See Our Favorite Austin Music Venues

Paramount Theater in Austin

Music winds its way through Austin, Texas, like the Colorado River. And attending the 2018 Next Conference provides an opportunity to check out some of the best music venues in the country. You won’t have to travel far: The conference will be hosted at ACL Live at The Moody Theater, home of the PBS series “Austin City Limits,” the longest running music show on American TV.

Here are some of our favorite saloons, theaters and upscale venues. A tip: One of the best ways to see what’s playing is to check out the current listings in the Austin Chronicle.

The Paramount Theatre

One of the oldest music venues in the city, the Paramount began as a vaudeville house in 1915. This gorgeous 1,200-seat hall now hosts national touring acts like Aimee Mann, David Crosby, and Emmylou Harris. It’s also frequently a stop for bands playing the SXSW festival. The Paramount’s calendar already has some dates filled in, so check it out if you’re interested in a show during the conference. (713 Congress Ave)

The Broken Spoke

This classic, honkytonk dance hall has operated continuously since 1964, when owners James and Annetta White first opened the doors. Willie Nelson, who has his own statue at the entrance to our conference venue, is said to stop in unannounced and play a set some weekend nights. If your two-stepping leaves something to be desired, you can take a quick class from 8-9, Wednesday through Saturday. And before you leave, check out the venue’s self-described “tourist trap” museum and store. (3201 S. Lamar Boulevard)

Broken Spoke in Austin

The Mohawk

The Mohawk hosts live rock bands most days of the week on two stages. If you decide to catch a show at the Mohawk, the venue has some tips: “Sight lines are precious, so we recommend coming to the club early … whether it’s on the roof deck, upper mez, or the patio down below, getting a good spot is key.” (912 Red River Street)

The Continental Club

Another longstanding club (est. 1955), this south Austin venue started as a burlesque club, became a working man’s bar and in the ‘80s became a hot spot for rock, punk and new wave bands. Notable acts who’ve taken the stage at the Continental Club include Stevie Ray Vaughan, the Replacements and Robert Plant. Head upstairs to the Gallery and you can see jazz, soul and R&B in an art space that’s more living room than club. (1315 South Congress Avenue)

The Elephant Room

If your tastes run more toward Coltrane than country, head to the Elephant Room. Open since 1991, this downtown basement jazz club features live acts every night of the week, 365 days a year. Happy hour starts at 6 p.m. and shows begin at 9:30. There’s typically no cover for weekday shows and a small cover on weekends. The club also features 20 beers on tap and wine by the glass.(315 Congress Avenue)

Donn’s Depot

Whether you want to kick back, tap your foot or shake it all, you can do it at Donn’s Depot, a live music institution comprised of a former train depot and “beached railcars.” This piano bar has classic honkytonk roots, surprise musicians dropping in on the regular, friendly staff and cheap drinks. It also boasts some of the best people-watching in town. (1600 W 5th Street)

Check out our faves while you’re in Austin for this year’s NEXT Conference Sept. 24-26, 2018. For more information and to register now, visit


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