The Best Drag Shows in Austin

Celebrity impersonations are just the beginning of the Austin drag scene.

Albert Sanchez | ACL Live
Albert Sanchez | ACL Live
Albert Sanchez | ACL Live

We’ve gotta hand it to Austin’s queens. It takes some real skill to be extra fishy in a sea without water. Even in the blistering desert heat, they’re out in full force—contoured, tucked, and death-dropping like the AC actually works in our gay bars. (Why, oh, why is it always like a sauna on the dance floor?!) Those squirrels are warriors.

Now the drag scene here isn’t the biggest, and you’ll definitely spot a gal werking more than one show, at more than one venue, only adding to her hustle power. But what we lack in numbers we make up for in charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent. Want to catch our fierce Southern belles struttin’ their stuff? Here are the best drag shows in Austin.

Trace
Trace

Downtown
The reigning queen of downtown, Vylette Ward, and her fabulous friends can be found parked at the W’s patio, twice every second Sunday. Shows are themed to the likes of Divas and Disney, and enjoyed over TRACE restaurant’s delicious brunch and lethal mimosa carafes.

Downtown
Austin’s oldest gay bar has a stellar lineup of drag shows every night of the week, and they couldn’t be more diverse. Alternating Wednesdays at 9 pm see Latina Tatiana Cholula spicing up our lives with Divina, and the drag kings Boiz of Austin showing the lads how its done, while Saturday’s Best Drag Show Ever is the ultimate party of queens competing for the title of Oilcan Harry’s Next Top Drag Model Supreme.

Jay Ybarra for Fuego
Jay Ybarra for Fuego

Red River
Everyone's favorite pink queer bar regularly hosts drag nights on their main stage. This past year, we've seen everyone from Amber Nicole Davenport (AKA the legs of Texas) to Noodles under the pink neon lights. Follow their Instagram page to find out about upcoming specials.

Downtown
Every Wednesday LGBTQ+ lounge/nightclub, Highland, hosts Austin’s top POC drag show. Their sumptuous host Diamond Dior Davenport describes it as the “only place to find your chocolate,” and you’re guaranteed to be gagged on every drop.

Illusions The Drag Queen Show
Illusions The Drag Queen Show

Martinshore
More of a mainstream kinda drag show (think: Vegas), Illusions travels the country, bringing the best celebrity diva impersonations to town. Ever wanted to see Britney, Adele, Cher, or Celine live? Well, this is the next best thing (and more possibly more fun), ideal for newbies to drag and bachelorette parties. Tickets are available on Eventbrite for brunches and dinners.

Downtown
One of the most popular queer venues in town, Rain serves a rotating platter of drag extravaganza. Here, you’ll find the likes of Vylette Ward, Nadine Hughes, and Scarlett Kiss in a variety of show-stopping performances, bingo, and, on Sunday Funday, Vylette and Jezebel spill their best Tricks and Tea from 5 - 7 pm.

theironbearaustin
theironbearaustin

Downtown
You wouldn’t expect a blacked-out bear bar to host one of the best Thursday night lineups in Austin drag herstory, but The Iron Bear is full of fluffy surprises. Look out for rotating dance party shows like Unbreakable (starring Mascara Rivers), mic drop competitions with cash prizes, a drama club, and oodles of dark humor.

Downtown
ACL Live does a solid job of getting the RuPaul alumni in, so fans of the hit series should keep an eye on their calendar for touring queens. Over the last few months, the venue has hosted Trinity The Tuck and Monét X Change. Coming up on July 19th, is RuPaul’s Drag Race Werq the World Tour 2022 starring Kameron Michaels, Rose, Vanessa Vanjie, and Yvie Oddly. In November, Alaska arrives on her hotly anticipated Red 4 Filth Tour 2022 for not one, but two shows. Start your engines!

James Wong is a Libra who spends his time pretending to be a vegan, watching wildlife clips, and booking plane tickets. Born in London, lived in Tokyo, and now residing in Austin, his greatest achievement is giving Posh Spice a hug in 2016.