May in Austin is full of FREE events you won’t want to miss–festivals, live music, movies in the park, and more!
Unplugged at the Grove
May 4, 11, 18, 25 at 8:00 p.m. | Shady Grove, 1624 Barton Springs Rd, Austin
Austinites of all ages have the opportunity to experience one of Austin’s longest-running FREE live music series on Shady Grove’s iconic pecan tree shaded patio. Every Thursday night through September 14, Unplugged-goers will enjoy live music as well as a special patio menu of Austin-inspired home cooking and drink specials. May 4: Ian Moore. May 11: Lisa Morales. May 18: James McMurtry. May 25: Dale Watson.
Free Movie in the Park: A League of Their Own
May 4 at 8:30 p.m. | Beverly S Sheffield Northwest District Park, 7000 Ardath St, Austin
Movies in the Park is a series of FREE films brought to you by Austin Parks Foundation in partnership with Alamo Drafthouse and presented by Lyft. Bring your blanket or lawn chairs (and a picnic dinner) for a fun and relaxing evening under the beautiful Austin night sky. Rain Date: May 11.
Austin Shakespeare: The Comedy of Errors
Thursdays-Sundays, May 4-28 at 8:00 p.m. | Zilker Hillside Theatre, 2206 William Barton Dr, Austin
Thursday through Sunday nights in May, you can watch Shakespeare for FREE at the Zilker Hillside Theatre. There is a preview night on Wednesday, May 3 at 8:00 p.m.
Star Wars: Revenge of the Fifth
May 5 from 6-8:30 p.m. | APL: Windsor Park Branch, 5833 Westminster Dr, Austin
What were Luke’s aunt’s and uncle’s jobs on Tatooine? In how many languages is C-3P0 fluent? Are you ready to have fun and play some Star Wars trivia? There will be all sorts of FREE fun activities including a costume show, trivia contest, games, prizes, photo booth, button and bookmark upcycling crafts, and snacks. May the Fourth Be with You!
Home Depot Kids Workshop: Build a Flower Pot
May 6 from 9:00 a.m. to Noon | Home Depot Stores
You and your child can build a flower pot to hold spring flowers to keep or give to Mom. Once the project is complete, your child can paint their project to personalize it. All kids get to keep their project, receive a certificate of achievement, a Workshop Apron, and a commemorative pin while supplies last. Children must be present at the store to participate in the workshop and receive the kit, apron and pin. Registration is recommended. FREE!
Violet Crown Festival
May 6 from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. | Brentwood Elementary School, 6700 Arroyo Seco, Austin
Art, music, food, and lots of free kids’ activities? Violet Crown Spring Festival has it all. This fun festival will be in the west-side parking lot of Brentwood Elementary School. Admission is FREE! The festival – staged by Violet Crown Community Works (VCCW) – will feature local art and craft vendors, family fun, children’s activities, live music, and refreshments.
Austin Short Short Fiction Festival #2
May 6 from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. | Elisabet Ney Museum, 304 E 44th St, Austin
Celebrate Austin’s popping short fiction scene at the Austin Short Short Fiction Festival #2. A dozen or more local authors, along with a couple of nationally-known surprise readers, will read their best short short fiction piece (<1000 words) aloud at the Ney. Accomplished local authors Elizabeth McCracken, Deb Olin Unferth, and Mary Helen Specht will curate the readings and host the day’s events. Booths from local publishers and writing groups, including fields Magazine, American Short Fiction, and Bat City Review. There will be food trucks featuring Ray’s World Tacos, face-painting, other family-friendly activities, literary booths, and more. Admission is FREE!
Crafts for Kids
Saturdays in May from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. | Lakeshore Learning, 9828 Great Hills Trail, Austin
May 6: May Flowers Flowerpots. May 13: Mom’s Favorite Recipes Box. May 20: Ready to Go Tic-Tac-Toe. May 27: Stars & Stripes Windsock. Ages 3+. No reservations required. FREE!
CelebrASIA Austin APA Food & Heritage Festival
May 6 from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. | Asian American Resource Center, 8401 Cameron Rd, Austin
May is nationally recognized as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and what better way to celebrate? This year, the festival presents the “Year of the Mango” with mango themed foods and activities. With cultural performances and experiences, a variety of Asian/Pacific-focused foods, culinary presentations, and fun kids’ activities, there is something for everyone. Admission is FREE! Food, beverages, and merchandise will be available for purchase.
Austin Refugee Day Festival
May 6 from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. | Onion Creek Soccer Complex, 5600 E William Cannon Dr, Austin
The second annual Austin Refugee Day Festival is a city-wide event hosted by local agencies who serve refugee and migrant families. This event is open to the public and will be a fun park day for the community! It will include 5-on-5 soccer matches, kids’ activities including a Velcro wall, inflatable bounce houses, face painting, outdoor games, information and resource booths, as well as a food truck and other treats on site. This is a collaborative event hosted by different refugee service agencies here in Austin and will be a chance to celebrate the refugee population within our community. Admission is FREE!
Pecan Street Festival
May 6 & 7 | 6th St between Brazos and I-35, Austin
The Pecan Street Festival, one of Central Texas’ oldest and most popular events, is a two-day arts festival held each spring and fall in downtown Austin’s charming Sixth Street Historic District, a National Register of Historic Places site. More than 60 of Austin’s finest musical acts bring three stages to life, and family-friendly activities from street magicians to a petting zoo delight both adults and children. Food vendors provide both healthy and indulgent choices, often supported by and benefiting charitable partners. FREE!
Saturday Night Concert Series (Bee Cave)
May 6, 13, 20, 27 from 7-9:00 p.m. | Hill Country Galleria, 12700 Hill Country Blvd, Bee Cave
Sit back, relax, and enjoy this FREE event every Saturday night! Bring your family, friends, and a blanket to lounge on the grassy lawn during the show. Browse the vendors, order to-go food and have it delivered to your spot on the grassy lawn, and enjoy free kids activities like face painting or balloon twisters. Arrive early to ensure you get a free swag bag filled with fun items and discounts from the Hill Country Galleria merchants and sponsors. Sun Radio 100.1 FM will be on-site to emcee the event and introduce you to the band.
Free Kids’ Music at Cherrywood Coffee House
Sundays in May from 10-11:30 a.m. | Cherrywood Coffeehouse, 1400 E 38 1/2 St, Austin
May 7: Hey Lollies. May 14: Groundwork Music. May 21: Que Pastas. May 28: Staci Gray. FREE all ages shows. Please note that the schedule is subject to change.
H-E-B Free First Sunday at the Bullock Museum: Family
May 7 from Noon to 5:00 p.m. | Bullock Texas State History Museum, 1800 Congress Ave, Austin
Enjoy FREE exhibition admission all day during H-E-B Free First Sundays. Families can explore the Story of Texas through three floors of exhibitions that showcase artifacts from around the state. Special family programs from 12-3:00 p.m. combine art creation, exploration stations, and gallery activities. At May’s H-E-B Free First Sunday, celebrate your loved ones through art, storytelling, and more.
Cars and Coffee
May 7 from 8:00 a.m. to Noon | The Oasis on Lake Travis, 6550 Comanche Trail, Austin
Enjoy a low-key display of classic cars. FREE!
Sunday Fundays at Neill Cochran House Museum: Get It In Print
May 7 from 1-4:00 p.m. | Neill Cochran House Museum, 2310 San Gabriel St, Austin
The simple act of producing perfect, identical letters at the touch of a button is a very recent development. Even the typewriter as some of us came to know it wasn’t commercially available until 1873–nearly 20 years after the Neill-Cochran House was built and 34 years after Austin’s founding. Even then, the typewriter could only make one (or a few) copies of what you type. More complicated processes go into printing newspapers and books, many of which did not become computerized until the 1970s. Because our lives have changed so much by the ability to copy and print sentences and images quickly and inexpensively, take this opportunity to get into the lab and see what printing was like in its earliest forms. No RSVP required; drop in anytime. All materials provided. FREE!
KUTX Live at Mueller
May 12 at 7:00 p.m. | Mueller Lake Park, 4550 Mueller Blvd, Austin
Pack the blankets and saddle the Rody Horse because KUTX is headed back to Mueller for another round of FREE music and fun for the whole family. One Friday evening each month, KUTX and Mueller bring you a kid-friendly act followed by rock ‘n’ roll for the grown-ups. The whole family can enjoy food trucks, fun, and live music on the lake. The music begins at 7:00 p.m., but face painting for the kids and food for purchase will be available before the show starts.
WEST Austin Studio Tour
May 13-14 & May 20-21 | Various locations
WEST is a self-guided tour that champions the abundance of talent within Austin’s large and wildly diverse creative community. The public is invited to discover new artistic talent, see working studios, learn about artists’ tools, techniques, and inspirations, and support the arts community by building their personal art collections with the work of local artists. In its fifth year, the tour is expected to grow in size and substance as the number of artists working west of I-35 increases. WEST boundaries include the area West of I-35, East of Mopac, South of HWY 183, and North of William Cannon. FREE!
70th Birthday Splash Parade and Plunge in Barton Springs
May 13 from 9-11:00 a.m. | Barton Springs, 2201 Barton Springs Rd, Austin
Join Barton Springs Conservancy for a fun and family-friendly parade that will end in a celebratory plunge into Barton Springs. The parade is a public celebration of the 70th Birthday of the Barton Springs Bathhouse, which opened in 1947 and has served as an iconic Austin gathering space for decades. Barton Springs Conservancy invites Austinites young and old to attend – donning their most patriotic attire, and the enthusiasm and love of the Springs. Meet at the South Entrance of Barton Springs by 9:00 a.m. for a spirited march around and into the pool area, and a plunge into the Springs. Birthday cake follows the plunge. FREE!
Second Saturdays are for Families: Recycled Robots
May 13 from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. | Laguna Gloria, 3809 W 35th St, Austin
Put everyday materials together to form a robotic work of art, then stop by the animation station to bring your metallic creation to life. The Contemporary Austin offers FREE monthly hands-on art-making activities, brought to you by HomeAway. Recommended for ages 2-11. Reservations are requested for family art-making workshops; please reserve your spot here beginning the 1st of the month.
Pun-Off World Championships
May 13 from 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. | O Henry Museum, 409 E 5th St, Austin
The 40th Pun-Off will feature food trucks, a used-book sale, live music from Shinyribs from 11:00 a.m. to noon, and lot of zany, groan-inducing wordplay. Admission is FREE!
UMLAUF Family Day
May 14 from Noon to 4:00 p.m. | 605 Robert E Lee Rd, Austin
Family Days offer special, hands-on programs designed for families with children ages 4-10 years old. Families have the opportunity to explore the UMLAUF while engaging in creative activities. Listen to stories, do yoga in the garden, watch sculpture demos, enjoy live music, and more. FREE!
Mother’s Day Concert at the Capitol
May 14 at 7:00 p.m. | Texas State Capitol, 1100 Congress Ave, Austin
What better way to close out a great day with Mom than by taking her to a FREE concert in her honor? The band will perform well-known tunes, including marches and musical numbers, that you and your Mom are sure to enjoy. Get there early to select the best seating…this concert gets more popular every year.
Third Thursdays at the Blanton
May 18 from Noon to 9:00 p.m. | Blanton Museum of Art, 200 E Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Austin
Every third Thursday, the Blanton has a FREE themed event that features extended hours, multiple programs including Yoga in the Galleries, tours, and other offerings. Thursdays are always FREE at The Blanton.
Free Movie in the Park: Aladdin en Español
May 18 at 8:45 p.m. | Dove Springs District Park, 5801 Ainez Dr, Austin
Movies in the Park is a series of FREE films brought to you by Austin Parks Foundation in partnership with Alamo Drafthouse and presented by Lyft. Bring your blanket or lawn chairs (and a picnic dinner) for a fun and relaxing evening under the beautiful Austin night sky. Rain Date: June 15.
Fairytale Tea Party
May 20 from 10:00 a.m. to Noon | Gus Garcia Recreation Center, 1201 E Rundberg Ln, Austin
You are hereby summoned to a magical celebration complete with princesses and forest friends. Arrive dressed in your favorite princess attire. Enjoy light refreshments and snacks. Play games, make crafts, and take pictures by the castle. FREE!
May 20 from 1-3:00 p.m. | TownLake YMCA Pool, 1100 W Cesar Chavez St, Austin
There will be a bouncy house, snacks, games, music, drinks, and more. This party is FREE and open to the public, so be sure to invite your friends and family. The party will be hosted at the pool. You can enter from the side of the building, where you’ll see the bouncy house and directional signage. Please note: the YMCA of Austin Swim policy will be followed, so if you are not a current member with an updated swim test on file, they will need to conduct a quick test with a lifeguard upon arrival.
Sounds of Young Black and Gifted Concert
May 31 at 1:30 p.m. | George Washington Carver Boyd Vance Theatre, 1165 Angelina St. Austin
Youth from all over the Austin Metropolitan area will dance, sing and perform instrumental pieces. Children are the future and they’ve got talent. The concert will be on Wednesday, May 31st immediately following the annual B.L. Joyce Parade supporting education in the fine arts. The parade will start at Huston-Tillotson University at 11:00 a.m. and end at the George Washington Carver Museum, Cultural, and Genealogy Center at 1:00 p.m. with the concert starting at 1:30 p.m. FREE!
More FREE Fun Beyond Austin
Music On Main Street (Round Rock)
Wednesdays in May from 6-8:00 p.m. | Prete Main Street Plaza, 221 E Main St, Round Rock
The City of Round Rock brings you this FREE music series on Wednesdays through May. Bring a lawn chair or blanket and the entire family. Visit the variety of dining options on Main Street or pack a picnic basket to enjoy the evening of fun and music. Food vendors will be on site. May 3: Charles Thibodeaux and the Cajun Aces, Cajun. May 10: Sarah Pierce Quartet, Cowgirl country. May 17: Chalk Board Poets, Indy folk-rock. May 24: Sarah Arenella Band, Vintage sounds. May 31: Colin Huntly, Pop covers and Originals.
Strike Out Hunger with the Round Rock Express (Round Rock)
May 3 & 24 at 7:05 p.m. | Prete Main Street Plaza, 221 E Main St, Round Rock
Strike Out Hunger when you bring two H-E-B branded canned goods in exchange for one lawn ticket to benefit the Central Texas Food Bank. May 3 vs. Nashville Sounds and May 24 vs. Las Vegas 51s.
Yoga on the Plaza (Round Rock)
May 6 from 8-9:00 a.m. | Prete Main Street Plaza, 221 E Main St, Round Rock
Get your om on in Downtown Round Rock with a FREE, beginner friendly yoga class presented by The Yoga Room. Bring a yoga mat or towel and bottle of water. Class starts at 8:00 a.m., so arrive a little early to get your mat on the plaza.
Muddy Miler Family Adventure (Round Rock)
May 6 from 8:30-10:30 a.m. | Old Settlers Park, 3300 E Palm Valley Blvd, Round Rock
The Muddy Miler is a themed adventure run offering the entire family more obstacles, more mud, and more fun than your average run event. Register online now. Warning: You will get muddy from head to toe if you want to conquer the Muddy Miler! The event is FREE for the entire family but each participant must pre-register.
Pioneer Days (Round Rock)
May 6 from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. | Old Settlers Park, 3300 Palm Valley Blvd, Round Rock
Dip candles and churn butter, make corn husk doll and rag balls, or wander through reenactment camps along with a fully stocked general store. FREE!
Tour The Talent (Dripping Springs)
May 6 & 7 from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. | Various Artist studios in Dripping Springs (map)
This FREE event, sponsored by The Artists Alliance of the Hill Country, highlights a diverse selection of innovative fine art including original paintings, jewelry, pottery, poetry books, photography, fused glass, and sculptures. Get familiar with 20 talented artists showing their work at 5 working Art Studios near Dripping Springs.
Brushy Creek BBQ Cook-Off & Family Festival (Round Rock)
May 6 from Noon to 8:00 p.m. | Brushy Creek Community Center, 16318 Great Oaks Dr, Round Rock
This family fun-centered event offers a chance for BBQ Cookers to compete in an IBCA sanctioned cook-off while allowing families a chance to enjoy a day of great BBQ, children’s activities, and a free concert series featuring Austin Prairie Dogs, Lix Box, Jonathan Fox Band, and Vallejo. The event and the concerts are FREE to attend. Children’s activities and food will have additional fees.
Dia de las Madres (Round Rock)
May 13 from 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. | Prete Main Street Plaza, 221 E Main St, Round Rock
Celebrate mothers at this FREE family event. Activities include arts and crafts for kids, a chance to take pictures with mom, and free carnations for mothers. The event promises to be full of music and fun for the entire family!
Old Town Street Festival (Leander)
May 19 from 5-9:00 p.m. & May 20 from 11:00 – 9:00 p.m. | Old Town Leander, 100 N Brushy St, Leander
The streets of Old Town Leander fill with local and national artisans offering handcrafted creations. Musical acts will bring the stage to life, and family-friendly activities will delight both adults and children. Admission is FREE, but some activities, food, and beverage purchases will require tickets.
Nearly Free Fun
Woodland Faerie Trail Opens
May 27 | Zilker Botanical Garden, 2220 Barton Springs Rd, Austin
Explore the abodes of the faeries and gnomes along the Woodland Faerie Trail exhibit through the escarpment pathway and see who is home. Free with Garden entry and open during regular hours. through July 30, 2017.
Renegade Craft Fair
May 20 & 21 from 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. | Fair Market, 1100 E 5th St, Austin
Celebrate the sights, sounds, and tastes of Spring with Renegade Craft Fair. RCF returns to Fair Market in May for a fun weekend jam-packed with the very best in handmade goods. Be sure to save time for inspiring DIY workshops, lively music, the tastiest food and drinks, and more. Admission is FREE!
Redbud Artisan Market (Dripping Springs)
May 20 & 21 from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. | Dripping Springs Ranch Park, 1042 Event Center Dr, Dripping Springs
Redbud Artisan Market is an all handmade market of over 50 Texas artisans, each displaying and selling their own, original fine art and fine craft. This is an indoor market with live music; great food and local wine; a kids area for them to make a simple, free craft; and free parking. Admission is $1 for adults, to benefit the local food bank. Rain or shine.