Austin Area Festivals

The city of Austin is home to many great events and festivals throughout the year and this year is no exception. If you are planning to visit the vibrant city, make it that much better by planning your trip around an Austin event. From running events to the one of the largest music festivals in the nation, Austin has an event or festival for just about everyone. Listed below are Austin’s most popular annual events and festivals.


Austin Gorilla Run

Where: Downtown Austin. The race starts and finishes on the 1st Street Bridge (South 1st Street and Riverside).

When: January 30, 2016

What: Since most people can’t make it to the jungles of Africa, we are pretending the jungles are in Austin, Texas. Keep your eyes open on January 30, 2016, when hundreds of people dressed as mountain gorillas will run through the streets of downtown Austin. The Mountain Gorilla Conservation Fund is hosting the 2nd Annual Austin Gorilla Run, a way for all of us to keep Dian Fossey’s dream alive.

When you run in the Austin Gorilla Run you:
1) Run a fun 5K with your friends
2) Benefit mountain gorillas
3) Keep your gorilla suit
4) Enjoy lunch and an after party
5) Get to hear live music

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Carnaval Brasileiro

Where: Palmer Events Center, 900 Barton Springs Rd.

When: February 27, 2016

What: Carnaval in Austin is one of the biggest Brazilian carnaval celebrations outside Brazil – samba, costumes and wild abandon – Brasileiro style in the heart of Texas.

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LIVESTRONG Austin Marathon, Half Marathon & Break-a-Leg 5K

Where: TBD

When: February 14, 2016

What: Join us on Sunday, February 14, 2016, in Austin, Texas, for the LIVESTRONG Austin Marathon and Half Marathon and the Paramount Break-a-Leg 5k! All races start and finish in downtown Austin and you’ll get a perfect tour of our beautiful city.

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Zilker Park Kite Festival

Where: Zilker Park, 2100 Barton Springs Rd.

When: March 6, 2016

What: The Zilker Park Kite Festival is one of Austin’s best-known annual events. Held on the first Sunday of March, it is the kick-off to the hundreds of springtime activities in Austin.

The ‘Kite Tournament’ was created by The Exchange Club of Austin in 1929 with a mission to encourage creativity in children. Exchange Club President Ed St. John came up with the idea to give kids a constructive activity the community could participate in.

The Zilker Park Kite Festival is an event anyone is welcome to attend (pets too!). There is no admission to attend or to participate in the contest. Most folks come out to see the spectacular sight of hundreds of kites in the sky and to enjoy a spring day in the park.

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Where: See schedule at SXSW website for locations.

When: Interactive – March 11 – 15, 2016; Film – March 11 – 19, 2016; Music – March 15 – 20, 2016

What: The South by Southwest® (SXSW®) Conferences & Festivals (March 11-20, 2016) offer the unique convergence of original music, independent films, and emerging technologies. Fostering creative and professional growth alike, SXSW® is the premier destination for discovery.

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Rodeo Austin

Where: Travis County Expo Center, 9100 Decker Lake Road

When: March 12 – 26, 2016

What: Founded in 1938, the Star of Texas Fair and Rodeo is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization. Over 2,000 volunteers, donors, and sponsors serving on numerous committees work to advance the mission of the Star of Texas Fair and Rodeo by providing scholarships to deserving Texas youth.

Staying true to the official sport of Texas, the Star of Texas is proud to host the world’s 5th largest indoor, regular season ProRodeo. Along with Rodeo Austin, the organization delivers superior entertainment to fans year-round, while boasting an economic impact that exceeds $68 million annually.

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Capitol 10,000

Where: Downtown Austin

When: April 10, 2016

What: The Statesman Capitol 10,000 is the largest 10K in Texas and the fifth largest in the nation. Save the date April 10, 2016. In its 36th year, the Capitol 10,000 attracts the silly to the serious and has become an annual rite of spring in Austin, Texas. Bring the whole family to this fun, festive event. Walk it, jog it or run it, just don’t miss it! Get Your Feet on the Street!

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Art City Austin

Where: Cesar Chavez Street at Austin City Hall (from Lavaca Street to Lamar Boulevard) including the S. 1st Street Bridge | North entrance located on Guadalupe and south entrance on the S. 1st Street Bridge

Where: Cesar Chavez Street at Austin City Hall (from Lavaca Street to Lamar Boulevard) including the S. 1st Street Bridge | North entrance located on Guadalupe and south entrance on the S. 1st Street Bridge

When: April 29 – May 1, 2016

What: In 2012 Art City Austin invigorated the streets, plazas and open spaces with art of all kinds, Austin’s Cesar Chavez Street and the 2ND Street District played host to a one-of-a-kind, weekend-long cultural celebration.  Part art festival, part block party, Art City Austin featured nationally recognized artists, local food and musicians, kids’ activities and art installations that brought the community together to enjoy great art for the entire family in one of the most beautiful areas of downtown. Rarely car-free, Cesar Chavez Street became a vibrant community hub where Austin’s oldest art festival and biggest block party presented a celebration of culture that invites you to meet your neighbors, bring your friends, explore your city and be inspired.

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Eeyore’s Birthday

Where: Pease Park, 1100 Kingsbury Street

When: April 30th, 2016

What: Eeyores Birthday Party is a fund-raiser to benefit non-profit groups in Austin. Some of these groups will be selling hot and cold food (including vegetarian), soft drinks, juices, spring water, and Texas beer at the event. Look for commemorative Eeyore Birthday Party T-shirts. There will be costume contests and other games with prizes for children of all ages. Artists will be doing face painting and temporary tattoos. Musicians playing non-amplified instruments are invited to play. There will be Maypoles for the young and young at heart. Come join us and wish Eeyore a Happy Birthday.

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Austin Food and Wine Festival

Where: Auditorium Shores and Republic Square Park

When: April 22-24, 2016

What: Pamper your palate in one of the hippest cities in the country at the Austin FOOD & WINE Festival, presented by FOOD & WINE Magazine. Join top chef talent, sommeliers and   winemakers from across the nation and Austin’s own acclaimed gourmet scene for an indulgent, two-day epicurean adventure unlike any other, topped off with live musical performances.

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Stay Tuned.


Keep Austin Weird Festival and 5K

Where: Downtown Austin

When: June 25, 2016

What: We all know there is NO city better than Austin. Therefore, this festival’s philosophy is go big or go home. What does this mean? This means Keep Austin Weird is one blowout party full of music, family activities and local vendors eager to reflect the creative nature of Austin. Think of this festival as the ultimate toast to Austin, a toast to hospitality, fun and a sense of community. No need to hide your kids or hide your wives (or husbands) as there are plenty of fun shenanigans for any Austinite in attendance.

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ROT Biker Rally

Where: Travis County Exposition Center in Northeast Austin Texas

When: June 9 – 12, 2016

What: The Republic of Texas Biker Rally (ROT Biker Rally) is the biggest motorcycle rally in Texas and one of largest motorcycle events in the U.S.  The rally is known for its high caliber music acts; after all, Austin Texas is self proclaimed “The Music Capital of the World.”  The ROT Rally is proud to be a part of Austin and bring top named entertainment to the event each year.  Past years headliners include names like Hank Williams Jr., Willie Nelson, Bret Michaels, Joan Jett, Paul Rogers, Steppenwolf, David Allen Coe, Charlie Daniels to name a few. The attractions out at the Travis County Expo Center include a ride in bike show, custom bike builders, The World Famous Wall of Death, Comedians, national named bands, The Paradise Bar, a tattoo expo, contests for the ladies, stunt riders, 350 vendors and distributors, the ROT Rally Friday night parade and more.  The Guinness Book of World Records certified the ROT Parade as the “Longest Parade of Motorcycles.”

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Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival

Where: Edward Rendon, Sr. Park at Festival Beach

When: August TBD

What: If you wanna beat the heat this summer, then you gotta eat the heat – join The Austin Chronicle for the world’s largest hot sauce festival.

The Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival, which began in 1990, has become the world’s largest, drawing as many as 15,000 spectators and more than 350 entries every year.

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Fall Pecan Street Festival

Where: 6th Street, Austin, TX

When: September 24 – 25, 2016

What: The Pecan Street Festival is a free, bi-annual juried arts and crafts festival held on 6th Street in Austin, Texas.  The show features artisans from all over the United States who display and sell homemade art and craftwork. Festival goers can find paintings, sculpture, woodwork, candles, jewelry, cowboy hats, home decor, games, and other useful and whimsical household items.

The Pecan Street Festival is a free, bi-annual juried arts and crafts festival held on 6th Street in Austin, Texas.  The show features artisans from all over the United States who display and sell homemade art and craftwork. Festival goers can find paintings, sculpture, woodwork, candles, jewelry, cowboy hats, home decor, games, and other useful and whimsical household items.

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Austin City Limits Music Festival

Where: Zilker Park, 2100 Barton Springs Rd.

When: September 30 – October 2 and October 7 – 9, 2016

What: ACL Festival takes place on 46-acres in Zilker Park, the crown jewel of Austin’s public green spaces. It plays host not only to 130-plus artists from across the globe, but amazing local eats and wares, fun for the kiddos, green goings-on, and other cool activities to entertain you for three magical days.

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Austin Film Festival & Conference

Where: Venues include the Paramount Theatre, Alamo Drafthouse Ritz, Alamo Drafthouse Village, Long Center Rollins Theatre, Hideout Theater, Austin Convention Center, and the Bob Bullock Texas State History Musuem IMAX & Texas Spirit Theaters. (Venues are subject to change each year). The conference panels take place at the Driskill Hotel & Intercontinental Stephen F. Austin hotel in the heart of downtown Austin.

When: October 13 – 20, 2016

What: Austin Film Festival & Conference will again showcase the very best that the city has to offer – convenient downtown venues, fun parties at Austin’s fine bars and restaurants, and community partnerships – while presenting an outstanding program of narrative, animation and documentary features and shorts, including premieres, advanced screenings, and independent films. Film screenings are complemented by lively and informative Q&A sessions with cast members and filmmakers.

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Fun Fun Fun Fest

Where: Auditorium Shores

When: November TBD

What: In 2006, Fun Fun Fun Fest booked its first set of acts in downtown Austin and it didn’t take long for it to become the darling of independent festivals for music lovers and music makers in the United States. Throughout the years, Fun Fun Fun Fest has become renowned for its musical lineup, as well as its collection of comedy, food, fashion, and poster art experiences.

Now in its seventh year and recognized as one of the most relaxed, creative, and pioneering festivals in music today, Fun Fun Fun Fest is custom booked for the most passionate, underground, and progressive musicians, comedians and fans around the world.

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Turkey Trot

Where: The Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive

When: Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 2016

What: Welcome to the 22nd Annual ThunderCloud Subs Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving, Nov. 24. Last year was the most successful event in our history with approximately 19,500 participants. Thanks to everyone, we were able to give back $260,000.00 to Caritas of Austin.

Please join us Thanksgiving Day, 2016 to help us reach our goal of over 20,000 runners and to continue our record as the largest 5-mile race in Texas.

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Zilker Park Trail of Lights and Holiday Tree

Where: Zilker Park, 2100 Barton Springs Rd.

When: December TBD

What: The Zilker Tree stands 155 feet tall and is composed of 39 streamers, each holding 81 multicolored, 25-watt bulbs – totaling 3,309 lights. At the top of the tree, a double star measures 10 feet from point to point. The double star displays 150 frosted bulbs. This unique spiral pattern of lights was created by City of Austin electricians. At its circumference, the tree measures 380 feet. The diameter is 120 feet. The base of the tree is made up of 19 utility poles, each 14 feet tall, arranged in a circle around the Moonlight Tower.

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