What is the big deal about the Austin City Limits Music Festival?

I’ve been in Austin for over two years, and Austin City Limits is by far my favorite time of year. For two weekends in October, the city comes alive to celebrate music and the city we’re so lucky to live in. Living in the city of this music festival is so special and is a great time to be an Austinite. If you’re traveling from someplace else, brace yourself for an authentic Austin experience.


Weekend 1 vs. Weekend 2

The artists are the only significant change between weekends. On the lineup, it’ll signify whether an artist is only playing weekend one or two. If it doesn’t say “Weekend One” or “Weekend Two” then that artist is playing both weekends. Weekend one usually sells out faster than weekend two.


There are a couple of options when it comes to tickets: General Admission, GA+, VIP and Platinum. Choose what fits your budget best.

3 Day General Admission Pass – $260

All three days of the event with food and music are included.

3 Day GA+ Pass – $500

GA+ offers shade and seating in a private lounge, with air-conditioned restrooms and complimentary water and soft drinks. Full-service bar selling beer, wine, and cocktails.

3 Day VIP Pass – $1200

VIP ticket includes unlimited access to the VIP Grove featuring private bars, shaded seating, and complimentary catered meals. Viewing deck provides excellent views of the American Express main stage. At the major gates, there is a dedicated Festival entry lane.

3 Day Platinum Pass – $3600

3 Day Platinum Pass includes unlimited access to the Platinum Lounge featuring signature cocktails, craft beer, champagne, wine, and culinary offerings in a relaxed setting. A covered terrace inside the Platinum Lounge provides elevated sight of the American Express main stage. Prime viewing positions in front of five stages, up near and personal. On-stage viewing is available at the two major stages. Transportation via golf cart between the Platinum Festival gates, the Lounge, and the front-of-stage viewing sections.

Where to Stay

If you’re coming from out of town, book your hotel, Airbnb or HomeAway NOW. Things may certainly get expensive. I propose finding a spot down south on the west side near Zilker Park.

What To Bring

Here’s a list of general goods to bring to the festival:

  • Wristband
  • Wallet & ID
  • Chapstick
  • Sunscreen
  • Hydration pack (Vibedration is my favorite) or reusable water bottle
  • Earplugs (my go-to is Zound Earplugs)
  • Fan or spray bottle to keep cool
  • Bring a blanket or an inflatable sofa like Chillbean if you want to relax on the grass.

What To Wear

Here’s what I’ve been wearing for the last two years. The weather in ACL is scorching. Wear something that is both comfy and breathable. Additionally, comfortable shoes are essential since you will be walking a lot throughout the event.

Getting to and From the Festival

Surprisingly enough, taking Ubers and Lyfts to get to the festival itself isn’t bad depending on the time you’re going. Uber and Lyft are preparing for a large number of drivers this weekend. Even if you are dropped off someplace on Barton Springs, you may walk to the festival’s entrance. There are four festival entrances with the Barton Springs being the most popular but the four entrances definitely help for those coming from the North or the South.

The busiest entrance is the Barton Springs East Entry (the first access if you go along Barton Springs to Zilker). Follow the walkway to the left to go to the better-served Barton Spring West Entrance. The Lady Bird Entry has the potential to be the shortest security queue. It might just depend on where you park, ride your bike, or where your rideshare takes you off.

When it comes to leaving the event, even if you live 20 minutes before the closing set, there will be no outrageous fees. The festival ends at 10 pm so it has that intersection between people leaving the festival and those going out to the bars which cause the prices to increase.

How to Experience ACL

  • On the first day, go around the site to get a sense of where the stages, restaurants, water stations, and facilities are.
  • CHECK OUT THE FOOD!!! SO many yummy eats from tacos to chili cheese fries to empanadas.
  • Make an effort to remain hydrated!!! Get a Camelbak, refillable water bottle or spend $2 on a water bottle and continue to fill up during the day. Find hydration stations where you may replenish your water bottle throughout the day.
  • Use a portable fan, a towel, a hat, and sunscreen to stay cool.
  • By laying the grass, you may enjoy a set (my favorite moment was listening to Paul McCartney play Hey Jude while lying in the grass with my friends).
  • Put on sunscreen and have methods to stay cool, such as a fan or spray bottle.
  • The festival ends at 10 pm which means you can check out the bars on the infamous Dirty 6th., Rainey St. or West 6th. Our group like Rainey and West, but if you’ve never been to Austin, you must visit Dirty 6th.
  • Since ACL is such a laid-back event, simply have fun and enjoy the trip.

I wish you a fantastic time in Austin at Austin City Limits. This event means a lot to me, and I hope you have a wonderful time. Please let me know if you have any more queries.

Related Questions

  • What is Austin City Limits known for?

    Austin City Limits, a television concert show highlighting various forms of music from across the globe, was created in 1974 by PBS affiliate KLRN-TV (later KLRU-TV) in Austin and is broadcast on hundreds of stations nationally.

  • What type of festival is Austin City Limits?

    The Austin City Limits Music Festival (ACL) is a two-weekend annual music event hosted at Zilker Park in Austin, Texas. Inspired by the KLRU/PBS music series of the same name, the festival is produced by Austin-based company C3 Presents, which also produces Chicago’s Lollapalooza.

  • What is the ACL festival?

    Austin City Limits Music Festival (October 6-8 and October 13-15, 2023) returns for its 22nd year, bringing the magic of the iconic public television series Austin City Limits outside the studio and into Austin’s most cherished park.

  • Why is it called Austin City Limits?

    Austin City Limits is a music event held each year in Austin, Texas. It is officially known as the Austin City Limits Music Festival and is usually shortened as ACL. The festival grew out of the Austin City Limits television series produced by Austin PBS, KLRU-TV, Austin, Texas’s public broadcast station.

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