The 10 Best Outdoor Concert Venues in Dallas

Finally. Spring time is officially here, and more importantly, so too is the springtime weather. And none too soon, if you ask us. We're not much for the cold (nor the rainy) stuff. No, being the red-blooded Dallasites that we are, we love the heat. Pull out the shorts and tank top is what we say, which also happens to be just the perfect way to go see a concert. So where are the best places to catch live music outdoors around town? We got you covered there. Here are the 10 best from Dallas and the surrounding area (because we keep ourselves reigned in?).

See also: The 10 Best Dance Clubs in Dallas The 10 Best Dive Bars in Dallas-Fort Worth

10. The Rustic

On the surface a Dallas version of Austin's Stubb's BBQ with Pat Green's name on it sounded maybe a bit too odd to really work, especially in Uptown, when plans were announced a few years ago. But indeed it has worked and then some. The massive garage doors of the well-designed restaurant and bar open up to "Pat's Backyard," a grassy mass comfortably dotted with picnic tables and a spacious, stage that might be the best outdoor set-up in town. This place screams "Texas!", without stomping its boots on your neck to make sure you notice. There's rarely a cover charge, and the icy fishbowl-size schooners of Texas-brewed beer should help the Rustic keep things interesting for quite some time. Kelly Dearmore

3656 Howell St., Dallas, therustic.com

9. Gexa Energy Pavilion

You kind of have to put Gexas on any outdoor venue list by default. The former Starplex/Smirnoff/Superpages/Future LinkedIn spot is the area's largest outdoor venue, and home to some of the biggest shows that come through town. And yes, while it's an absolute beating to watch a show outdoors five months of the year, you're still going to do it because there's no other alternative. So, think wistfully of the concrete jungle that is Gexa when May comes around, odds are you're going to have to psyche yourself up at least twice to make the trip to South Dallas. Jaime-Paul Falcon

1818 First Ave., Dallas, gexaenergypavilion.net

8. Harvest House

Harvest House has easily one of the biggest stages in Denton, and the 40 beers and kombucha on tap only add to its mythos as an outdoor venue paradise. House's owners are planning to book national acts weekly, not to mention the deep pool of the city's talent they can enlist at a moment's notice. Most importantly, though, the owners have been running shows together for more than 10 years. Borne from a house venue, the runners are no stranger to managing both sound and drunk crowds; so don't expect any new-business jitters from these venue veterans. Matt Wood

331 E. Hickory St., Denton, dentonharvesthouse.com

7. Levitt Pavilion

Since 2008, there may not be a venue in North Texas, indoor or outdoor, that's been as quiet in its excellence as Levitt Pavilion. Located in Arlington's Founder's Square, this 3,500 capacity lawn boasts insanely high-quality sound, and books acts from local favorites, to regional stars, to national headliners. Over the course of two separate concert seasons (summer and fall), there will be 50 shows to catch. Oh, lest we forget, the vast majority of shows here are indeed free of charge. Free. And BYOB. So, this means that beginning in late May, you'll be able to catch the likes of Hayes Carll, Soul Asylum, and the Dirty River Boys -- all acts that typically headline large clubs and theaters -- for free, while drinking your own booze under the Tarrant Country night sky. KD

Founders Plaza, Arlington, levittpavilionarlington.org

6. The Foundry

Although it's not far from downtown, you can actually feel like you are getting out of the city at The Foundry. It is an affordable place to eat and drink in a casual setting. You can get comfortable with picnic tables and furniture and even bring your dog. But it also has a weird stage made of pallets that hosts some of the best free shows in Dallas on the weekends, booked by John Iskander from Parade of Flesh. These shows help create an interesting atmosphere at The Foundry. With local and national acts from different genres performing at the venue, it's not the same crowd every night. Jeremy Hallock

2303 Pittman St., Dallas, cs-tf.com

5. Dan's Silverleaf

You know how in sports if a player dies tragically they seal the persons locker so it stays the same forever? If something ever happens to Denton we should do the same with the back patio of Dan's Silverleaf. There's literally no batter place to catch a show in Denton now that the venue has upgraded it's outdoor stage. And, you'd have to work damn hard to find a better spot to grab a drink, have a conversation, or plan Denton's next big event. JPF

103 N. Industrial St., Denton, danssilverleaf.com

4. Panther Island Pavilion

There may not be a more multi-faceted outdoor music venue in North Texas than this gem near downtown Fort Worth. With a rather nice section of the Trinity River running directly through the middle of the venue's acreage, Panther Island Pavilion is the rare spot that can take a ho-hum festival into can't-miss terrain. Set-up shop in the parking lot for Untapped Festival? Sure. Use the permanent stage and vast grassy river bank for Dia de los Toadies and Fort Worth Music Festival? Of course. Put a thousand people into tubes and float the river while a band plays on a permanent stage that hangs over the river for the annual Rockin' the River series? Abso-freakin'-lutely. KD

1098 W. Peach St., Fort Worth, pantherislandpavilion.com

3. Club Dada

No doubt about it: Deep Ellum is back and at the top of its game, once again unequivocally asserting itself as the beating heart of North Texas music. If you're looking for the best club concert experience in Dallas, look no further than one of many great venues along Elm or Main Streets. But when it comes to seeing live music outdoors, there's one place that stands head and shoulders above the rest: Club Dada. Few concert-going experiences can match the thrill of a late night show on the back patio at Dada, be it with the sprawling cast of Polyphonic Spree or the in-your-face attack of Deafheaven. Jeff Gage

2720 Elm St., Dallas, dadadallas.com

2. Lee Harvey's

What kind of sick fuck would come up with a name like Lee Harvey's? That dark sense of humor is admirable and rivaled only by the Assassination City Roller Derby. Just south of downtown, Lee Harvey's is basically a dive bar with a big yard. Inside it's dark with awful wood-lined walls you'd expect to see in a grainy old horror film, but the drinks are fairly cheap and the food surprisingly edible. Outside you can sit at a picnic table by a fire pit and sometimes they have live music. The Roomsounds should be a blast on Friday, especially in this nice weather. JH

1807 Gould St., Dallas, leeharveys.com

1. Strauss Square at AT&T Performing Arts Center

Due to the majestic nature of the Winspear Opera House, it can be easy to forget the ATTPAC has other fine venues in which to catch a performance. For those that have experienced a show at Strauss Square under the stars on the lawn of the Shannon and Ted Skokos Pavilion, forgetting isn't so easy, however. Even though a wall separates the gorgeous 2,000+ capacity amphitheater from Woodall-Rogers, one will be hard-pressed to know road-rage is taking place nearby. The bookings are eclectic and well-chosen, having ranged from Gypsy Kings, Rodriguez, Eels and the Old 97s in the past year or so. The fact most shows on this perfect lawn are BYOB only adds to the already singular feel this urban retreat offers. KD

2403 Flora St., Dallas, attpac.org


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