Free things to do in Austin Archives - 365 Things to Do in Austin, TX

It’s still pretty nippy out there, but spring is barking at our door. Get ready by bringing some new life into your house! This is just what it sounds like. Swap your pots, seeds, and plants. If you don’t have any plants to swap, you can make a small donation (proceeds go to HOPE Farmers Market).

P.S. Street parking along the market is free on Sundays.

When: Today, February 11th

Time: 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Location:
HOPE Farmers Market
412 Comal Street
Austin, TX 78702

This is Antonelli’s Cheese Shop’s 8th year in a row to offer over 225 cheese plates at over ten Austin restaurants. Make sure to plan your work schedule around it and get there early, because each restaurant often “sells out” fast.

Each location starts handing out cheese plates at 5pm (or their earliest opening). Make sure to check out their website for details.  Happy Cheese-ing Austin!

FREE CHEESE WEEK SCHEDULE

Loot Rentals is proud to offer a day of free weddings to be held at the Loot Showroom and Warehouse on Valentine’s Day from 10 AM – 6 PM. The event is available for anyone that is ready to tie the knot or just exchange renewal vows all for free! All couples are welcome as the company is a strong believer that Love is Love. 

Couples will be able to enjoy:

For more details on how you can reserve your free Valentine’s Day wedding, click here! To make a wedding reservation, contact Loot Rentals at 512-464-1184 or hello@lootrentals.com.

When: Valentine’s Day

Time: 10am-6pm

Location:
Loot Rentals Showroom & Warehouse
3312 Duke Road
Austin, TX 78724

The Annual Community March celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy while uplifting diversity and multi-culturalism in our city. The MLK Community March kicks off with a short program at the MLK Statue on The University of Texas campus.

We will then march to the south steps of the State Capitol for a short program and marchers will continue on to the historic Huston-Tillotson University, where exciting activities are planned. All businesses, non-profit organizations and individuals are invited to march and celebrate Dr. King’s legacy.

When: Today, January 15th

Time: 9 a.m.

Click here for more information.

When most music fans talk about the Austin scene, South by Southwest (SXSW) and Austin City Limits Music Festival are what comes up usually. But there’s another, smaller music festival that has been taking place for over ten years in Austin, Free Week. Launched by Graham Williams (Margin Walker Presents) at the old Emo’s on Sixth and Red River, the event has mushroomed to most of the Red River venues Williams’ booking company works with and then some. The event runs through Sunday, Jan 7. 

Aside from Mohawk, Barracuda, Stubb’s, Cheer Up Charlie’s, Elysium,  The Sidewinder, Beerland, Swan Dive and Empire Control Room and Garage (all located on Red River or Seventh Street) The Sahara Lounge, Hotel Vegas, Volstead, Spiderhouse Ballroom, The Belmont, The Blackheart and more venues are also participating.  You really have no excuse to miss Free Week even if school nights are out, there’s a ton of shows to see Friday and Saturday. Free Week is here. 

There are more quality shows booked than we have room to recommend to you. For a more complete list of Free Week shows we like check out our author’s Do512 page. Incidentally, Do512 put together a fantastic all-female fronted band roster on Saturday. Details are below. On to our top picks listed by day beginning with tonight’s performances. 

Jan 3

Tonight’s lineup by The Loyalty Firm and Pull String Events at Barracuda is a doozy. Hard rockers, The Well, Residual Kid and The Ghost Wolves join our favorite post rock outfit my education, The Human Circuit, Built By Snow, Chill Russell, Cartright and Honey and Salt. Acts will appear on both the indoor and outdoor stages. 

Doors are at 7 p.m. with music starting at 8 p.m. The good news is temperatures are getting warmer today but you might feel the chill tonight so dress warm and if that doesn’t help, try the hot toddies at the outside bar. They kept us warm Monday night when we caught Semihelix to kick off Free Week. 

Room: INSIDE
830pm-9:10pm The Human Circuit
930pm-10:10pm Built By Snow
10:30pm-11:10pm Residual Kid
1130pm-12:20pm my education
1240am-1:40am The Ghost Wolves

Room: OUTSIDE
8pm-840pm Chill Russell
9pm-940pm Cartright
10pm-1040pm Honey and Salt
11pm-12am The Well

Other shows: 
Red River Cultural District and Heard Presents Ringo Deathstarr, The Halfways, Coattails, Teevee at Empire Control Room and Garage 7:30p

Tinnarose, Otis the Destroyer, Darkbird, Good Field, Hard Riffs at Hotel Vegas 9 p.m.

Jan 4

There are a raft of great lineups Thursday. It was difficult to choose a single show to feature but  Red River Cultural District and Heard Presents lineup is pretty hard to beat. The Garage roster alone with Whiskey Shivers, Sailor Poon, Booher, Poly Action would be worth braving the cold for yet, Otis the Destroyer, Megafauna, Leevees, Holy Knives, Hard Riffs and Rival Waves will all be inside the Control Room with a lot of loud guitars and energy.

Both Otis and Megafauna are perfect for fans of old school, hard charging guitar rock. Whiskey Shivers put on one of the best live shows in town. You can’t beat their energy. Sailor Poon’s Saturnalia Festival set was enough fun that we want more as soon as possible. If you make it early enough you’ll be wowed by Ray Garza’s Poly Action who kick off the festivities at 8 p.m. 

Garage

8 p.m. Poly Action
9 p.m. Booher
10 p.m. Sailor Poon
11 p.m. Whiskey Shivers

Control Room

9:15 p.m. Rival Waves

10:15 pm. Hard Riffs
11:15 p.m. Megafauna
12:15 p.m. Otis the Destroyer

1:15 a.m. Holy Knives

Other shows: 

The Void Martial Arts presents Riverboat Gamblers, American Sharks, Eagle Claw, Billy King and the Bad Bad Bad at Barracuda 8 p.m.

RRCD and C3 Presents Jackie Venson, Mobley, Melat at Stubb’s Inside 8 p.m. 

Jan 5

 

Sahara Lounge is entering the Free Week fray with a damn fine lineup Friday at 7 p.m. presented by High Brew Coffee and The Cosmic Clash. Headliner, BLXPTN might be one of Austin’s more underrated bands. The former duo of drummer and vocalist TaSzlin Muerte and guitarist, singer, and synth player Jonathan Horstmann added drummer Jeremy Kivett to the lineup recently, adding heft to an already formidable band that plays an amalgam of punk and electronic industrial with a politically-charged commentary. 

We caught Como Las Movies for the first time at Mosaic Sound Collective. They have a Latin-based sound that incorporates various styles. Similar to Money Chicha (some songs feature Cumbia) but a different arrangement with a four-piece band that gels together cohesively. Some songs sound like a film soundtrack hence the moniker. 

The rest of the lineup is just as solid with Major Grizz, Sometimes a Legend, Dead Recipe, Sun June and The Midnight Drive. There will be a limited supply of free High Brew Coffee available. Food truck Pakal will offer healthy Mexican specialties. Bonus: plenty of free parking.

Dead Recipe 7:15p

Sun June 8:15p

BLXPLTN 9:45pm

Como Las Movies 10:45p

Major Grizz 11:45p-12:30p

Sometimes a Legend 12:45a

The Midnight Drive 1:35a

Other shows: 

RRCD and Side One Track One presents Los Coast, Emily Wolfe, Otis the Destroyer, Palo Duro, Marmalakes, Growl, Lola Tried at Mohawk 8p

Holy Wave, Diamond Center, Hidden Ritual, Leather Girls, Teevee at Cheer Up Charlie’s 10p 

Jan 6

Do512 put together a stellar all-female fronted band lineup at Valhalla (Red River bet. Seventh and Eighth St.) Saturday. Our shoegaze/psych rock favorites Moving Panoramas will be joined by Lowin, Go Fever and Vonne. Speaking from experience, you’ll really enjoy this show if you make it out. 

Leslie Sisson of Moving Panoramas is a true talent as her appearance at the Texas State History Museum with Invincible Czars and an 80-person choir behind her demonstrated. The version of her song, Harmony that was presented left even Sisson in tears. 

Lowin and Go Fever represent more great rock created by women. Sara Hauser of Lowin has long been a part of the local scene. She’s making great new music. We caught Go Fever’s Acey Monaro solo at the Project ATX 6 Gala. The Australian rocker is really fun to watch with her entire band too. We’re looking forward to this one. 

Other shows:

Quiet Company, Day Shifters, Super Thief, BLXPLTN at Barracuda 8p

RRCD and Penny Loafer PR presents Calliope Musicals, Darkbird, Whiite Walls, Megafauna, Meanswell, A Sinclair, etc at Mohawk 8p. 

These days between Christmas and New Year’s are laaaaazy, but we like it that way. And since you officially have nothing to do, we thought it would be a good time to highlight a few non-holiday-related things to do in the city for when you have some serious time to kill. Your first stop, if you haven’t made it there yet, should be Austin’s new and glorious Central Library. For bookworms and architecture buffs, and really anyone with a pulse, it is truly something magical to behold. And this could be an ideal time to explore the almost 200,000-square-foot downtown building without all the crowds.

“We all thought of the building as this great portal,” architect David Lake told the Austin Chronicle in October, “… to knowledge, to the environment, to the culture—so in that way it’s by far the most public-spirited building we’ve done—not only in Austin but anywhere.” Go check out our city’s newest landmark for yourself. It will be time well spent.

Hours today: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Location:

710 W. César Chávez St.

As part of Hotel Van Zandt’s 12 Days of Christmas celebration, they’re creating an adorable holiday photo op for your pup—a picture with Santa Paws! So dress your little guy in his favorite Christmas sweater and head down to the Rainey Street District to make some memories. From now until December 14, there are all kinds of free events happening at the hotel, in what they call, “The Living Room.” It’s basically every great holiday activity packed into one place. Plus, each night there will be a roaring fire, vinyl holiday records playing in the background, a hot toddy bar, and light snacks for purchase.

When: Today, December 10th

Time: noon

Location:
605 Davis St.
Austin, TX 78701

We’ve done just about everything for Christmas in Austin, but we’ve mostly been limited to land activites—until now! Tonight is Austin’s first annual Boat Trail of Lights! Hopefully this has the makings of a longstanding tradition that will get bigger and crazier every year. Call that friend of yours with a boat and get organized. Decorate the boat (and/or your body) with holiday spirit and lights and meet under the 360 Bridge. Boaters will hit the lights at 6 p.m. sharp, and listen to holiday music.

Boaters and spectators will need to pay normal entrance fees at the bridge. The city can accept cash and checks only and it costs $15 for a truck and trailer, $10 for a vehicle, and $3 for anyone who walks into the park to watch the fun.

If you are planning on launching at the 360 Bridge, message the page Boat Trail of Lights and let the organizers know (this is important!). They need to make sure everyone isn’t coming at once.

When: Today, December 9th

Time: 6 – 8 p.m.

Location:
Lake Austin
Austin, TX 78701

It’s December and we are officially going crazy for Christmas in Austin. Ring in the season at this free, family-friendly event that celebrates the arrival of the holiday season and the joy it brings. Enjoy live music from local favorites like Riders Against the Storm, Jane Ellen Bryant, Charlie Faye and the Fayettes, Gina Chavez, and more.

They’ll also be a ton of great activities for the kids like face painting, ornament making, carnival games, and gingerbread decorating! Plus the big guy will be there—all the way from the North Pole.

When: Today, December 2nd

Time: 5 – 9 p.m.

Location:
1100 Congress Avenue
Austin, TX 78701

It’s the big one! Tonight, the Christmas season officially kicks off in Austin with the lighting of our beloved Zilker Tree. Enjoy local entertainment, food, live music, and more tonight for this special occasion. The tree stands 155 feet tall and is made of 39 streamers, each holding 81 multicolored, 25-watt bulbs—totaling 3,309 lights.

The tree will be on display nightly from until December 31 from 6 p.m. – midnight. Don’t forget that area roads will be closed as thousands visit the Trail of Lights. It’s totally worth the trouble, but make sure you plan ahead!

When: Today, November 26th

Time: 5:30 – 11:00 p.m.

Location:
Zilker Park
Barton Springs Road