A college student’s Austin nightlife summer bucket list

Mirya Dila, Life & Arts

As the blistering Texas heat kicks up to triple digit weather, Austinites turn to the city’s nightlife for relief. However, high prices and age restrictions can often discourage those on a student budget from exploring the city’s endless catalog of evening entertainment.

With this in mind, The Daily Texan compiled a bucket list of various Austin nightlife activities for students to enjoy over the summer without breaking the bank — or breaking a sweat.

Rock out at a free ACL event

In the live music capital of the world, students can enjoy concerts without emptying their wallets. The Austin City Limits Radio hosts a variety of outdoor summertime concerts that are free and open to the public.

The annual Blues on the Green summer concert series presented by ACL Radio returned at full capacity earlier this month for the first time since 2019. Students can head to Zilker Park for the second half of the free summer concert series this July 19-20, with performances starting at 7 p.m.

ACL Radio also hosts The Drop-In, a free outdoor concert series showcasing local and regional up-and-coming artists at the Long Center. Shows for this summer series occur every Thursday at 8 p.m. through Aug. 11.

Sit back and enjoy a free movie screening

Students can swap lectures on their laptop screens for films on the silver screen this summer by joining Moxy Austin-University located in West Campus for one of their free outdoor movie nights. Every Thursday at 8:30 p.m. throughout June and July, students can bring their own chairs to the hotel’s dog-friendly backyard and enjoy classic films like “Top Gun,” “Napoleon Dynamite” and “Legally Blonde” alongside a bag of complimentary popcorn. Additionally, the Moxy bar offers themed cocktails available to purchase for students of legal drinking age.

Get groovy at a dance party 

From Taylor Swift theme nights to ABBA disco parties, music venues across Austin present a variety of low-cost events this summer, ranging from $0 to $20, for those wanting to dance the night away to their favorite songs. Empire Garage plans on hosting a free Kendrick Lamar Appreciation Night on Saturday, June 25 at 9 p.m. and will accept donations benefiting families of Uvalde, Texas.

Sip and savor local acts at an open mic night 

This summer, students can enjoy a lively café ambiance without the constant stresses of exams and papers.

Mozart’s Coffee Roasters continues its free “Late at the Lake” open mic nights, showcasing a variety of performances from aspiring comedians, musicians and poets in the Austin community. Shows take place every Tuesday this summer from 8-11 p.m., and those who reserve their spots in advance will receive a 20% discount on their café purchases.

Those unable to make their way to the Lake Austin location can instead enjoy a songwriter’s open mic event at the Cactus Café, located inside the Texas Union. Every Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. until Aug. 9, students can frequent this summer series to enjoy original songs from local artists.