- March 27, 2014

Where to Hear Live Music with Kids EVERY Week

Another SXSW has come and gone, and whether you embraced the festival or avoided it, it’s always an annual reminder that Austin really is the Live Music Capital of the World! During this year’s festival I was thrilled to be able to catch shows featuring a wide variety of music ranging from country to rock to rap. But in Austin, we can take advantage of live music of all genres ALL the time — even with kids in tow!

We are fortunate to be able to expose our children to an assortment of live music shows from such an early age. (There’s surely no lack of adorable, hip little junior rockers in this city.) And there are even local venues that host free, weekly performances geared specifically towards kids.

Below is my round-up of kid-friendly venues that offer entertainment for your whole family EVERY week in our music-loving city. (And if there’s something I missed, please add it in the comments section. I’d love to know!)

3 Places to Hear Music for Kids Every Week

These shows are geared specifically for little ones and feature favorite local artists such as Staci Gray, Big Don, The Que Pastas, Mr. Johnny and Sharon, and more.

Cherrywood Coffeehouse

This hot spot in East Austin has been characterized as “authentically Austin” with its quirky, fun feel. While there is plenty of seating both inside and out, parking can be a little hard to come by at busy times. There are lots of delicious food and drink options on the menu, and my kids love the brunch offerings there on Sundays.
When: Kids show every Sunday, 10:00am
Where: 1400 East 38th 1/2 Street, Austin,TX 78722

Kids Show at Cherrywood

A south Austin favorite, Strange Brew Coffee is open 24/7, offers a large space, outdoor patio, plenty of parking, drinks, and food. And Strange Brew Lounge Side offers music daily. They were even voted Best Acoustic Venue, Best All Ages Venue & Best Live Music Venue at the recent Austin Music Awards.

When: Kids show most Saturdays, 10am (check the schedule)
Where: 5326 Manchaca Rd, Austin, TX 78745

Brilliant Sky Toys and Books
Catch Mr. Will’s Children’s Sing-Along every Tuesday morning!  Try to get there a little early to browse the toys and get a good seat. Follow Mr. Will on Facebook for show updates.
When: Every Tuesday, 11:30am
Where: 701 Capital of Texas Hwy Suite D 480, Austin, TX 78746

Mr. Will at Brilliant Sky Toys and Books

5 Family-Friendly Places to Hear Free Live Music Every Week

While these venues don’t necessarily feature children’s performers, you can bet on these being family-friendly locations where kids of all ages are welcome to tag along with mom and dad.

Boat House Grill
This restaurant near Lake Travis is known for it’s catfish and burgers as well as its family-friendly atmosphere (with a playground for the kids). On their website they go as far as to say, “We love kids!  Maybe that’s because we have our own and understand that parents don’t feel comfortable taking their children just anywhere.” They had been offering a kids show every Thursday during the month of March but do not currently have plans to continue that in April (check the website from time to time to see if this comes back). But they offer a variety of music on Friday and Saturday nights.
When: Live music Friday and Saturday nights, 6-9pm
Where: 6812 N Lake Dr, Austin, TX 78724Central Market

During the very first week that I moved to Austin, I went to a Biscuit Brothers concert at Central Market’s North Lamar location. Wow. I thought it was amazing that a grocery store could offer such entertainment all under the big shady trees and with a playground to boot! The Central Market stage is a place to hear many different kinds of bands and top notch performers. And of course the kids love the food choices (they beg for the gelato) and can easily run around and play while grown-ups enjoy the music. (You can also read Leigh Ann’s post about what her girls like most about Central Market.)

When & Where:
  • Central Market North Lamar (4001 N. Lamar Blvd.) offers live music every Thursday – Saturday, 6:30-9pm and Sunday at noon.
  • Central Market Westgate (4477 S. Lamar Blvd.) offers live music every Thursday – Saturday, 6:30-9pm
Playground at Central Market North Lamar

Freddie’s Place

This South Austin spot has a backyard atmosphere with big oak trees shading the large patio. It claims to be “the friendliest place in South Austin”, and welcomes dogs and kids (with a small playground, too). According to their website, they offer music 52 weeks a year, 5 nights a week inside or outside depending on the weather.
When: Wednesdays include open mic night at 5:30, and free shows happen every Thursday – Sunday, 6-9pm
Where: 1703 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78704
in.gredients is a little packaging-free grocery store in East Austin that’s also a coffee house, deli, and beer garden. It has a cute little playground for the youngest  to keep entertained, and it offers many picnic tables out front for folks of all ages to hang out and relax. Every week they feature a different local acoustic act on their front porch. (For more info, read my recent blog post about in.gredients.)
When: Free live acoustic music Fridays, 6:30pm
Where: 2610 Manor Road, Austin, TX 78722
Playground at in.gredients

SFC Farmers’ Markets

All of the Sustainable Food Center Farmer’ Markets provide space for local musicians to entertain as you shop around the market. With a variety of genres each week you will find new artists singing, playing, or rocking out. Check the “This Week at the Market” section of their website for a line-up of scheduled performers. (You can also check out my recent post about taking my three boys to the Downtown market.)

When & Where: The SFC has markets East, at the Triangle, Downtown, and in Sunset Valley. Check the website for details of location and times for each market.

Performer at the Downtown Market

As with all events, it’s a great idea to check the websites or call ahead to confirm the shows will be happening. This spring weather brings rain, of course,  that can sometimes mess around with outdoor venues and schedules.

No matter where you go, I hope you and the kids have fun rockin’ out around town!

Freelance web producer, Heidi Okla is mom to three boys (ages 4, 6, and 8), and can’t pass up any opportunity for fun family adventures. Browse her literacy-focused kids activities on her blog, Read ‘Em and Leap.