It’s actually chilly in Austin and that can only mean one thing—Christmas is right around the corner! And nothing says Christmas in ATX more than our favorite holiday tradition, the Trail of Lights at Zilker Park. For its 54th year of merriment, the trail will run from December 10 – 23, with the first look for those doing the Trail of Lights Fun Run on December 1. You gotta Instagram yourself under the giant rainbow tunnel of lights or it didn’t happen.
Since it began in 1965, the Austin Trail of Lights has grown into one of the city’s largest events, attracting an average of 400,000 people per year. There are over two million lights, 65 displays, 30 food trucks, three entertainment stages, 50 private holiday parties, and interactive experiences throughout the park. Calendars for ticket availability, special programming, and online ticket purchases are here. We highly recommend the ZIP pass, which lets you cut the line and go through the trail an hour before the masses. Worth every penny!
There are a bunch of special nights to keep in mind. Click here for the complete rundown.
Where to Next? Race, the city-wide scavenger hunt that saw huge turnouts in D.C. and Nashville is on its way to ATX! Test your knowledge of our fair city, along with all of your brains and brawn. This is basically an action-packed combination of race, scavenger hunt, outdoor escape room, and interactive city tour. You’ve seen Amazing Race, right? Then you are ready.
Grab your best buddy because this involves two-person teams solving clues to locate checkpoints across the city and complete physical and mental challenges at each one. Checkpoints will include iconic Austin landmarks, unique local spots, and a few wildcards. Teams can travel between checkpoints on foot, bike, public transportation, rideshare apps, personal vehicles, etc.
The race will be logged live via Instagram @wheretonextrace_ and will showcase the challenges and activities of the race. W2NR allows followers to tune in on Instagram to see coverage of the race and watch as the action unfolds. The W2NR staff is with racers every step of the way to enhance and personalize the racing experience!
Teams that finish the race within the goal time will win an equal share of the prize money! The minimum prize money will be $1000 but it has the potential to go way up based upon the number of people who sign-up.
Scholz Garten is hosting W2NR registration and the post-race after party! For more information about this crazy-fun situation, click here.
When: Saturday, October 20th
Time: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Cost: $55 – 65 | Click here to register!
Grab your bestie (the furry one) and come out to the UT campus for the fourth-annual Landmarks Dog Walk! Landmarks has partnered with Blue Dog Rescue to present a docent-led public art dog walk. Dogs and owners will take a leisurely one-hour stroll around The University of Texas at Austin to appreciate some of its most stunning works of outdoor sculpture.
Bring your dog, a leash, and plenty of waste bags to Mark di Suvero’s Clock Knot near Dean Keeton Street and Speedway at 11 a.m. Don’t have a four-legged friend? Meet and greet some of Blue Dog Rescue’s most eligible canines!
Please make sure your dog is well-behaved around people and other animals and up-to-date on vaccinations. There will be plenty of water stops along the tour route, and each guest will receive a special Landmarks frisbee!
When: Today, October 7th
Time: 11 a.m. – noon
Cost: Free and open to the public.
Landmarks, The Public Art Program of The University of Texas at Austin
1 University Sta
Austin, Texas 78712
Have you heard? The 17th annual Austin City Limits Music Festival is happening October 5-7 and October 12-14 at Zilker Park. From Paul McCartney to Metallica, The National, Shaky Graves, and Brandi Carlile, and more you might want to go this year! ACL has just released a list of tips and tricks for making this fest your best yet. If you are a newbie or even an old townie who has been going for years, information is power! Scan through this details below to know before you go.
Get Your Tickets
General Admission 3-Day Tickets for both weekends are sold out. General Admission 1-Day Tickets for Sunday are still available for Weekend Two here or at the Pre-Festival or Festival Box Office. 3-Day & 1-Day VIP Tickets, 1-Day Platinum Tickets Weekend One and 1-Day & 3-Day Platinum Tickets for both weekends are also available. Music fans ages 10 and under will be admitted free of charge accompanied by a ticketed adult.
There are plenty of ways to get to ACL Fest! Check out this page for a plethora of options.
There is no parking at Zilker Park for the ACL Festival, so take advantage of the Complimentary Official Festival Shuttles provided by ACL Fest instead! Board at Republic Square Park at the corner of 4th & Guadalupe streets and you’ll be dropped off on Barton Springs Road outside the Barton Springs West Entrance. When you’re finished rocking, hop back on for a return trip from the same spot, outside the Barton Springs West Entrance. The shuttles begin at Republic Square at 10:30 a.m. and make their final return from the park at 11 p.m. each day of the Festival.
ACL has partnered with Uber to make your experience getting to and from the festival as easy as possible. Ride with Uber for access to dedicated pick-up and drop-off points.
Cap Metro has ramped up its service this year and now offers more than a dozen bus routes that operate every 15 minutes, 7 days a week. Your best bet to get to ACL is MetroRapid Route 803. Use the CapMetro App or click here to plan your trip to the festival.
New this year, they’ve added bike parking locations near the Barton Springs East entrance! Three bike parking options will be located on Stratford Drive near the Mopac Pedestrian Bridge, Toomey Road at Sterzing Street, and on Azie Morton Rd.
Scooter and Dockless Mobility Parking is available at the corner of Sterzing Drive and Toomey Road. Additionally, Austin B-Cycle will have a station at the corner of Sterzing Drive and Barton Springs.
You can always go old school and take a taxi! The taxi pick-up and drop-off location is at William Barton Drive in front of the Barton Springs Pool.
Take the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail for a quick walk downtown and easy access to the festival grounds. Extra lighting is provided for your safety, and there are also user amenities along different spots of the Trail including water fountains, restrooms, and trash cans. View the interactive Trail map here. If you are using the Trail, be mindful of the burn-ban and responsibly discard cigarette butts.
Want to get into ACL Fest as quick as possible? Leave your bag at home! If you DO NOT have a bag, enter through the No Bag Express Lane. If you DO have a bag, enter through the Bag Lane and expect delays as bags are open for inspection. ALL bags will be searched before entry. Bags will be restricted to small purses, totes and drawstring bags only. Bag size may not exceed 14″ x 11″ x 5″ (35cm x 28cm x 12cm), or 30 linear inches (75cm) in total, and must have no more than one singular pocket or opening. Backpacks and bags with multiple pockets are prohibited.
NO LIQUIDS WILL BE ALLOWED THROUGH SECURITY CHECKPOINTS. Empty water bottles (plastic or aluminum) or hydration packs are allowed but must be emptied of all liquid and have no more than two pockets in addition to the one holding the water reservoir.
Check the list of prohibited items in advance, listen for the audio announcements and dispose of any item that is not allowed inside the festival.
Stow Your Gear
Do you want a safe and secure place to store your things while you enjoy ACL Fest and keep your phone charged? They offer 3-Day, 2-Day, and 1-Day rental lockers near the Barton Springs entrances so you can free up your hands and avoid losing any personal items during the show. Click here to reserve your locker in advance and secure the best available pricing.
Download the App
From creating your own custom schedule to mapping out Zilker Park before the fest, the app is super helpful. New this year, you can filter ACL Eats restaurants by Vegetarian, Vegan, and Gluten Free options! Opt-In for push notifications to stay in the loop on schedule changes, important updates, and emergency information all weekend long!
Fans can use their wristbands to make onsite purchases including food, art, lockers, beverages, and merchandise. ACtivate your wristband here and you can securely connect a credit or debit card, create a unique 4-digit pin and make safe, cashless transactions throughout the park.
Eat, Drink, Repeat
ACL Eats continues to feature fantastic local restaurants putting their spin on festival fare. Fan favorites such as the famous Torchy’s Tacos, The Mighty Cone, The Peached Tortilla, Micklethwait Craft Meats, and many more will be there to cure all your cravings.
Amy’s Ice Creams, Burro Grilled Cheese, GoodPop, mmmpanadas, Southside Flying Pizza, The Salt Lick, Tinos Greek Café, and Wholly Cow Burgers will all have a second location near the Barton Springs Stage (south of Barton Springs Road). Central Market will also have a booth inside Austin Kiddie Limits offering box lunches and beverages.
The ACL Bodega is a one-stop shop where you can buy quick snacks, like fresh fruit, and festival survival necessities, like sunscreen and ponchos. Stop by the Bodega near ACL Eats and the ACL Wine Lounge.
Don’t miss out on the Barton Springs Beer Hall, where you can choose from different craft brews and catch the weekend’s biggest MLB, NFL and College Football games on the jumbo screen in between sets.
Wine down at the ACL Wine Lounge located in a beautiful shady grove, the lounge features a wine shop and has something for every wine enthusiast from classic varietals to frosé, spritzes, and other specialties.
The fest will have free freshly filtered water at CamelBak Hydration Stations everywhere. Fans are encouraged to bring empty water bottles (plastic or aluminum) to fill once inside the park. For CamelBak-type water bottles, the maximum size is 36 oz.
Get Home Safe
There are several options for getting home after the fest. For a quick ride downtown, jump on the free Official Festival Shuttle from outside the Barton Springs West Entrance to head to Republic Square Park at 4th and Guadalupe.
Tonight’s Hartman Foundation Concert in the Park will be the perfect way to wind down the weekend. These weekly concerts are one of Austin’s true summer treasures. The city at sunset is a beautiful backdrop to the music. Don’t forget to bring a picnic dinner and a blanket!
Each week features a different ensemble of the Austin Symphony. They will play a variety of music, everything from jazz and light classical to pop selections and film scores. Tonight’s theme is brass and next Sunday it’s big band!
When: Today, August 19th
Time: 7:30 – 9:30 p.m.
Austin Symphony At The Long Center
701 W Riverside Dr.
Austin, Texas 78704
Austinites don’t just love our pets—we live for them! And we want to give them the very best. Humans in this town are all about the juice cleanses, nature walks, and organic food, so it’s only right that our animals get in on the action, too.
Kriser’s Natural Pet, otherwise known as “the Whole Foods for pets,” has just opened a brand-spanking new South Lamar location and they are having a party to celebrate! They’ll have free nail trims, raffles, and more. They’ll also be giving away fun-filled gift bags with poop bag holders, can lids, and a bunch of samples from their vendors.
Kriser’s opened its first storefront in Chicago in 2006 and has since spread to 47 locations throughout the country. Their natural pet foods are free of corn, wheat, soy, and by-products and their grooming products are gentle and non-irritating. You can shop knowing that they stand behind the treats, supplements, and pet supplies they feature and feel good about recommending each brand.
“The Austin pet community is thriving and we’re thrilled to continue our mission of helping pets live happier, healthier lives, naturally, with this second location,” said Brad Kriser, founder and CEO. “We’re excited to help even more pet parents care for their pets with education, outstanding products, and grooming.”
Whether your beloved furry friends need toys, food, supplements or anything else under the sun—you’ll find a huge selection here. Come meet the animal lovers at Kriser’s at the location and share that healthy, happy Austin lifestyle with your best pal.
When: Saturday, August 18th
Time: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
2330 South Lamar Blvd
If you take a drive just 20-ish miles west on Highway 71 out of Austin, you’ll reach one of the most picturesque spots in the entire state: Hamilton Pool Preserve. The swimming hole has been a popular spot for Austin residents and tourists alike since the ’60s, but was actually formed thousands of years ago when the dome of an underground river collapsed.
Now part of the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve, the preserve is home to many rare and endangered species of plant and animals, including the golden-cheeked warbler bird and plants like canyon mock-orange and the chatter-box orchid. Visitors to the park are asked to be mindful of the efforts to preserve this natural wonder.
The natural pool and creek are natural, left untreated and pure for your swimming pleasure. The swimming area is surrounded by a tiny beach at one end and a massive, horseshoe-shaped limestone cliff around the rest. There’s even a waterfall opposite the beach, a much Instagrammed locale at the preserve. Because everything is natural, swimming at Hamilton Pool is sometimes off-limits due to high levels of bacteria. Updates are available every morning at 9 a.m. by calling 512-264-2740.
Unfortunately, as is customary, the “secret” of Hamilton Pool was unearthed in recent years, correlating with both the large growth in population and the influx of tourism as a result of the innumerable festivals and conferences inside city limits. Wait times to even enter the park reached into multiple-hours on weekends and particularly nice days, with a large majority of late-arrivers being turned away because the preserve had hit capacity.
To combat this, a couple of years ago the Travis County Parks Department implemented a reservation system for the busy season. A reservation is required if you want to visit the pool between now and October 31, 2018—and that goes for each and every day of the week.
To make your reservation, click here. But before you do, please note the following super important fine print:
“You make your reservation online by paying $11 with a credit card. You will also pay $15 per vehicle in cash for an entrance permit when you arrive at the preserve. Credit cards are not accepted when you arrive at the preserve. Bring cash.
You can bring only one vehicle with each reservation. You can bring no more than 8 people with each reservation.
Your reservation receipt will be emailed to you very shortly after you make the reservation.
Reservation Periods: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., 2 p.m. – 6 p.m.
No entry after 12:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. All recreational activities end at 12:30 pm and 5:30 p.m.
All fees are non-refundable once you have paid them. The deadline to reschedule a reservation is midnight before your reservation. You cannot reschedule on the same date as your reservation.
Swimming is sometimes not allowed due to high bacteria. Swimming is NOT guaranteed with your reservation.”
Got all that? It may sound like a hassle, but we promise it’s all worth it! Get yourself a rezzy and make the most of this amazing spot.
Tonight, come take a night dip at the iconic Austin Motel pool on South Congress! They are having Night Swim Tuesday nights in July and August. Grab a drink and do yourself right with this idyllic Austin summer activity. Passes are $20 and can be purchased at the front desk.
When: Tuesdays this July & August
Time: 6 – 10 p.m.
1220 S Congress Ave.
Austin, Texas 78704
It’s all things free tonight—free yoga, free snacks, and a free swim at Barton Springs! Summer At The Springs is happening every Monday night through August on the Zilker hillside. Yoga teacher trainees will be leading the classes and getting you in the zone. Follow @practiceyogaaustin on Insta for updates on the weather.
When: Today, July 9th
Time: 7:30 – 10:00 p.m.
Barton Springs/Zilker park
2100 Barton Springs Road
Austin, TX 78704