Reason #62 Of Why You Should Move To Austin: Live Music
This was one of the most difficult lists to make—there are just too many places in Austin that feature fresh and fantastic live music.
We pulled it together though, and came up with the following must-see list of Austin venues for live music. If you’re living in Austin, or just visiting, you’ll need to experience each of the following places at least once.
Austin City Limits is the very epicenter of live music in our city. This iconic venue doesn’t have a bad seat in the house and everyone walks away with an unforgettable experience. Not only is it a music venue, but it’s also a state-of-the-art production facility as well as home to KLRU’s PBS show Austin City Limits.
Yelp user’s insider info: “Even the balcony seats have a great view and the venue seems intimate even when sold out.” – Teresa K.
If you’re looking for some good ol’ authentic honky tonk, this is the live music venue for you. The crowd is widely varied—you’ll see everything from hipsters to bikers to grandparents ready to bust a move. This venue offers new country talent almost every night of the week, and word has it that you can get some good tacos or bbq when you stop on by.
Yelp user’s insider info: “Live country music on a short stage in front of a big open space filled with people waiting to dance! If you come alone, don’t worry because someone will surely ask for a dance.” – Diana R.
This is another great honky tonk live music venue that offers country line dancing lessons for those who show up early on Saturday night. Go for the music and dancing, but be sure to stay for the chicken-fried steak.
Yelp user’s insider info: “From the chicken fried steak, the tunes, the dancing – what an incredible night we had.” – Ilana S.
Infamously known for its “Chicken Shit Bingo” on Sundays, this small venue feels more like a crazy family party than the dive bar that it is. Aside from the colorfully titled bingo option, you’ll need to check out local legend Dale Watson’s live music performance—you won’t be disappointed.
Yelp user’s insider info: “As an out-of-towner, I don’t think I’ve ever been to a dive where I felt so welcome. This was definitely the highlight of our trip to Austin.” – Kate N.
Hole in the Wall lives up to its name as a college dive bar that’s been rocking out in Austin since way before it was cool. Right outside of University of Texas, this bar features great live music and drink specials. It’s also been host to performers like Shawn Colvin and Lucinda Williams before they made it big—who knows which soon-to-be-star might be playing their heart out in there right now!
Yelp user’s insider info: “You can hang out in the back and catch evening bands starting at 8pm. You can even get some tasty fried beets from East Side King who are housed inside!” – Jack C.
As Austin’s oldest standing theater, the Paramount Theater is an excellent choice to experience live music—and more. This theater also features ballet and comedy performances, as well as movies and plays.
Yelp user’s insider info: “This is an excellent live music venue, and we go there at least once a year for the Iron & Wine midwives benefit, more if there are other shows we want to see.” -Charles R.
This performing arts center boasts a pristine facility and breath-taking views of the Austin skyline. From shows to symphonies, ballets to outdoor events, snag yourself a ticket to this unbeatable performing arts culture.
Yelp user’s insider info: “The acoustics are fantastic, sitting just behind the orchestra section I thoroughly enjoyed the symphony.” – Sam E.
In the last 30 years, this on-campus performing arts center has featured a range of music, theater, dance, and conversation performance experiences. They’re the home of Broadway in Austin and have even been the host to performing legends like Ella Fitzgerald and Mikhail Baryshnikov.
Yelp user’s insider info: “This venue was fantastic! The sound system was superb. The set was gorgeous and so elaborately beautiful.” – An N.
This is just one of those places that helps keep Austin weird. Aside from the constant stream of grassroots live music performers, the circus theme of this venue may be worth the visit alone. That said, the Carousel Lounge’s great music and funky carnival vibe might not be for everyone—coulrophobs beware!
Yelp user’s insider info: “The Carousel is a “set-up” bar, so you can bring your own liquor and they will sell you the mixer & ice.” – Sheila F.
Need a break from country, but still want to enjoy some smooth music in a slick dive bar atmosphere? Then the Elephant Room is the jazz and blues venue for you. This basement bar oozes a feeling of cool, and you can indulge in the live jazz performances they feature here on a regular basis.
Yelp user’s insider info: “So much history and charm! It’s in a dark basement, candlelit, live jazz music, dolla bills all over the wall. Great place to cozy up with your date, it gives off a romantic vibe.” – Kristin W.