The best places to experience reggae in Jamaica are mostly centred in Kingston, the island’s capital city. After all, it’s the centrepiece of Jamaican musical culture with dozens of bars and clubs playing quality dub, rocksteady, reggae, and ska until late. The city is also home to excellent museums highlighting the careers of music icons like Bob Marley and Peter Tosh.

    It's worth exploring outside Kingston, too, as you can experience reggae throughout the island. Jamaica's countryside, sandy beaches, and rural villages all offer something related to the Rastafari movement. Plan your holiday around a notable reggae festival (usually in February and July) to catch performances by well-respected artists from around the world.


    Bob Marley Museum

    A fitting tribute to the musician’s extraordinary life

    • History

    The Bob Marley Museum occupies the former home of the reggae music legend in Kingston. It offers a fascinating glimpse into Marley’s life through a photographic gallery, an 80-seat theatre, and a record shop. You can see his favourite outfits, his Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and displays of his many gold and platinum records. There's even a lifesize hologram of the legend performing at the One Love Peace concert in 1978.

    The Bob Marley Museum preserves all of the house’s original rooms, including the bedroom and onsite recording studio. There’s also a gift shop offering a wide range of Marley-related memorabilia.

    Location: 6, 56 Hope Rd, Kingston, Jamaica

    Open: Monday–Tuesday and Thursday–Friday from 9.30 am to 6.30 pm (closed on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays)

    Phone: +1 876-630-1588


    photo by Dubdem • Música • Design • Sound System (CC BY 2.0) modified


    Trench Town Culture Yard

    A community project highlighting rocksteady, ska and reggae music

    • History

    The Trench Town Culture Yard is a great place to experience rocksteady, ska and reggae music in Jamaica. Trench Town is a 7-block residential neighbourhood that dates back to the 1940s, with modest houses surrounding communal yards. It’s also considered the birthplace of reggae music, thanks to iconic names like The Wailers, Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, and Anton Ellies.

    The Trench Town Culture Yard serves as a living museum where you can learn about the unique history of reggae music. A guided tour takes you to the neighbourhood’s many communal yards, galleries, and prominent bars.

    Location: 6 & 8 1st St, Kingston, Jamaica

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 6 pm

    Phone: +1 876-803-1509


    photo by YardEdge (CC BY 2.0) modified


    Kingston Dub Club

    Enjoy quality music from Jamaica’s best sound system

    Kingston Dub Club is a lively nightspot playing quality ska, rocksteady, and reggae music in Jamaica. It’s known for hosting Rocker's Soundsystem, one of the best on the island. Every Sunday, the club’s brightly painted speaker stacks blast out bass-heavy roots reggae and dub sounds.

    Thanks to its lively atmosphere, the club gets packed with animated dancers and reggae lovers until late. You can enjoy excellent drinks and ital food (a vegetarian diet that's prominent in Jamaica's Rastafari movement). Kingston Dub Club is in the hills of St. Andrew, offering dramatic views of the city’s skyline.

    Location: 7b Skyline Dr, Kingston, Jamaica

    Open: Sunday from 8 pm to 2 am

    Phone: +18768151184


    Reggae Sumfest

    A week-long party in Montego Bay

    Reggae Sumfest is one of the largest music festivals in Jamaica. It takes place in mid-July, featuring a series of events in several venues across Montego Bay. Prominent artists who have performed at the festival include Beyonce, Jay-Z, Ludacris, Alicia Keys, Usher, Lil Wayne, Rihanna, and Mary J. Blige.

    Reggae Sumfest usually starts with a beach party on Tropical Bliss (Sunday), followed by a street dance event at Old Hospital Park (Monday). Other events include themed parties, seminars and workshops. The main event is a 2-day celebration featuring some of the world’s best dancehall and reggae artists.


    Nine Mile

    A place of pilgrimage for Bob Marley fans

    • History

    Nine Mile is a special destination for fans of reggae musician Bob Marley. Located in the Saint Ann countryside, the village is both Marley’s birthplace and final resting place. A must-visit is the Bob Marley Mausoleum, which occupies a small chapel near his childhood home. You can see many of Marley’s guitars, awards, and photographs in this small venue.

    Nine Mile is about 142 km northwest of Kingston. Tours from the Jamaican capital are available for those who want to spend a few hours in Marley’s birthplace.


    photo by Jasonbook99 (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Rockers International Records

    A great place to shop for vintage vinyl records

    • Shoppers
    • History

    Rockers International Records is an old-school music store on Orange Street, around 2 blocks northwest of Liberty Hall. This family-owned venue is a great place for those looking for original vinyl records by renowned rock and reggae musicians.

    Rockers International Records is almost like a living museum, thanks to its 1970s decor and vibe. Many artists often visit the place – if you’re lucky, you might run into Cedric Myton from the Congos or Lester Sterling from the Skatalites, both of whom are among the store’s regular visitors.

    Location: 135 Orange St, Kingston, Jamaica

    Open: Thursday–Saturday from noon to 5 pm


    Redbones Blues Café

    Enjoy performances by top reggae names in Jamaica

    Redbones Blues Cafe is a longstanding family-owned restaurant that hosts quality live music in Kingston. Since 1976, it has been a prominent place to experience reggae in Jamaica. Its stage hosts many renowned musicians from various genres, along with art exhibitions, foreign films, and poetry readings.

    Redbones Blues Cafe is busiest on Fridays and Saturdays, when jazz and blues concerts take place until late. The kitchen specialises in Caribbean and fusion dishes – great for when you’re looking for a nice dinner (and show) in Kingston.

    Location: 2 Renfrew Rd, Kingston, Jamaica

    Phone: +1 876-978-6091


    Rae Town Old Hits

    A long-running sound system session in Kingston

    Rae Town Old Hits is a sound system session that dates back to 1982, making it one of the longest-running events in Jamaica. It’s organised by a local team (Sister Norma, Brother Bunny, and Senor Daley) and a resident sound system, Klassique Disco. The party takes place on Sunday nights at Sabina Park, next to the Kingston Cricket Club.

    Rae Town Old Hits attracts hundreds of foreign and local reggae fans with its stellar playlist of rare cuts from the 1950s to 1980s. There’s a small entry fee to enjoy the session, but it’s well worth it for the fun and authentic reggae atmosphere.

    Location: 24 S Camp Rd, Kingston, Jamaica


    Dubwise Jamaica

    A global sound system event since 2013

    Dubwise Jamaica is a prominent sound system event founded by DJ Yaadcore in 2013. The yearly session usually takes place on Barbican Road, near the Orchid Village Plaza. You can expect a high-energy atmosphere thanks to quality dub reggae by prominent artists, both local and international. You might even catch Yaadcore at the turntables, accompanied by well-respected musicians.

    While Dubwise Jamaica originated as a weekly night dub session in Kingston, it has since expanded to several locations around the world, including Miami, Brooklyn, and Trinidad.


    Peter Tosh Museum

    A compact venue dedicated to The Wailers’ co-founder

    • History

    The Peter Tosh Museum displays various artefacts and memorabilia of one of Jamaica’s most celebrated reggae musicians. While he’s known as a founding member of The Wailers reggae group, Tosh had a prominent solo career after releasing Legalize It! in 1976.

    The Peter Tosh Museum occupies a rather small space but displays plenty of the late musician’s prized belongings. Standouts include his iconic M16 rifle-shaped guitar, Mick Jagger's gold microphones (Tosh was one of the opening acts for the Rolling Stones US tour in 1978), and his unicycle.

    Location: 2666+M6Q, Kingston, Jamaica

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 10.30 am to 6 pm (closed on Sundays)

    Phone: +1 876-960-0049

    Penny Wong | Compulsive Traveller

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