Your One Stop Guide To The Austin Music Scene

By Brendan van Son,

Austin, Texas has become a beacon for music lovers around the country. In fact, many argue that the city has placed itself alongside the likes of New Orleans and Nashville as one of the top music destinations in the entire nation. And sure, the massive festival South-by-Southwest has helped put Austin on the map and continues to be the strongest draw to the city. To any regard, if you’re into music, Austin, Texas should be the focus of any trip you set into motion in Texas.


Focus on Sixth Street


Sixth Street Austin Texas
Photo by Thomas Hawk

The Austin music scene lives most vividly on Sixth Street and the off-shooting crossroads. If you’re unsure where you should be heading, just wander down Sixth Street anytime after about 10 p.m. and find the place with the longest lines. It’s completely possible to just bump your way down this street all night without planning a thing.  Moreover, Sixth Street is alive every single night of the week, so it’s a sure bet.


Hit the Congress Avenue Venues Too


Congress Music Austin Texas

Most locals know that Sixth Street can be a bit messy and full of tourists. As you already know, one of the best things you can do in travel is to follow the locals. Most locals know that Congress Avenue is actually home to the better venues in Austin, and is just a short walk from the action of Sixth.  If you’re not feeling Sixth, wander this direction and discover classic venues like the Paramount Theater and the Elephant Room.


Keep your Ears Peeled for Secret Shows


Austin Music Scene Texas

Austin is a favorite city for big bands for many reasons, like the ability to play completely secret shows in small venues, especially on weekdays. I was walking down Sixth Street one night when I saw a rush of people running past in euphoria. Thus, I did what any logical person would do, I ran with them. After a block worth of jogging, I found myself at the doors of a hole-in-the-wall bar where a band that generally plays stadium-shows was doing a set!


Check out the Red River Music District


Red River Austin Texas
Photo by author 

Again, if Sixth Street is for tourists, Red River is for locals. It’s a great place to get a more authentic brand of the Austin music scene while simultaneously avoiding the over-priced drinks on Sixth Street.  If you head this way, be sure to check out Beerland.


Be Prepared to Go Off-Script


No night out in Austin goes how you expect it. Just go with the flow of things and see where it takes you. Don’t be adverse to wander off into the abyss that is the Austin music scene. If you’re not feeling the vibe at one venue, go somewhere else! With so many choices, you are bound to find one that suits your mood. 


Going Alone


Travelling to Austin solo
Photo by Thomas Hawk

If you’re a solo traveler in Austin, getting yourself set up on one of the city’s many pub and bar crawls is a great way to meet people. After all, no one likes to have a night out all alone, right? There are several companies in town that organize these crawls, just be sure to check out their websites before you leave home to get the current tours and times.

What other ways can visitors experience the best of the Austin music scene?

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