If you’re visiting the city of Austin, Texas, get ready for an exciting night on the town! Known as the ‘Live Music Capital of the World’, you’ll find outdoor concerts, music festivals, and other performances around the city on a nightly basis. And with excellent cuisine, fun bars, artisanal breweries, and theater events, there’s never a dull moment on the city streets. With so many fantastic venues to visit, it can be tough to narrow down a selection for a weekend trip. But to help you out, here’s our guide to the best of Austin nightlife.
The most well-known and boisterous district of Austin is the 6th Street stretch from Congress Avenue to Highway 35. Here you’ll find many students from neighboring universities, and for those who enjoy a party ambiance with crowds that tend to be young, loud, and enthusiastic, this is the place to be! Try stopping by Parish for rock, reggae, and funk live music sets or the Blind Pig Pub for a night of dancing and drinking.
For those who are looking for a sophisticated night in downtown Austin, head to the Warehouse District, located just west of the central business center. With handcrafted cocktails, elegant restaurants, and a more mature and educated crowd, this district is perfect for special gatherings, anniversaries, or a high-class night out. Swing by The Ginger Man for a mix of traditional pub drinks and new craft brews and visit the Roosevelt Room for fancy cocktails, tasty charcuterie and cheese boards, plus heavenly desserts.
South Congress Avenue
South Congress Avenue, also known as SoCo, is an attractive, tree-lined part of town that has a comfortable and laid-back atmosphere. There are many dive bars, bistros, and craft breweries in the district, and if you arrive at the lake at twilight, you can see the famous bats of Austin take off into the night sky. Be sure to head to The Continental Club to hear some country, jazz, and blues tunes or visit the Saxon Pub for live music with an intimate and cozy atmosphere.
University of Texas
The University of Texas is part of the heart and soul of Austin. And for those who love having fun with others while enjoying quality brews and music, the university’s area offers a number of venues that have become a part of Texas’ cultural history. The Cactus Cafe has a national reputation for incredible acoustic sets and The Hole in the Wall hosts daily music shows. Both venues are popular among locals and are ideal for listening to live performances.
For a more funky, offbeat, and alternative experience, we recommend checking out the East Side of Austin. Here you’ll find a quirky energy that drives the many eclectic bars, cafes, and food trucks, along with a hip and edgy crowd. Head on over to Kitty Cohen’s for specialty drinks and punches while lounging poolside or visit the Hard Luck Lounge for a grunge scene complete with jukeboxes and pool tables.
If you’ve always wanted to visit a speakeasy, Rainy Street is the place for you. Located off of Cesar Chavez Boulevard, you’ll find many cool bars in this district that are perfect for a laid-back evening out with friends. Visit the Victorian house turned cocktail lounge of Icenhauer’s, where you can sip handcrafted drinks and listen to live music. And for a cozy ambiance with dim lighting and rustic (yet elegant) decor, head to the fashionable Clive Bar for homemade cocktails and brews.