The Best City For Live Entertainment: Austin, Texas

You don’t get called “The Live Music Capital of the World” for nothing.

How exactly does a city earn the nickname “The Live Music Capital of the World”? Well, it has to welcome travelers with live music at the airport, for starters.

That’s the bar that’s been raised by Austin, Texas.
With more than 250 live music venues and nearly 2,000 bands and musicians living in and around the city, you don’t have to try very hard to enjoy performances every night of the week in Austin. Home to South by Southwest (SXSW), Austin City Limits (ACL) and other major music festivals, Austin’s scene spans every genre of music imaginable.
As the city that’s known for “keeping it weird,” Austin has attracted artists from around the world that didn’t quite fit in anywhere else—and the city is all the better for it.
“There’s always live music playing, and there are always tons of concerts and artists who love what they do—to perform,” said Shelby Sorrel, a local influencer who has lived in Austin her whole life. “There’s ACL fest, which is two weekends and a music lovers paradise, and SXSW, which is not only concerts but is also made up of all sorts of activations and installations for badge holders and non-badge holders. Austin has a surplus of venues for comedy, music, plays and more. There’s a place for every type of live entertainment in this city.”
While cities like Nashville, Los Angeles and New York City certainly have opportunities for commercial creative success, Sorrel said that what truly sets Austin apart from those metropolitan behemoths is the friendliness of its residents and the overall energy of the city.
“I find that I meet more and more like-minded people every day in Austin, and I find that refreshing,” she said. “There’s something to be said for communities and people that challenge you, but I think in terms of where I want to call home, Austin’s inviting nature makes it impossible for me to consider living somewhere else.”
And what good is live entertainment without a wide variety of food and drink options to enjoy before, after and during?
“Man, this one I could go on and on about,” said Sorrel. “As a local Austinite, and a foodie, I’ve seen the city boom with new restaurants and so many varying concepts. My favorite spots that I would consider “can’t miss” are Hanks, Elizabeth Street Café, Sway Thai, Mattie’s, Loro, Launderette, She’s Not Here, Grizzeldas, Jacobys and anything by McGuire Moorman Hospitality. The go-to coffee shops in town are Revival, Fleet Coffee, Figure 8 Coffee Purveyors, Mañana, Greater Good and Summer Moon.”
With all this culture abounding, the booming creative scene in Austin is still growing and evolving.
“Festivals like Austin City Limits and SXSW are just getting larger and larger each year,” said Sorrel. “Currently, more and more art installations are popping up, more businesses are opening up their walls to street art and murals by local artists, and organizations are focusing on expanding the arts in local schools. I see live entertainment growing and thriving in the coming years—there are always new venues popping up, new artists coming into their own, new exhibits at museums. I think Austin artists, comedians and musicians will have more and more places to thrive in the years to come.”