Top Ten Summer Music Festivals

Austin City Limits, Austin, Texas
Crowd at Austin City Limits, Austin, Texas
N.E.R.D. performs at Austin City Limits (Dave Mead/courtesy, Austin City Limits)

10. Austin City Limits (Late September/Early October)
Austin, Texas
Though this festival shifted from September to October in 2009, keep in mind that Texas summers last a lot longer than most places. The renowned Austin City Limits festival was named for the long-running TV series, and like its PBS originator it offers a dynamite setting and diversity of music that other urban festivals, and even most countryside gatherings, can't even touch. Taking place over three days in 12-acre Zilker Park, Austin City Limits boasts eight stages and more than 130 acts spanning pop, dance, rock, alt-country, and electronica. The biggest challenge is choosing where to go when and who to hear. Acts can range from Willie Nelson and the Dixie Chicks to Bjork, Kanye West, and Arcade Fire, and there's always a heady mix of local Texas artists on hand as well. As with Lollapalooza, there's a special area for children called Austin Kiddie Limits, where kids 10 and under get in free when accompanied by a ticket-holding adult. There's no camping at the park, but if sleeping under the stars is essential to your festival experience, you can find campgrounds at Keep in mind that Austin is an increasingly bike-friendly town, so avail yourself of pedal power and utilize the epic rows of bike racks at the main entrance.

Hot tip: Austin can still get brutally hot in October, but the festival grounds are a mere five-minute walk from the city's famed Barton Springs, the perfect place for a refreshing dip.

Austin Travel Guide

Published: 23 May 2009 | Last Updated: 15 May 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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