This Texas City Is an Unexpected Destination for Music Lovers — and It Attracts Some of the Biggest Names in the Business

Here's how to plan the perfect, music-filled trip to Arlington, Texas.

A large crowd watching a show at Texas Live!

Courtesy of Arlington CVB

Texas is a haven for music lovers. Austin boasts the title of Live Music Capital of the World, hosting famous festivals like SXSW and Austin City Limits. Big names like Beyonce proudly rep Houston, and Leon Bridges brought a spotlight to Fort Worth. However, in recent years Arlington, the often-forgotten sibling city of Dallas-Fort Worth, has developed a wide range of music venues that attract musicians of all genres and levels of notoriety. In fact, in 2020, the governor of Texas certified Arlington as a "Music Friendly Community," a designation given to cities who bolster and grow the music industry. These efforts have seen real results — from homegrown acts you can experience at a local dive to the biggest names in the music industry, they’re all playing in Arlington. 

View of AT&T Stadium lit up at night

Courtesy of Arlington CVB

In 2009, the Cowboys' Stadium, lovingly known as Jerry’s World after the team’s owner, moved from Dallas to Arlington and became the AT&T Stadium. While this move most prominently drew in sports fans to the area, a new influx of music lovers followed not far behind. The new stadium came with an expansion of adjustable seating that caters up to 100,000 fans, upgraded amenities (including 200 suites), and most notably, big names. In 2023 alone, the stadium is hosting musical talents such as Ed Sheeran, Metallica, Beyonce, and Taylor Swift, who called the AT&T Stadium home for three, sold-out nights on her Eras tour. 

But the stadium isn’t the only musical draw to the area. Live! by Loews opened in 2019 one block from the stadium, giving visitors a stylish place to stay just steps away from their favorite acts. Additionally, Live! by Loews often keeps the party going after the show ends with a lively lobby bar, multiple large-screen TVs, and a live band catering to both the sports and music crowds. Right next door to Live! by Loews is Arlington’s entertainment complex Texas Live! This includes CBD Kratom Backyard, an outdoor concert venue that hosts touring musical acts and several bars and restaurants. You'll also find even more music here. One of those venues is Troy’s, owned by former Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman. Troy’s is a local eatery where you can see local and regional acts every night of the week. 

A large crowd watching a show at Levitt Pavillion

Courtesy of Arlington CVB

Just on the other side lies the Globe Life Field, where the Texas Rangers play. Baseball might be the primary attraction here, but acts like Pink and Twice are set to take the stage this year. And tucked away inside the stadium is the decadent speakeasy Hearsay. Hearsay offers not only fine dining and crafted cocktails, but also live music every day from its roster of resident musicians. Visitors can easily enjoy a pre-show drink, walk to the main event at AT&T Stadium, and then head back to Live! by Loews to enjoy a nightcap with yet another live band.

Arena-sized crowds and screaming fans not your cup of tea? Check out one of the many other locations in town catering to music fans of all genres. Levitt Pavilion, for example, is an outdoor venue in the middle of downtown that hosts more than 50 free shows each year. This concert series is a great opportunity to see up-and-coming acts, bosting a long history of showcasing artists who later go on to win Grammys, including Maren Morris and Pentatonix.

Concertgoers can also experience a bit of history at the Arlington Music Hall, a historic theater built in the 1950s. It has consistently hosted touring musicians, including country royalty like Wynonna Judd, Willie Nelson, and Loretta Lynn. Arlington Music Hall is also home to Symphony Arlington, who performs every Thursday evening from October through May.

Exterior marquee of Arlington Music Hall

Courtesy of Arlington CVB

If a laid-back vibe with local acts is more appealing, head downtown and you’ll never be far from a live band. Grease Monkey Burger Shop has live music most nights and positions itself as a great preshow spot by offering shuttles to the AT&T Stadium. Vinyl lovers should head to Growl Records for new and used records. The shop is connected to Division Brewing, so shoppers can enjoy a craft beer while sifting through vinyl stacks. Growl Records also holds almost-daily concerts covering all genres, from hip hop to metal. Arlington even has its share of neighborhood watering holes like Mavericks Bar & Grill and Caves Lounge, which host local acts frequently. 

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