The beautiful historic Paramount Theater (713 Congress Ave., 512/472-2901, www.austintheatre.org ) is Austin  crown jewel for performing arts events. The magnificent 1915 venue is just four blocks south of the Capitol building, and originally served as a Vaudeville theater and variety house. It continues to stage a wide variety of shows—plays and musicals, comedians, dance shows, lectures, children’s programming, and classic films—under a faux sky ceiling and glamorous balconies.
The Paramount also operates the adjacent State Theatre (719 Congress Ave.) as part of the Austin  Theatre Alliance. The State is a remarkable Art Deco theater that suffered severe damage from a water main break in 2006. Although it continues to operate in a limited capacity, its status as a fully functional performing arts center remains uncertain.
The University of Texas Performing Arts Center is home to the university’s primary venue, Bass Concert Hall (2350 Robert Dedman Dr., 512/471-2787, www.utpac.org ), which brings an eclectic mix of internationally acclaimed performers to the UT campus. Pop legends, dance performances, chamber orchestras, alternative rockers, and world music superstars take the stage throughout the year to the benefit of students and residents. Superior acoustics and comfortable seating make this an especially inviting venue to experience a show.
The Long Center for Performing Arts (701 W. Riverside Dr., 512/482-0800, www.thelongcenter.org ), is an architecturally stunning venue that has been in the works for a, well, long time. The $77 million renovation project of the quirky 1959 Palmer Auditorium on the shores of Lady Bird Lake has been 10 years in the making, but locals believe it’s been worth the wait. Once work is fully completed on all phases of the project and the adjacent park grounds, the Long Center will preside atop the south bank of the Colorado River and serve as a hub for cultural arts performances and special events.