Random Fun Archives - 365 Things to Do in Austin, TX

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!

 

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.

Get There
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.

Get In
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!

Go Cashless
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.

Hydrate!
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.

How are you getting to ACL this year? Have you thought about this yet? Well, no need to stress! There’s a way to drive down there without dealing with the hassle of parking. Back by popular demand—it’s car2go’s famous Drop Zone! This is a magical parking area exclusively for car2go members during both festival weekends.

If you don’t know by now, car2go is a free-floating carsharing service that lets you locate one of over 300 car2go Mercedes-Benz vehicles around the Austin core “Home Area” with the car2go app, unlock the vehicle straight from the app, then drop it off anywhere in the Home Area. The entire fleet of car2go vehicles in Austin are Mercedes-Benz CLA and GLA models.

It is some of the closest free parking you can come by and the zone will be fully staffed so that cars are circulated and there is always room for incoming members to park. They’ll also have free coffee so you can get all energized and fest-ready. More on that below.

This year’s Drop Zone is at the brand new Carpenter Hotel at  400 Josephine St. 78704. The entrance is on Jesse St.

This will be the first time the hotel is open to the public, and car2go will be offering all members who use the Drop Zone vouchers for free coffee at the hotel coffee bar (up to $5 a person, from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. while supplies last). From there it’s just a 10-minute walk right into ACL.

Download the car2go app and use the code 365CAR2GO for free registration and $10 in driving credit to get you started. Taxes and fees apply. See you at ACL, people!

 

The Gruene Music & Wine Festival + Craft Beer Event, which began way back in 1986, is a four-day festival with four distinct events to offer. This long weekend of fun in one of the most charming and historic parts of Texas is a celebration Americana music, wine, craft beer, food, and local makers. There will be more than 90 Texas wines and 75 Texas craft beers for tasting, so come thirsty. Everyone from Shinyribs to Clint Black and Emmylou Harris has played this iconic event.

Since its founding, the fest has always benefited the Comal County United Way, a charity whose mission is to improve the quality of life for locals by generating resources to meet the needs of the community.

Check out the day-by-day details below and click here to get your tickets! If you haven’t been to Gruene, this will be the perfect intro to a true Texas gem.

When: October 4th – 7th

Location:
Gruene Historic District

THURSDAY: KICKOFF EVENT

  • Specially curated wine & beer tasting
  • Live Music
  • VIP Tickets Available
  • 21+ only

FRIDAY: ROCKIN’ WITH TEXAS WINE & FOOD

  • Private show & meet ‘n’ greet with Aaron Watson
  • Wine tasting by three of Texas’ best vineyards
  • Catered Dinner by The Gristmill River Restaurant & Bar
  • The Great Guitar Auction

SATURDAY: TEXAS TASTINGS & TUNES

  • 90+ wines for tasting
  • Live music
  • Artisan Market
  • 21+ only

SUNDAY: + CRAFT BEER EVENT & MUSIC FEST

  • Over 75 craft beers for tastings & wines for purchase
  • 8+ hours of live Texas tunes
  • Artisan Market
  • 21+ only event!

Whalebone Magazine‘s Dive Bar Issue is dropping this month, and to celebrate, they’re doing a national dive bar tour that will hit Austin tonight! Our stop on the tour is, naturally, one of the best in the business—Donn’s Depot. RSVP right here so you don’t miss all the divey fun.

If you don’t subscribe to Whalebone, you totally should because they have awesome content like—oh hey look!—this handy guide to Austin featuring 365’s own Jason Neff.

When: Today, September 18th

Time: 8 – 11 p.m.

Location:
Donn’s Depot
1600 W 5th St.
Austin, Texas 78703

Irene’s is going all out for the first Longhorn Football game of the season! Come hang on their patio and watch UT vs. Maryland in style! The fun and the football kick-off at 11 a.m. so get there early to grab a good spot. Enjoy food and drink specials, a raffle giveaway, and St Elmo Brewing Company’s limited edition of their “Darrell” burnt-orange ale. Hook ’em!!

When: Today, September 1st

Time: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Location:
Irene’s
506 West Ave
Austin, Texas 78701

Live music, dozens of breweries, best buds, and barbecue. What more could a group of friends want?

Although Austin may seem like an unlikely contender for a bachelor party, The Live Music Capital of the World, has more to offer than meets the eye. More affordable than destinations like Las Vegas and brimming with bars, venues, and restaurants, Austin is the perfect place for groups to celebrate a last hurrah.

Enjoy the breweries, local barbeque and the company of your favorite people while traveling around the city. Plan a boys’ weekend out on the town with a swank hotel and a private bus for an easy and entertainment-filled bash.

 

Regardless of hotel location, Austin Charter Bus Company can accommodate bachelor groups of all sizes throughout their entire time in town. Austin Charter Bus Company has experience transporting groups across Texas for wedding events, field trips, corporate events, and more.

Traveling in a large group usually means having to call a fleet of Ubers or renting multiple vehicles with designated drivers. Why go through all that trouble? Charter buses come in various models to fit every size of bachelor group and include professional drivers. So you’ll have a built-in designated driver by your group’s side to enjoy the long night in Austin.

Book Luxe Lodging

Choose a hotel in the heart of Austin near bustling Sixth Street and central to all the downtown hotspots. The Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt, JW Marriott Austin, and W Austin are a few hotels in the downtown area perfect for a large groups looking to experience the city to the fullest. These luxury hotels include premium amenities and are easy driving or even walking distance to top nightlife spots in downtown.

Pick Your Poison

Whether your group wants to visit a brewery or distillery, or even just hit bars and lounges, Austin has multiple spots in the downtown and surrounding areas.

Jester King Brewing is a local staple for good brews and a good time with friends. The brewery is located a half hour ride from the city and offers free tours on the weekends. Banger’s Sausage House and Beer Garden offers plenty of drinks, food, live music, and outdoor seating for large groups in the city’s hip Rainey Street area. Austin Beerworks, Blue Owl Brewing, and The ABGB are also great contenders for groups looking to enjoy a few craft beers. Bachelor groups in Treaty Oak Distillery and Deep Eddy Vodka Distillery are also top choices for groups who may want distillery tours and drinks with more of a bite.

Bachelor party groups looking for bars, lounges and music venues will find no shortage of options in Austin. If your group looking for “classic Austin nightlife”, look no further than the spots along Sixth Street (aka “Dirty Sixth”). Maggie Mae’s, Midnight Cowboy, Jackalope, and Easy Tiger are just a few of many spots to stop in the area. If you’re looking for bars with a more intimate feel and plenty of outdoor space, head over to Rainey Street for a good time at Craft Pride, Bungalow, Half Step, and more.

Grab Some Famous BBQ

It’s difficult to visit Austin without getting famous barbecue under your belt. Franklin BBQ is for patient groups willing to wait for some mouth-watering and top-rate brisket. It isn’t uncommon for customers to wait in line for hours, so don’t come too hungry. If your group isn’t feeling a long wait, check out La Barbecue or Stiles Switch BBQ.

Enjoy the Outdoors

Groups looking to explore the outdoors in Austin have the opportunity to hit the rivers around Austin. Fill up a cooler (no glass or styrofoam containers) and rent tubes to float and party along the San Marcos River, Guadalupe River, or Comal River. These river destinations range from around 30 to 60 miles from Austin. Renting a private charter bus through Austin Charter Bus Company gives groups the freedom to travel wherever they’d like in the area.

About Austin Charter Bus Company

Austin Charter Bus Company is part of a state-wide network focusing on providing quality and efficient rental buses to traveling groups. The company offers reliable transportation for all types of groups and tailors each rental to specific travel needs. Groups looking to travel beyond Texas may also explore national rental options. Rental representatives are available 24/7 at 512-215-4891 to assist anyone looking to book a charter bus or minibus for special occasions.

Tiny is in! The concept of minimal living has taken off in recent years and now enthusiasts of the less-than lifestyle are coming together to learn from experts and one another. If you’ve contemplated purging your giant wedding Koozie collection and old pots and pans from college and going stylishly tiny, this is the event for you!

The Tiny House & Simple Living Jamboree is coming to Austin later this month and is the place where enthusiasts, lifestyle advocates,  and industry professionals will come together. Come celebrate the best that simple living has to offer: mindful practices, eco-friendly products and services, and of course, one-of-a-kind tiny houses and small living structures.

More than just a festival, the Jamboree aims to raise awareness about the small-living movement, re-address how we look at housing, educate about the latest developments across the nation, and serve as a platform to discuss issues such as affordability and attainability in the housing market.

If you’re totally committed or just a tiny bit curious—come check it all out for yourself.

When: August 23rd – 26th, 2018

Location:
Travis County Expo Center
7311 Decker Ln.
Austin, TX 78724

South Congress is a bustling street just below the river and Downtown Austin where you can spend an entire day without even hitting a side street. If you’re new in town or want to get an efficient taste of the city in one straight shot, here is a tried-and-true itinerary for this super-famous part of town …

Start with brunch at Perla’s. “A seafood restaurant for brunch?” you say, exasperated. Yes. You’ll see. Order the Crab Florentine, a twist on the classic eggs benedict, except, you know, with crab instead. Wash it down with a bloody mary, and yes, add a cocktail shrimp for a couple bucks extra, if only for the Instagram picture you’ll take.

Next, it’s time for some shopping. SoCo is home to a ton of vintage stores. Feathers is always a good bet. And check out Prototype Vintage where you may find that rare Iron Maiden tour T-shirt you’ve been looking for. Men of all ages flock to Stag, a heralded menswear boutique stocking everything from swim trunks and henleys to cologne and flasks. Need some cowboy boots? Allens. A Day of the Dead wedding cake topper? Tesoros. Your shopping needs are covered on just this one street.

After a long day of shopping, refuel at Jo’s coffee shop for an iced turbo, which is exactly what it sounds like: a cold drink that provides a big boost. Sit outside and people-watch; it’s a hallmark of South Congress. If you want to look like a tourist, take a picture in front of the “I Love You So Much” wall out back.

Hop right next door after you’re caffeinated to the Hotel San Jose’s outdoor patio. It’s time for a drink. Order a michelada with Modelo or a glass of rose and relax. If it’s time for another meal already, dinner at the legendary Guero’s Taco Bar is never a bad idea.

Whew. OK, you’re off to C-Boy’s Heart & Soul, a hip, double-decker bar near the intersection of Oltorf and South Congress. On any given night, a soul or blues band will be playing inside, and the outdoor patio is one of the best in town. Have an extra cocktail or beer, because the night is about to get pretty crazy.

Next stop, yes, is Ego’s.

Is it kind of a cluster? Is everyone inside very drunk? Is it located at the bottom of a parking garage? Yes, yes, and yes, but it’s also an Austin rite of passage to wobble into Ego’s for a late-night karaoke session. Tip the DJ if you want to sing your heart out to Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” before closing. You’ll be glad you did.