Public Primary And Secondary Education
The Austin area has 29 public school districts, 17 charter schools and 69 private schools. Most of the city is served by the Austin Independent School District. This district includes notable schools such as the magnet Liberal Arts and Science Academy High School of Austin, Texas , which, by test scores, has consistently been within the top thirty high schools in the nation, as well as The Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders. Some parts of Austin are served by other districts, including Round Rock, Pflugerville, Leander, Manor, Del Valle, Lake Travis, Hays, and EanesISD. Four of the metro’s major public school systems, representing 54% of area enrollment, are included in Expansion Management magazine’s latest annual education quality ratings of nearly 2,800 school districts nationwide. Two districtsEanes and Round Rockare rated “gold medal,” the highest of the magazine’s cost-performance categories.
The Club & Music Scene In Austin
Music was always important to life in Austin, but it really became a big deal in the early 1970s with the advent of progressive country . Local boy Willie Nelson became its principal proponent, along with several other Austin musicians. And the Armadillo World Headquarters, a music hall known for hosting all the 1960s rock bands, became the center of events and symbolized the marriage of country with counterculture. The city has since become an incubator for a wonderfully vital, crossbred alternative sound that mixes rock, country, folk, blues, punk, and Tejano.
Although the Armadillo is now gone, live music in Austin continues to thrive in bars all across Austin see box p. ### for a quick summary. Many popular venues dont fall inside these districts. All in all, theres a lot to explore. Have fun and poke around. You might come across the next Janis Joplin, Stevie Ray Vaughan, or Jimmie Dale Gilmore, to name just a few who were playing local gigs here before they hit the big time. When big events occur, such as SXSW , the Republic of Texas Biker Rally , or the Lonestar Rod & Kustom Roundup , barhopping becomes a competitive sport.
A Brief Guide to Austins Bar Scene
Austins downtown bars are, for the most part, concentrated into six different areas: Sixth Street, the Warehouse District, the Market District, Red River, East Austin, and Rainey Street.
Label It SuccessfulAustins SXSW
Play A Game Of Chicken Shit Bingo At A Honky
Whats Chicken Shit Bingo, you ask? For those unaccustomed , its the Austin bingo game that involves live chickens and… well, you can probably figure out the rest. If youre going to play, you should really do it in the honky tonk thats been around for more than four decades: The Little Longhorn Saloon. Here, they have both kinds of music — country and western — and feature more than 600 bands annually, with at least 10 performing each week. For bingo, though, you need to come on Sundays from 4-8pm — and be sure to take advantage of the free hot dogs and $2 beer special that goes along with it.
Watch Bands Play Under Hundreds Of Christmas Lights
Spider House is an Austin institution thanks to its reputation as the favored meetup spot of locals for everything from Tinder coffee dates to checking out slam poetry. Since opening more than 20 years ago, Spider House has expanded from a simple coffee shop/bar into a music venue, food truck courtyard, and community gathering space. Beyond the main Spider House Cafe , theres both an outdoor stage, set under a chandelier in the backyard patio , and the indoor Spider House Ballroom, where nightly events include album release shows and burlesque performances.
Culture And Contemporary Life
“Keep Austin Weird” has been a local motto for years, featured on bumper stickers and T-shirts. This motto has not only been used in promoting Austin’s eccentricity and diversity, but is also meant to bolster support of local independent businesses. According to the 2010 book Weird City the phrase was begun by a local Austin Community College librarian, Red Wassenich, and his wife, Karen Pavelka, who were concerned about Austin’s “rapid descent into commercialism and overdevelopment.” The slogan has been interpreted many ways since its inception, but remains an important symbol for many Austinites who wish to voice concerns over rapid growth and irresponsible development. Austin has a long history of vocal citizen resistance to development projects perceived to degrade the environment, or to threaten the natural and cultural landscapes.
According to the Nielsen Company, adults in Austin read and contribute to blogs more than those in any other U.S. metropolitan area. Austin residents have the highest Internet usage in all of Texas. In 2013, Austin was the most active city on Reddit, having the largest number of views per capita. Austin was selected as the No. 2 Best Big City in “Best Places to Live” by Money magazine in 2006, and No. 3 in 2009, and also the “Greenest City in America” by MSN.
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Where To Hear Live Music In Austin
They say that the heart of a place lies in the music it produces and if thats the case, then Austins got a rough-and-tumble, honky-tonk, country rock of a good heart. From the raucous music festivals in Zilker Metropolitan Park to the funky clubs on 6th Street, these are some of the best spots for live tunes.
Sixth Street & Downtown
The Historic 6th Street District comprises roughly eight blocks of downtown Austinsuch a hotbed of great nightclubs and music joints that the very act of walking through these streets will lead you to some world-class live music establishments, like Stubbs Barbecue. This neighborhood plays host to much of the live music action during the annual SXSW Festival at venues like Mohawk, Beerland, and the Elephant Room.
While Zilker Park doesnt always have live music, its notable as the home of Austins biggest music festival, Austin City Limits. For two consecutive weekends each October, the park hosts more than 125 performances across eight stages. Past headliners have included Metallica, Paul McCartney, Willie Nelson, and Kendrick Lamar.
South Congress Avenue, or SoCo, is a hip neighborhood thats home to antique shops, costume stores, and a handful of excellent live music venues. On the top of the list is the Continental Club, an institution since the 1950s that often features swing, country, and rockabilly performances. Fans of blues and soul should check out C-Boys Heart & Soul.
The Moody Theater
Where To See The Headliners
Music is for the masses, and these venues are known for packed dance floors and enthusiastic crowds cheering for more. Antone’s has been a part of Austin music history for as long as we can remember. Find yourself crowding to the front to see classic Austin acts at the newly revamped, beautifully designed bar on Fifth Street. There isnt a bad spot in the house at Parish on Sixth Street, a loft-style spot which features up-and-comers along with cult faves, and an unrivaled sound system. Emos helped shape the music scene in Austin, and its digs on Riverside continue the tradition of our true rock n roll spirit.
One of the premier concert venues in the city, Austin City Limits Live at The Moody Theater is an adored piece of the Austin scene. ACL is the home to live television tapings of “Austin City Limits” , which are ticketed events that usually occur the night before a big performance. Sought-after artists, both contemporary and classic, love to play this space along with its sister venue, 3TEN ACL Live. The latter is reserved for small acts, softer sounds and cover bands. Make sure you high-five Willie Nelsons statue right outside.
Pleasure Venom at Swan Dive. Credit Lars Ranson.
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/ Empire Control Room & Garage
Another multi-stage live music venue in Austin, Empire Control Room & Garages sweet location and exceptional selection of artists make it a fine place to visit for the evening, and get barraged by awesome music. This is where I was first introduced to Quiet Company and CAPYAC, among others, so it holds a special place in my heart. Even the relatively tiny Control Room puts on great shows with high-quality sound. Highly recommended.Located: 606 E. 7th Street Austin, TX 78701
Sample Dozens Of Texas Craft Beers While You Rock Out
When youre checking out live music, whats on tap is almost as important as whos on the lineup. Craft Pride is frequently named one of the best beer bars in not just the Lone Star State, but the whole country. Besides offering a Texas-only beer list thats about the size of an East Coast diner menu, their backyard patio on Rainey Street is one of the neighborhoods prime spots to see live music four days a week. Youll catch folk artists on Mondays, while a schedule of acts including blues, funk, and country occupy the stage nearly all day on Saturdays. Theres also a weekly showcase for their resident artist on Thursdays, plus live music during Sunday brunch. Lest you drink on an empty stomach, the on-site food trailer Via 313 dishes out Detroit-style pizza slices seven nights a week.
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Austin Music Venues And Live Music
Austin and music go together like brisket and barbecues, which is why major must-attend events like SXSW and Austin City Limits call ATX home. But you don’t have to be here at a certain time of year to enjoy live music every night of the week, there are toe-tapping tunes in every corner of this fair city, from our very own Geraldine’s to Skylark Lounge, with its soulful sounds of R& B and jazz , to legendary dancehall Broken Spoke, where you can bust out your Texas two-step skills. If you need help narrowing down the huge number of options, let us know and we’ll curate a list based on your tastes.
Austin Live Music Venues Have Reopened Free Summer Concerts Have Returned And Things Are Looking Up For Austins Live Music Scene New Shows Are Being Announced Daily Here Are The Heywood Hotel Picks For Live Music In Austin For Summer Through Fall 2021
As every Austinite knows, nothing is as cathartic as catching some live music. Austins live music scene is what attracted so many of us to the city in the first place. Under normal circumstances, live music can be found on nearly every corner of the Live Music Capital of the World. But amid lockdowns and Covid-19 safety measures, our stages were forced to go dark just when we needed them most.
The silence of Austins live music venues was deafening, and the impact to Austins musicians and clubs due to Coronavirus-related closures and restrictions was simply devastating.
But, finally, there is good news to report! Landmark venues like Stubbs, Mohawk, ACL Live and the Continental Club have reopened and are welcoming back top local and national acts. Free summer concerts have returned, and big concerts and festivals are coming back this fall.
It is once again possible to safely see live music in Austin during Covid-19 and we couldnt be happier. Hooray!
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Empire Control Room And Garage
The progressive club built in the shell of a former auto shop reopened its outdoor space in October and has been booking limited capacity shows ever since. The venue has been arranged to enforce social distancing with tickets sold by the table or pod. Coming soon: Govinda with Trouble in the Streets, April 17 Sara Landry, April 23 Think No Think, April 24 Matthew Logan Vasquez, May 7 Nané, May 15. Deborah Sengupta Stith
Hotel Vegas & Volstead Lounge
Also in East Austin, Hotel Vegas & Volstead Lounge is open with patio shows. Catch some local punk rock, hip hop, stand up comedy, Drag Queen BINGO and more. Grab a burger and a frozen habanero margarita or a Lone Star beer and get ready to have a socially distanced good time.
The first weekend of August, Hotel Vegas and Volstead celebrate their 10-and-a-half year anniversary with a great lineup of bands. On August 6, see OSEES, Amplified Heat, Christian Bland and the Revelators, Magic Rockers of Texas, Being Dead and more. On August 7, see OSEES, Nolan Potters Nightmare Band, The Bad Lovers, Con Man, Nevil and others.
For Covid safety, face masks are currently required indoors except when eating and drinking.
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Other Parks And Recreation
Camping is legal on all public property except in front of City Hall since 2019. However, “Other areas where camping remains banned include any city park space, under Austin Parks and Recreation rules. That includes downtown green spaces as well as trails and greenbelts such as along Barton Creek.”
McKinney Falls State Park is a state park administered by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, located at the confluence of Onion Creek and Williamson Creek. The park includes several designated hiking trails and campsites with water and electric. The namesake features of the park are the scenic upper and lower falls along Onion Creek. The Emma Long Metropolitan Park is a municipal park along the shores of Lake Austin, originally constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The 284 acres Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is a botanical garden and arboretum that features more than 800 species of native Texas plants in both garden and natural settings the Wildflower Center is located 10 miles southwest of Downtown in Circle C Ranch. Roy G. Guerrero Park is located along the Colorado River in East Riverside and contains miles of wooded trails, a sandy beach along the river, and a disc golf course.
Meet Our Director Of Music
Hannah’s a Big DealTravel + Leisure
Born and raised in Austin, TX, Hannah Hagar has spent most of her life making music. She grew up writing and performing at local city events before eventually meeting producer and engineer, David Murray, whos mentorship led Hannah to create and release her debut album, Portraits in 2008.
Since then, Hannah has continued to write, record, and perform under her own name, as well as with other artists including Reed Turner, Joanna Barbera, and Emily Wolfe. Hannah has also found a passion for music backstage as well through artist and tour management, event production and talent buying, and sync licensing and brand activations.
Hotel Van Zandt and Geraldines are lucky to have Hannah as their Director of Music bringing unique music experiences to guests and locals alike.
Hannahs insider recommendations to make the most of your visit to the live music capital of the world.
- Iconic Austin — While Austin is the Live Music Capital of the World, with plenty of stellar live music to go around, there are a few historical landmarks that should not be missed.
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Austin Live Music Overview
First to note, musicians perform in virtually every locale, from grocery stores such as Central Market and Whole Foods to city council meetings. Upon entering the city via plane, visitors are treated to the sound of live music as they walk through the Austin Bergstrom International Airport.
Austins South by Southwest Music Festival is legendary, as is the towns long-running television series Austin City Limits. More than 250 live music venues of all genres from rock and blues to country and jazz turn up the volume every night of the week in clubs, coffeehouses, bars, taquerias, auditoriums and concert halls. Never has a claim been truer: In Austin, theres music for everyone.
Dance To Music Videos In A Historic Movie Theater
You may have heard of Alamo Drafthouse. You may even have one in your city. But no one does the cinematic experience quite like Austin, where the original Alamo opened in 1997. Today, the downtown location is on E. 6th Street in the former Ritz Theatre, which dates back to 1929. That theater, and a few other Alamos around Austin , host dance parties themed around artists or years where music videos get projected on the huge screens, turning the auditorium into a giant dance club. Plus, each screening features specially-crafted cocktails and props to match the theme. It may not be live music, but its probably the only time it will be acceptable to literally dance down movie theater aisles.
Moody Amphitheater At Waterloo Park
August marks the long-awaited reopening of the 11-acre Waterloo Park in downtown Austin and debut of the new 5,000-seat Moody Amphitheater.
On August 14, catch free performances throughout the day from local musicians and dance troupes, including Ballet Folklorico de Austin, the Huston-Tillotson University Presidents jazz ensemble and more. In the evening, enjoy some of Austins top musical talent on the new Moody Amphitheater stage, including Gina Chavez, Mélat, Tameca Jones and Riders Against the Storm. All free!
August 20 and 21, celebrate Austins newest live music venue with two nights of rollicking rock n roll and blues, courtesy of Grammy-Award winning Austinite Gary Clark Jr. These will be shows to remember! Tickets available here.
We look forward to seeing many, many more live music performances at this new landmark stage in the months and years to come!
Jontavious Willis photo courtesy of Antones