One of the best music festivals in the country, Austin City Limits features a fabulous array of live bands, delicious food, and art. Located in downtown Austin, there’s no camping involved, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to prepare and pack correctly for the long weekend! We’ve got a few tips for ACL so you can fully take advantage of these three straight days of music and partying. Here’s our Austin City Limits Survival Guide for 2019.
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Know How You’ll Get There
Since it’s a city festival, have a plan for how you’ll arrive on each of the festival days. Don’t even try to drive and park. Just don’t. There is NO festival parking. Stay in downtown Austin and walk. Take public transportation. Or grab an Uber. Better yet, ACL provides free shuttles that leave from Republic Square Park and they’ll also drop you back off at night after the festival is over. Take advantage!
Read more about how to get to Austin City Limits.
If you’re still not sure where you’re staying during the weekend of ACL, get on it! Accommodation is going to go quickly! If hotel options get pricey (and they will), don’t forget about options like Airbnb or even hostels, if that’s up your alley.
A Few Festival Rules to Live By
Hydrate. Austin is known for being hot. Real hot. Yes, even in October. So be sure you’re drinking plenty of water. There will be free water stations all over Zilker Park, and while you might have to wait in line to get at that H2O, do it anyway! Bring an empty water bottle and refill it! Don’t be one of those guys the medics are hauling off…
Wear Sunscreen. Along the same lines as remembering water, remember to pack, put on, and reapply sunscreen. This is Texas, y’all. If you forget your sunscreen, they’ll have some at the ACL Bodegas. (FYI, you can’t bring the aerosol spray kind!)
Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Look, heels are obviously a no. But you probably won’t even want to wear flip flops. In the past there have been issues with dust at Austin City Limits and there have also been torrential rains. So you may just wanna put on your tennis shoes and be comfortable. Ditto for your clothes – anything too tight, rubbing, or difficult to get off quickly in a porta-potty is a bad idea.
Download the ACL App. The 2019 lineup is fire. Keep track of all your favorite performers, which stage they’re on, and what time they’re playing with the official ACL app. Set your personal lineup ahead of time so you don’t miss any bangers, and get to the stage early if you want a really good spot. Don’t underestimate the time it takes to make your way through the crowds! You can also play around with the interactive lineup here.
But go with the flow. See new bands. Let your friends drag you to performances you wouldn’t normally check out. Visit the art market and the food court. Roam around the park. Just enjoy all that ACL has to offer.
Airplane mode is your friend. Keep your phone on low power mode and switch it to airplane mode until you need it. It’s tough getting a signal in a massive crowd at any music festival and searching constantly for service will make your phone die even faster. Bring a portable charger – you’ll
almost definitely need it!
Remember to eat. Don’t think you can survive all day on booze and substances alone. Also, the food options at ACL are excellent. Take a look around you at what other festivalgoers are ordering to see what looks good first!
Keep an eye on the aftershows. If you’re still awake at the end of the festival days – look at you, crazy! – see where your favorite artists are performing after hours. They often show up at some great venues and bars around Austin. Watch for updates on the ACL After Show official list.
Things to Pack
Besides the above-mentioned sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, and portable phone charger, here are a few other things to throw in your bag (or fanny pack, you minimalist!) before hitting the festival. These are just suggestions, but be sure to check out ACL’s list of allowed and prohibited items too.
A hat and sunglasses. As we said, that sun is a killer.
Maybe a poncho. Check the weather forecast, just in case!
Bandana. You’ll thank us if that dust flares up again! Also, they’re quite the fashion statement these days…
Blanket, towel, or sarong. For when your feet hurt and you need a rest. Because that will happen. No guarantees you’ll be able to snag any coveted shady real estate though.
And maybe a bathing suit. Fun Fact: Barton Springs runs right through Zilker Park so you wander over that way and take a dip if you get too hot!
Money. Cash, credit card, debit card, or ACL Cashless. Whether it’s food or merch, you’ll want to buy something! There will also be ATMs around the park, but wouldn’t it be nice to skip that step?
The tickets. Duh. (Know which tickets you’re going to buy yet?)
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