) -- Music aficionados and aspiring performers have long moved to New York or Los Angeles to take advantage of those communities' numerous performance venues -- but plenty of smaller towns have thriving music scenes, too.
"Every city moves to a different beat, so the live-music experience [is] fresh no matter where you go," says Rich Beattie of
Travel + Leisure
magazine, whose annual
America's Favorite Cities
poll of thousands of tourists includes a ranking of
35 metro areas
for live-music offerings.
Long-time music "capital" New Orleans tops the latest list, but plenty of cities off the beaten path -- from Providence, R.I., to Portland, Ore. -- also scored highly.
Beattie says that's a big plus for cities high on the list, even in an era of MP3s, YouTube and high-definition TV.
"Outlets like YouTube [can] help promote the live-music scene, as they offer exposure to lesser-known bands," he says. "But as any concertgoer knows, they're no substitute for the real thing."
Here's a look the music and real-estate scenes in five lesser-known communities that made the survey's Top 20 list.
All median home prices refer to houses, condos and townhouses listed as of January on Realtor.com, the National Association of Realtors' official property-listing site. Examples of available residences are properties within approximately 20 miles of each city's borders.