Austin boasts one of the most diverse music scenes in the country. Bands of every genre set up and break down en masse every night at the almost uncountable venues the city has to offer. Whether it’s 13,000 people in a classic Austin outdoor amphitheater or 20 fans at one of many small Austin live music dives - music, done live, is king in the ATX. Here’s our list of the best Austin live music venues.
If there’s one venue you have to go to during your stay in Austin, it’s Stubb’s BBQ. Maybe the most iconic of Austin’s music venues, everyone you could ever think of has graced the stage. Grab dinner in the restaurant for some delicious smoked meats then head outback for a great show. The best of both worlds in Texas.
“Sixth Street’s Best Kept Secret” is the slogan for this upstairs attraction. The beautiful ballroom with gothic chandeliers and dark hardwood makes for an intimate setting to see your favorite act.
The historic blues club of the south, Antone’s has changed locations several times through out its long history but with each location comes the same energy and authentic blues that made it famous in the first place. Any act at Antone’s is a night you won’t forget.
Threadgill’s is an Austin institution known for down-home cooking & live music. The artists who’ve graced the Threadgill’s stage are a diverse lot. From Count Basie and Commander Cody to Jerry Lee Lewis, Ray Charles, Leon Russell and Captain Beefheart. Not to mention it was here that Janis Joplin developed her brassy style that would propel her to become the first female rock and roll superstar.
Threadgill’s serves as a link between the new Austin and its past. In matters of music and food, Threadgill’s represent a time before disco or microwaves. Austin music mementos line the walls and the chicken fried steaks are Austin’s best.
Empire, a Red River Live Music venue, is a 15,000 square foot modern music space at 7th and Red River, dedicated to presenting quirky, warehouse style events that feel more like adventurous discoveries than everyday affairs.
The Cactus Cafe, located on UT’s West Campus, is recognised nationally as a unique and influential Austin live music venue. Since it opened in 1979, The Cactus has played host to a who’s who of musical greats. The Cactus is an intimate venue that blurs the line between artist and audience.
The Saxon Pub is one of Austin’s iconic live music venues. Opened in 1990, the Saxon has hosted well over 22,000 musical performances. It’s hosted films, videos and countless live recordings. On any given night you might see a major celebrity from the film or music industry either having a beer or sitting in on stage jamming with the locals.
East Austin’s outside staple has a beautiful beer garden and lovely wooden décor where rustic meets modern. This mid capacity venue is located just off of the metro rail so you can get there easily via Austin public transit. Grab a drink and enjoy the weather while your favorite band takes the stage.
The heart of the underground in the capitol city, Hotel Vegas is where you can catch all of the best local bands in Austin seven days a week. Watch for touring roadshows as well. Anything from punk to 80’s retro-synth, whatever your genre, Hotel Vegas is the place to be.
ACL Live at The Moody Theater
A truly unique theater experience, ACL Live offers balcony seating or general admission on the floor. Regardless of where you’re at, the state of the art lighting and sound is what makes this venue arguably the best in the city. You can see some of the biggest artists in the world play this stage or have a drink on the balcony for a gorgeous view of Austin.
Where: 310 W Willie Nelson Blvd, Austin, TX 78701
Phone: (512) 225-7999
In the heart of Austin's iconic Red River Street is one of the best outdoor venues in the country. With three different level balconies, an indoor stage, and several bars, every show is one for the books and a night you won’t forget. The venues big, but somehow still intimate. A sold out Mohawk is one of the most unique and special nights you can have in the city.
3TEN Austin City Limits Live
Located on the street below the Moody Theater, 3ten is the little-sister venue with all the same perks. Impressive lighting and world-renowned sound, this makes for one of the best small venues in Austin due to the technology in the room.
Where: 310 W Willie Nelson Blvd #1A
Phone: (512) 225-7999
Circuit of the America’s Austin 360 Amphitheater
Every city has their mega-sized venue or amphitheater but most aren’t as new as the 360. 13,000 people can fit all with a great view and massive screens to see from even the furthest of distances. Grab a seat or sit on the lawn, either makes for a great evening.
Where: 9201 Circuit of the Americas Blvd
Phone: (512) 301-6600
Cheer up Charlies
Another Red River staple, the natural limestone wall makes for a very unique backdrop for the stage. Neighbors to The Mohawk, Cheer Up Charlies has great drink specials. The venue includes a lodgelike indoor space, outdoor music amphitheatre, drinks, drag shows & more.
Where: 900 Red River St
Phone: (512) 431-2133
After a historic run on Sixth Street, Emo’s moved to Riverside Drive and upgraded their entire existence. This large capacity venue has a beautiful art installation on the walls. Emo's is a 1700-capacity space with cool features like wood paneling, 42 ft ceilings, a huge 35 ft stage and an amazing $200k sound system.
Where: 2015 E Riverside Dr
Phone: (888) 512-7469
The Continental Club
The legendary Continental Club opened its doors in 1955 and celebrates over 60 years as one the oldest continuously running clubs in all of Austin. From swanky supper club, burlesque theatre and working man's blue collar bar to one of Austin's premier live music venues, the Continental Club offers up an eclectic mix of music genres (Country, Soul/R&B/Funk, Blues, Jazz, Rock, Punk, etc) from famous and upcoming artists alike. No visit to South Congress (or Austin for that matter) is complete without a foray to The Continental Club.
Where: 1315 S Congress Ave
Phone: (512) 441-2444