One part vaudeville and one part stinging political/social satire, this place has been amusing and delighting its guests, as well as the pedestrians who pass by its front-stage windows and observe its goings-on, since the late 1970s. A troupe of multi-talented performers write, act, sing and dance their way across a broad and constantly updated comedic map that pokes fun at our elected officials, celebrity icons, and regular citizens. It is not all for laughs, though; a magical act comes on a couple of times per show to startle and captivate your senses. This is a true downtown institution.
Patrons will enjoy a huge variety of activities at Zilker Park. You can check out the hike and bike trails, picnic facilities, Zilker Botanical Garden, canoe rentals, soccer fields, sand volleyball courts, riverboat rides on Town Lake, concerts, festivals and even a miniature train. The wide-open stretches of grass in this park are just minutes from the downtown area. There is plenty of room and various diversions for the kids, so you can get a suntan, take long walks by the river or just curl up with a book down by the river.
This venue, south of the river, is a throwback to the 1950s. Roots rock and country reign supreme in this bar, where one can often find men in leather jackets and classic Cadillacs out front. With live music nightly, tributes to Elvis, and celebrations of Hank William's birthday, this place is great for dancing, drinking and kicking back on the high stools. Happy hours feature some of Austin's favorite songwriters. The venue has broadened its range of live music to include occasional indie rock.
A 35-foot (10.7 meters) bronze Lone Star sculpture greets visitors at the entrance of this epic museum. This place narrates the story of Texas, sharing its rich cultural heritage and traditions. The three floors of the impressive building present interactive exhibits, special effects shows and more. On the first floor, you will find a permanent exhibit called Encounters on the Land, which highlights the first meetings between Native Americans and European explorers. The second and third floors have exhibits that showcase the evolution of Texas from the time of its inception. The museum boasts a total of 17 media installations and over 700 artifacts, not to mention Austin's only IMAX Theater.
This auditorium has a 300-seat capacity and fills a gap in the local arts scene for a smaller, elegant venue for music, dance and theater performances. State-of-the-art lighting and sound systems, a mezzanine and a raised stage mean that every seat in the house is a good one. It's part of the Barton Creek Arts Center, an entire complex dedicated to the arts, environment and education. Located on a hillside overlooking picturesque tree canopies and streams, it's about ten minutes from downtown. The theater is the brainchild of One World, a local non-profit arts organization.
Constructed using sustainable technology, ACL Live at The Moody Theater is a state of the art facility hosts a variety of musical acts throughout the year. With a capacity to hold more than 2,700 guests among three levels of seating, this venue has drawn musicians such as Willie Nelson, Robyn, the Gipsy Kings and more. If you've ever watched Austin City Limits Live on television, you'll no doubt recognize this Austin staple.
The Roosevelt Room is a 1920s style cocktail bar and entertainment venue where you can treat yourself to delicious handcrafted concoctions like the Westside Story which is a blend of vodka, cucumber, mint, lemon, orgeat and peychaud or the White Tuxedo prepared with gin, dry sherry, grapefruit bitters and salted olive oil. You can also opt for their signature cocktail De Rigueur. Packed to the brim with a young, hippy crowd, The Roosevelt Room is the ideal place to go to, if you want to have a lively evening out, meet new people or listen to eclectic live music as you sip tantalizing cocktails. The wonderful atmosphere at this place is sure to lift the spirits of anyone who walks in.
The Townsend is a lively bar and music venue in downtown Austin. Located in the historic Thompson Building, the bar makes use of the vast remodeled space to provide a setup for a classy lounge and cocktail bar. Come in during any of their live music concerts which feature well-known artists as well as up and coming indie groups. The combination of zippy cocktails, delicious sharing plates of cheese, pate or cured meats, and quality music seems to be the perfect recipe for an entertaining evening out with friends.
The Hideout Theatre & Coffeehouse is a perfect mix of Austin quirk and Texas charm. With two tiny stages and an accompanying coffee shop, Hideout offers patrons a fun-filled evening of improvisational comedy, rich baked goods, aromatic coffee, and wine by the glass. This Congress Avenue locale sits in the heart of Austin and offers hour-long elimination-style improv comedy troupe performances and poetry slam events. Try their sugared cinnamon roll with a scoop of Amy's vanilla ice cream and a glass of Chardonnay. If you need some help in the humor department, Hideout offers weekly improv classes at moderate prices. Disabled access in coffeehouse and downstairs theater only. Check their website for weekly show times.
Established in 1935, Stateside at the Paramount, is an iconic theater, located bang in the heart of Austin. Shining like a jewel at the Congress Avenue, this theater is home to a range of plays, dramas and events. With a cozy and intimate ambiance, it truly reflects the opulence of the bygone era. If you are around the area, and wish to indulge in some history, this place is a must visit. Just sit back, and enjoy the show, as you soak up the charming appeal of this venue. To see their latest schedule of events, please log on to their website.
A little bit of the Great White Way can be found deep in the heart of Texas. Like the movie studio which shares its name, this theater is grandiose and ambitious with 1250 seats available to host an estimated 160,000 people a year. The calendar features both visiting and local stage productions of musicals and dramatic plays, one-person acts, orchestral performances, children's shows, revivals of great old movies and (because this is Austin) the occasional visiting live-music act. A horn of plenty for theater, music and entertainment fans.
If Austin-area jazz lovers feel ignored, it is justified; the local music scene, multi-faceted as it may be, has always neglected their genre of choice. However, what the region lacks in quantity, the Elephant Room more than makes up for in quality. It has been deemed as one of the finest venues in the country by none other than Wynton Marsalis (and subsequently honored by a unanimous resolution of the Texas Senate for having earned the jazz legend's admiration). The appeal stems largely from the club's unceasing lineup of regional favorites, touring greats, and, once in a while, plain ol' jam sessions consisting of anyone who cares to take the stage.