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Come Downtown for Memorial Day Weekend In Austin

May 24, 2021
Skyline Tour of Lady Bird Lake

Thank you to our veterans and active members of the military. We are extremely grateful for your service to our country. After searching high and low, we have found some amazing ways to celebrate Memorial Day weekend in downtown Austin. Whether you want to squeeze in lots of quality time with the family or spend a night on the town with friends, we have you covered. Get ready for some fun exploring our great city!

Take a Skyline Tour of Lady Bird Lake

Cool off, get some exercise and learn something new by taking a standup paddle board tour with Austin Paddle Shack. The tour focuses on the landmarks and architectural marvels of downtown Austin which are visible from the water. Learn more and call to book your tour!

Catch Some Live Music

Blues legend W.C. Clark plays at Antone’s, Austin’s Home of the Blues, on Friday. Doors open at 8pm for the 9pm show.

Lone Star State of Mind: A Celebration of Texas is happening on Saturday, May 28th and features a full day of performances by some of our favorites, including Sweet Spirit and Houston-based band The Suffers upstairs at ACL Live. Downstairs at 3TEN, catch Zach Person and Pat Byrne and enjoy local bites and shopping out on the terrace. You can even make a staycation of it by booking a night (or two) next door from Austin City Limits at W Austin.

If you prefer your music during the daylight hours, check out the Boss Street Brass Band at Bangers on Rainey starting at 11am on Sunday.

Get Your Fill at Spots on Eater’s Hollywood Food Tour 

Eater Austin recently published a list of restaurants in Austin that have been featured on movies and shows. The list contains multiple downtown restaurants that you can visit and where you can grab a bite. Our favorite downtown spots include:

  • Austin Chili Parlor on Lavaca Street which made it into Quentin Tarantino’s 2007 film, Death Proof. You can sit at the same bar where Tarantino himself served drinks and Kurt Russell picked up his victims. However, we recommend calling a rideshare instead hitching a ride home with any suspicious characters.
  • The Austin Club at 9th Street was the backdrop for a shootout in the 2010 True Grit remake by the Coen brothers. The setting was perfect since the establishment is the oldest private dining club in Austin.
  • The Driskill on Brazos Street which was not only in Sandra Bullock’s popular 2000 film, Miss Congeniality, but also in the Western series, The Son, as well. The hotel lobby and artwork is uniquely Austin, and you can also dine at the bar and cafe.
  • Roppolo’s Pizzeria on 6th Street was in a scene from Drew Berrymore’s film, Whip It. This local business is a favorite for late-night downtown visitors who are craving their huge slices.
The Paramount Theater in Austin Texas
The Paramount Theater on a sunny day by John DeLeon

Catch a Favorite Flick 

Violet Crown Cinemas on 2nd Street recently reopened its doors for in-person public screenings. The cinema features independent films, documentaries, international films, and studio films. The featured film starting May 27th is The Quiet Place Part 2. Enjoy snacks or a pizza with your popcorn, and don’t forget you get four hours free parking validation with your ticket purchase.

The Paramount is kicking off its Summer Classic Film Series, just in time for the holiday weekend! On Saturday, May 29th, you can see Casablanca or Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. On Sunday, May 30th, check out Monkey Business or Strangers on a Train in the most stunning historic theatre in all of Austin.

Liberty at the Contemporary Art Museum
The Contemporary Austin- Jones Center by Jennifer Lo

Take in Some Culture

The Blanton Museum of Art on the University of Texas campus has a new contemporary exhibit with paintings from Sedrick Huckaby opening on May 29th and going through December. You can also check out Drawn: From the Jack Shear Collection or visit Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin building with its luminous colored glass windows while you are there.

The Mexic-Arte Museum still has its Mexico, the Border and Beyond: Selections from the Juan Antonio Sandoval Jr. Collection Exhibition up until August. Admission and tours are free on Sundays.

Tour the State Capitol and find out more about Texas, its history, and the building’s art and architecture. On a nice day, the grounds make the perfect spot for a picnic. The Capitol is open on Monday and has materials available for self-guided tours. Guided tours are suspended until further notice. The Capitol Visitors Center has a replica made of LEGO bricks of the 1888 Statehouse.

The Contemporary Austin’s Jones Center currently has Austin-based artist Deborah Roberts’s first Texas museum exhibition on display now with new mixed media works. Also on view is an exhibit with photographs by Norwegian artist Torbjørn Rødland. Recently reopen is the museum’s rooftop deck, so you can soak in some more sunshine. Reservations are required.

Shop Local in the 2ND Street District

Whether you’re looking for a local toy store, somewhere to find a great gift for yourself or anyone else, new shoes, or even some cool furniture, you can find something great on 2nd Street and support a local business! If you get hungry or thirsty on your stroll down 2nd Street, there is a myriad of restaurants and watering holes to choose from. Check out the district’s business directory to learn more about all the great options.

Enjoy Ikkicon

May 28-30th, the Marriot downtown will play host to Ikkicon! Enjoy, photo booths, anime, art, and featured guests. The guest list includes OhMySophii, Vraskaa, LuckyGrim, Bryce Papenbrook, Dani Chambers, Pixelation, and more!  Register for the events you would like to attend in advance to make sure you have a spot.

The Capitol Building- Downtown Austin Texas
The Capitol Building- Downtown Austin Texas by Dale Honeycutt

Whether you want to settle in to a comfy chair at a theater or float on top of Lady Bird Lake, there is always something fun to do downtown! If you need a way to get here, check out our transportation guide, Getting Around. We hope you have a safe, fun Memorial Day and enjoy your long weekend.

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