Several music venues are just a short drive away from Cincinnati.

Local boys The National are throwing a two-day outdoor concert in Smale River Park this coming weekend as I write this (will have occurred by the time you gentlemen read this). I am attending both days with my lovely wife. It is in conjunction with the Music Now Festival.

But as I look outside my window right now, I see rain and less than 60-degrees. Not exactly weather for an outdoor music festival. And to be honest, we are about a month or two away from the meat of the outdoor festival season here kicking into high gear.

That got me to thinking.

We have some great music venues in this town. Simply go down to OTR on a Friday or Saturday night and you’re hard pressed to not run into some great music. But yet another great thing about our city is how centrally located we are to so much other great music.

Without having to go further than a two-hour drive, you can see local and national acts. And you can hit on about any genre you can imagine.

Here is just a small sample of some venues you can hit on a great getaway day or weekend.

Headliners – Louisville, KY

If you want to see some of the bigger acts in the country, but don’t want to fight the crowds at an arena show, this is your place.

Originally used as a cafeteria for a bottling facility that was located next door, the building was transitioned to a rehearsal hall during Prohibition. Back then patrons could watch big bands rehearse their gigs while partaking in some-ahem-“medicinal” bourbon that was being bottled at the facility. Now patrons have seen acts such as My Morning Jacket, Kings of Leon, Lindsay Buckingham (if you don’t know what band he’s known from look it up, kids), and Ice Cube just to name a few.

Some of the upcoming acts in May are Old 97’s, who will be playing a Kentucky Derby Eve party on May 4. Anderson East hits the stage on the 11th, followed by Jukebox the Ghost on the 14th.

Slippery Noodle Inn – Indianapolis, IN

Head an hour-and-a-half to the west, and you get into one of the coolest venues on this list. Unlike Headliners above on the list, and the venues listed below, Slippery Noodle Inn offers not only music but a full menu of food.

When I called it one of the coolest venues, I wasn’t blowing smoke up your Snoopy’s. Slippery Noodle was originally founded in 1890 as the Tremont House. Not only is it the oldest venue on this list, but it is also the oldest continually operated bar in their original location in the entire state of Indiana.

The other thing that separates this venue from most others is the type of music they book. Whereas most of the venues these days shoot for a mix of local vs. national acts or a mix of genres, Slippery Noodle keeps the Blues alive seven days per week (just like they claim on their website).

If you’re a Blues fan, and want to get a little musical history lesson, you can’t go wrong making the getaway trip here.

Oddbody’s – Dayton, OH

Not going to lie.

Dayton is not necessarily thought of as a hotbed of music venues. But if you’re looking for a great one-day getaway, finishing off with some great music in an eclectic general admission venue, this is your place.

Less than an hour’s drive, Oddbody’s (having recently sold last summer) is focusing more on bringing in larger independent acts these days. Oddbody’s will probably remind you of Bogart’s here in town, for those that have been to that venue.   It is clean, friendly staff, good sound system, and you can get drinks at a timely pace for music venue.

Their calendar of bands appears to be in a bit of a transition though. Currently, Soulfly and Nile are listed to play May 5. And, well, that’s it.

I would check back often to see if there are updates.

The Basement – Columbus, OH

The Basement is pretty much what it says. An underground venue, complete with ratty couches, that gives you that basement or garage band feel. And that’s perfect for what PromoWest (yep, the very same group that runs Bunbury) wants the venue to focus on: Up-and-coming bands. As they say on their website, “’Cause let’s face it, you gotta start somewhere.”

If you’re into saying that you helped discover the next “big thing” then The Basement is your place. Some of the bands that have played there before they hit include Cincinnati’s own The National as well as Chance the Rapper, Awolnation, and more.

Currently on the bill for May includes Wilderado (2nd), Company of Thieves (12th), and Foxing (27th).

So get out and make a great music getaway without breaking your bank or driving forever.

Until next time, gentlemen.