Austin is a magnet for creatives, drawing a mix of artists, actors and musicians who make up the city’s ever-growing indie arts scene. Check out these venues and events for the inside scoop on where to find some of Austin’s best independent art exhibits, theatrical performances and live music shows.

Canopy is a creative community located in a renovated East Austin warehouse. The space includes 45 artists’ studios, a coffee shop and a beautiful gallery space for Big Medium, Austin’s premier art organization.

Pump Project Art Complex is an East Austin art space that provides working studios and gallery space for emerging and established Texas artists. Housed in a bright yellow 1950s warehouse, the 1,000-square-foot gallery showcases revolving exhibitions, and is surrounded by the studios of Pump Project’s 30 resident artists and craftspeople.

Art on wall at Volcom Garden Gallery
Volcom Garden Gallery. Courtesy of Volcom.

Volcom Garden is a combination boutique, art gallery and live music venue with recording capabilities. This free creative hub welcomes local musicians, artists and creators with a passion for expression. Catch a gallery exhibit or live music show.

Flatbed Press and Gallery, located in the Flatbed Building, is a nationally recognized gallery and studio that exhibits contemporary artists’ works on paper. Flatbed also produces and sells the works created in its printmaking studio, including lithographs and relief prints that have been collected by several major museums.

Co-Lab Projects is an artist-run nonprofit organization that provides exhibition space for local artists to display cutting-edge contemporary works (including video and film), installation pieces and performance art. Co-Lab will be presenting shows through October 2017 at the Demo Gallery on Congress Avenue, with plans to move into a new space in the near future.

The City Theatre is an award-winning performing arts venue featuring Austin performers, directors and designers. Show tickets are value priced in order to keep the theater-going experience accessible to everyone. The City Theatre Company has been presenting plays and musicals for more than 10 years.

Hyde Park Theatre is dedicated to developing the talents of Austin actors, writers, directors and designers. It presents plays by both new and established voices from the alternative theater scene. Hyde Park Theatre has received dozens of Critic’s Table Award nominations.

AFS Cinema lobby and patrons
AFS Cinema, 2017. Photo by David Brendan Hall for Austin Film Society.

Founded in 1985 by filmmaker Richard Linklater (director of hit flicks Dazed and Confused and Boyhood), the Austin Film Society supports the work of Texas filmmakers through its Austin Studios, a 20-acre production facility featuring sound stages used for training and collaboration. The Society screens hundreds of films at its AFS Cinema, an art house theater that presents independent and international movies.

The VORTEX is an artist-owned theater in East Austin presenting innovative performances of everything from musicals to ritual theater. The award-winning VORTEX is recognized internationally for its alternative performances and non-traditional casting.

The New Movement is 100% comedian owned and operated, providing a safe haven for artists and fellow comedians to experiment. The intimate theater presents sketch, stand-up and improv comedy shows by new and seasoned comedians, in addition to comedy festivals. Tickets are typically cheap or free for New Movement shows.

With a soft spot for Texas musicians, Austin’s iconic Waterloo Records frequently presents in-store performances by emerging local musicians. Afterwards, spend some time flipping through the shop’s extensive selection of vinyl.

Hotel Vegas exterior
Hotel Vegas. Credit Charles Ferraro.

Located in the heart of the East Sixth Street entertainment district, Hotel Vegas features a variety of live music and DJs. Catch local Austin favorites and up-and-coming artists. Shows are presented nearly every night of the week.


Produced by the Hyde Park Theatre, FronteraFest (January/February) is a five-week, citywide fringe theater festival featuring more than 800 local and national artists.

OUTsider Fest (February) is a queer international arts festival showcasing theater, music, video and film from a diverse mix of artists.

Art City Austin (April) is the city's largest juried art festival and marketplace. Independent artists and galleries come to Austin from across the nation to participate in the three-day event.

Antony Hamilton performance for Fusebox Festival
Courtesy of Fusebox Festival.

The five-day Fusebox Festival (April) is a hybrid arts festival celebrating everything from theater to film and music.

The Moontower Comedy Festival (April), presented by the Paramount Theatre, features local Austin comedians, as well as national headliners.

During Big Medium’s West Austin Studio Tour (May) and East Austin Studio Tour (November), meet artists and view their latest works right in their workspaces.

The Austin Film Festival (October) is recognized as one of the top film festivals in the country, screening indie and top-billed films.