10 Great Music Venues In Austin

Austin is considered the live music capital of the world. Home of Austin City Limits and the notorious SXSW, Austin also has year-round entertainment at its many venues across the city. From theaters to concert halls to outdoor bars, Austin has it all. The city helped usher many musicians into fame. Things have changed a lot, however, from the old Austin that so many remember. Its funky scene and lakeside lifestyle attracts many newcomers, with some estimates calculating that the city gains 50 new residents everyday. Now with the population exploding at just over two million people in the metropolitan area, locals find Austin changing before their eyes. In the midst of an ever-changing city, these music venues have withstood the test of time, making them mainstays in Austin’s highly competitive music scene.

Wild Child performing / photo by Lk5632 / CC BY-SA

Emo's — East Riverside

In the lovely and hip East Riverside, Emo's has a notorious yearly line up with top names from all over the country coming to play on their very large main stage. There is no seating, so wear comfortable shoes, as the venue is a huge warehouse and stage. Longtime locals remember the Emo's on 6th Street, which was a dive punk bar, but this is an updated version that caters to all kinds of shows.

The Mohawk — Downtown

The Mohawk is a permanent fixture in the music scene and serves as a venue during the SXSW Music Festival. Seven days a week, sought-after bands and some up-and-coming local acts play on one of the two stages, one indoor and one outdoor. There is a lot of room in this place, with an above-ground bar and seating area, a tree house patio, an outdoor stage and bar, and an indoor stage and bar. Their yearly line up is never a disappointment, making The Mohawk one of the most popular music venues in not only Downtown, but all of Austin.

Photo by The Buzz Mill

The Buzz Mill — East Riverside

The Buzz Mill is just one of the many fantastic modern venues that have come to Austin in the last few years. Located directly in the center of the Old Chisolm Trail in East Riverside the bar and stage were designed to look like a historic log cabin. However, the sound system on the outdoor stage is straight out of the future. Some of the most eclectic acts in Austin are found here, from oddball electronics duos to full country bands straight out of Nashville.

Stubb's BBQ and Live Music — Downtown

Downtown Austin's Stubb's BBQ has indoor and outdoor locations, both great music venues that actively participate in SXSW. Not only do they host some of the city’s top acts, customers are also lured to Stubb’s since they’re considered to serve some of the best BBQ in all of Austin. The Stubb's Waller Creek Amphitheater has the potential to get rained out, while the indoor venue is much more intimate.

Photo by Donna Marie Miller

The Broken Spoke — South Lamar

The Broken Spoke is the proud survivor of Austin's honky-tonk tradition. Once upon a time it was a honky-tonk bar in South Lamar, now it is the lone country and western dancehall and restaurant in a sea of condominiums. The neighborhood values it for the funky upstart that has consistently defined this venue. You can see a wide range of country stars there any night of the week, sharing the stage that Bob Willis, Willie Nelson and Ernest Tubb helped make famous.

Cheer Up Charlie's — Downtown

Cheer Up Charlie's is a unique and exciting outdoor venue. They have kombucha on tap, organic juice blended cocktails, local brews, and infused wines. Their patio and stage, located on Red River Street in the Downtown neighborhood, is shaded by a large tent structure and the vibe is wonderful for both sunny quiet afternoons and live stage shows at night.

Photo by Paul Bardagiy

The Paramount Theatre — Downtown

The Paramount Theatre building is a classic Downtown revival-style structure that was built in 1915. It has music venues but also hosts other live performances and film screenings. They are a major participant in the Austin Film Festival, SXSW, and its very own Moontower Comedy Festival.

Hotel Vegas — East Austin

Hotel Vegas is rocking seven days a week with well-known bands and DJs. It is located at the heart of 6th Street next to the Volstead Lounge. The drink staff is on point and the stage room provides an intimate vibe with great acoustics.

Photo by Antones

Antones — Downtown

Antone's calls Downtown Austin its home and is a true piece of the city’s history and culture. It lies just one block away from the famous 6th Street and shares in its famous energy. Known as the home of blues and jazz in Austin, many great music legends have set foot on their stage.

The Continental Club — Bouldin

The Continental Club is one the oldest clubs in all of Austin, opening its doors in 1955 in the Bouldin neighborhood. It started as a restaurant then turned into a burlesque club, before finally becoming a bar. Over time it grew into a premiere venue, hosting legends like Stevie Ray Vaughn among many more. Rolling Stone magazine called this place “The Best Music Venue in America.”

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