Guides

Arts and Culture in Austin

Hotel search

Laid back and proudly eccentric, Austin has long been a haven for creatives and free thinkers of all persuasions. Today the Texas capital is renowned for its world-famous cultural events like South by Southwest and the Austin City Limits Music Festival, along with groundbreaking galleries, hip live music venues, and quirky arthouse cinemas.

 

Live performances

 

Austin proudly proclaims itself the 'Live Music Capital of the World', and upon arrival you’ll soon see why – musicians can be found performing everywhere from galleries, to grocery stores, to the airport. There’s no shortage of conventional venues either.

 

Paramount Theatre

 

If you only have time to take in one performance, make a beeline for Austin’s oldest standing theater. Opened in 1915, this gorgeously preserved Classical Revival-style concert hall is the most atmospheric venue in town, with its cavernous, ornately decorated ceilings and unbeatable acoustics. The Paramount regularly plays host to some of the biggest names in music, and also hosts film premieres and comedy shows.

 

713 Congress Avenue, Austin TX 78701. Tel: +1 512 472 5470

 

Paramount Theatre website

 

Cinemas

 

Austin is a film buff’s paradise. In fact, the Austin Film Festival is just one highlight in a diverse calendar of incredible movie events – throughout the year there are festivals devoted to Black, Latin American, Polish, and LGBT Cinema. You’ll also find an array of cool independent cinemas offering an exciting alternative to the standard multiplex experience.

 

Alamo Drafthouse

 

Alamo Drafthouse started life in Austin as a social hub for devoted movie fans, serving up an amazing programmed of current and classic film alongside a tempting menu of home-cooked food and ice-cold, locally brewed beer. Its state-of-the-art, flagship South Lamar theater is decorated with amazing movie memorabilia, and boasts a bustling bar, and even a karaoke lounge.

 

1120 S Lamar Blvd, Austin TX 78704 . Tel: +1 512 861 7040

 

Alamo Drafthouse website

 

Museums

 

As you’ll come to expect after a few days in Austin, diversity is the order of the day when it comes to the city’s museum scene. From imposing, prestigious art museums to grungy independent galleries, there’s something here catering to every artistic inclination.
Blanton Museum of Art

 

The Blanton is one of the biggest and best-loved university art museums in the United States. It houses an extraordinary collection of Renaissance and Baroque-era paintings from Europe, along with a brash array of modern American and Latin American artworks.

 

200 East Martin Luther King Junior Blvd, Austin TX 78712. Tel: +1 512 471 7324

 

Blanton Museum of Art website

 

 

Mexic-Arte Museum

 

Decorated with colorful murals, the Mexic-Arte Museum is a glorious assault on the senses from the moment you lay eyes on it. Here you’ll find an ever-rotating program of vibrant exhibitions celebrating both traditional and contemporary art from Mexico and Latin America.

 

419 Congress Avenue, Austin TX 78701 . Tel: +1 512 480 9373

 

Mexic-Arte Museum website

 

Landmarks

 

As the second largest state capital in the United States, and with a prosperous history stretching back as far as the 1830s, Austin is awash with fascinating landmarks. The city really announced itself as a major player in the 1880s, with the founding of both the Texas State Capitol and University of Texas.

 

Texas State Capitol

 

This stunningly grandiose government building, which opened its doors in 1888 and is constructed from exquisite pink granite, is a must-see for all Austin first-timers. Locals are proud of the fact that it’s taller than the United States capitol in Washington, D.C. It’s also far more accessible, as it’s open to the public all year round.

 

1100 Congress Avenue, Austin, TX 78701. Tel: +1 512 463 0063

 

Texas State Capitol website