FESTIVALS IN AUSTIN
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. Old Settler's Fest has been celebrating the best of Americana, bluegrass and roots music for more than 30 years; 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.
Chairlift at ACL Festival 2016 Weekend 1. Credit Charles Reagan Hackleman, courtesy ACL Festival.
Here are our top picks for must-attend Austin events in the new year.
Martin Luther King Jr. March and Festival
Join the march from the MLK statue at the University of Texas campus to historic Huston-Tillotson University to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s legacy for Austin and the world.
Palmer Events Center
This festival will give Austin a taste of Brazil, merging music, dance and culture into one huge party. Austin's Carnaval is one of the biggest celebrations outside of Brazil (because everything is bigger in Texas) and everyone can participate so bring your best samba and prepare to dance the night away.
Austin Marathon & Half Marathon
Austin will welcome nearly 20,000 participants from around the world for the 26th annual Austin Marathon & Half Marathon. This exciting event showcases Austin’s scenic urban landscape for both runners and spectators alike.
ABC Kite Fest
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.
Ellen Page at SXSW Film. Photo by Robert A Tobiansky, Getty Images for SXSW.
3/9/18 - 3/18/18
SXSW® Music, Film and Interactive Conference and Festival
The Austin Convention Center and more than 50 venues host noted filmmakers, musicians and multimedia artists from around the world. Participants converge in Austin to showcase music, film and interactive media during this internationally-recognized event.
3/10/18 - 3/24/18
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 ProRodeo events, daily concerts, livestock show and more.
St. Patrick's Day Festival
This family-friendly St. Patrick’s Day fest celebrates all things Irish. Come enjoy authentic Celtic music and dancers, Irish language workshops, the finest Irish imports and plenty of good craic!
3/22/18 - 3/26/18
World Golf Championships - Dell Technologies Match Play
Austin Country Club
The WGC - Dell Technologies Match Play returns to historic Austin Country Club, bringing the top 64 golfers in the world. The Championship Event will feature 16 groups of four players playing round-robin matches. Wednesday through Friday will feature 18-hole match play, then the winners of each group will advance to single-elimination play.
3/30/18 - 3/31/18
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.
Zilker Garden Festival
Zilker Botanical Garden
For over 50 years, the annual Zilker Garden Festival has been a one-stop, garden shopping destination when spring arrives in Austin and Central Texas. A family-friendly event, the garden festival offers something for everyone, including the annual flower show, live music, gardening talks, a kid's corner and food court.
4/5/18 - 4/8/18
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.
4/6/18 - 4/7/18
The 16th 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.
4/13/18 - 4/15/18
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.
Art City Austin. Courtesy of Rich Merritt.
4/13/18 - 4/15/18
Art City Austin Festival
Palmer Events Center
125 local and national artists, 25 galleries, top Austin-area restaurants, two music stages and hands-on art activities make this one of the city's favorite festivals for 68 years and counting.
4/18/18 - 4/21/18
Moontower Comedy Festival
The Paramount Theatre & Other Locations
Moontower Comedy & Oddity Festival, presented by the Paramount Theatre, brings some of the funniest, wittiest and oddest world-class comics from around the globe. National headliners, up-and-comers and local Austin-based comedians ensure three hilarious days of fun.
4/18/18 - 4/22/18
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 5 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.
4/19/18 - 4/22/18
Old Settler's Music Festival
Central Texas' signature music event featuring three days of Americana and roots rock, camping, family events, food and libations. Alternative, jazz, blues, bluegrass and more are performed by old-time local favorites and award-winning artists from around the world.
4/20/18 - 4/22/18
Austin Reggae Fest
A fundraiser for the Central Texas Food Bank, Reggae Fest features three days of reggae, world and dub talent, along with more than 50 vendors selling food and arts & crafts.
4/20/18 - 4/22/18
MOTOGPTM Grand Prix of The Americas
Circuit of The AmericasTM
MotoGP, the pinnacle of all motorcycle World Championships, joins the roster of racing events at the Circuit of The Americas 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.
Courtesy of Austin Food + Wine Festival 2015.
4/27/18 - 4/29/17
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.
5/2/18 - 5/6/18
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.
5/5/18 - 5/6/18
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. Local 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.
West Austin Studio Tour
Across West Austin
The West Austin Studio Tour is a free, self-guided tour that celebrates Austin's talented and wildly diverse creative community. The public is invited to discover new artistic talent, see working studios, learn about artists' tools, techniques and inspirations, explore galleries and a variety of exhibitions, and immerse themselves in the arts and local business communities.
Keep Austin Weird Fest & 5K
Long Center for the Performing Arts
Anything is possible at this decade-old Austin extravaganza! Run, skip or race through the streets of downtown Austin wearing the wackiest costume. Unofficially known as "the slowest 5K you will ever run," this race is designed for amusement and fun.
Fourth of July Fireworks and Symphony
The Austin Symphony hosts an annual concert of patriotic music culminating in a spectacular firework display over Lady Bird Lake.
Credit Pierce Ingram.
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 Congress Avenue Bridge) take to the skies for their nightly flight. Enjoy live music, children's activities and a costume contest.
Austin Pride Parade & Festival
Fiesta Gardens and Downtown Austin
The PRIDE Festival is the largest annual LGBTQ advocacy and fundraising event in Central Texas! Dozens of non-profit organizations and social clubs use the Festival as a platform to inform and interact with the thousands of attendees. Each year, countless people find new organizations to join, causes to support and opportunities to volunteer.
10/5/18 - 10/7/18 & 10/12/18 - 10/14/18
Austin City Limits Music Festival
One of the country's largest celebrations of live music, this two weekend, 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. More than 150 musical acts will take over eight stages along with local food vendors, brewers, artists and pop up shops and artists.
10/19/18 - 10/21/18
Formula 1 United States Grand Prix
Circuit of The Americas
Drivers will be in Austin competing in the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix in October. Built around a state-of-the-art 3.4-mile circuit track with capacity for 120,000 fans and an elevation
10/25/18 - 11/1/18
Austin Film Festival
Paramount Theatre & Various Locations
Recognized as one of the top film festivals in the country, this cinematic event shines the spotlight on both top-billed films and indies alike.
10/27/18 - 10/28/18
Texas Book Festival
Texas State Capitol Building
The Texas Book Festival has evolved into one of the premier literary events in the country and hosts about 250 authors each year. More than 40,000 book lovers of all ages attend the Festival annually, enjoying readings, panel discussions, signings, cooking demonstrations, live music, local food, YA authors, children's activities and exhibiting vendors from across the state.
Dia de los Muertos Music Festival
The cultural celebration will feature renowned recording artists in the Latin and Texas music industries. The family-friendly festival will offer local food and beverages, cultural performances, Kids Zone activities and more.
11/3/18 - 11/4/18
Austin Celtic Festival
Jourdan-Bachman Pioneer Farms
This annual festival is also the largest gathering of Celts in Central Texas. The event is home to four stages of Irish, Scottish and Breton music, dance, sports, storytelling, workshops and more.
Chuy's Christmas Parade
A procession of giant balloons, marching bands, vintage cars, celebrities and floats usher in the season of giving.
Austin Trail of Lights. Credit Dear Wesleyann Photography.
Trail of Lights
The Trail of Lights is part of the essential Austin experience, lighting up the season with a celebration of community, memories and fun. Plan your visit early and don't forget to take a spin under the Zilker Tree!
Austin's New Year
This alcohol-free, family-friendly event celebrates the diversity and creativity of the city with 4 stages, 22 bands, visual art installations, jugglers, storytellers, fire dancers and a grand fireworks finale.