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There is Always Something to Do in Austin

Written by Christy Wink / Image by John R. Rogers

nightlife-featureT ake a look at any Austin events calendar and you’ll understand when we say there is always something to do in Austin. In the daytime hours we’ve got marathons, cook-offs, art fairs, biker rallies, pet parades, bizarre celebrations in honor of fictional characters (Eeyore’s Birthday, anyone?) and, of course, the greatest music festivals in the nation. Nighttime is no slouch either. Downtown Austin and all the surrounding neighborhoods are simply bursting with opportunity to take in a show, catch some live music, grab a drink, enjoy a fabulous dinner or just relax with friends.

In terms of entertainment, Austin is of course most well-known for its music. While you’re visiting us, you can be fairly certain that music will touch your visit in some form or fashion. Imbued as it is in Austin’s history, music leaves an indelible mark on the city’s culture—one that bleeds into the streets of the city and hearts of the people. It lives in the landmark performance venues that gave the city and the musicians a name; it haunts the nighttime establishments packed throughout downtown. From legendary artists like Willie Nelson, Janis Joplin and Stevie Ray Vaughan, who got their start back in the early Austin scene, to relatively new or up- and-coming musicians, the spirit of music is a continuous presence in all aspects of life here. It is this deep dedication that has gained Austin the worthy title of “The Live Music Capital of the World.™”

Austin’s inherited namesake is supremely invoked during any one of its yearly music festivals, including South by Southwest, Austin City Limits and Fun Fun Fun Fest. Lasting anywhere from a couple of days to two weeks, each fest draws in thousands of music makers and lovers who flock to the streets of downtown for nonstop aural stimulation and other forms of revelry. The excitement often lasts long into the night, spilling over into the numerous bars, clubs and lounges of Austin in the form of after-parties and impromptu jam sessions.

The nightlife in Austin is also a large draw for visitors. On any given night you can find a wide variety of energetic live music shows, bumping nightclubs and cool cocktail lounges. The most popular nighttime attraction for younger crowds is Sixth Street, where venues range from cozy pubs to raucous dance clubs with music from raw alt rock to sweet, soulful blues. Want to hang like a local? Head over to Rainey Street. This recently revitalized neighborhood on the banks of Lady Bird Lake is host to a handful of renovated houses-turned-bars and lounges complete with porches, backyards and food trucks.

For a slightly slower paced, more sophisticated environment, trek a couple of blocks southwesterly from Sixth Street to the Warehouse District. Spanning parts of Third, Fourth and Fifth Streets, you’ll find a vibrant yet still laid-back selection of cocktail lounges, wine bars and tap houses. Looking for ultra hip? Check out SoCo, an eight-block strip of South Congress that nurtures and fosters the funky little bohemian spirit in every Austinite.

Whatever you’re here for, don’t miss the opportunity to take in some authentic Austin entertainment. Consult the calendar pages right here in this Celebrate Austin book for a listing of fun events. Our advertisers list will get you started in the hunt for a great place to listen to music, eat, drink, dance or chill. If all else fails, just step outside your door. There’s sure to be a great local entertainment spot within a stone’s throw!