A Guide to the Austin City Limits Festival

Austin City Limits Festival
Eva Rinaldi

Austin, Texas has quickly jumped to the top of the best places to visit and live list in the United States. The music scene certainly lives up to these expectations, and the Austin City Limits Festival is leading the concert race in this incredible city.

Three days, eight stages, and 130 different bands; this event always delivers, offering incredible organization, a family-friendly atmosphere, and super chilled out vibe. Come experience the best that Austin’s music scene has to offer, divided between two weekends.

How it Got Started

Each year the Austin City Limits Festival continues to grow in size. It’s spread throughout 351-acres of land at Zilker Park, but unlike many other events in their early days, it’s always been something to look forward to. Perhaps that has something to do with the fact that it was started by the same company that created Lollapalooza.

Originally, the event was inspired by the PBS Concert Series and later transformed into one of the most anticipated events in Austin.

What to Expect 

No matter what kind of music you’re into you’ll find something to suit your fancy. Musicians from every genre, including rock, indie, pop, country, folk, hip hop and even electronic perform at the Austin City Limits Festival.

The lineup is usually incredible. World renowned artists like the Foo Fighters, Deadmau5, and Jack Johnson have graced one of the eight stages in the past.

People come to the Austin City Limits Festival because of the festival-atmosphere with a grown-up twist. There won’t be a heavy flow of booze like you see at most outdoor concerts, or kids on drugs zoned out on the grass. This is the kind of place where you’ll find music lovers coming together to really appreciate what they’re hearing. Over the years it’s stuck true to it’s roots as a place to enjoy, have a good time, and really listen to the music.

Things to Keep in Mind

This is the place to be if you’re a foodie, or simply love a great meal. Austin is known for having great grub, and some of the best eats from restaurants in the city can be found at the Austin City Limits Festival. Get artisan grilled cheese sandwiches from Burro Cheese Kitchen or go the traditional fest food route and try Frank’s famous hot dogs.

October in Texas is very different than October in almost every other state. The sun is still strong and the temperature can be pretty hot, so prepare accordingly. We’re talking 90°F days with a chance of rain.

Tickets will sell out fast, which is why the festival has been divided into two weekends. Be sure to keep a close eye onthe schedule so you don’t miss your favorite performer, because the days can easily jumble together.  

Expect to stick to the schedule; performances almost always start on time. Lines aren’t absurdly long, and there’s a general understanding of Southern hospitality that you only get in cities like the ones in Texas.  

Getting There

From the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport you can hop into a cab and head to the center of the city.

The festival partners with hotels in the area to offer discounted prices for visitors. Check out their hotel options to see what’s available. Even if you decide to find your own accommodations, you’ll want to stay close to the downtown or Town Lake area. Not only is this the most convenient location for festivalgoers, it’s also full of great activities for the whole family. You’ll really get to know what Austin is all about.