Your Guide to Austin Nightlife
You're headed to Austin, and want to experience the diverse nightlife scene that you've heard so much about. Where do you begin? Whether you're looking for a dance party at a mainstream club, want to jam out to local bands, or check out the artisan craft brew scene, our growing city showcases an option that appeals to every preference. Check out this guide to Austin's entertainment districts and find your niche for a night on the town.
Looking to go out, and okay with a younger crowd? Sixth Street is the place to be, and is arguably one of the most famous nightlife districts in town. Complete with inexpensive drinks, dancing, music and Greek life, this stretch of road rests between Congress Avenue and Highway 35 and kicks off around sunset through 2 a.m. This crowd definitely likes to celebrate, and street traffic is closed for pedestrians, Thursday-Saturday nights.
Top Picks: Blind Pig Pub - Dance on the rooftop and enjoy people-watching below as you listen to live bands. Other favorites include Fireside Lounge, B.D. Riley's, Parish and Buffalo Billiards.
East Austin is a growing favorite for the young and very hip looking for a more alternative vibe. Walk down this area east of Highway 35 on Sixth Street to experience food trucks and a variety of casual and quirky bars, graffiti-style murals and alternatives for dancing, dining and coffee.
Top Picks: East Side Showroom - Come for the music, stay for the cocktails; they'll take you back in time with their version of an Old Fashioned. Other favorites include Shangri La, The White Horse, The Liberty.
This unique entertainment district is lined with historic houses converted into bars with as much personality as the city itself. Here you'll find local brews, great food trucks and rousing games of backyard corn hole. Rainey Street is perfect for a laid-back night of socializing with friends over live music, and is located just off Cesar Chavez near Highway 35.
Top Picks: Banger's - Yes, there is a tattoo on their menu. And yes, it's free. Other favorites: Craft Pride, Lucille and the Container Bar.
As the name suggests, many of these bars and restaurants have been renovated from former warehouses in the heart of downtown. More mature crowds hang here and live entertainment and good food make for dynamic nightlife scenes and gorgeous rooftop views.
Top Picks: Cedar Street Courtyard - Live outdoor music seven nights per week. Enough said. Also check out skyline views from The Market, or get your dance on at Rain.
Entertainment District 2nd Street boasts large selections of locally owned shops, restaurants and entertainment venues on the south side of downtown. The nightlife scene here is trendy and chic, luxurious and sophisticated; perfect for the cocktail-sipping, up-scale crowd.
Top Picks: ACL Live at the Moody Theater - The longest-running music television series in U.S. history is filmed at this 2,750-capacity concert hall (pictured above). For a low-key evening, check out Violet Crown Cinema over dinner before heading out for the evening.
Often referred to as "West Sixth," this district is Sixth Street fun without as much of the college scene. Twenty and thirty-somethings can be found here with a variety of bars for dancing, dining and open-porch bars.
Top Picks: Brew Exchange - Buy low and take risks at this stock-market-style beer bar. Other popular stops on this street include Benji's and Kung-Fu, complete with board games!
From South Congress or "So Co," to a variety of music venues and restaurants off of South Lamar and South First Street, this district below the river gets its funky flair from its locally-oriented shopping, live music and cuisine, and boasts some of the most photographed and famous street art in the city.
Top Picks: Guero's Taco Bar - Hand-shaken margaritas, outdoor shows, Mexican beer and great tacos - viva South Congress! Be sure to hit up local and surprise big-named artists at the likes of Saxon Pub and the Continental Club while you're at it.
For the ultimate music fan, this district is your scene. From big-name acts to local newbies, these streets blare with the sounds of live bands at a variety of bars and clubs along the area. Here, the Live Music Capital of the World® successfully showcases its refreshing appreciation for diversity through sound. This crowd is a toss-up of people there to listen to artists, and is located northeast of the Sixth Street district area.
Top Picks: Stubb's BBQ - Local live music legacy dates back to Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash singing for their supper at the original location. Also be on the lookout for raw acts popping up at a variety of bars along the strip.
Last but not least, be sure to get a safe ride home! More details on buses, trains and more may be found here. Where is your favorite place to spend the evening in Austin? Let us know in the comments below!