There’s no shortage of things to do in South Congress, Austin. Restaurants and food trailers; clothing boutiques and antique shops; bars and music venues—you’ll find them all here. However, the vibrant metropolis is probably best known for its many festivals throughout the year. From concerts to film screenings to wine tastings, annual events in South Congress, Austin and other parts of the city each bring their own unique form of entertainment to Texas. Check out the list we’ve compiled of the most popular recurring happenings to make the most out of living in South Congress, Austin!
Music lovers flock from all over the country to join the dancing crowds at South by Southwest (SXSW). The celebrated music festival began as an outlet for the emerging musicians of Austin in 1987, but as it grew in popularity, it launched the careers of some now-famous artists, including John Mayer and Foster the People. Today, big acts headline the main stages each spring, while relatively unknown bands fight for their own big break on the smaller stages.
The Austin City Limits (ACL) festival may be a relative newbie in comparison to SXSW, but in the 10-plus years since it debuted, it’s gained almost as much buzz. More than 130 artists come to Austin’s 46-acre Zilker Park every October to entertain the masses there. Along with music, you can expect fresh food from local vendors, a play area for your kids, and accessories and other wares by regional artisans.
For Foodies and Fashionistas
Just because the city is best known for its music scene doesn’t mean it’s devoid of other cultural pursuits. Austin Fashion Week is proof. Each year, it attracts designers from all over the country. Runway models show off everything from swimwear by famed designers to ensembles by up-and-coming brands.
The Austin Food and Wine Festival, on the other hand, focuses on the edible side of culture. Gourmet food, craft beer, and artisanal cocktails and wines lure guests to this springtime event. You’ll get to mingle with well-known chefs while you feast—you may even recognize some of them from Top Chef and other TV programs.
TV and Film Fests
A result of the city’s collective pursuit of all things artsy, TV and film festivals are also on the annual schedule. The Austin Film Festival has championed screenwriting and filmmaking as an art since 1993, and it continues to do so with screenings of indie movies, documentaries, and shorts. Panels made up of the cast and production team often accompany screenings—and you’ll likely see a few familiar faces.
The ATX Television Festival also brings celebrities to the city, but ones from the small screen. You might get the chance to ask your favorite actor a question at one of the panels. People in the hot seats include actors, writers, and creators from popular current and past TV series.
Zilker Park is a beloved part of the city’s landscape, and it serves as the backdrop for the annual Zilker Park Kite Festival. For more than 80 years, the festival has captured the hearts of Austin’s youngsters and adults alike. Make your own single-line kite at home, and then come fly it with your family in the competition—you might win a prize for Most Unusual Kite or Steadiest Kite.
If your clan prefers a faster-paced form of entertainment, check out the Star of Texas Fair and Rodeo by Rodeo Austin. For two weeks each spring, locals can cheer on cowboys at the ProRodeo (one of the best in the country) or indulge in fried Southern comfort food at the fair.
With such an impressive roundup of yearly events—and many more to discover each week—Austin should probably be on everyone’s list of cities to visit. Since you’re lucky enough to live here now, check out the rest of this website for other info on how to navigate life in the city’s vibrant culture.