This is the last weekend to visit Austin’s free splash pads, plus the only weekend you can view a supermoon eclipse! But that’s not all the free fun happening around town — here are more top weekend events:
- American Indian Heritage Day – Friday, September 25 from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. The last Friday of September is American Indian Heritage day in Texas, so come celebrate at the Bullock Museum. There will be performances by the Great Promise for American Indians, open discussions about the culture and traditions of native groups in Texas, and opportunities to see drumming and dancing displays throughout the day. Stop by in the morning for performances or come to the public celebration from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Admission to museum exhibits is not included. FREE! Bullock Texas State History Museum, 1800 N Congress Ave, Austin.
- Head for the Hill’s: Free Music Fridays – Friday, September 25 from 7-10 p.m. Hill’s Cafe is excited to announce the return of a live, local music series to the historic Hill’s stage. This week, Jeremy Booth and the Wanderers perform. A special backyard menu will be available for purchase. Family-friendly and FREE! Hill’s Cafe, 4700 S Congress Ave, Austin.
- Movies in the Park: Cinderella (Cedar Park) – Friday, September 25 at 7:30 p.m. Bring your blankets and lawn chairs. Food concessions will not be available, but you are welcome to bring a picnic. Rated PG. FREE! Elizabeth Milburn Park, 1901 Sun Chase Blvd, Cedar Park.
- Smithsonian Museum Day Live – Saturday, September 26; times vary. Fill out a short registration form and you will receive one ticket for two people to visit a participating museum on Saturday, for FREE! Participating museums include the Blanton Museum of Art and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. You do have to request a ticket to a specific museum. You can get one ticket per household, for two people. The ticket will be available to download immediately after you complete the online registration form.
- Movie and Music in the Park: Big Hero 6 – Saturday, September 26, 2015 from 5–10:30 p.m. Bring your whole family to lie out on blankets under the night sky for fun events at Harper Park. Food Trucks, music from Texas Skyz and the movie Big Hero 6 at dusk. FREE! Harper Park, 11040 Lake Creek Pkwy, Austin.
- Movie and Music in the Park: Wreck-it Ralph – Saturday, September 26 at 6:30 p.m. Bring your blankets, family, and friends for a night under the stars. The award winning McCallum Orchestra will take you on a journey of movie music through the years. Highlights include a musical montage, an outdoor screening of Wreck-it Ralph, food trailers, and concessions. A portion of food sales will benefit the McCallum Orchestra. FREE! Mueller Lake Park Amphitheatre, Aldrich & Simond Avenue, Austin.
- The Pecan Street Festival – Saturday, September 26 and Sunday, September 27 in Downtown Austin on 6th St between Brazos St and I-35. Hours are 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. on Saturday and 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m on Sunday. The Pecan Street Festival is one of the largest, and longest-running, arts/crafts and music festivals in the nation. It is a FREE two-day festival held twice yearly in downtown Austin’s Sixth Street Historic District. More than 50 of Austin’s top musical acts will perform on three stages, located on Trinity, Neches and Red River streets. Kid-friendly activities include rides, a petting zoo, face-painting, interactive workshops, street magicians and more. Admission is FREE. Activities cost extra. 24 blocks of 6th Street (map), Downtown Austin.
- Texas Teen Book Festival – Saturday, September 26 from 8:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. FREE! The full lineup of more than 30 authors represents some of the most popular and critically acclaimed authors in the booming Young Adult genre. The keynote speaker is Emmy Award-winning actress and writer Sonia Manzano, best known for her role as “Maria” on the PBS series Sesame Street. After more than four decades on the show, Manzano announced her retirement last month and will present her latest work, a coming-of-age memoir entitled Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx, from 1:30 to 2:15 p.m. Other popular authors who will appear at the TTBF include Claudia Gray (Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens), Pierce Brown (Red Rising trilogy), Rick Yancey (The 5th Wave), Kaui Hart Hemmings (The Descendants), Jesse Andrews (Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl), David Levithan (Another Day), and Libba Bray (Lair of Dreams). View the full schedule here and complete author lineup here. St. Edward’s University, 3001 S Congress Ave, Austin.
- Community Art Sunday – Sunday, September 27 from 2-5 p.m. Community Art Sundays celebrate community at the Center for Creative Action through dance, music, creativity, food, and the arts! This FREE, family-friendly event for all ages will include live music from the Tiarra Girls, a performance from Forklift Danceworks’ Body Shift, storytelling, interactive art workshops, a drawing for Alamo Drafthouse tickets, free beverages (adult and kid-friendly), ice cream, and an H-E-B healthy snack-bar. Center for Creative Action, 2921 E. 17th St. Bldg B, Austin.
- Austin Symphonic Band Concert in Zilker Park – Sunday, September 27 from 7–8:30 p.m. The Austin Symphonic Band presents its traditional fall concert in Zilker Park. Bring a snack and spread your blanket under the pecan trees at the beautiful Hillside Theatre. Then watch the stars come out as the band showcases music as big as the great outdoors. FREE! Please note: Traffic flow into and out of Zilker Park has been changed to relieve traffic on Barton Springs Road. Details at this link. Zilker Hillside Theater, 2206 William Barton Drive, Austin.
More fun in the ‘burbs:
- Fajita Fiesta Cook Off (Buda) – Friday, September 25 from 4:30-10 p.m. and Saturday, September 26 from 9 a.m. – 10 p.m. Fajita Fiesta is a two-day family friendly event with FREE admission, parking, and concerts. The 2nd Annual Fajita Fiesta Cook Off Kick Off party on Friday evening will feature a classic car show, a sock hop dance contest, a costume contest, food, drinks and live music from Glen Collins & the Alibis, followed by the Showman Band! Head back out on Saturday for an all-day family fun event. There will be a kids’ area, vendor booths, food booths, a jalapeno eating contest, beer garden, live music, and raffle drawings. Finishing the night out right will be none other than Tejano Grammy winner Shelly Lares! Buda City Park, Main & San Antonio Street, Buda.
- Suddenlink Bluegrass Festival (Leander) – Friday, September 25 from 7-10 p.m. and Saturday, September 26 from 6-10 p.m. The 10th Annual Leander Bluegrass Festival is a FREE event that will feature live music, concessions, children’s activities, and a variety of vendors. Alcohol and coolers are allowed, but please don’t bring any glass containers. Friendly pets are welcomed on a leash. Robin Bledsoe Park, 601 South Bagdad, Leander.
- Sunset Music Series (Hutto) – Friday, September 25 from 7-9 p.m. Enjoy Hutto’s historic Old Town district while listening to the Jacqui Walker Band play rock, soul, and blues. FREE! Hutto’s Historic CO-OP Gin, 420 US-79, Hutto.
- National Hunting & Fishing Day (Round Rock) – Saturday, September 26 from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. Kids of all ages can enjoy fishing, sensory safari, kayak lessons, archery, and more. FREE! (For even more family fun, registration for the Friday night Family Campout is $10 per person.) Old Settlers Park, 3300 Palm Valley Blvd, Round Rock.
- Literature Fair (San Marcos) – Saturday, September 26 from 10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. This event is FREE and open to the public and will feature a city of San Marcos book parade, readings, performances, music, hands-on activities and free books. Joining the 2015 Rivera Award Winners Duncan Tonatiuh and Isabel Quintero will be the Poet Laureate of Texas Carmen Tafolla, as well as performances by the students from the Indigenous Cultures Institute, Centro’s Ballet Folklórico, and the Joaquina La Arlekina Puppet Show. San Marcos Library and San Marcos Activity Center, San Marcos. Parking and free shuttle at Strahan Coliseum (Aquarena Springs Drive & Charles Austin Drive) in San Marcos.
- Saturday Night Concert Series featuring Suede (Bee Cave) – Saturday, September 26 from 7-9 p.m. Enjoy Saturday nights outdoors with live music and FREE kids’ activities. The music begins at 7 p.m. with Suede in the Hill Country Galleria’s outdoor amphitheater. Bring a blanket to lounge on the grassy lawn during the show. Arrive early to ensure you get a SWAG bag filled with fun items and discounts from the Hill Country Galleria merchants and sponsors! Hill Country Galleria, 12700 Hill Country Blvd, Bee Cave.
Our not-free honorable mention:
- Winnie the Pooh at ZACH Theater – Saturday, September 26 and Sunday, September 27, 2015 at 2 p.m. Purchase tickets here. Join Pooh, Eeyore, Piglet, and Rabbit for a fun, musical adaptation of the beloved Winnie the Pooh stories. Full of creative story telling, clowning, and physical comedy, this adaption will be enjoyed by the whole family. The Topfer Theatre, 202 South Lamar, Austin.