School’s almost out and the long days of summer are soon to begin. Here in the Live Music Capital of the World®, our live music season is only gaining momentum. With so many options for great live music experiences around town, it can be a little overwhelming to find the venue or event that’s right for you. So to help out, we have put together our top 10 outdoor music spaces for families in Austin this season!
Free Live Music Events in Austin
- Texas Radio Live, Guero’s Taco Bar: Stop by Guero’s patio on any given Wednesday (rain or shine) for the Texas Radio Live series presented by Sun Radio. Chow down on queso and tacos while local, regional and national acts entertain as the sun goes down. Year-round.
- Blues on the Green, Zilker Park: Pack a picnic for this annual summer series, one of Austin’s favorites for over 25 years. Bring the kids, teens, pups and friends to this massive community party in Zilker Park, but be sure to get there early to get a good spot. May 25, June 22, July 13 and August 3.
- Unplugged at the Grove, Shady Grove: Bring a blanket or arrive early to grab a table at Shady Grove’s annual spring/summer series. Enjoy music from local acts like Bob Schneider and Alejandro Escovedo under the twinkling lights and the towering pecan trees. Thursday evenings, now through September 22.
- KUTX Live at Mueller, Mueller Lake Park: KUTX hosts a free music series at Mueller Lake Park Amphitheater. Browse the local food truck vendors for dinner options before the music kicks off. The unique lineup starts with a family-friendly artist, followed by an act for the grown up folks. Friday, May 20.
- Festivals: Austin locals know there’s nothing better than a good music festival, and that goes for the kids’ events as well! If you’re thinking about bringing your little ones to upcoming fall festivals like Austin City Limits Music Festival, be sure to check out the kids’ stages. Children 10 and under are admitted for free, and ACL even throws its own kids-oriented event, Austin Kiddie Limits, packed full of music, crafts, workshops and more.
Free Live Music Venues in Austin
- Radio Coffee & Beer: This South Austin coffee house and bar certainly knows how to entertain. Radio hosts an eclectic selection of live music multiple nights a week, including a regular Bluegrass night on Mondays and a monthly residency by Austin fiddle player Erik Hokkanen. The kids will love exploring the lively yard and patio while parents enjoy a rotating craft tap selection and quality coffee brewed from Stumptown Coffee Roasters.
- The Midway Food Park: Grab a bite to eat and have a go on the outdoor playground at the Midway Food Park. This local food truck park is family friendly and packed full of musical fun on the weekends when local artists take the stage.
- Central Market, North Lamar: Many people may be surprised to find out just how well Austin capitalizes on the phrase Live Music Capital of the World®. But a visit to Central Market North is sure to solidify the title, considering this beloved grocery store also hosts regular musicians, community music events and more. Let the kids explore the playground and park before grabbing a quick, healthy snack in the café and enjoying music on the deck.
- Cherrywood Coffeehouse: This cozy east Austin café serves up a family-oriented Sunday brunch, featuring mimosas for the ‘rents and live music from local kids’ entertainers. Bring your dancing shoes because these weekend events are notorious for getting kids on their feet and dancing in the aisles!
- Threadgill’s World Headquarters: Hailing from Austin’s musical heyday (and situated alongside the site of the original Armadillo World Headquarters), the South Lamar location boasts plenty of Austin iconography. Stop by Sunday Gospel Brunch or any other weekend evening to get your fill of classic, home cooked dishes while enjoying live music on the patio. One might even consider this an educational experience for the kids; let them flip through albums in the jukebox and check out music memorabilia, which weave together a tale of old Austin.
For more happenings around town, keep an eye on the Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau’s Insider Blog and follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Then, share your Austin experiences using #TrueAustin!
This post was contributed by Katie Cook and Christine Felton, of the Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB).
Katie is the director of digital marketing at the Austin CVB. Katie is known to use hashtags in conversation and never separates from her iPhone. Katie grew up in Austin and enjoys exploring the area with her two kiddos. When she isn’t at work or with her kids, you can find her sipping wine, reading a novel and trying new restaurants.
Christine is one of the marketing coordinators at the Austin CVB. She is a graduate of the University of Texas, proud South Austin resident, and native Texan who grew up on the highway between Fort Worth and Abilene. She is passionate about travel, classic film, grammar, queso fries and live music. On the weekends, you may find her in a nearby yoga studio, exploring a local nature preserve or visiting a craft brewery with friends.
Photo: KGSR’s Unplugged at the Grove. Credit Shady Grove.