Austin is a 24-hour town populated by an upstart mix of musicians, techies, film pros, athletes and foodies - and our yearly events calendar shows it. The Austin Marathon draws 20,000 runners from around the world. The Austin Food + Wine Festival welcomes visitors from across the nation and showcase the best innovative cuisine. Fun Fun Fun Fest is known as the nation's best underground punk and alternative music festival; and Fantastic Fest, which features sci-fi, horror, fantasy and other genre films, has become a favorite of film buffs and celebrities alike. SXSW Music, Film and Interactive Conferences and Festivals expand every year and the Austin City Limits Music Festival will once again welcome 70,000 fans per day to Zilker Park for performances by more than 100 bands.
Here are our top picks for must-attend Austin events in the new year.
Martin Luther King Jr. March and Festival
The outdoor festival celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with performances by some of the city’s finest jazz, blues and gospel musicians.
Austin Marathon & Half Marathon
Event speakers, live music from more than 40 local bands and a course that winds through Austin's most scenic neighborhoods make this popular 13.1 and 26.2-mile race a must-hit for runners and spectators.
African-American Community Heritage Festival
State Representative Dawnna Dukes, Austin Area Urban League and Women In Jazz invite you to attend the 16th Annual African American Community Heritage Festival. There will be arts and crafts, artisan vendors, and games with a purposeful objective to raise scholarship funds for-Huston-Tillotson University.
Palmer Events Center
Carnaval in Austin is one of the biggest Brazilian Carnaval celebrations outside Brazil. Brasileiro style samba,costumes and wild abandon can all be seen in the heart of Texas.
Zilker Park Kite Festival
The nation's oldest kite festival features hundreds of kites in the air and is free to attend for people of all ages; complete with kite flying contests, food, games and more.
3/14/15 - 3/28/15
Travis County Expo Center
Over the years, Rodeo Austin has grown from a show featuring 16 animals into one of Austin's premier events, featuring Pro rodeo events, daily concerts, livestock show and more.
St. Patrick's Day Festival
A family-friendly St. Patrick's Day where families can come out and enjoy the culture of Ireland including music, dance and language.
3/27/15 - 3/28/15
Austin Urban Music Festival
More than 15,000 music revelers annually converge on Auditorium Shores to enjoy Austin's only music festival focused on R&B, neo-soul and hip hop music. The festival has consistently provided a venue for local performers as well as presented top national R&B acts that provide family-friendly entertainment.
4/1/15 - 4/12/15
Fusebox is a hybrid arts festival that champions adventurous works of art in theater, dance, film, music, literature, visual and culinary arts. The festival takes place over 12 days in venues and locations all over the city. Hundreds of local, national and international artists across all disciplines converge for one of the most unique cultural events in the country.
4/9/15 - 4/12/15
Austin International Poetry Festival
Poets from around the world, country, and all of Texas gather for four days of live performances, readings and workshops during the Austin International Poetry Festival in April of every year. AIPF provides an inclusive, diverse, multi-generational environment welcoming the broadest possible audience of poets and non-poets alike in appreciation of the spoken and written word.
4/10/15 - 4/12/15
MOTOGPTM Grand Prix of the Americas
Circuit of the AmericasTM
MotoGPTM, the pinnacle of all motorcycle World Championships, joins the roster of racing events at the Circuit of the AmericasTM track with a three-day series at the purpose built Grand Prix venue. With the addition of this race, the new circuit will be the first North American racing venue to host both two-and four-wheeled World Championship events in one year's time.
Congress Avenue to Auditorium Shores
Texas' largest 10K race and one of the nation's top runs draws some 10,000 serious and not-so-serious runners.
4/16/15 - 4/19/15
Old Settler's Music Festival
Salt Lick BBQ Pavilion
Central Texas' signature music event featuring Grammy-winning Americana, arts and crafts, camping, food and libations. Acoustic jazz, blues and bluegrass are all performed by old-time local favorites and award-winning artists from around the world.
4/17/14 - 4/18/14
The 14th Annual Lonestar Round Up
Travis County Expo Center
A huge outdoor car show and live music festival with tons of vintage hot rods and custom cars driven here from all over the country, and bringing visitors from all over the world.
4/17/15 - 4/19/15
Austin Reggae Fest
A fundraiser for the Capital Area Food Bank, Reggae Fest features three days of reggae, world and dub talent, along with more than 50 vendors selling food and arts & crafts.
4/22/15 - 4/25/15
Moontower Comedy Festival
The Paramount Theatre and other locations
Moontower Comedy & Oddity Festival presented by the Paramount Theatre brings to Austin, TX some of the funniest, wittiest and oddest world-class comics from around the globe. National headliners, up-and-comer and local Austin-based comedians ensure a hilarious night of fun.
4/22/15 - 4/26/15
Cine Las Americas International Film Festival
The festival showcases contemporary films and videos from Latin America (North, Central, South America, and the Caribbean) and the Iberian Peninsula. Films and videos made by or about Latinos in the U.S. or the rest of the world, as well as films and videos by or about indigenous groups of the Americas are also invited to participate.
4/24/15 - 4/26/15
Austin Food & Wine Festival
Pamper your palate in one of the hippest cities in the country at the Austin Food & Wine Festival. Join top chef talent, sommeliers and winemakers from across the nation and Austin's own acclaimed gourmet scene for an indulgent, three-day epicurean adventure unlike any other, topped off with live musical performances.
4/25/15 - 4/26/15
Art City Austin Festival
Nearly 200 national artists, top local restaurants, two music stages and hands-on art activities make this one of the city's favorite festivals.
Old Pecan Street Spring Arts Festival
East Sixth Street
A free, family event, the Pecan Street Festival is the oldest and largest art festival in Central Texas. Musicians, food vendors, artists and crafts people turn Sixth Street - historically called Pecan Street - into a lively street fair where there is something for people of all ages.
5/8/15 - 5/10/15
Levitation (formerly Austin Psych Fest)
Carson Creek Ranch
Levitation will return to Carson Creek Ranch the weekend of May 8 - 10, 2015! There will be on-site camping and three stages with music- the main stage and river stage with psychedelic light shows in the evening, and a tent stage featuring psychedelic light shows all day long.
6/4/15 - 6/7/15
X Games Austin
Circuit of the Americas
A festival that highlights the intersection of sports and lifestyle that exists in action sports, with more than 250 of the best action sports athletes competing for the most coveted medals in Skateboard, BMX Freestyle, Moto X and more.
Fourth of July Fireworks and Symphony
The Austin Symphony hosts an annual concert of patriotic music culminating in a spectacular fi rework display over Lady Bird Lake.
Congress Avenue Bridge
Celebrate this batty event as the world's largest urban bat colony (two million Mexican Free Tail Bats which take up seasonal residence beneath the Ann Richard's Congress Street Bridge) take to the skies for their nightly flight. Enjoy live music, children activities and costume contest.
10/2/15 - 10/4/15; 10/9/15 - 10/11/15
Austin City Limits Music Festival
One of the country's largest celebrations of music, this six-day festival brings the magic of the famed public TV series Austin City Limits outside the studio and into Austin's most beloved park with more than 130 musical acts on eight stages over two weekends.
Formula 1 United States Grand Prix
Circuit of The AmericasTM
Drivers will be in Austin competing in the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix in November. Built around a state-of-the-art 3.4-mile circuit track with capacity for 120,000 fans and an elevation
10/29/15 - 11/5/2015
Austin Film Festival
Paramount Theatre and various locations
Recognized as one of the top film festivals in the country, this cinematic event shines the spotlight on top-billed films and Indies alike.
Fun Fun Fun Fest
One of the most relaxed, creative, and pioneering festivals in music today, Fun Fun Fun Fest is custom booked for the most passionate, underground and progressive musicians, comedians and fans around the world.
Chuy's Christmas Parade
A procession of giant balloons, marching bands, vintage cars, celebrities and floats usher in the season of giving.
Trail of Lights
The Austin Trail of Lights is part of the Austin experience, lighting up the season with a celebration of community, memories and fun. With a beautiful array of lights the tree is lit following a 5k run, which allows the Trail of Lights to be lit and showcased.