Austin (KXAN) — As the countdown continues to the Austin City Limits Music Festival, attendees are also counting the ways they may be able to reach the festival with as little hassle as possible. This year, the crowds of people and musical acts will descend on Zilker Park on October 4-6 and October 11-13.
Here is KXAN’s guide on the best ways to get to the music:
Things to know
Since September 23, crews have been setting up for the festival. Even if you don’t plan on going, this could mean traffic jams or re-routing if you’re headed through Austin.
The first thing you should know if you haven’t been before: there is NO PARKING at Zilker Park for the festival. Parking in surrounding neighborhoods is prohibited, vehicles that do so can be ticketed and towed. Signed “no parking areas” will be actively enforced on event days, the city of Austin says. If you park on the grass or on unauthorized park grounds you could wind up with a $250 parking fine.
The official ACL Festival shuttle takes passengers from Republic Square in downtown Austin straight to the festival for free. The shuttles take off from the corner of 4th and Guadalupe Streets, dropping you off on Barton Springs Road outside the Barton Springs West entrance. After the festival, riders will get picked back up by the shuttles outside the Barton Springs West Entrance. Each weekend of the festival, these shuttles start ferrying festivalgoers at 12:00 p.m. on Fridays and at 11:00 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Every day of the festival, the ACL shuttles will make a final return from the Zilker Park at 11:00 p.m.
Taking CapMetro to the Shuttle
You can ride the CapMetro 801 North Lamar/ South Congress to Republic Square to get a ride on the free ACL shuttle from the Republic Square Station pickup point at 4th and San Antonio Streets. Metro Express routes 980 and 985 will also bring riders from North Austin downtown. These routes will also take you to the Republic Square shuttle pick up point.
Several Metro Bus lines, including Routes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 17, 19 and 20 will drop off riders within a block of the shuttle site.
Taking the bus
CapMetro has special event service during ACL Fest, their Metro Rapid and High-Frequencyroutes run every fifteen minutes every day of the week, eight of which go to republic Square park where you can catch a shuttle to ACL. Metro Express routes can be used all weekend and several late-night routes are open until 3:00 am. Cap Metro does not offer late-night service on Sundays.
MetroRapid Routes 801 & 803 operate until 2:30 a.m. Thursday to Saturday.
ACL Fest calls the 803 route “your best bet” to get to the festival.
You can ride the 803 Burnet/ South Lamar directly to ACL. You’ll get dropped off at the Barton Springs Station and walk from Barton Springs Road west to Zilker Park.
Kids ride free on all cap metro services as long as they have a valid K-12 ID.
CapMetro notes that MetroRail is not running on the weekends right now.
Note that skateboards, scooters, bicycles, wagons, carts, or any personal motorized vehicles are not allowed inside the festival grounds. However, there is free bike parking near the entrances.
ACL Fest refers to biking as “by far the easiest way to get to the festival”
Bike parking is available on Stratford Driver near the MoPac Pedestrian Bridge. Additional Bike, scooter, and dockless vehicle parking will be located on Toomey Road at Sterzing Street and on Azie Morton Road. Remember to bring a lock to lock your bike with.
Austin B-Cycle staff will valet their B-Cycles at their Barton Springs Road and Sterzing Street location, ensuring that you will have a place to dock your B-cycle when you take it to get to the festival.
The city reminds festival-goers on bikes or scooters to yield to pedestrians.
Like last year, you will be able to ride electric scooters to the festival, but you will not be allowed to ride them leaving the festival, the Austin Transportation Department says. The department says this is in the “in the interest of safety and congestion management as everyone leaves the area at the end of the night.”
Parking for scooters and other dockless mobility can be found on Toomey Road at Sterzing Street and on Azie Morton Road. The city adds that the primary drop off location for scooters is the one on Toomey Road. These will only be areas to dropoff scooters as you head to the festival, the scooters will not be available at these same spots at the end of the night.
ATD also adds that scooters are not allowed on the Hike and Bike trail and are not allowed into the event entrance.
“We encourage people to take the other options available in the area, such as pedicabs, taxis, and ride-hail,” said Mary Vo with the Austin Transportation Department.
Scooter operator Lime will offer a promo code for $1 off for those who park properly at Toomey Field. Lime reminds riders that they must park at designated parking corrals, that riders must be age 18 or older, and that only one person can ride a scooter at a time.
The festival has partnered with rideshare company Uber to coordinate pick up and drop off at specific points. However, you can use any rideshare app to drop you off or pick you up from the festival.
The city says that you can arrange rideshare pick up and drop off at one of three spots: Wallingwood Drive, Lee Barton Drive or Veterans Drive.
The festival says that if you type “Austin City Limits Music Festival” or “Zilker Park” into your Uber app as your destination, your drop off point will automatically be updated to the nearest drop off spot around the festival. When you’re leaving the festival, in order to request a ride with Uber, you have to exit the festival and walk outside of the restricted area at Zilker Park. Once you’ve crossed the river, South Lamar, or the MoPac Frontage road, you will be able to request a ride on the Uber app.
Lyft notes that riders can get a $1 discount on fares by applying the code ACLFEST19 to the Lyft app. Lyft pick up and dropoff locations include Wallingwood Drive, Stephen F. Austin Drive, and Lee Barton Drive.
The city recommends that if you do opt to use rideshare, that you use a “pool” ride to decrease the cost of the trip and the number of cars on the road
You can hail a pedicab to get to ACL or use one to leave. The pick-up and drop-off area for pedicabs is on the northeast corner of Barton Springs Road and Azie Morton road, near the festival entrance.
Taxi pick up and dropoff is located at William Barton Drive in front of Barton Springs Pool.
You can also walk to Zilker Park from a variety of points. Just be mindful of the parking restrictions in place. Some people use the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail to get to the festival grounds.
If you MUST park
The city of Austin has a map of available areas where you can park your car downtown.
For those not at the festival
The city of Austin says this event will “significantly affect” area traffic.
Stratford Drive and Barton Springs Road will be closed on event days starting at 9 p.m. the night before.
Toomey and Sterzing Roads will only be accessible by those with permits via Lamar Street until 9 p.m. on festival days
For complete information on Austin Parks Closures during this time, look here. During the festival, Zilker’s “Great Lawn” will remain closed through October 30.
The city offers additional transportation guidelines about the festival here.