Austin City Limits is a huge attraction for tourists and locals – drawing over 400,000 people to the festival each year. This is our favorite festival to attend and we’re excited to share the inside scoop. We sourced this information from the official Austin City Limits festival website and added our own recommendations, creating this guide to the city with everything you need to know to navigate your way around town and prepare for the best weekend(s) possible. Be sure to check out the links we’ve included for other helpful resources!
About Austin City Limits Music Festival
ACL is a fantastic music festival that happens each year in Zilker Park, which overlooks Austin’s beautiful downtown skyline. Even when it isn’t festival season, Zilker is a regular hangout spot for locals, and allows off-leash fun for dog owners. The festival is produced by our friends over at C3 Presents (a local company who also produces festivals around the world, including: Lollapalooza, Austin Food + Wine Festival, Voodoo Music + Arts Experience, and much more). C3 hosts Late Night Shows after the festival gets out each night, at a handful of central venues where people can buy a ticket for shows outside of Zilker Park, too.
Dubbed the “live music capital of the world”, C3 Presents plays a huge role in Austin’s music culture. They bring us 2 weekends of ACL in the fall, plus they produce magical live music experiences consistently throughout the year at an assortment of venues around town. Join their email list to stay up to date on C3 concerts in Austin.
ACL Festival was founded in 2002 as a one weekend, annual event and then the festival expanded to include two weekends in 2013 to accommodate the large number of people unable to attend due to tickets selling out. The Statesman published an article written by Gary Dinges, about the impact of the festival on the city. ACL festival alone is responsible for bringing around $200 million to local businesses each year.Michael Ventre wrote a great article for Austin Way about how the ACL festival has evolved: “It gets bigger and bigger every year. It went from a festival that was a big deal in Austin to a festival that is a big deal around the world.”
Your Guide to ACL 2016:
Weekend 1: September 30-October 2, 2016 Weekend 2: October 7-9, 2016
The festival is open from 11AM-10PM each day. All ticketholders are allowed to enter and exit the festival as needed up to 3 times per day. You must be scanned upon exit at the gate in order to re-enter that same day. Ticketholders and their belongings will be searched upon entry and every re-entry to the park.
Event Vines’ Top Food Picks: Chi’lantro BBQ (kimchi fries), East Side Kings (Brussel sprouts, Bahn Mi’), GoodPop Popsicles, High Brew Coffee (Vanilla), Lonesome Dove, The Peached Tortilla, The Salt Lick, Trudy’s, JuiceLand, Austin’s Pizza
Event Vines’ Top Hotel Picks: JW Marriott, South Congress Hotel, Hotel San Jose, The Van Zandt, The Hyatt.
Event Vines’ Lodging Suggestions: Pick a place that is within 15 minutes of Zilker Park/78704 zipcode area. If you can afford to stay Downtown or on South Congress, this is definitely going to be your best bet for an authentic Austin VIP experience. It’s nice to be close enough to walk to everything you might need – great food, after shows, nightlife and the festival!
TRANSPORTATION DURING ACL
If you are joining for ACL festival this year, transportation will surely be challenge – so prepare ahead of time. With streets teeming with cars and people, moving around and transferring from one venue to another in a car can be a source of stress. There will be road closures and parking restrictions surrounding the park. Check out recommendations for getting around below (the starred ones our the top picks):
There areComplimentary Official Festival Shuttles provided by ACL Fest! Board at Republic Square at the corner of 4th & Guadalupe streets and you’ll be dropped off at the Festival entrance on Barton Springs Road. When you’re finished rocking, hop back on for a return trip.
The shuttles begin at Republic Square at 10:30AM and make their final return from the park at 11PM each day of the Festival.
Bike racks are available at each of the festival entrance gates. If you plan on leaving your bicycle at the bike racks at each of the festival entrance gates, don’t forget to bring your own lock! Please be aware that all bikes left locked in the designated bike racks after 10PM on Sunday risk being impounded. If you don’t have your own bike, grab an Austin B-Cycle from one of their 50 stations around central Austin and ride to the B-Cycle Station located just south of the Barton Springs Entrance! They’ll have a Zilker B-station valet up and running to make sure you always have a place to dock the bike.
Our friends at Mellow Johnny’s will be stationed just outside the Barton Springs Entrance by the Box Office to help with any small issues you may have encountered on your way to the fest. Stop by for minor repairs and supplies you may have forgotten!
Remember – Uber and Lyft are no longer operating in Austin. New this year, ACL is working with their partner Honda andRideAustin to provide FREE Hail-A-Honda rides to the fest each day. Look for the Honda option in the RideAustin App. Visit HondaAtACL.com for complete rules, terms and info.
Catching a ride-share home? Together with local ride-share companies, the City of Austin has designated a pickup area just outside of ACL Fest. Exit through theLady Bird Lake Portal and follow the signs across the Mopac Footbridge to the dedicated ride share pick-up lot.
There will be tons of Pedicabs swarming the festival area and they are eager to give you a ride! They’re super friendly and will provide excellent service for tips. Since there is a quick turnover with these rides, the drivers are not available on call (unless you are willing to pay extra). This is a great way to get around, and is definitely the most fun since you get to zip past the traffic and enjoy the breeze!
The Taxi drop-off and pick up location can be found by exiting the Barton Springs main gate and following the signage labeled “TAXIS”. The Taxis will be located at the bottom of William Barton Drive just south of Barton Springs Road.ere are our top recommendations: download the Hail a Cab App ahead of time so you don’t have to mess with it later. This app will help you locate and summon nearby cabs from Yellow Cab – here is their number, just in case: 512-452-9999. Lone Star Cab: 512.836.4900
Visit the ACL Information page for Box Office hours and details, allowed and prohibited items,
Explore the ACL Market to check out the participating artists and vendors that you can find at the festival.
Stay connected throughout ACL on Social Media. ACL Cares is supporting good causes and providing an opportunity for select organizations to gain support from thousands of enthusiastic, like-minded people.
Tips for the weekend: Download the AppFrom creating your own Custom Schedule to mapping out Zilker Park before the fest, the Official ACL Festival Mobile App presented by Miller Lite gives you everything you need to know about right in the palm of your hand.
HAPPY ACL FEST, FRIENDS!! ENJOY!
Let us know which shows you’re planning on seeing and connect with us on Instagram and Twitter #connectgrow