Family Music Night: Eat, Play, Listen


willwoodshedThe Woodshed was the first place my 18-month-old witnessed live music. They sat us inside for my husband’s birthday dinner (because it was February!) and my son, Will, was done before we even ordered dinner. We packed up — because sometimes you just have to give in to the fact that a nice dinner is not going to happen and why ruin the other patrons’ meals — and we walked through the patio on our way out. My son calmed down immediately when he heard the music, and he sat up intently in my husband’s arms when he saw the guys playing on the stage. We sat down by a fire pit and listened for more than an hour. There’s been many returns to listen to live music, where Will’s attempted to go on stage, where he’s danced in front of the crowd, where he tells the frontman that he has a guitar, too. He loves music. And I love watching him love music.

Luckily Fort Worth is teeming with patios, stages, and festivals that are appropriate for kids. Just keep in mind your child’s age and temperament and the type and time of event you are planning to attend. Also, keep in mind that if it’s your family’s first time, you might not be staying the whole time. But keep going. I hope spending a beautiful day listening to music will be some of my son’s most favorite memories. I know they are mine. Here are some place we go, and some places we plan to go:

Central Market features live music on their patio Thursday through Saturday. Pick up food and drinks inside and let the kids play on the playground while you enjoy every type of music, including popular acts like Blue Hat and Amos Moses Band. Times vary, but most start around 6 p.m. and admission is always free.

Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que presents Friday Night Jam each week as well live music all weekend. Tommy Alverson, Austin Allsup, Walt Wilkins (!) . . . legendary Texas country music icons, as well as some worthy up and comers, perform at these all-ages concerts. The barbecue’s pretty good, too.

Concerts in the Garden is a Fort Worth mainstay that everyone knows about. Some parents might question whether their child would be interested in listening to the Fort Worth Symphony, but I think it’s a great way to introduce your child to the Symphony. Popular themes, light shows, throngs of kids listening (and/or playing) will show your child how fun an orchestra performance is. Bring a picnic and a blanket and enjoy.

OK, the Levitt Pavilion is in Arlington, but it’s a great stage that has a series specific to children on Wednesday morning, and family-friendly shows throughout the summer. Abram Street in Arlington is turning into a fun area to take the family. Stay after the free show and pick up some lunch.

Near Southside presents Friday on the Green through November. Food trucks, pets, local vendors–it’s a great, intimate outing for the whole family, highlighting great local North Texas acts. The free event features an eclectic mix, everything from Denton’s Seryn to Fort Worth’s Calhoune. Bring your pet, too.

Sundance Square presents a new Sunday Jazz Series in the new, and fabulously family friendly, Sundance Plaza. Through the end of June, hear music from popular acts like the Dan Cavanagh Trio and on Father’s Day, Adonis Rose and the Fort Worth Jazz Orchestra. Remember to bring a towel and an extra set of clothes for your little one. Trust me.

West 7th is a popular area for a lot of reasons. This spring they started another one: live music every Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday starting at 6 p.m. Fireside Pies, a beautiful evening, and a chance to see Doug Burr, Casey Thompson, or Sean Russell. Yes, please.

And then of course the Woodshed. Tim Love really has done a great job with the Trinity-hugging location. The calendar is full of an eclectic mix of music. You might just see the Norris family the next time you stop in to catch Luke Wade or Will Hobbs.

Where do you take your family to listen to live music?


  1. Hi Jennifer, thanks for your blog, my husband, daughter and I are coming in from CT on April 7th, we were so excited to see as much live music as we could, only to find many venues are over 21.
    Our daughter is 11 and has been in about every honky tonk in Nashville, it appears that Texas rules are different. If you have any other suggestions for us, they would be greatly appreciated.

    On the 8th we head to Austin, hopefully we can find appropriate places for the family.

    Thanks Again,


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