Red Eye Regatta, 512-266-1336. New Year’s Day: Austin Yacht Club
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Fall Creek Vineyards Celebration and Grape Stomp 512-476-4477.
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.
Halloween ushers in a mad block party along 6th St, though the next day’s
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.
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.
|Rolling hills, a chain of lakes 150 miles long, 300 days of sunshine, and acres of parks all add up to an ideal setting for vacation enjoyment. Austin and the surrounding Texas Hill Country offer hiking and bike trails, swimming, and golf. In addition, there is ballooning, bird watching, canoeing, excellent bass fishing, rock climbing, sailing, scuba diving, spelunking, and tennis. 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. A good place to begin a visit to Austin is downtown, where the pink granite Texas State Capitol, built in 1888, is the most visible structure. The Colorado River, which slices through Austin, was once an unpredictable waterway, but has been tamed into a series of picturesque lakes, including two within the city limits. 22 mile long Lake Austin, which lies in the western part of the city, flows into Town Lake, a narrow stretch of water that travels for 5 miles through the center of downtown. Since the 1960s, this laid-back and progressive city has been a haven for artists, musicians and writers.Many visitors come specifically for the music. Local musicians are known for their innovative re-workings of Texas’ country, folk and R&B heritage, use Austin’s enthusiastic environment as a springboard to national recognition. The grand University of Texas, one of the largest universities in the United States, flanks the capitol’s north end. Austin has its own professional symphony, ballet and opera companies; dozens of theaters which combine old favorites with ground-breaking new drama; dance companies, vocal ensembles, and orchestras. Art museums, galleries and beautiful gardens of sculptures further enhance the rich cultural mix.In recent years the entertainment industry has discovered this big city with a small-town atmosphere, and it’s not uncommon to see film crews blocking off an oak-lined street. High-tech industries have also migrated to the Austin area, making it Texas’s answer to Silicon Valley. Yet, for all the changes that have occurred in the capital city, Austin is still very much a town whose roots are buried in the past; a past the city is proud to preserve and show off to visitors. Capital Metro is the city’s public bus network, with a solid system of efficient and inexpensive neighborhood, express and downtown routes. The latter, known as ‘Dillos (short for Armadillo Express), are free.
The Texas Steam Train Association runs several tours aboard the Hill Country Flyer steam train into and around Texas Hill Country. The train makes short half hour trips as well as a 30 mile circuit on weekends March through December. Austin operates a free Yellow Bike Program, which repairs old bicycles, paints them yellow and makes them available free for public use. When you see a yellow bike you can pick it up, ride where you are going and leave it there for the next rider. There are about 150 yellow bikes at present and more are added all the time.
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.
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