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


A Guide to Austin’s Best Festivals

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


Austin City Limits

ACL is a three-day outdoor music festival in October where bands and solo artists from all over the country gather to share music. You must purchase a wristband to attend. ACL doesn’t cater to any specific genre of music; expect to see everything from The Head and The Heart (a folk band) to the infamous Kanye West. The stages are scattered across the vast greenery of Zilker Park, and you get a nifty pamphlet upon entering the festival that tells you who’s performing where.

A Guide to Austin’s Best Festivals

Even though it’s fall, do not – I repeat, DO NOT – underestimate the Texas heat. After three days of walking around without sunscreen, I was badly sunburned. I looked like a Roma tomato for the next week and a half. (And scrunching my nose was painful!) It isn’t uncommon for people to pass out from dehydration in the above-100-degree temperature, so make sure you bring a water bottle. (Or better yet, bring a jar to avoid dirty looks from locals who believe plastic is the devil.) Besides the relentless heat, the only stressful part about ACL is choosing which sets you really want to see. Stevie Wonder? My Morning Jacket? I debated this with myself all day, pondering the dilemma until the sun went down and I had to make a choice. I chose Stevie Wonder because I’m a sucker for classics. When he sang “Isn’t She Lovely,” I knew I’d made the right decision. My ACL experience was Wonder-ful.


  • Security people check your bag at the entrance, so don’t bring snacks. They will confiscate your expensive energy bars to be returned never.
  • Food trailers are everywhere, selling everything from sushi to tacos. Bring cash.
  • Don’t stand behind tall people. You’ll miss the whole show.
  • But just because you’re short doesn’t make it okay to sit on a guy’s shoulders. Don’t be that girl. Nobody likes that girl.
  • Bring either a backpack or a cross-body bag. Tote bags and handbags become tiresome and annoying.
  • When the music swells, put your hands up and dance. Be that girl. Everyone loves that girl.

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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: 238 Comments

  1. Lillian Arnold

    Just the name Pecan Festival makes me want to eat LOL

  2. Brandy Warner

    Austin is so underrated. I lived there for 2 years and wish I never left…

  3. Margaret Palmer

    ACL is maybe my favorite concert EVER!

  4. Raquel Wilkerson

    The Kite Festival might have to be added to my bucket list. The photos are amazing 🙂

  5. Penny Hudson

    I’m so envious, ACL sounds awesome

  6. Jenny Gregory

    America has a lot to offer between the coasts. Austin is a great example 🙂

  7. Bobbie Lindsey

    I’m kind afraid of anywhere in the midwest. Is that silly?

  8. Darla Lynch

    I can’t believe how much is going on in that little city! I wish Austin was on the sea. I’d move there!

  9. Lorraine Montgomery

    SXSW sounds too corporate for Austin

  10. Sherry Sandoval

    The kite one sounds amazeballs!

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