Photo Story: Celebrating Austin’s Red River District

A visual record of one of our city’s most treasured neighborhoods, home to artistic communities

Written and photographed by Brian Couser

Hundreds of dives, bars and hideouts have thrived in the zone of Red River Street in downtown Austin throughout the city’s history. For decades, rebels have been attracted here and artists have created here. Punk rockers on the outskirts of the music scene found their home on Red River, and members of marginalized communities in Austin have been welcomed here as well. Gay bars became a safe alternative to 6th Street. African Americans pioneered music venues that were more culturally inclusive than others in the city. Artists from all walks of life welcomed disenfranchised Austinites to a place they could gather and celebrate their identities together, and that history is written into murals on Red River walls by the artists themselves.