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The Sound of Arlington: 10 Finger-Snapping, Foot-Tapping Music Venues in Downtown Arlington

The year 2020 was a crazy time for everybody. Through the chaos, and despite the overwhelming challenges, Downtown Arlington, Arlington’s cultural district and the historical and cultural heart of the American Dream City, gained one more title under its belt--- Music-Friendly Community. Certified by the official Texas Music Office, Arlington was named as a music-friendly community due to its rich musical legacy, high-class venues, and ability to churn out award-winning talent.

Today, Arlington serves as a great pathway for discovering local artists and seeing your favorite bands live. Here’s your guide to 10 Downtown Arlington music venues that will have you snapping your fingers, tapping your feet, and marching to the beat of your own drum!

1. Levitt Pavilion Arlington

The Levitt Pavilion is Arlington’s premier outdoor live music venue that offers free concerts all season long. People from all over the metroplex enjoy the picnic and party atmosphere of spending nights on the lawn while high-quality acts come to town. The Levitt’s season comes to an end on July 2nd, so now is the perfect time to head on down and listen to artists such as Radney Foster, Luke Gibson, Bob Schneider, and a special Light Up Arlington performance on July 3rd by Brad Thompson with opening artist Mitchell Ferguson. Visit the downtown event calendar for a full list of this season’s final artists. Better late than never!

2. Arlington Music Hall

The Arlington Music Hall has served the Arlington community for several decades with a rich history of promoting local artists and hosting country music legends such as Willie Nelson and LeAnn Rimes. The music hall continues to bring fresh entertainment such as Zach Williams and is also home to Arlington’s very own Symphony Arlington, an orchestra comprised of 93 professional musicians.

3. Growl Records

Growl Records is a record store offering new and used vinyl records, posters, stickers, t-shirts, and merchandise for all your favorite bands and artists. Additionally, as night falls, Growl Records transforms into an intimate music venue where you can grab a craft beer from their neighbors at Division Brewing and watch your favorite local bands perform. On July 1st, Long Black Car and Positive Shocks will be performing at Growl, starting at 8:00 p.m.

4. Cartel Taco Bar

Cartel Taco Bar offers a plethora of options from signature tacos to street tacos, great drinks, and live music. The low lighting and open window concept paired with a patio lined with string lights provides a cool experience filled with tacos, tequila, and top tier performances from local, renowned bands, such as Bit O’ Box on June 30th at 7:00 p.m.

5. J. Gilligan’s Bar & Grill

J. Gilligan’s Bar & Grill has been the home of lifelong memories for decades. Grandparents remember heading to J. Gills for their class reunions, their kids remember eating at Gilligan’s after catching a Rangers game, and their kids frequent J. Gilligan’s before shuttling over to AT&T Stadium to watch their favorite artists perform, such as Taylor Swift this past Spring and the Red Hot Chili Peppers last year. Not only is this bar & grill a waypoint for music and entertainment all around the city, but it is also a major one-stop shop for their own high-quality concerts along with their world-renowned Irish Nachos.

6. Binions Ice House

Binions Ice House does it all. Burgers, beer, a foodie market every first Friday of each month, karaoke, and music! Binions has grown in a short time to be a staple venue in Downtown Arlington for gathering, socializing, partying, and letting loose. When you visit, chances are you will find some people playing a friendly game of darts, others watching the game on the bar’s flat screen televisions, and others chatting and sipping on some tasty drinks. But what they all have in common is a shared joy of being serenaded by talented artists who take the stage every weekend. This Saturday at 8:00 p.m., Travis Bolt will be rocking the house, so mark your calendars.

7. Division Brewing

Division Brewing is a dog-friendly destination serving house-made brews that you can’t find anywhere else. Along with the tasty drinks, Division has a beautiful outdoor patio with plenty of seating options and a large stage for artists to grace the audience with their diverse styles of music. This is the perfect place to grab a drink and kickback from sunlight to twilight.

8. The Grease Monkey Burger Shop & Social Club

Highly renowned for their top-notch burgers and fries, the Grease Monkey Burger Shop are patrons’ go-to spot for game night, date night, college night, and every other social gathering. However, it doesn’t stop there! Grease Monkey also delivers great entertainment, such as Wes Ball on June 30th at 9:00 p.m. and Patrick Pombuena on July 7th at 8:00 p.m.

9. Create Arlington

Create Arlington is a triple threat cultural art venue that operates as a gallery, artist coworking space, and a music venue. Every Thursday, Create Arlington hosts a Singer and Songwriter night where local artists can come together and connect with fellow musicians as they debut new songs, practice live music, and discuss any works in progress. This is a great opportunity for artists to gain experience and learn from other like-minded industry professionals while visitors and music-enthusiasts enjoy live music. 

10. Tipsy Oak

Tipsy Oak is a vibrant restaurant serving brunch, burgers, and other unique cuisines with a gorgeous outdoor patio where they host live music frequently. The patio is lined with umbrellas to shield you from the intense Texan sun and features string lights, fire pits, and ample amounts of seating. This is the perfect setting for eating some delicious grub while jamming out to your favorite artists and bands. And don't forget to bring out your dogs and other furry friends so they can partake in the fun as well!