The ‘Live Music Capital of the World’ as Austin is sometimes known, is situated in south-central Texas and stretches for 218 square miles. A vibrant and modern city, Austin was named after Stephen F. Austin, the “Father of Texas,” and was founded in 1838. With good transport links to other parts of Texas and close proximity to the Mexican border, Austin is a popular city for business and one of the most thriving commercial areas in the southern United States.
The winning combination of high tech industry, light manufacturing, and abundant cultural resources has given Austin the reputation of being one of the Southwest’s most livable cities. It is also one of the most visited and loved vacation sites.
Austin Events in January
Red Eye Regatta, 512-266-1336. New Year’s Day: Austin Yacht Club
February Austin Events
Carnival Brasiliero, 512-452-6832. Features Conga lines, costumes, and samba bands. Started in 1975 by University of Texas students from Brazil. First or second Saturday of the month.
Austin Events in March
South by Southwest (SXSW), an internationally renowned music, film and multimedia conference that packs the city every March.
Star of Texas Fair and Rodeo: 15 day wild west extravaganza features rodeos, cattle auctions, youth fair, parade, and live country music. 512-467-9811. First half of the month.
Spamarama in late March offers awards for creative cooking with Spam.
Jerry Jeff Walker’s Birthday Celebration, featuring three days of dancing and rodeos and a Saturday night serenade by JJ.. 512-477-0036.
Zilker Garden Festival, Zilker Botanical Gardens. Flowers everywhere, along with gardening demonstrations and entertainment. 512-477-8672.
April Austin Events
Capitol 10,000 Texas’s largest 10K race covers the distance from the state capitol building through West Austin to Town Lake. 512-445-3598. Early April.
Old Settlers Bluegrass & Acoustic Music Festival More than 30 bluegrass bands take part in the festival. Songwriter workshops are also offered along with arts and crafts and children’s entertainment. 512-346-1629.
Eeyore’s Birthday Party, Pease Park. Costume contests, live music celebrate A.A. Milne’s Eeyore who always wanted someone to remember his birthday. 512-448-5160.
Austin Fine Arts Festival Austin museum of Art at Laguna Gloria on the shores of Lake Austin. Features a juried art show, auction, and much entertainment for children. 512-458-6073.
Austin Events in May
Cinco de Mayo: Fiesta Gardens. Flamenco dancers, Tejano music, tacos, tamales, and general celebration of independence from Mexico. 512-499-6720.
Old Pecan Street Spring Arts and Crafts Festival Sixth Street. Excellent food and shopping accompanied by band music on Austin’s restored Victorian Street. 512-441-9015. First weekend of the month.
June Austin Events
Green Mesquite Rhythm & Blues Festival
Juneteenth Freedom Festival Huge 5 day celebration of African-American emancipation features parades, gospel singing, and a jazz and blues festival. 512-472-6838.
Austin Events in July
The 4th of July is celebrated as the Freedom Festival in Austin, with live music, lots of food and a gigantic fireworks display in Zilker Park. Austin Symphony Orchestra performs. 512-476-6064.
Aquafest, held on weekends in late July and early August. Events include water sports exhibitions and tournaments, music and dance festivals, and a parade-by-night at Town Lake’s Auditorium Shores.
August Austin Events
Fall Creek Vineyards Celebration and Grape Stomp 512-476-4477.
Austin Events in September
Diez y Siez Fiesta Gardens. Mariachi and Folk Dancers, conjunto and Tejano music, along with piñatas and clowns are all part of the celebration of the independence of Mexico from Spain.
Fall Jazz Festival Zilker Hillside Theater. Two days of free concerts by top local jazz artists. Mid- September.
October Austin Events
Halloween ushers in a mad block party along 6th St, though the next day’s
Austin Events in November
November 2: Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations offer Latino music, a parade and food. 512-480-9373.
Thanksgiving Day football game between UT and Texas A&M.;
December Austin Events
Zilker Park Tree Lighting of a 165 foot tree is followed by the Trail of Lights, a mile long stretch of life-sized holiday scenes.
Christmas Open House, French Legation. French Santa and costumed guides host this lively gift bazaar, held in an 1840 historic house. 512-472-8180. First Sunday of the month.
Armadillo Christmas Bazaar, Austin Music hall. Tex-Mex food, live music and an art, craft and gift show. 512-447-1605. Two weeks before Christmas.
Arts and Entertainment
Ballet Austin ( 512/476-2163) features five productions each season, including the holiday classic, Nutcracker, at the Performing Arts Center and Bass Concert Hall, adjacent to the Huntington Art Gallery.
Austin Symphony ( 512/476-6064), founded in 1911, is the city’s oldest performing arts group. The concert season runs from September to April at Bass Concert Hall, and holiday Pops Concerts are offered at Palmer Auditorium.
Austin City Limits. Every Friday, get a behind-the-scenes look at the longest-running music showcase on television.. 6th floor lobby, KLRU Studio, 2504-B Whitis St., 512/471-4811.
Palmer Auditorium: on Austin’s Town Lake
The plan to renovate Palmer Auditorium into a gem of a performing arts center is a key part of the City’s bold initiative to create what Mayor Kirk Watson has called “a Great Urban Park” on the banks of the Colorado River. Projected for completion in or after 2009, the dream calls for a ‘concert hall, seven theatres, and at least half a dozen rehearsal facilities, as well as enough classrooms to serve upward of 100 aspiring artists simultaneously.’
Austin Chamber Music Center is a teaching and performing group which features an Intimate Concert series open to the public but held in elegant private homes. 512-454-7562.
Austin Lyric Opera
Austin’s first professional opera company was founded in 1985, and now presents four productions annually in Bass Concert Hall. Major national and international artists perform.