There’s no place quite like Austin, Texas. At AQUILA, we love living in the “Live Music Capital of the World” and exploring all that our incredible city has to offer.

With countless events and local must-do’s, it can be tough keeping track of exactly what’s happening each month. That’s why we’ve pulled together our Austin expertise for this comprehensive month-by-month guide to all the major annual events that take place in Austin.

From New Year’s Day to New Year’s Eve, there’s something for everyone year round. Events include food and music festivals, races, shopping bazaars and more.

 

January

Polar Bear Splash at Barton Springs Pool

 

Polar Bear Plunge at Barton Springs in Austin, Texas | What to do in January in Austin

The Polar Bear Splash at Barton Springs Pool. Photo courtesy of the Austin American Statesman.

 

This decades-old tradition continues. Splashing into the 68 degree water of Barton Springs pool (which is usually warmer than the air at this time of year) is a favorite way for Austinites to dive into the new year!

When: January 1, 2018, always on New Year’s Day

Where: Barton Springs Pool

First Thursdays on South Congress begins (All Year)

 

South Congress First Thursday | What to Do in January in Austin, Texas

First Thursdays take place each month along South Congress Avenue. Photo courtesy of TripSavvy.

 

Make sure to visit the iconic South Congress strip on the first Thursday of every month. Relax and enjoy drink specials, discounts, and live music. Shop until you drop with local vendor pop-up shops and stores open until 10PM. The South Congress Hotel also hosts a live DJ and food trucks.

When: January 4, 2018, continues on the first Thursday of every month

Where: South Congress Avenue

For more about what to do on South Congress, check out our blog post and infographic: An Insider’s Guide to South Congress Avenue.

3M Half Marathon

Known as the “fast half”, the 3M Half Marathon hosts over 7,000 runners and leads them throughout Austin’s greatest sites. The participants run through Austin’s weirdest and most-loved neighborhoods, The University of Texas’ campus, and the Capitol. There is live music and the Longhorn Band as well as plenty of food trucks to enjoy at the finish line!

When: January 21st, 2018

Where: Start line: Capital of Texas Hwy, near the Arboretum; Finish line: Texas State Capitol

Le Garage Sale (Spring & Fall)

Every January and August, hundreds of Austinites line up to get incredible deals on clothes, accessories, home decor and furniture from 80+ local businesses. Top-tier boutiques and local stores bring their signature selection and excess inventory together under one roof. Enjoy bargain hunting while enjoying coffee, cocktails and a high energy atmosphere.

When: January 27-28, 2018, typically the last weekend of January 

Where: Palmer Events Center

 

February

Austin Marathon

 

The Austin Marathon | What to do in Austin, Texas in February

The Austin Marathon starts and ends in front of the Texas State Capitol Building. Photo courtesy of Larry D. Moore.

 

This is the Superbowl for Austin runners! See the iconic landmarks such as the UT Tower, the “I Love You Mural” and Lady Bird Lake while traversing a number of Austin’s most iconic neighborhoods such as South Congress and Hyde Park.

Cheering crowds encourage the athletes throughout the race, but are especially loud as the runners close in on the finish line in front of the Texas State Capitol on historic Congress Ave. If running’s not your speed, grab some friends, a cup of coffee and a cowbell to join in on the fun.

The Austin Marathon has grown to become the 25th largest marathon in the USA, attracting top endurance athletes from around the globe. But don’t worry, there are plenty of tutu-clad athletes just in it for the story and the unique belt buckle medal!

When: Sunday, February 18th, 2018

Where: Start & Finish Line: Congress Avenue

Local Insight

Uber is often jammed in the morning before the race (some runners reported 30 minute waits!), so allot enough time to to get to the starting line, or ask a friend or family member to take you.

Also, many nearby restaurants give discounts to participants who come in for brunch after the race. Wear your medal with pride and be sure to ask your server if they have any specials!

Austin Oyster Festival

Whether you like your oysters raw, grilled, roasted or fried, the Austin Oyster Festival has an oyster for you. Various seafood, wine, craft beer and specialty cocktails are also available, which, paired with live Cajun and bluegrass music, makes for a great afternoon.

When: February 24, 2018

Where: The Lawn at Seaholm

 

March

Amplify Austin

Amplify Austin is the annual designated 24-hour community-wide day of online giving.  In 2018, Amplify Austin raised more than $10 million for more than 700 local nonprofits.

When: March 1st – 2nd, 2018

Where: Online

Local Insight

This is one of AQUILA’s favorite days of the year. Each year, the company matches employee donations to help amplify each employee’s philanthropic efforts.

ABC Kite Festival

 

Austin Kite Festival | What to do in Austin, Texas in March

The Austin Kite Festival is an spring tradition in Austin. Photo courtesy of abckitefest.org.

 

The ABC Kite Festival in Zilker Park offers activities for all ages, including the traditional kite flying contest, a fun run and a children’s music concert called Moss Fest.

Swing into spring and join thousands of Austinites at Zilker Park for a free, all-day event filled with kite making and flying.

Originally founded as a kite contest in 1929, this annual kite festival was designed to spur creativity in Austin children and is now one of the country’s longest running festival of its kind. The ABC Kite Fest is one of Austin’s most beloved, family-friendly traditions.

When: March 4th, 2018, typically the first Sunday in March

Where: Zilker Park

Local Insight

Even if you don’t bring a kite, this festival is the perfect excuse to pack a picnic and enjoy the sunshine with friends or family.

SXSW

SXSW is a world-renown film, interactive technology and music festival that takes over downtown Austin for 10 days. It attracts hundreds of thousands of creative and curious minds alike. The overall festival is actually divided into three main micro festivals, SXSW Interactive, SXSW Film, SXSW Music.

SXSW Interactive

Exhibitors from around the world give a glimpse of the future at the Trade Show and Technology Exhibition Hall while speakers provide insight on a wide variety of trends and topics in numerous TED Talk style sessions. Explore sessions that dive into brands & marketing, design, code & programming, government, health & wellness,intelligent future, style and workplace.

SXSW Film Festival

The Film Festival celebrates raw innovation and emerging talent from both behind and in front of the camera. Featuring dramas, documentaries, comedies, genre standouts, and more, the festival has become known for the high caliber, diverse films presented, and for its enthusiastic audiences.

SXSW Music

 

SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas | What to do in March

SXSW Music features live music at venues across downtown Austin. Photo courtesy of SXSW.

 

Each year the SXSW Music Festival hosts a curated mix of artists performing in bars, clubs, parks, churches, hotels, and more. Hundreds of up-and-coming music artists play at venues all over the downtown district from early afternoon late into each night. Not limited in genre or regional focus, audiences can enjoy a variety of musical styles.

When: March 9-18, 2018

Where: Downtown Austin

Local Insight

Outside the event, hundreds of unofficial events, parties and networking goes on throughout the week. If you get an invite – go! These are great opportunities to connect, see the local side of Austin, and have fun.

Also, with so many people downtown, rideshares can be hard to come by or may have a surge fee. If you’re a local, it may make more sense to drive yourself – the parking garages near the convention center often have open parking spots if you get there in the morning.

Rodeo Austin

Austin hosts one of the Top 10 Pro Rodeos every March. Top-ranking athletes in bareback riding, steer wrestling, roping and mutton-bustin’ compete nightly for the championship.

Following the the rodeo events each night is a concert from chart topping country artists (and more). 2018 performers include Dwight Yoakam, Josh Turner, and the Beach Boys. Come early to partake in the fairgrounds, the livestock show, a petting zoo, pony rides and much more for the whole family.

When: March 10-24th, 2018

Where: Travis County Expo Center

Local Insight

If you’re headed out with a large group, it can be a time and money save to rent a bus because parking can be tricky/expensive!

And be sure to use the opportunity to wear your cowboy boots or other closed toed shoes, as much of the fare ground is dirt.

Dell Match Play World Golf Championship

 

Dell Match Play Tournament in Austin, Texas | What to do in March

The Dell Match Play World Golf Championship is played at the Austin Country Club overlooking Lake Austin. Photo courtesy of Dell Match Play.

 

One of the most prestigious PGA Tour tournaments in the world, Dell Match Play is where you can find many of golf’s brightest stars on one course. After previously being held in San Francisco and Arizona, the tournament made the move to Austin in 2016 and plans to remain at the Austin Country Club through at least 2019. The Dell Match Play is a unique experience – with Lake Austin as the backdrop, the weekend attracts golf lovers and socialites alike.

When:  March 21 – 25, 2018

Where: Austin Country Club (4408 Long Champ Drive)

Local Insight

Getting a rideshare at the end of the day is hard to come by. For easy access to and from, coordinate a ride with a friend or family member beforehand or recruit a group to rent a shuttle.

Hot Air Balloons at Horseshoe Bay

 

Balloons over Horse Shoe Bay in Austin, Texas | What to Do in Austin in March

Balloons over Horseshoe Bay outside of Austin. Photo courtesy of Texashillcountry.com.

 

Horseshoe Bay Resort’s annual Balloon Festival is a treat for the whole family! The festival brings over 20 beautiful hot air balloons, plus local Hill Country wine vendors, live music and entertainers for a weekend full of fun. There are additional activities for resort club members and guests, including an Easter egg hunt on Easter morning.

When: March 31st-April 1st, 2018, usually falls on Easter weekend

Where: Horseshoe Bay Resort (45 minutes west of Austin)

Local Insight

Great Easter weekend for the family! While the kids play, adults can enjoy the VIP party and lunch tickets.

 

April

Round Rock Express Season (continues through September)

 

Dell Diamond in Round Rock Texas | What to do in April in Austin, Texas - Round Rock Express

Watch the Round Rock Express play at Dell Diamond all summer long. Photo courtesy of The Sports Capital of Texas.

The Round Rock Express is Austin’s premier baseball team. As an affiliate of the Texas Rangers and founded by none other than Nolan Ryan and family, this team is primed for Texas lovers and locals alike.

When: April 2nd, 2018, with games continuing through September

Where: Dell Diamond 

Austin Fashion Week

 

Austin Fashion Week | What to do in April in Austin, Texas

Austin Fashion Week is one of the largest fashion events in Texas. Photo courtesy of Community Impact.

 

Fashion X Austin is the largest week of fashion events in the state of Texas and the 4th largest fashion week concept in the United States. Fashion X features  events hosted by boutiques, retailers, salons, spas and gallery spaces around town. With most events free and open to the public, you are able to party hop across Austin and while visiting trunk shows, mini runway events, designer showcases and more.

When: April 6-7th 2018

Where: Vault Space

Cap10K

The Statesman Capitol 10K is the largest 10K race in Texas and one of the top 10 in the nation. Whether you’re a seasoned runner or a beginner, the Cap10K is a rite of spring in Austin since 1978. Costumes are welcome, so come participate in your favorite superhero get-up with family and friends!

When: April 8th, 2018

Where: Start line: Congress Ave; Finish line and festival: Vic Mathias Shores

Local Insight

It is always fun to participate in the costume contest with family or friends- tutus are always a big hit!

Unplugged at the Grove (continues through September)

 

Unplugged at the Grove | What to do in Summer in Austin, TX

Unplugged at the Grove is one of Austin’s classic free live music events. Photo courtesy of KGSR.

 

For 25 years KGSR has hosted Unplugged at the Grove with free live music every Thursday evening at the iconic Shady Grove on Barton Springs Road. Make this your weekly summer ritual! With 23 consecutive weeks of the best live music, food, and fun you’ll experience under the warm skies of Austin, you can’t go wrong.

Did we mention there is no cover charge? All ages are welcome to attend, and 21+ can enjoy drink specials.

When: April 12, 2018, continues most Thursdays through September

Where: Shady Grove (1624 Barton Springs Rd)

Local Insight

Get there early and bring a blanket or lawn chairs so you can get a spot on the lawn. It fills up fast, especially when there is a well-known musician playing. Rideshare or carpool because parking can be tough!

Bluebonnet Festival

There’s something for everyone at the Bluebonnet Festival! The festival is held in Burnet, Texas (just 75 minutes outside of Austin) and is known as the “most exciting small-town festival in Texas”.

The annual Bluebonnet Festival features live music, a parade, a 5K and 10K Fun Run, pet parade, demolition derby, car show, gunfighters old town shootout, duck derby, bike decorating contest, weiner dog race, wildflower show, arts and crafts, and more (if you can believe it!)

When: April 13-15 2018, always the second weekend of April

Where: Burnet, TX

Austin Reggae Festival

The Austin Reggae Festival is the event for the Reggae or world-infused music lover. While showing your support for the genre, you can also help raise funds for the Capital Area Food Bank, visit artisan vendors and purchase unique gifts. This Reggae-filled event promises to inspire guests with uplifting music that serves to teach a message of community support and peace.

When: April 20-22, 2018

Where: Auditorium Shores

Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas

 

Red Bull Grand Prix in Austin, Texas | What to do in April

Many of the world’s top motorcyclists venture to Texas for the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas. Photo courtesy of Chad Wadsworth.

 

Circuit of the Americas (COTA) hosts the only North American round of the world’s premier motorcycle racing championship, drawing many of the world’s best motorcyclists to Texas. Austin’s keen love for motorcycles coupled with COTA’s cutting edge racing facility ensures that audiences can expect a fun-filled weekend of world class two-wheeled excitement alongside an incredible schedule of off-track entertainment.

When: April 20-22, 2018

Where: Circuit of the Americas (9201 Circuit of the Americas Blvd)

Local Insight

If you are sensitive to loud noises, bring earplugs;  the motorcycles can be loud as they fly by.

Mack, Jack & McConaughey

With award-winning actor and local Matthew McConaughey, ACM award-winning recording artist Jack Ingram, and ESPN analyst and University of Texas coaching legend Mack Brown, this two-day non-profit gala and concert series raises millions each year for youth organizations. Some of the fun events include a golf tournament, a fashion show hosted by Camila Alves McConaughey, and a concert with an unmatched line-up.

When: April 25-26, 2019

Where: ACL Live at Moody Theater  

Austin Food & Wine Festival

 

Austin Food and Wine Festival | What to do in April

The Austin Food and Wine festival is a great way to taste food and beverages from local and national chefs. Photo courtesy of Go Banking Rates.

 

The annual three-day Austin Food + Wine Festival features a wide array of creations from nationally acclaimed chefs to local favorites. All weekend, you can indulge in a schedule of hands-on grilling demos, up-close tastings with top chefs and sommeliers, and more, while listening to live music in the park.

When: April 27-29, 2018

Where: Auditorium Shores at Town Lake

Local Insight

The grilling demos are the best part of the weekend! 200 fired-up grills with skirt steaks, NY strips, filets and crispy broccolini make any line worth the wait.

Eeyore’s Birthday

Since the mid-1960s, Eeyore’s Birthday Party has been a beloved Austin tradition that celebrates the birthday of Eeyore from the treasured Winnie the Pooh books. This free festival acts as a fundraiser benefiting local non-profit groups and features live music, drumming circles and games for the whole family. Costumes are encouraged, and contests offer prizes for the wackiest and most whimsical ensembles.

When: April 28, 2018, usually the last Saturday of April

Where: Pease District Park

Local Insight

Events are more child-friendly towards the beginning of the day!

 

May

Pecan Street Festival (Spring & Fall)

 

Pecan Street Festival in Austin, Texas | What to do in May

Pecan Street Festival takes place along 6th Street each spring and fall. Photo courtesy of Yelp.

 

The Pecan Street Festival is one of the largest, and longest-running, arts/crafts and music festivals in the nation. Like Austin itself, the Pecan Street Festival is eclectic. Some come to buy art, others come for the food or the music, but they all come to take part in a tradition that is 100% Austin.

When: May 5th-6th, 2018, always the first Saturday and Sunday in May

Where: Sixth Street Historic District

Blues on the Green (continues through August)

 

Blues on the Green in Austin, Texas | What to do this summer

Blues on the Green brings free music to Zilker Park throughout the summer. Photo courtesy of KGSR.

 

An Austin summer tradition, Blues on the Green is a music series at Zilker Park. Each show starts at 8pm and pairs two Austin artists together for a crowd-pleasing show on the lawn. What started as a celebration of the blues has evolved into a diverse showcase for Austin-based artists of a variety of genres, from country and rock to singer-songwriters, large Latin music ensembles and yes, good ol’ fashioned blues.

When: May 23rd, 2018, continues June 13th, July 18th, and August 8th.

Where: Zilker Park

Local Insight

Get a group together, bring a cooler with snack and refreshments, and set up a picnic blanket to enjoy the show. Dogs and children encouraged! There are also various food vendors set up.

 

June

Republic of Texas (ROT) Biker Rally

 

ROT Rally in Austin, Texas | What to do in June in Austin

ROT Rally brings motorcycle enthusiasts together in Austin, Texas for live music, bike shows and events. Photo courtesy of ROT Rally.

 

Year after year, The Republic Of Texas Biker Rally bring motorcycle enthusiasts to Austin to see some of the best motorcycle acts and attractions in the country. ROT Rally has something for every motorcycle lover to enjoy! This year will feature a night parade and party, a MotoRide, wrestling, bike giveaways, hundreds of vendors, and three nights of incredible music like ZZ Top, Shooter Jennings and the Dirty River Boys.

When: June 7-10th, 2018

Where: Travis County Expo Center

Local Insight

This can be one of the busiest weekends of the year in downtown Austin. Be sure to plan ahead if you’re headed into the central downtown area.

Maudie’s Moonlight Margarita Run

This run is a 5k course along the streets bordering Lady Bird Lake. All 21+ runners are greeted at the finish line with a margarita! There is also a post-race party with a catered dinner from Maudie’s Tex-Mex (this costs extra to attend).

When: June 7, 2018

Where: Start & Finish Line: Seaholm Power Plant

Local Insight

The run usually starts around 8pm so plan on eating dinner after (or something light before). The margaritas at the end are small but taste delicious!

Fun Stop 5K & Fest

 

Costumes are encouraged at this just-for-fun 5K. Photo courtesy of Fun Stop 5K.

Costumes are encouraged at this just-for-fun 5K. Photo courtesy of Fun Stop 5K.

 

Formerly known as the Keep Austin Weird Fest & 5K, this is the slowest 5K on the planet! Slip into your weirdest costume, slap on your favorite light up running shoes, and throw your timer into Lady Bird Lake! This is an afternoon full of groovy music, refreshing beverages, delicious food, engaging vendors, adorable armadillos and even a Willie Nelson hair braiding station. The Fun Stop 5k is essentially a walk-through festival with drink stations, slip n’ slides, local bands, and much more. It is sure to be your favorite “race” of the year!

When: June 23rd, 2018

Where: Riverside Drive in front of the Long Center

 

July

Austin Symphony 4th of July

 

July 4 in Austin, Texas | How to celebrate

The city lights up on Independence Day with fireworks over Lady Bird Lake. Photo courtesy of Austin360.

 

Austin Symphony July 4th Concert and Fireworks is an Austin tradition. Free fireworks, a live performance with great food and drinks, and a variety of local arts & crafts vendors make this a one-stop July 4th family must!

When: July 4th, 2018

Where: Vic Mathias Shores

Local Insight

Bring your own chair or blanket. Parking can be tough, but nearby TxDOT parking lots are free for the holiday.

Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic

Join Willie Nelson and friends to celebrate the 4th of July by gathering together for his annual 4th of July Picnic. For the fourth year in a row, the event will be held at the Circuit of the Americas speedway just south of Austin, and will include many Austin favorites and Nelson family members in the lineup, as well as other special guests.

When: July 4th, 2018

Where: Austin360 Amphitheater at Circuit of the Americas

 

August

Bat Fest

 

Bat Fest in Austin, Texas | What to do in Austin in August

Bat Fest on the Congress Bridge is a celebration of the millions of bats that call Austin home. Photo courtesy of The Trail Foundation.

 

If you live in Austin, you know that 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats emerge from under Congress bridge at dusk every day. This festival celebrates this uniquely Austin natural phenomenon with three stages worth of live music, more than 75 arts & crafts vendors, delicious food and drinks, fun children’s activities, a bat costume contest and other bat activities.

When: August 18th, 2018

Where: Congress Ave Bridge

Hot Sauce Festival

Each year, more than 15,000 people return to Fiesta Gardens to try hundreds of different types of hot sauce during this one-day event. With more than 350 varieties of hot sauce represented, you can expect to feel the burn. Beyond the sauce, the festival also features plenty of food and live music.

The festival is free to the public, but make sure to bring non-perishable food items to donate to the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas. As the primary charity for the event, the Hot Sauce Festival has been able to serve more than 40,000 meals from these donations alone!

When: 2018 Dates are TBD, 2017 date was August 20

Where: Fiesta Gardens (2101 Jesse E Segovia Street)

Local Insight

Take the morning to walk or bike the trail around Lady Bird Lake and end at Fiesta Gardens for the afternoon!

Quesoff at The Mohawk

Around thirty vendors of all shapes and sizes – local restaurants, top chefs, home-cooks, and neighbors will all go head-to-head in four categories – Meaty, Spicy, Veggie and Wild Card. Over the years, the variety of queso offered at The Quesoff has been nothing short of extraordinary from queso ice cream to tandoori queso and everything in between. This is must-do for all queso lovers!

When: 2018 Dates are TBD, 2017 date was August 26th

Where: Mohawk Austin (912 Red River Street)

September

Texas Football Season (continues through November)

 

Texas Football | What to do in Austin, Texas

A Texas Longhorn football game is Austin tradition in the fall. Photo courtesy of Texas HS Football.

 

Longhorn fan or not, there is nothing like a UT tailgate and an exciting three hours in DKR Stadium. Join 100,000 fans in a sea of burnt-orange to cheer on the city of Austin’s most beloved team.Tailgating and barbecuing begins bright and early on game day on San Jacinto Boulevard and Martin Luther King Drive, right next to one of America’s largest collegiate stadiums. If you’re just going to witness the height of tradition that is Texas football and jump on the Longhorn bandwagon for the day, we won’t tell! Just make sure to yell “Hook ‘Em Horns!” once or twice.

When: First game is away on September 1, 2018, first home game is September 8, 2018.

Where: Darrell K. Royal Memorial Stadium

Komen Race for the Cure

 

Race for the Cure in austin, texas what to do in september

The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure is one of the biggest 5Ks of the year. Photo courtesy of Austin American Statesman.

 

The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure® is the most successful education and fundraising event for breast cancer in the world. The 5K raises significant funds and awareness for breast cancer, celebrates breast cancer survivorship and honors those who have lost their battle with the disease. People of all ages and fitness levels, from walkers to elite runners, are welcome. Joining a race is just one of the ways you can get involved and be a part of the Komen family – grab a few friends and fundraise for a cause!

When: September 20th, 2018

Where: Austin American Statesman (305 South Congress Ave)

Local Insight: It is fun to make a team, either with family and friends or coworkers. If you fundraise enough money, your team can have it’s own tent in the Race Village and gain access to the VIP tent with free goodies and swag. It’s also fun to make team t-shirts. Wear pink (tutus are encouraged) and have fun while supporting an important cause!

To see why Komen is especially close to AQUILA’s heart, read our blog post AQUILA Website Goes Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Pecan Street Festival (Spring & Fall)

This is same wonderful Pecan Street Festival as the one offered in the spring. If you miss the first one, you aren’t out of luck! You have a second chance to enjoy the festival each September.

Come see local artists, find fresh food and listen to great music on Austin’s historic 6th Street. It is one of the largest, longest-running arts and craft music festivals in the U.S!

When: September 22-23rd, 2018

Where: Sixth Street Historic District

 

October

Texas Stars Hockey Season (continues through April)

 

Texas Stars Hockey | What to do in Austin in October

Catch a hockey game in Cedar Park. Photo courtesy of CedarParkFun.com.

 

A member of the American Hockey League and a primary affiliate of the Dallas Stars NHL team, the Texas Stars regularly move players to NHL teams across the country. The players are good, the beer and ice are cold, and the games are a lot of fun.

When: October 6th, 2018, with games continuing through April 22nd

Where: HEB Center 

Austin City Limits (ACL) Music Festival

 

Austin City Limits Music Festival | What to do in october

ACL Music Festival has become a destination for both locals and national guests. Photo courtesy of Austin City Limits.

 

ACL is an annual music festival held in Austin on two consecutive three-day weekends in October. The festival brings the Austin slogan “live music capital of the world” to life on eight stages throughout Zilker Park. The festival is a great weekend to enjoy all that Austin has to offer with family and friends while listening to 140+ of your favorite famous and up-and-coming artists.

When: October 5-7 and October 12-14, 2018, typically the first two weekends of October

Where: Zilker Park

Local Insight

Arrange for a rideshare or friend to drop you off at Austin High School and walk over the walking bridge underneath Mopac. Uber and Lyft partner with ACL, but rates can be raised substantially.

If you’re more of a laid-back music fester,, bring a blanket and/or chairs to sit a little further back from the stage. (But note, each stage has a “no-chair” zone, so you can only bring your chair so close to the stage.) If you’re with a group, bring a flag so that it’s easy to find each other if people separate.

Formula 1 US Grand Prix

 

Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas | What to do in October

The Formula 1 US Grand Prix is a destination for race fans, music fans and socialites alike. Photo courtesy of the Austin Business Journal.

 

America’s only premier Formula 1 racing facility, Circuit of the Americas is the United State’s version of the most notable race tracks around the world. Circuit of the Americas is well-known for being the essential destination in Austin for both sports and live music. This year’s musical acts are Britney Spears and Bruno Mars.

Get ready for three days of non-stop racing- if you don’t have a need for speed now, a weekend at Formula 1 will most definitely give you a change of heart. No ticket into the track? No problem, you can still have fun at the free F1 Fan Fest in downtown Austin with live music, vintage cars, and plenty of racing activities.

When: October 19-21, 2018

Where: Circuit of the Americas Track

Local Insight

Shuttles run to and from the track from both a north and south location. No matter how you get to the track, know that you’ve got a decent sized walk ahead of you to get from the drop off and parking areas to the track itself.

Austin Film Festival

The Film Festival & Conference was the first event of its kind to take the lead in bringing professional and amateur screenwriters together to discuss the creative possibilities of writing for film and television. The conference brings producers, agents and screenwriters together to foster the sale of screenplays.

Over 180 films, Q&A’s, indie breakouts, narrative and documentary competitions and hundreds of parties will mark this year’s event. The nightly parties are an excellent wind-down from our jam-packed days of panels, roundtables and film screenings. These casual gatherings offer the opportunity to mingle, meet, and conspire with other writers. If you are an avid movie watcher and want the scoop on potential upcoming projects, this film festival and conference are right up your alley!

When: October 25-November 1st, 2018

Where: The Driskill Hotel

 

November

Austin Spurs Basketball Season (continues through April)

 

Austin Spurs | What to do in October

The Austin Spurs are the reigning NBA G League Champs. Photo courtesy of the NBA.

 

As 2017-2018 NBA G League Champions, the Austin Spurs aren’t your average minor league basketball team. Since 2007, the Austin Spurs have been fighting to make their mark on the national stage and have made the city proud.

When: November 3rd, 2018 with games running through mid-April

Where: HEB Center in Cedar Park (2100 Avenue of the Stars)

East Austin Studio Tour

Austin’s annual studio tour includes almost 500 studios, galleries and exhibition spaces on the east side of I-35. It’s a great way to stretch your legs (walking or biking is encouraged) and an even better way to build your appreciation for local Austin art.

When: November 10-11 & 17-18th, 2018

Where: Various locations across East Austin

Local Insight

Take a bike and stop at the numerous restaurant, bars and breweries all around the East Side in between visiting studios! Visit the tour’s website for recommended routes.

For tips on where to eat and drink in East Austin, check Our Ultimate Guide to East Austin

Austin Steam Train North Pole Flyer

 

North Pole Flyer | What to do in Austin, TX for the holidays

Visit Santa on the Austin Steam Train’s North Pole Flyer. Photo courtesy of Texas Highways.

 

All aboard! A real train takes you on a trip to the “North Pole”. With a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus, all-you-can-drink hot cocoa and a locally baked holiday cookie, you’ll mistake the 2-hour ride for a trip to the tundra. Each car is decorated for the season and Santa spends time in each car to “check your list twice”, and pose for photographs before handing out a gift to each child to remember this special ride.

When: 2018 TBD, 2017 dates were November 17th-December 9th

Where: Austin Steam Train (401 E Whitestone Blvd C-100 in The Depot Shopping Center)

Local Insight

Book before late October or you’ll run the risk of the train being sold out!

The Junior League of Austin’s A Christmas Affair


A Christmas Affair hosts 200 vendors in a themed environment, features children’s events, a private shopping brunch, and a visit from Santa himself! This is the largest fundraiser for The Junior League of Austin, an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. The money from this four-day shopping experience allows The Junior League to further their mission and help feed 1,400 children suffering from food insecurity each week during the school year.

When: 2018 Dates TBD, typically the week before the week of Thanksgiving

Where: Palmer Events Center

Local Insight

Go with a friend and plan to spend an afternoon here. There are bars and concessions set up so you can grab a glass of wine or a snack while you shop. With over 200 vendors, it can take awhile to see it all.

ThunderCloud Sub’s Turkey Trot

 

Austin Turkey Trot | What to do in November in Austin, TX

The Turkey Trot is a healthy way to start off your Thanksgiving. Photo courtesy of Community Impact.

 

The ThunderCloud Subs Turkey Trot has become a Thanksgiving tradition for many Austin families and individuals who want to do something healthy before indulging in a big Thanksgiving meal. It is now known as Texas’ largest five-mile run, growing from just 600 participants in 1991 to nearly 20,000 in 2016.

One hundred percent of the proceeds go directly to Caritas of Austin—a non-profit organization that provides housing, employment, education, and food services to more than 20,000 homeless, working poor, and documented refugees in Travis County.

When: November 23, 2018, always Thanksgiving Day

Where:  Start & Finish Line: The Long Center for the Performing Arts

Local Insight

There is a free party at The Long Center before and afterwards with live music, water bottles and light food (bananas, oranges, bagels and cookies). Some runners dress up as turkeys, pilgrims or other Thanksgiving-themed costumes.

Ice Skating on the Plaza

You’re not an Austinite if you haven’t ice skated on the roof of the Whole Foods flagship store downtown. It has quickly become one of Austin’s most anticipated events of the holiday season!

When: November 24th-Jan 15, 2018

Where: Whole Foods Flagship Store (525 N Lamar Boulevard)

Local Insight

The ice is better earlier in the season, so try to make it out in late November or early December.

Zilker Tree Lighting

 

Zilker Christmas Tree | What to do for holidays in Austin, Texas

Attend the Zilker Tree Lighting or visit the tree any time during the holiday season. Photo courtesy of 365 Things Austin.

 

The annual Zilker Tree lighting starts the holiday season off in Zilker Park. This is a local Austin family tradition. The Zilker Tree is the largest man made holiday tree, built around a historic Austin moontower. The lights extend 155 feet into the air and it is a popular spot for older Austinities to relive memories while children make new ones. Food vendors and other merchants will operate at the tree throughout the month of December. The tree lighting is usually towards the end of November and stays lit throughout December.

When: 2018 dates TBD, 2017 date was November 26th

Where: Zilker Park

 

December

Ballet Austin’s The Nutcracker

 

The Nutcracker | What to do in Austin for the holidays

Ballet Austin’s production of “The Nutcracker”. Photo courtesy of Austin360.

 

Austin’s favorite holiday tradition returns with all of the colorful characters from your childhood. Ballet Austin’s annual production of the world’s best-known ballet features hundreds of dancers, gorgeous sets and costumes while the Austin Symphony Orchestra plays magical music you’ll have stuck in your head for weeks. It’s the perfect way for family and friends to celebrate the season together!

When: 2018 TBD, 2017 dates were December 8-23

Where: The Long Center

Trail of Lights

 

Austin Trail of Lights | What to do in Austin, Texas for the holidays

The Trail of Lights is an Austin holiday tradition. Photo courtesy of freefuninaustin.com.

 

Since 1965 when it was then just a small gathering named “Yule Fest”, the Trail of Lights has lifted Austinites’ spirits and signaled the beginning of the holiday season. In the last 52 years, the Trail of Lights has grown to feature over 40 displays, 2 million lights and countless fun holiday activities. It is one of the three largest events in Austin, and receives national attention without losing its local charm.

When: 2018 Dates TBD, typically December 10th-23rd

Where: Zilker Park

Local Insight

Admission is free for the first week ($3 after the first week). A movie is usually held on the Zilker Park lawn on the last free admission night.

Armadillo Christmas Bazaar

The Armadillo Christmas Bazaar is a 12-day fine art, shopping extravaganza featuring national and local award-winning artists, live music, and two bars in a festive, lively atmosphere at the Palmer Events Center. Shop, drink and be merry!

When: December 13-24, 2018, typically the 12 days leading up to Christmas day

Where: Palmer Events Center

Winter Wonderland at Circuit of the Americas

The Circuit of the Americas track celebrates the holidays! With millions of lights illuminating a magical world of Formula 1 and holiday amusement, there is something for everyone at this Winter Wonderland. Attractions include a tunnel of lights, skating rink, human snow globe, singing trees, a petting zoo, camel rides, Santa’s workshop, carnival rides, hot air balloon floats, movies on the lawn, great food and holiday shopping. Winter Wonderland is adding to the excitement with activations that will stretch around the Circuit’s lawn area at Turn 19.

When: 2018 date TBD, 2017 dates were December 8-30th

Where: Circuit of the Americas

Bob Schneider’s New Year’s Eve Party

 

Bob Schneider NYE Party | What to do for NYE in Austin, TX

Bob Schneider’s New Year’s Eve is the most Austin way to celebrate the new year. Photo courtesy of W Austin.

 

Bob Schneider, a beloved Austin musician, takes the historic Paramount stage to celebrate the new year. With countless hits and a few Austin Music Awards under his belt, these holiday plans are a local music lover’s ideal New Year’s Eve.

When: December 31, 2018, always New Year’s Eve

Where: Paramount Theatre

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Whether these events are something you go to every year or some you’ve never heard of, it’s safe to say there’s something for everyone in Austin all year round.

Be sure to bookmark this guide and download the infographic for easy reference all year long.

To learn more about Austin, check out these guides to popular Austin neighborhoods:

Austin Events Infographic | What to do in Austin, Texas


Kathleen Brennan

Kathleen Brennan

Kathleen is AQUILA’s resident creative. She has a keen eye for design and excels at keeping AQUILA looking professional and polished.

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