They call Austin the Live Music Capital of the World, so it’s no wonder one of America’s most exciting music festivals is held within—that’s right—Austin’s city limits. Austin City Limits Music Festival is the stuff music lovers’ dreams are made of, with two weekends of shows on eight stages featuring a diverse mix of artists from all genres.
Austin City Limits Music Festival began as a one-weekend festival in 2002 inspired by the long-running music-themed TV program, “Austin City Limits.” Like its namesake, the festival continues to draw music fanatics year after year who are delighted by its compelling lineups of top-notch performers. The festival also boasts an array of artisan vendors and savory food counters, making the festival experience a feast for all the senses.
Things You Need to Know
Keeping these quick facts in mind will help you navigate the ACL festival like a pro:
What to bring to ACL: Service animals, blankets and towels, sunscreen and insect repellant (non-aerosol only), empty water bottles, and external battery chargers are all allowed.
What not to bring to ACL: E-cigarettes, glass containers, outside food and beverages, umbrellas, and pets are all prohibited inside festival grounds.
Kid-friendly fun: ACL is a family-friendly festival! The Austin Kiddie Limits children’s area is a safe place for parents and kids to enjoy child-friendly music and do some crafts together. The Tag-a-Kid service, available at Guest Services, lets you register your kids with a special wristband. That way, if you and your children become separated, you’ll be reunited quickly and easily.
Where is the Closest Airport & how is Transportation?
- Shuttle: ACL Festival operates a free shuttle between a downtown meeting point (Republic Square Park at the corner of 4th & Guadalupe) and the music festival’s Barton Springs West Entrance, beginning at 10:30 a.m. and ending at 11 p.m.
- Public Transportation: Use MetroRapid Route 803 to get to Austin City Limits. You can download the CapMetro app or visit its website to find the best schedule for you.
- Ridesharing: Austin City Limits has a partnership with Uber, making travel to and from the festival easy with dedicated Uber pickup and drop-off points.
- Biking: Pedaling your way to the festival? Excellent! You can’t bring your bike inside the Austin City Limits festival grounds, but you can park it in one of the festival’s dedicated bicycle parking lots.
Take heed: There are no car parking lots at Austin City Limits, so make sure to plan your transportation to the festival ahead of time!
Where to Stay?
It’s easy to find hotels in Austin that are not just in close proximity to Austin City Limits, but tucked into quaint and colorful neighborhoods. If you want to get a taste for Austin while you’re in town for the festival, consider one of these locales:
South Congress is a hip, zany, and vibrant area of Austin, full of boutiques, one-of-a-kind restaurants, colorful galleries, and plenty of music venues. This neighborhood is perfect for festivalgoers looking for local color and an artsy experience.
You can’t get any closer than the Zilker/Bouldin area! These neighborhoods will put you within walking distance of Zilker Park, easily outsmarting the lack of vehicle parking at Austin City Limits. Plus, you’ll be close enough to the Colorado River to enjoy a stroll along its banks on the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail.
What are the Other Things to Do in Austin?
Austin, a multidimensional city known for standing out even in the state where everything’s bigger, goes by many nicknames: Bat City (for the incredible flying mammals that roost under South Congress Bridge), River City (for its location on the Colorado River), and the Live Music Capital of the World (for its wealth of live music venues), among many others. Don’t leave Austin without making time to explore some of its extraordinary sites:
Terry Black’s Barbecue
Sink your teeth into some legendary Texas barbecue at Terry Black’s Barbecue, where you can get meat by the pound, grab a barbecue beef sandwich, or choose a combination of meats and sides. What’s more, many side items are gluten free, vegetarian, and/or dairy-free, making it easy for even those with special diets to find delicious things to eat.
Meander down East 6th Street in Downtown Austin, an entertainment district that’s been registered as a historic place since the 1970s. Lining both sides of the street, you’ll find 19th-century buildings playing host to shops, saloons, music clubs, and a whole array of delectable cuisine. Pop into the Driskill, on the corner of 6th and Brazos St., and marvel at this legendary hotel’s gorgeous antique interior, or grab a cold drink at Iron Cactus Mexican Restaurant and Margarita Bar.
ACL Live at the Moody Theater
ACL Live at the Moody Theater is the 2,750-person capacity concert hall where the “Austin City Limits” TV series—the longest-running TV music series in the country—is taped, and it also hosts a number of concerts. Find out who’s playing while you’re in town: The Moody Theater plays host to around 100 concerts a year, so there’s bound to be a great lineup no matter when you peruse the concert calendar.
Austin City Limits Music Festival is an exceptional event that’s right at home in an extraordinary city like Austin. Everything really is bigger in Texas, so get ready to have the biggest fun of the year at ACL.
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