Austin is known as the Live Music Capital of the World®, and boy does it deliver. With hundreds of live music venues, you’re guaranteed to catch outstanding live performances every night of the week. Whether your tastes lie with country-western or veer toward punk rock, you’re sure to find a music venue worth a listen. Here’s a roundup of 20 iconic Austin live music spots.
1. Broken Spoke
Do some Texas two-stepping at Broken Spoke, an old-fashioned honky-tonk that’s been around since 1964 and has hosted country legends like Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton. Dance lessons are offered Wednesday through Saturday nights. Check out the dance hall's Texas Historical marker, erected in April 2023 to commemorate its newly designated historic landmark status.
The circus is in town year round at the Carousel Lounge, a colorful carnival-themed watering hole that’s been a hit with locals and visitors since it opened in 1963. Elephant and lion tamer murals, plus an actual carousel behind the bar, create a fun atmosphere. Catch live performances Wednesday through Saturday nights.
Opened in 1955 as a swanky supper club, the retro Continental Club and its intimate upstairs Continental Gallery present nightly live rockabilly, country, rock, jazz and soul music. Look for the classic neon sign on South Congress Avenue, then step inside and soak up the cool atmosphere and music. You may even spy a celebrity in the crowd.
Artists of all stripes loving playing ACL Live at The Moody Theater, home to the taping of Austin City Limits, the country's longest-running television music series. Before catching one of the 100 concerts presented each year, snap a selfie out front with the statue of hometown music hero Willie Nelson.
You can catch six acts in a single night at The Saxon Pub, a haven for singer-songwriters since 1990. See a free weekday happy hour show, a weekend matinee or a late-night performance. Friendly bartenders welcome music lovers to this rustic neighborhood bar that serves as an intimate listening room. Be sure to keep chatter to a minimum as a sign of respect to the performers.
6. Cactus Cafe
Open since 1979, Cactus Cafe is known for showcasing top international acoustic acts. Musicians like Lyle Lovett and Lucinda Williams played here early on in their careers. Today, the venue located in the Texas Union offers all-ages shows from Tuesday to Friday evenings and on occasional Saturdays.
Legendary Antone’s Nightclub has been Austin’s home of the blues since 1975, hosting luminaries like Buddy Guy and Eric Clapton. Visit the club’s downtown location on Fifth Street. Insider tip: buy tickets in advance to ensure a seat to see your favorite artist in the 650-person capacity venue.
Speakeasy keeps things rockin’ with three levels of entertainment, including the music lounge, mezzanine overlooking the stage, and the rooftop Terrace59 lounge with spectacular downtown Austin views. You can even challenge your freinds to play a game on the vintage bowling lanes. Since 1997, Speakeasy has been hosting entertainers in the 1870s Kreisle Building, an Austin Historic Landmark.
Slip downstairs to the Elephant Room, an intimate basement venue in the historic Swift Building that features live music nightly. Groove to cool jazz jams, veteran trios and quartets. Performances on Sunday through Wednesday nights are usually free. Seating is first come, first served.
10. Victory Grill
In the 1940s, East Austin's Victory Grill was the place to hear blues and R&B performers like B.B. King and Bobby Bland. Today the venue still presents live music (call ahead for schedule), along with Southern comfort fare like chicken and waffles at onsite restaurant The Rolling Rooster.
Little Longhorn Saloon has served as the center of Austin’s honky-tonk country music scene for more than four decades. At least 10 bands perform each week, and there’s never a cover charge. Don't know how to two-step? Take a free lesson on select nights.
Opened in 1871, the Historic Scoot Inn is the oldest bar in central Texas. This cozy spot feels like visiting someone’s home, but with live music from phenomenal artists. Check ahead to find out if performances will be held at the intimate indoor bar or on the outdoor stage (and whether it's an all-ages show).
13. The White Horse
The White Horse is the place to catch live bluegrass, country-western and Americana bands. Grab a two-step (a shot of whiskey and a Lone Star Beer) and get dancing, whether it's two-stepping after a lesson, swing or Cajun. Bomb Tacos food truck serves burgers, tacos, quesadillas and other eats nightly.
14. Hotel Vegas
Hotel Vegas features live music and DJs nearly every night of the week. Dance parties, patio gatherings and music releases are the norm here. Be sure to check out neighboring East Sixth Street sister bar, Volstead Lounge, a vintage venue that features music acts and dance parties.
15. Stubb’s Bar-B-Q
Stubb's is a music institution that serves up lip-smacking barbecue along with some of the best live bands around. Favorite acts hold court at Stubb's indoors or command the stage of Stubb's Waller Creek Amphitheater. Stop by for the Sunday Gospel Brunch and enjoy live music with a buffet of Southern comfort food.
16. Donn's Depot
This iconic dancehall is an old Missouri-Pacific train depot that was transported to Austin—the women's restroom is a real caboose! Twirl around the wooden dance floor to free live music six nights a week, spanning country to swing to piano bar staples. Donn Adelman tickles the ivories once a week, as he has done for 50 years.
17. Hole in the Wall
Located across the street from The University of Texas since 1974, the storefront Hole in the Wall stage has hosted everyone from bands like Spoon to Don Henley of the Eagles. Don't be surprised to see crowdsurfers one night and a mellow acoustic set the next. Stop in on Monday nights for Unplug This featuring local songwriters.
The Paramount Theatre, located in the heart of Downtown Austin, features eclectic performers like Wynton Marsalis, Daughtry and the Indigo Girls. Fun fact: this century-old performance venue and movie theater originally opened as a vaudeville house in 1915. Today, The Paramount stages some 250 shows a year.
Get your rock fix at Mohawk in the Red River Cultural District. Nearly every night, this unique indoor/outdoor multilevel space showcases emerging talent from Austin and beyond. Mohawk welcomes an all-ages crowd.
20. Mean Eyed Cat
Feel the nostalgia at this downtown dive bar as Johnny Cash tunes play over the speaker or a live band puts a spin on his hits. Live music at Mean Eyed Cat might entail a showcase of women guitarists, a laid-back Sunday soiree or solo shows. Hang out on the patio and take in the Cash tributes.
For more Austin live music venues and concerts, explore our venue guide and events calendar. Tour iconic and historic spaces around the city with a guided downtown walking tour hosted by the Austin Visitor Center.