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Where to See Live Music in Austin

By Viator, September 2012

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They say that the heart of a place lies in the music it produces, and if that’s the case then Austin’s got a rough-and-tumble, honky-tonk, country rock of a good heart. As you may have heard, Austin’s got a reputation for being a swinging town, full of great live music. From the raucous music festivals in Zilker Metropolitan Park to the funky clubs on 6th Street, if you’re in the state capital and looking to experience a legendary live music show, you’re in the right place to do it.

The Historic 6th Street District is high atop the list of best music venues in the country. Although this spot consists of roughly eight blocks of downtown Austin, the area itself is such a hotbed of great nightclubs and music joints that the very act of walking through these streets will lead you to some world-class live music establishments. Case in point, Stubb’s Barbecue (801 Red River Street). Made of limestone walls, this historic building hosts three different stages and an outdoor amphitheater, not to mention some of the best barbeque this side of the Mississippi.

Antone’s on 213 W. 5th Street is another live music joint for the record books. A famous blues club, Antone’s has, in its day, hosted all the big names – from B.B. King to Muddy Waters to John Lee Hooker to Buddy Guy. Today Antone’s features not just blues, but also rock and country and names such as Eric Clapton regularly grace its stages. The area, in traditional blues fashion, has a laid-back vibe to it and is open to all ages.

The Continental Club (1315 S. Congress Ave) over in SoCo is another relic. Originating in the 1950s, the Continental Club has seen its fair share of changes, but today the décor reflects its 50s roots. Open to all types of music, the Club more typically features swing, rockabilly and country.

For the best old-timey country experience, head on over to the Broken Spoke (3201 South Lamar Boulevard). Here you’ll have country music lovers from all ages spinning each other on the dance floor and enjoying what the owner James White likes – traditional country music. Austin wouldn’t be Austin without its youth and hippie music, so Broken Spoke stays true to Austin, and its heart, and will spice things up from time to time – just because.

For those who come to Austin to get their fair share of a live music fix, the self proclaimed “live music capital of the world,” won’t disappoint. At any time of the year, great music emanates from the walls of all sorts of historic and back-avenue clubs (like those listed above), but if the desire to fully saturate your senses sets in, consider coming to Austin to see one of its internationally renowned music festivals like the Austin City Limits (ACL, Oct. 12th-14th, 2012) or South by Southwest Music (SXSW, March 8th-17th, 2013). These two music concerts are the go to events in Austin and have, for years, consistently booked the biggest names in the industry. Austin’s South by Southwest is a film and music festival, the music portion in 2012 lasting for 10 straight days of nonstop excitement. Austin City Limits is an annual three-day music festival which takes place in Zilker Park and lines up all kinds of musical genres; from rhythm to blues to rock to country, you can find it in the ACL. Either way, you’re sure to fill up on your live music needs. After all, it’s not the live music capitol for nothing.

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