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Make the Best of ACL Downtown

September 29, 2021

Austin City Limits Music Festival is known around the world, bringing in visitors from all over. Passes sold out in record times this year, but even if you don’t have tickets to the festival, there are other fun ways to celebrate and enjoy the live music and energy. Here’s how to enjoy the ACL Music Fest downtown.

Republic Square

Get to Zilker

First things first, it’s important to know how to get to the festival. ACL Music Fest takes over Zilker Park for a couple of weeks every fall, and there are plenty of ways to get there.

We highly recommend parking downtown if you’re car-bound and taking the free shuttle over to the festival from Republic Square. You can grab a bite to eat at Salt & Time Cafe, or a grab-and-go snack from the Downtown Farmers’ Market while you wait for the shuttle. Friday afternoon, the Navy Southeast Band will be playing at Republic Square.

If you are able to bike to the festival, there is ample bike parking available. You can travel between Zilker and downtown using the Anne and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail. Even if you don’t have a bike, you can rent one using MetroBike. Don’t worry about a lack of docks. MetroBike staff is offering a valet service of sorts to dock the bike when you arrive.

CapMetro is also an option to get to Zilker. Austin’s public transportation offers multiple routes that lead to Zilker. There is also a designated area for rideshare drop-offs where you should arrive at when you name “Zilker Park” or “Austin City Limits Music Festival” as your destination.

For more information and a map with all the dropoff locations, check out this FAQ on ACL Music Fest’s website.


ACL Fest Nights

For the live music lovers who weren’t able to get tickets to the festival, some of the artists that the festival brings in will also be performing at other venues throughout the festival weekends. The downtown venues include Stubbs, Antone’s, ACL Live, and Mohawk and will be featuring those ACL Fest Nights performances.  Check out the schedule and grab tickets for your favorite artists.

Grab Brunch Before

The festival doesn’t start until the afternoon each day. This gives you plenty of time to explore downtown shops or grab brunch from a local restaurant. If you need a good idea of where to sip on a bloody mary after a late night to prepare for the festival ahead, we have a list of downtown brunch spots you should try.

Get Down After

Enjoy some of Austin’s nightlife after the festival. The festival has a curfew of 10pm due to local noise ordinances, so take advantage of the after-hours by getting a taste of the local flavor downtown. The nightlife lives strong on 6th Street, Rainey Street, Red River, and the Warehouse District on 4th Street.

There is no shortage of fun things to do in Austin around the festival, so come and find out how we keep Austin weird.



Cover Photo by Tomek Baginski via Upsplash

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