Top 14 Festivals In Austin, Texas

festivals in austin
| 6 min read

Festivals are one of the biggest drawers of Austin. It is most known for its major music festivals such as South by Southwest (SXSW), which features world-renowned performers from all genres of music, and JMBLYA, which features known hip-hop acts. However, there are several other events and festivals in the city, including those that celebrate books, food, drinks, and arts, each of which features something different and uniquely Austin. It’s no wonder then why it has now become unofficially known as the festival mecca of Texas. If you’re planning a visit soon, be sure to check out some great places to stay for your accommodation needs, including Vrbo vacation rentals on 6th street. Take your pick from this list of festivals in Austin, Texas, if you’re planning to enjoy one of the celebrations in the city.

1. The Pecan Street Festival

Pecan Street Festival
Source: Photo by user Todd Dwyer used under CC BY-SA 2.0

No, this isn’t a festival that honors a type of nut. The Pecan Street Festival, one of the oldest and most popular events in Central Texas, is a two-day activity held twice a year - one in May and another in September - in the Sixth Street Historic District. While it’s technically an arts festival, it features more than the works of artists, with varieties of food sold here and local musicians sharing their talents to the attendees. If you’re traveling here with your children, you’ll be pleased to know that there are kid-friendly things to do and places to visit available here, including mini-rides, a petting zoo, face painting sessions, and performances by magicians.

The Pecan Street Festival

Address: 501 Old Pecan St, Austin, TX 78701

Website: The Pecan Street Festival

Takes place: May and September

Price: Free entry

2. Bat Fest

Bat watching
Source: Photo by user Eric used under CC BY 2.0

Unlike the Pecan Street Festival, this activity is rightly named, as it is intended to pay homage to bats, specifically around 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats that have made the Congress Avenue Bridge their home. While they’re under the bridge from around March to fall, the festival held in their honor takes place during August. This activity also features live musical performances, arts and crafts vendors plying their wares, food and drink booths, and child-friendly attractions such as games. In keeping with the theme, the event’s highlight (besides the emergence of the bats from under the bridge) is arguably the bat costume contest.

Bat Fest

Address: Congress Ave Bridge, 100 South Congress Ave., Austin, TX 78704

Website: Bat Fest

Takes place: August

3. The Texas Book Festival

Texas book festival food 2013
Source: Photo by user Larry D. Moore used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The Texas Book Festival, one of the largest and most prestigious literary festivals in USA, was co-founded by former First Lady Laura Bush and Mary Margaret Farabee, who was a local philanthropist and activist. It is held annually as a way to promote literacy. It is attended by over 300 authors, including critically acclaimed writers of children’s and adult’s books. While the event itself is for free, books are sold on-site, and the profits are used for statewide school and library programs. Of course, a festival won’t be complete without food and drinks sold during the event.

The Texas Book Festival

Address: 1023 Springdale Rd, Austin, TX 78721

Website: The Texas Book Festival

Takes place: October

Price: Free entry

4. Rodeo Austin

Rodeo Austin
Source: Need Pix

You can’t have a list about Texas and not talk about rodeos! Organizers of Rodeo Austin takes pride in saying that it’s the biggest festival in the city. Activities you can enjoy watching (or even experiencing for yourself) include bull riding, barrel racing, and mutton busting. Besides featuring the competitions and exhibitions you can expect from a rodeo event, you can also expect the activity to feature a number of food trucks, a beer and wine garden, a carnival, and performances of musical acts.

Rodeo Austin

Address: 9100 Decker Lake Rd, Austin, TX 78724

Takes place: March

5. Texas Craft Brewers Festival

If you’re a fan of craft beers, make sure to schedule your trip to Texas in September, as this will be the month wherein the Texas Craft Brewers Festival is held. This event features over 200 different handcrafted beers from more than 70 brewers that will be made available for sampling. Pair the drink of your choice with food sold on-site. Musical artists provide entertainment to the festival-goers. Local artisans also bring their works for sale.

Texas Craft Brewers Festival

Address: 2101 Jesse E. Segovia St, Austin, TX

Website: Texas Craft Brewers Festival

Takes place: Usually held in September

6. ABC Kite Fest

The longest-running festival of its kind in the US, the ABC Kite Fest was established in 1929 to encourage children’s creativity. Today, while kite flying remains the highlight of the festival, it now also features other activities, including the Anteater Fun Run, a kids’ club, a pet zone, face painting, and a children’s music concert. There’s also a contest for the most unusual kite, so if you’re planning to participate in this festival, be sure to make your kite as creative and as unique as possible.

ABC Kite Fest

Address: Zilker Metropolitan Park, Austin, TX.

Website: ABC Kite Fest

Takes place: March

7. ACL Music Festival

Source: Photo by user SteveHopson used under CC BY 3.0

The Austin City Limits Music Festival, or simply known as the ACL Music Festival, is held annually on two consecutive weekends. It features as many as eight stages, allowing various acts - including internationally renowned talents that play different musical genres - to show off their talents to entertain the crowds. Besides the performances, there are also food and drink booths and an art market that visitors can flock to at this event. About 450,000 attend the festival yearly.

ACL Music Festival

Address: 2100 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78746

Website: ACL Music Festival

Takes place: October

8. Austin Film Festival

Austin Film Festival 2016 (29715091974)
Source: Photo by user Daniel Benavides used under CC BY 2.0

Here’s another activity you can check out if you’re in the city in October. Originally known as the “Writers Festival”, it once served to launch the careers of screenwriters, but has since evolved into a celebration of filmmaking itself. Narrative features, documentary features, narrative shorts, narrative student shorts, animated shorts, documentary shorts, dark matter features, and comedy vanguard features are shown during this festival, with the best entries given awards. Movies that are scheduled for release in other areas may be screened here ahead of time.

Austin Film Festival

Address: 1801 Salina St, Austin, TX 78702

Website: Austin Film Festival

Takes place: Usually held in October

9. St. Elias Mediterranean Festival [Last event in 2019]

festivals in austin | st. elias mediterranean festival [last event in 2019]
Source: instagram

The longest-running food and cultural festival, St. Elias Mediterranean Festival, or simply Medfest, is a celebration of all things Mediterranean. Expect your taste buds to try out cuisine from Greece, Russia, Lebanon, Palestine, and Eritrea. Be entertained by watching the performances of traditional dances and music from these countries, and there’s also a kids’ zone where your children can find their own amusements. If you’re doing some Austin shopping, be sure to pick up souvenirs and decorations that have a distinct Mediterranean flavor.

St. Elias Mediterranean Festival

Address: 408 E 11th St, Austin, TX 78701

Website: St. Elias Mediterranean Festival

Takes place: September

10. Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival

23rd annual Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival
Source: Photo by user Central Texas Foo... used under CC BY-ND 2.0

If you like a little bit of spice in your life, be sure to head over to Austin in August, when the Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival is celebrated. The highlight of the festival, which sees about 15,000 guests yearly, is the hot sauce contest, wherein over 300 competitors offer the hottest hot sauce they could ever produce. Musical acts provide entertainment throughout the activity. Proceeds of the festival go to the Central Texas Food Bank.

Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival

Address: 2101 Jesse E. Segovia St., Austin, TX 78702

Website: Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival

Takes place: Usually held in August

Price: 5 USD

11. Austin Food + Wine Festival

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Austin Food + Wine Festival will no longer take place in 2020. We hoped to continue our annual tradition of celebrating...

Posted by Austin Food + Wine Festival on Friday, August 28, 2020

Foodies should not miss out on visiting the Austin Food + Wine Festival, the biggest food festival in the city. Besides the standard Texan fare such as tacos, you can also expect gourmet fare from the top chefs of Austin. There are demos for cooking and winemaking. Love barbecue? You don’t have to look for barbecue restaurants in Austin as there’s a grill managed by the top Texas barbecue experts. Prefer something a little more gourmet? They’ve got that here as well. Be sure to come early, as the food can run out very fast. Beers, whiskeys, cocktails, and other alcoholic beverages are available here as well.

Austin Food + Wine Festival

Website: Austin Food + Wine Festival

Takes place: Usually held in April

12. Austin Reggae Fest

Austin Reggae Fest 2017
Source: Photo by user Central Texas Foo... used under CC BY-ND 2.0

The Austin Reggae Fest is one of the oldest music festivals, having been around for over 20 years. The lineup of musical artists are diverse: besides reggae performers, there are also those who play other genres such as roots and ska. If the jams aren’t enough to hook you in, the great food will, as international cuisine is served throughout the three-day festival. Unique arts and crafts products are sold here if you want to take home with you keepsakes to help you remember your memorable trip. Proceeds go to the Central Texas Food Bank to feed hungry families in Travis County and surrounding areas.

Austin Reggae Fest

Address: Auditorium Shores, 800 West Riverside Drive, Austin, TX 78704

Website: Austin Reggae Fest

Takes place: April

13. Art City Austin [Last event in 2019]

Many of the other festivals in this list allow artists and artisans to show off and sell their works to the attendees. While those run the risk of relegating them to the sidelines in favor of the main focus of each respective event, Art City Austin is all about them and their creativity. Over 80 creatives get the chance to showcase their skills during this activity. It’s not just the traditional artists who are more than welcome to participate in this event: designers, artisans, visual artists, performance artists, and even chefs and bakers are more than willing to show off what they’ve got here. There’s plenty of food and drink offerings here, so you can have fun admiring the various forms of art without going hungry or thirsty.

Art City Austin

Address: 422 Guadalupe Street, Austin, Texas 78701

Website: Art City Austin

Takes place: April

14. ATX Television Festival

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

If you’re involved in or a fan of television shows, this is the event for you. ATX Television Festival is a celebration of TV, melding together industry-related talks with fan events. One of the most anticipated events would be the panels and Q&A sessions. Want to catch your favorite TV star talk about his/her character’s development? If you’re lucky, that celeb may just show up here. There have even been instances wherein cast members of defunct shows have had their reunions via a special session in the festival. You may also get to hear discussions on the past, present, and future of TV here.

ATX Television Festival

Address: 701 Congress Ave.; Austin, TX 78701

Website: ATX Television Festival

Takes place: June

Get festive in Austin

With all of these events happening all year round, your question should not be what festival to attend in Austin, but rather which one best fits your interests. Plan your visit accordingly so you can match the schedule of the festival of your choice.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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Melanie is a freelance travel writer. She considers freelancing for Trip 101 to be a combination of two of the things she loves: writing and traveling.

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