Austin is known for its diverse live music scene that proudly celebrates homegrown talent. And you can catch performances nearly anywhere in town, from an intimate shady patio to a huge concert in a city park. We’ve pulled together suggestions for some of the can’t-miss music series and festivals this summer. For even more ideas, see Your Complete Austin Summer Bucket List.
Blues on the Green. Courtesy of ACL Radio.
Top Annual Music Series
Pack your cooler, grab a picnic blanket and stake out a spot on the grass at Zilker Park to enjoy Blues on the Green, hosted by Austin City Limits Radio. The largest free concert series in Austin runs all summer long, with monthly shows beginning at 8 p.m.
Classical music lovers won’t want to miss Austin Symphony Concerts in the Park, held on the lawn of Hartman Concert Park at the Long Center. On Sunday evenings, bring a lawn chair or blanket and kick back under the stars, listening to classical music while soaking in city skyline views.
Every Thursday night at 8 p.m., Shady Grove and Austin City Limits Radio team up to present Unplugged at the Grove, a free music series showcasing local musicians. Spread out on the patio under the sprawling pecan tree, grab a cold one and dig into Austin-inspired home cooking while hanging out with fellow music lovers.
Alamo Drafthouse and Do512 team up to present Sound & Cinema, a fun summer series that pairs local bands with classic films. Mini concerts open the free, family-friendly movie screenings held on the lawn of the Long Center on Wednesday evenings. Full schedule to be announced.
Summer at The Long Center.
Summer Festivals & Events
There’s no better way to celebrate the red, white and blue than in Texas’ Capital City. The H-E-B Austin Symphony July 4th Concert & Fireworks is Austin's largest Independence Day celebration, held at Auditorium Shores. The festive evening features patriotic songs performed by the Austin Symphony, culminating in a spectacular grand finale fireworks display over Lady Bird Lake.
Grab your friends and head out to the Austin360 Amphitheater at Circuit of The Americas for Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic. Every year, Willie teams up with his closest pals to put on a star-studded day of music capped with a patriotic fireworks show. This year, Willie will be joined by Luke Combs, Alison Krauss, Jamey Johnson and more.
Or head out to the free Hill Country Galleria Independence Day Festival, held at the upscale Hill Country Galleria lifestyle mall in Bee Cave. This family- and pup-friendly 4th of July celebration features live music on the outdoor Central Plaza, local art vendors, lip-smacking barbecue, fair rides and games, and fireworks.
Every July, the Red River Cultural District hosts Hot Summer Nights – four days of free live music held at 20 different venues throughout the area. Besides catching popular local acts, you’ll have the chance to sample scrumptious foods from local eateries.
The free Zilker Summer Musical has been a fan favorite for 61 seasons. Bring the kiddos (and doggies, too!) to Zilker Hillside Theater to watch Disney’s The Little Mermaid and spread out on a blanket on the Zilker Park lawn. Shows are performed Thursdays through Sundays, from July 12–August 17.
Texas Radio Live at Guero's Oak Garden.
Where to See Live Music for Free
Stop in the Oak Garden at Güero’s Taco Bar on Wednesdays (rain or shine) for the Texas Radio Live series presented by Sun Radio. Listen to Texas singers, songwriters and musicians while you chow down on homey Mexican dishes and tip a margarita or two.
The 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. The Little Longhorn is also known for its six-days-a-week happy hour, with $1 Lone Star beers.
Catch a free weekday happy hour show at The Saxon Pub, a haven for singer-songwriters since 1990. Some of the biggest names in music have performed at the intimate Saxon, including Kris Kristofferson, who likened the experience to playing in his own living room.
Located in nearby Dripping Springs, Treaty Oak Distilling produces gin and bourbon at its state-of-the-art distillery/ranch. Head out on a Saturday afternoon to see live bands, take a tour, play yard games, do a tasting at the Cocktail Lab, and grab a gourmet bite from the on-site Alice’s Restaurant.