go that route.
In A Nutshell: LA’s late-night Euro-style house club
Capacity: Approximately 1,200-1,500
Tips: Avalon is open late. We’re talkin 7:30-8AM. The headliner may not come on until 4 or 5 depending on who it is. If you get lucky and get the timeslots from a promoter or website, you can plan your night accordingly. Otherwise… Red Bull is your new best friend!
Just like Vanguard, buy your tickets online to avoid the huge lines to get in.
Control Fridays are a little more eclectic - go on Friday to see some electro, nu-funk, dubstep, and other alternative electronic music styles that will get you movin on the dancefloor.
Don't forget to bring cash for the coat check if you plan on using it; no minimum credit card charges for the bars though - go wild! (Tip from Shivani P.)
In A Nutshell: Where LA Trance Addicts get their fix
Capacity: Approximately 5,000
Events held: Saturdays at Circus
Tips: This club is huuuuge, bigger than the other 2 mentioned. Don't get lost! Relax outside and get some delicious food at the patio.
The music here is trance and trance only. If you want to catch some up and comers in the scene as well as respected veterans this is the place to go. Don't complain if you don't hear any house though, although it might be playing in one of the side-rooms or the upstairs lounge.
The bartenders here tend to be really friendly. I have gotten ice waters from them in the past, no need to worry about 5$ bottles here. Tip them anyway though!
Don't get confused by the location - to get to the club you have to walk to the back of the club in front of it (Circus has big buddha statues in front of it). The club out front is a gay club; make sure you're standing in the right line or you could end up at a totally different party.
Because the club is so huge there is often dancing room available - if you like to go wild and use up space, go to Circus and carve up a rug.
In A Nutshell: Medium size venue for solo or HARD acts
Capacity: Approximately 4,000
Tips: There can be different setups depending on the promoter so make sure you have a good meeting spot with your friends picked out before you get split up.
There is no sitting room here! Unless you want to sit on the floor, you're gonna have to stand. If you want to relax from all the commotion on the dance floor there is usually a chill-out area outside and the upstairs area is typically 21 and over so there is less crowding.
This is a good venue to get VIP tickets. The VIP areas are either upstairs or on the main floor; the inside isn't too big so you get a really good spot to view the stage.
The Shrine has a giant parking lot right next to it. Some choose to park on the street but because of the shady neighborhood the lot is a secure alternative.