The Top Places to Experience the Austin Cultural Scene
Part of Austin’s weirdness comes from its abundance of creative residents. The upbeat city packs a punch of culture that can be found all over town in the form of fine art and performances. Take a dive into Austin’s creative culture with these live music venues, performing arts centers, and art museums and galleries.
Riffs and Rhythms
ACL live at Moody Theater stands as the permanent home for the annual Austin City Limits festival. Sized at a 2,750-person capacity, the venue hosts about 100 shows a year. Though it is one of the more known music venues in town, you can head Downstairs at 3TEN ACL-live for a more quaint experience. 3TEN, a 350 person capacity showcase room, is home to shows with emerging, local artists, and the option for private events.
Termed the “granddaddy” of live music venues, the Continental Club is a landmark on South Congress presenting rock, blues, swing, country, and roots music. This intimate venue is popular for its rich tradition and great musicians. Catch classic cars and motorcycles parked outside during biker rallies and classic car show events.
A less typical dive for live music is Radio Coffee and Beer. With Bluegrass Nights on Mondays and Trivia nights on Wednesdays, you’re sure to find the entertainment you’re looking for. Sip on a local brew from 512, Eastciders, or Austin Beerworks, or warm up with a bluegrass blend coffee while listening to some bluegrass rhythms. They also support local food vendors like Briscuits, Veracruz Tacos, and Dee Dee Thai food. Briscuits combines Southern comfort biscuits with fresh smoked barbecue for a classic Texas treat.
The Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas has both temporary and permanent collections. Modern, contemporary, and Latin American art can all be found within its walls. The Blanton provides online and in-person learning experiences including art primers like, “Race and Social Justice in Art.” Art Primers are free educational content on their website that provide insight to technical, historical, and cultural aspects of art.
The Contemporary Austin is a museum, gallery, and art school with two locations— The Jones Centre and Laguna Gloria. The Jones Centre is located downtown, while Laguna Gloria is nestled by Lake Austin with a more scenic experience. Laguna Gloria features permanent sculptures like Looking Up, a 33-foot tall foil man by Tom Friedman as well as plenty of walking space through shaded areas. The Contemporary Austin at Laguna Gloria is also home to the Art School, holding classes for everything from ceramics, painting, photography, and more for all ages and experience levels.
The Mexic-Arte Museum is a true cultural hub, using art to connect Austin to it’s Mexican and Latino roots. They present internationally recognized education programs and exhibits from photographers like Manuel Carillo and oil painters like Marta Arat. Thanks to the impressive history, the Mexic-Arte Museum has become one of the foremost arts institutions in the region and plans to continue its growth.
Big Medium is a non-profit organization that provides artists a place to create, exhibit, and share their work with an engaged and diverse audience. Fueled by the support of its members, experiences at Big Medium are made possible by the community. The annual Austin Studio Tour creates connections between Austin residents and artists. The event hosted at Big Medium features hundreds of artists with galleries and opportunities to purchase works of art.
A nationally recognized gallery, Women & Their Work, is another amazing find in Austin. They stand to enrich Texans with knowledge about contemporary art, uplift artists with financial and technical support, and emphasize the value of women and diversity. They also typically take part in the Austin Studio Tour, bringing their message to the masses.
Hyde Park Theater is a very small, intimate theater located on West 43rd street. They host alternative and indie performances, and aim to make theater accessible to people of all classes, race, income levels, and gender identities. Whether you’re attending a show or performing on stage, people of all backgrounds are welcome at Hyde Park theater.
Located on South Lamar, Zach Theater has been an Austin staple since 1932. In fact, Austin itself is listed in their core values. They aim to engage with the community through accessible performances, education outreach, and LGBTQIA+ initiatives.
Esther’s Follies is Austin’s #1 comedy troupe for all things magic, satire, and musical. Many of their shows poke at politics with jokes that are fun for both sides. It’s location on 6th street gives the perfect environment for its SNL-like sketches. Ring in the new year as they roast 2021 at their New Years Eve show.
Hideout Theater has a beat, located right in the heart of downtown between 6th and 7th street on Congress Avenue. Not only is it exciting that the performers directly interact with the audience, you never know what’s going to happen next! They specialize in improvisations that keep you and the actors on their toes. They also double as a coffee house serving coffee (of course), beer and wine, and delicious treats that you can enjoy during the performance.
Whatever your niche may be, Austin is sure to have something for you. The city is alive with arts and culture, making it a fun experience for all it’s residents. Dochen Realtors is here for you when you decide to make the move.