One of the easiest way to find yourself having a crummy time at a festival is to not prepare ahead of time. It’s as important to know things like what’s prohibited at a festival, your transportation options, etc. as it is to know what time each band is playing. Spend a few minutes checking out this handy information from the City of Austin, as well as the ACL website before you go to ensure that you have the best festing time you possibly can.
1. About Zilker Park
The northern portion of Zilker Metropolitan Park, known to Austinites as the Great Lawn, is closed September 19 through October 21. This includes 11 days of festival set up, 2 event weekends, a week to remove staging, and typically at least one week for the annual Parks and Recreation Department’s post-event maintenance which is dependent on weather conditions.
Most of Zilker Metropolitan Park will be accessible prior to the festival, and between event weekends, from Monday, October 3 through Thursday, October 6. All of This includes the Rugby Field, Polo Field, Zilker Playscape, Barton Springs Pool, Zilker Botanical Garden, and Austin Nature and Science Center.
Zilker Metropolitan Park and the Zilker Botanical Gardens will be closed to the public during the six festival days only.
Here’s an interactive schedule if you need more details.
2. About smoking
The Austin Parks and Recreation Department system is smoke-free. Violation is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $2,000 pursuant to Chapter 10-6 of the Austin City Code.
3. About transportation options
Note: The City of Austin (and Austin.com!) encourages carpooling and use of mass transit when attending all events.
- Go by bus using the Cap Metro Trip Planner
- Hike along downtown trails using the Austin Trail Directory
- Bike to the park using Biking in Austin
- Festival shuttles are free! Use the ACL page to find out more
- Drive using the downtown event parking map (though we don’t recommend it) and other non-park and nearby street closure information. There is NO parking at the park, and extensive restricted parking areas in outlying areas. Festival attendees should not drive to the park.
4. About Barton Springs
Barton Springs Pool – Southgate Parking Lot will be open during the festival weekends and is reserved for pool users only. Access to Barton Springs Pool will be via Barton Hills Drive, Rabb Road or Bluebonnet Road to Robert E. Lee. There will be NO ACCESS to Barton Springs Road and Robert E. Lee. ADA pool parking is available in the Barton Springs Pool – Southgate Parking Lot, or first-come first-served on the north side via the northbound MoPac frontage at Andrew Zilker Road. Proper ADA tags must be displayed prior to approaching the area.
5. About Parking and Traffic
Barton Springs Road changes will again be implemented for the 2016 year to help further reduce the number of vehicles impacting and causing safety concerns for patron pedestrian foot traffic entering the Festival. Barton Springs road will be open for local access only for residents, business staff and patrons, and festival attendees from Lamar to Sterzing. All non-local traffic will be directed out of the area from Sterzing, to Toomey and Toomey to Lamar. There is NO ACCESS further west from Sterzing to Robert E. Lee as in previous years. The festival will be providing a free shuttle for festival attendees at Republic Square Park.
There will be a designated drop off zone on Sterzing Lane between Barton Springs and Toomey Road, on Stephen F. Austin Drive under MoPac Bridge, and on Lee Barton Drive between Lamar Boulevard and Riverside Drive. Citations will be actively issued to transportation networking companies, and other drop offs in unapproved areas.
Public safety personnel will be routinely patrolling and towing in the affected areas.