Culture + Style

Why Austin Owns the Title ‘Live Music Capital of the World’

The Austin music scene is teeming with live performances by local and global musicians like the indie rock band, The View. (Photo: Drew Farell/Alamy Stock Photo)

If you like a little reggae with your punk rock or honky-tonk saddled up with your samba, The Live Music Capital of the World is calling. Austin is packed with live music venues for local concerts and plenty of other weird diversions, because, you know, Austin is weird. But it always comes back to the music in this town, in fact, you can’t get out of the airport without hearing a local artist performing live.

SEE ALSO: Austinites: Here’s Your SXSW Escape Guide

Get Down and Dirty on 6th Street

There is no way you can visit Austin without seeing Dirty 6th (East 6th Street) after sunset. If navigating the roads closed for pedestrian traffic leaves you a little ragged, petting cats helps you relax, right? Maybe Quincy, one of the friendly shop cats at Wild About Music, can help with that. He’s known for sleeping on the counter and overseeing sales, along with “guard cat” Dusty.

6th Street is also the hub of the internationally renowned SXSW Music Festival and usually hosts the big names for weekend events at venues like Parish. But every night here is a big event. And, while you are sampling eclectic musical tastes, you may as well get hip to the craft beer scene while you’re in town.

Easy Tiger Bake Shop & Beer Garden offers local brews like Austin Beerworks Pearl Snap Pilsner on draft, which goes well with the indie rock band playing around the corner. Or perhaps you’d prefer to pair Tejano tunes with nearby La Condesa’s El Cúbico, a tobacco-infused tequila, or one of their Extra Añejo tequilas aged six years. Olé!

Rock Out at Austin Music Festivals

A month doesn’t pass without at least one major music festival happening in Austin. Across the Colorado River from 6th Street, the ACL Music Festival holds its annual festivities in October.

Expect to hear everything from alternative rock, like the Silversun Pickups, to Latin Rock artist Juanes. Local advice is this: If you don’t know where to start, let your ears lead. You won’t have to go far to find something you love.

Channel Music Legends

From renowned Austin musicians like the late Stevie Ray Vaughan and Janis Joplin to the latest debut, the city has a rich history and a 24/7 music scene.

Frequented by the likes of Outlaw Country legend Willie Nelson, it’s also a stop on every savvy up-and-coming artist’s tour. Shakey Graves, a local hobo folk musician, can silence a room with the first sounds from his acoustic guitar and suitcase kick drum. Yes, it’s a suitcase.

If you really want to explore Austin’s local music roots but avoid anything too “folksy,” the sounds of Tejano might be your thing. Texas meets Mexico meets Europe in the musical styles of the award-winning Perez brothers and Ramos brothers.

It really doesn’t matter which music style you prefer, or how weird your to-do list is, because there’s not much you can’t do in the Live Music Capital of the World.