Staphylococcus aureus infection is a rising public health care threat. S. aureus is believed to have elaborate regulatory networks that orchestrate its virulence. Despite its importance, the systematic understanding of the transcriptional landscape of S. aureus is limited. Here, we describe the primary transcriptome landscape of an epidemic USA300 isolate of community-acquired methicillin-resistant S. aureus. We experimentally determined 1,861 transcription start sites with their principal promoter elements, including well-conserved -35 and -10 elements and weakly conserved -16 element and 5' untranslated regions containing AG-rich Shine-Dalgarno sequence. In addition, we identified 225 genes whose transcription was initiated from multiple transcription start sites, suggesting potential regulatory functions at transcription level. Along with the transcription unit architecture derived by integrating the primary transcriptome analysis with operon prediction, the measurement of differential gene expression revealed the regulatory framework of the virulence regulator Agr, the SarA-family transcriptional regulators, and β-lactam resistance regulators. Interestingly, we observed a complex interplay between virulence regulation, β-lactam resistance, and metabolism, suggesting a possible tradeoff between pathogenesis and drug resistance in the USA300 strain. Our results provide platform resource for the location of transcription initiation and an in-depth understanding of transcriptional regulation of pathogenesis, virulence, and antibiotic resistance in S. aureus.