This blog post was written by our wonderful friend, Taylor Hull at the Red River Cultural District.
Memorial Day Weekend on Red River
As Memorial Day weekend approaches, the vibrant city of Austin, Texas prepares to unleash a wave of good times! Amidst the plethora of events and activities happening throughout the city, the Red River Cultural District (RRCD) stands out as a hotbed of creativity and live entertainment in the downtown area. As Austin’s only walkable entertainment and cultural district with over 10 music venues, RRCD naturally has tons of great dance parties, insider food festivals, concerts & more to explore! Here are our top things to do in the district this weekend:
Hot Luck Food & Music Festival at Mohawk: Thursday, May 25 – Saturday, May 27
Prepare your taste buds and dancing shoes as the Hot Luck Food and Music Festival takes center stage at the iconic Mohawk Austin. Get ready for a celebration of culinary delights, live performances, and a fusion of flavors that will leave you craving for more. Join us as we dive into the delectable world of Hot Luck and discover why it’s a must-attend event for food and music enthusiasts alike. All weekend long you can expect quality tunes by The Gories, Shinyriba, Natalie Price, Frankie & the Witch Fingers, & more!
Wanna get your dance on? Empire Control Room & Garage is the spot!
The Empire Control Room & Garage kicks off the Memorial Day weekend festivities with their Gimme Gimme Disco Dance Party. Step into a time machine and transport yourself to the glitz and glamour of the 1970s disco era.
Expect an eclectic mix of disco classics and modern remixes spun by talented DJs who know just how to keep the dance floor alive. Lose yourself in the infectious rhythms, let the disco fever take over, and dance alongside fellow party enthusiasts as you boogie to the funky basslines and soulful melodies. Dress up in your grooviest attire, embrace the disco vibes, and let your inner John Travolta or Donna Summer shine.
Disco not your thing?
If you’re a fan of big hair, neon colors, and iconic hits from the 80s, Empire has got you covered. This Saturday, get ready to relive the magic of one of the most beloved decades in music history at the unmissable Power of Love: A Throwback 80s Rave. This night promises to transport you back to a time of synth-pop, new wave, and unforgettable anthems.
Dust off your leg warmers, tease your hair and unleash your inner Madonna or Robert Smith as the dance floor becomes a time capsule of the 80s. Expect a playlist filled with chart-toppers, cult classics, and guilty pleasures from the era, ensuring an energetic and nostalgic night of non-stop dancing. Sing along to your favorite hits, join in on group dances like the Electric Slide, and make memories with fellow partygoers who share your love for all things 80s.
You can snag your tickets at empireatx.com.
Neon Rainbows at Cheer Up Charlies is “The Biggest Little Queer Country Dance Party in Texas”!
Let’s end this list with the ultimate way to get your Texas on: Neon Rainbows at the iconic Cheer Up Charlies. Grab your boots and scoot on down to Austin’s iconic queer country night brought to you by the one and only Dj Boi Orbison, who spins those 90s country HITS all night long, followed by the Gay Ole Opry Drag Show hosted by Brigitte Bandit.
This is the perfect event to take your cutie or a friend visiting town and sing along with the incredible community that has been built around this event. It is a guaranteed good time every time!
With all this live music you are sure to work up an appetite (and some thirst!). We got you covered with these amazing spots on Red River:
Starting out as a hot dog stand in Houston, owners Jill and JonJon made their way up to ATX and settled on the cozy corner of Red River and 7th. It quickly became a go-to for late-night eats, and people fell in love with wild flavor pairings. DittyDogs uses top-quality products, and the sauces and toppings are all made in-house. While people come for the dogs, don’t skip on the fries. The Country Boy fries won’t disappoint and definitely hit the spot after running around downtown. They offer vegetarian and vegan options, as well as catering. Make sure to support this Red River gem, and just know that “this dog will change your life.”
Red River’s best kept secret? Marinara Miracles upstairs at Valhalla Tavern. INSANELY good hand-rolled pasta made with hella love. It started as an idea of Tess Eastwood & David Rangel after they had been recently laid off during the pandemic. At the time all dried goods were gone from shelves. Things like beans, rice, flour, grains, and pasta had been out for quite some time. As a result, they thought it might be a good idea to make fresh pasta for people at a low price. Now they are taking over Red River with pasta! Our favorite dishes are the Cacio E Pepe, Ravioli, and Chicken Parm on a Hoagie. Guaranteed hangover protection. Pro tip: they will deliver to you at any bar on Red River!
Picture it, you’ve been bar-hopping all night, saw some music, had a few drinks, and now the growl is kicking in. THANKFULLY, Shawarma Point is down the street for some quick eats. This tasty food truck located on 7th and Red River is family owned and operated and has been serving up authentic New York-style Mediterranean cuisine since 2013. If you’re looking for a healthier alternative, this delish spot is not to be missed. (Vegetarians, they have falafel!)
Situated right in downtown Austin, Wanderlust Wine is known as the world’s largest self-pour wine on tap winery! They really have it all here – international wines, drag brunch, painting classes, tapas, and more. It’s the perfect place for some drinks & bites before or after a show.
ABOUT RED RIVER CULTURAL DISTRICT:
The Red River Cultural District (RRCD) is a worldwide cultural tourism destination for authentic live music, food, and drink experiences in the heart of downtown Austin, Texas. The District is managed by the Red River Merchants’ Association, a coalition of over forty local small businesses in the District – including not only live music venues, food, hospitality, lodgings, lifestyle & entertainment businesses but also the Austin Symphony Orchestra, First Baptist Church, German-Texan Heritage Society & Waterloo Greenway. As a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, the RRCD is dedicated to preserving our authentic Texas live music heritage through your support. All donations are tax-deductible.
RRCD presents two annual district-wide live music programs: Free Week & Hot Summer Nights – that provide additional revenue to musicians & staff during slow seasons. These events are made free for all fans & guests through the generous contributions of our annual sponsors. The Red River Cultural District is a safe space for all guests, musicians & staff. For more information, please visit redriverculturaldistrict.org.