Tyler and I went to our first Austin City Limits Music Festival together this October and it was AMAZING. If you’re planning on going this coming weekend or going next year – I wanted to share some of my favorite photos and best tips to have a great time at ACL!
Austin City Limits is a huge outdoor music festival located at Zilker Park in Austin, Texas every October! There is a HUGE variety of music genres including rock n roll, country, hip hop, rap, indie, and more! This particular weekend had 8 different stages with music all day and night to choose from! The festival runs over two 3-day weekends, Friday through Sunday, in October.
Each year, the tickets go on sale early and typically sell out! We were lucky enough to win tickets in a giveaway from EASTside Magazine – thank y’all! I am linking the Austin City Limits website HERE so you can keep up to date on when tickets become available! Your tickets are actually WRISTBANDS that you will wear during the festival. There are one-day, three-day, and both weekend wristbands available as well as VIP options!
- Water Bottle – There are CamelBak stations throughout the park with FREE drinking water to refill all day long!
- Sunscreen – But no Aerosols! Lather up, you’ll need it!
- Bug Repellent – Creams ONLY – I learned this the hard way!
- Mini Portable Fan – This literally saved my life
- Blanket – You will thank yourself for this one, we used ours all day (there is limited seating and it’s usually taken)
- Disposable Wipes – The port-o-potties have Purel, but I prefer to clean my hands before eating.
- Bandana – I know this is a weird one, but you WILL want to cover your face with it instead of breathing in the dirt, trust me on this.
- Hand Sanitizer
- Portable Charger – your phone will die, as will your portable rechargeable fan
- Poncho – It almost always rains on one of the weekends, be prepared just in case!
- Drawstring Bag – to carry it all!
I’m going to link the list of what NOT to bring HERE, but some general rules are:
- NO large tote bags or purses or backpacks
- NO aerosols
- NO liquids – fill your water bottle when you enter
- NO professional cameras, drones, or equipment
- NO coolers
IT IS RIDICULOUSLY HOT. Prepare your wardrobe accordingly. I would say the style at ACL was anything goes, from casual to rave style to festival style – there was a little bit of everything. My best advice is to be comfortable, and prepare to sweat. Wearing comfortable shoes is essential because there is a lot of walking at the festival. I recommend not wearing open-toed shoes as the grounds are grass and dirt and that becomes dirty pretty quickly!
So what did I learn from ACL? Here are a few of my best tips and tricks for y’all:
- GET THERE EARLY! We arrived at 10:30 AM and were some of the first in line which meant we got to eat, get photos, and be front and center for a lot of the shows before it got too busy!
- USE THE LADYBIRD ENTRANCE – There was literally NO comparison in how much longer the Barton Springs Entrance was. This is the best tip I received.
- ACTIVATE YOUR WRISTBAND AND LINK YOUR CREDIT CARD – your wristband becomes your credit card for merchandise and food throughout the park and it is SO easy – you can activate it ahead of time online or on their app
- HYDRATE – you will be dehydrated and people did pass out/get sick
- BRING A WATER BOTTLE – and fill up at the CamelBak Hydration Stations all day!
- LISTEN TO NEW ARTISTS – yeah it’s cool that a lot of famous artists come here every year, but part of the fun is listening to new artists and enjoying their music!
- SCREENSHOT THE MAP – service is spotty so you’ll want a quick reference
- ARRIVE AT STAGES EARLY – for artists you really want to see – 1-2 hours in advance is not out of the question if you want to be up front!
Our first time at Austin City Limits Music Festival – we were so excited! We arrived at about 10:30 AM – the gates opened at 11 AM on Saturday. We used the Lady Bird Entrance – BEST IDEA EVER. There are a ton of photo opps around the festival, so have fun with it! After going to the famous colorful flags and snapping some photos, we decided to get some grub!
This festival has BY FAR some of the best festival food I’ve ever had; I’m also partial because I just love Austin’s foodie scene! We ate from AND recommend:
- Shadetree Lemonade – I went back three times
- Salt Lick BBQ – Get the brisket!
- The Peached Tortilla – TACOS, yum
- Bananarchy – Chocolate Covered Frozen Bananas – hand dipped
- GoodPop – CREAMSICLES
- Torchy’s Tacos – queso and chips was the perfect mid-day snack!
There are so many other food vendors to choose from – share with friends and try a few!
There are 8 different stages and we definitely watched performances at almost all of them! We have a great friend named Alex who plays in an awesome local Austin band called Night Cap – check them out! – and they played on the Tito’s Handmade Vodka Stage at 12:45! They were incredible!
One of the artists I have never heard of and LOVED was MisterWives at the Vrbo stage! They are a perfect example of the great thing about ACL – wandering around and hearing new artists! We chilled out on our blanket under a tree and listened!
Next we listened to Judah & the Lion at the T-Mobile stage – I already really like this band because they give me some Blink 182 throwback vibes but have their own style and sound! IT WAS 96 DEGREES OUTSIDE and this is your WARNING that you will be Hot and Sweaty! Prepare accordingly!
Billie Eilish was up next and she KILLED it! Her crowd was insanely large so we hung out at the Barton Springs Beer Hall near the Miller Lite stage to enjoy her show – it was close enough to chill with a beer, see the screens, and enjoy the music!
We ended our evening listening to The Cure at the Honda stage before heading out for the evening!
Austin City Limits Music Festival was an amazing experience! We ended the day sweaty and exhausted, but with our hearts full of wonderful music and memories.
This concludes my Austin City Limits blog post. I hope that you enjoyed my blog and please feel free to hit CONTACT to ask me any questions! Please feel free to tell me about YOUR favorite donuts across the US and abroad; I love to hear from y’all!
All photos are my own and are not to be used without the blogger/photographer’s permission. Thank you.