Guide to Austin's Best Festivals: SXSW, ACL, etc.

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A Guide to Austin’s Best Festivals

Been-there tips to help you get the most out of Austin’s best festivals.

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Pecan Street Festival

Located on 6th street, called Pecan street back in the day (hence the festival’s name), this is a wholesome weekend event held in May. (And also free! Loving Austin already?) Take your entire extended family on a lovely Saturday/Sunday morning stroll to see food vendors and craft vendors from the surrounding area. Sunscreen and water will be needed once again.

A Guide to Austin’s Best Festivals

This festival is pretty much a huge Farmer’s Market. Everything is local. You’ll be intrigued by lots of hand-made items you don’t need (like paper roses or cat sculptures), and you’ll buy them anyway. Because that’s what you do at craft festivals—you buy a ton of stuff you don’t need. In the past, I’ve bought candles, handbags, marbles, organic soap, bracelets… Don’t feel bad if you overspend (and you will overspend). All your money goes towards supporting the local community.

TIPS:

  • Dress comfortably. This applies to all festivals, really.
  • Bring cash for crepes and home-made jams. (Do Austinites spend all their money on food? Yes.)
  • If you don’t want to buy something, don’t make eye contact. If you make contact, there goes your cash. On the bright side, you’ve acquired one more thing you don’t need!
  • Walk slowly. Take in the scene. Try every sample shoved at your face.
  • And when you’re tired of walking, pause for a few minutes and people watch. Was that a bearded man on a unicycle? Indeed it was.

Austinites are weird and well-practiced in the art of Southern hospitality. Above all else, they are proud of their city, and they want you to love Austin as much as they do.

As lively and amusing as the festivals are, they can get overwhelming. Lucky for you, Austinites are the most amicable people you’ll ever meet. If you need directions to get somewhere or suggestions about places to eat, don’t be afraid to ask.

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Sarah enlightens us on a daily basis with the newest trends as (and often before) they transpire. She is the consummate globe trotter. Having traveled to over 70 countries, she earns her living writing, blogging and modeling while on the road. In her spare time she gets manicures, suntans on yachts in Greece, shops for even more shoes, and lives in the limelight. She loves photography, elephants, sailboats, bangles and ballet flats.

Reader Discussion: 172 Comments

  1. Sharon Payson

    Staying hydrated is one of the tips that most of us who adore going to music festivals ignore. I’ve experienced getting really dehydrated to the point that I could barely keep up with the energy of the crowd. That was one of my worst experiences ever. Preparation truly is a key.

    • TARA

      Sunscreen and water is a must-have when you travel to Austin.

  2. Arthur Mence

    I have never been too much into the festival but I’ve been this year to the SummerFest in Milwaukee and I enjoyed it a lot. I only regret that they take every single bottle you have and they throw it, and then you have to pay 5 bucks for a new one inside! Why?? Do you really want people to die inside?

  3. Mira Kent

    If you’re in a budget, it’s good to know there are free day-time parties.

    • Kay Douglas

      Traveling doesn’t always have to be expensive. You just have to find the right itineraries.

  4. Mary Shirley

    This article made me fear being sunburned because of how frequent she mentioned it.

    • Sandra Walling

      Emphasis on the sunblock. Let’s not get dehydrated and sunburned.

  5. Ivelisse Ervin

    Be mindful of what you eat. People tend to get excited with all the foodcarts and forget not to mix onions with milk. Don’t eat too much even if that’s the best feeling on earth.

  6. Terri East

    Have fun and enjoy the festival. Nobody wants to see anyone frowning or sulking. #MoodBusters

    • Jerrie Ridlon

      Positive vibes ONLY.

  7. Sharon Novak

    Make sure your backpack supports the weight of the stuff inside properly. The straps shouldn’t be hurting your shoulders.

  8. Delores Mullen

    Bring cash and spare change. Don’t ask to pay with a credit card. Geez.

    • Bernice Miles

      A shoutout to the princesses out there that shell out big bills for tacos.

  9. Cindy Simon

    It’s also important to wear your most comfortable shoes.. Make sure you wear shoes that won’t hurt your feet or you’ll be crawling on your way back to the hotel.

    • Cathy Mitchell

      Be sure to bring two pairs of shoes, in case you break one like I did. Not funny to be naked feet all the time, and pretty dangerous I must say ^^

  10. Ann Amos

    Stay hydrated peeps! If you ain’t sweating, you ain’t having fun.

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