Austin City Limites Music Fest, aerial view, Ashley Garmon

Austin City Limits Music Fest, aerial view, Ashley Garmon

Think of it as the Telluride Bluegrass Festival on steroids.

I am talking about two weekends of some of the best music ever in red dirt country: the Austin City Limits Music Festival, this year, Friday, October 4 – Sunday, October 6 and Friday, October 11 – Sunday, October 13.

The sounds and all the city, the cultural center of Texas has to offer are up for grabs at the 20th annual Telluride AIDS Benefit fashion show and auction – that is, if you were lucky enough to snare one of the coveted tickets for the biggest night of the Telluride’s winter season. At Saturday’s (March 2) gala in Mountain Village, you get to bid on two Austin City Limits VIP passes (for the first weekend only) along with a three-night stay at the Austin Four Seasons. And remember, raising your paddle means TAB’s beneficiaries, six nonprofits supporting young people and adults living with HIV/AIDS from Colorado to Africa, also win big.


One of Austin’s two celebrated music events (the other is SXSW) was named after the PBS concert series that focused on Texas singer- songwriters, country and folk performers and instrumentalists. Every year the Festival brings together more than 150 acts from all over the world to play rock, indie, country, folk, electronic and more on eight stages, with about 75,000 people in attendance each day. The 12th annual musical mash-up takes place (as every year) in the city’s Ziker Park.

The line-up for 2013 won’t be announced until May, but if the talent at last year’s festival is any indication – headliners were Red Hot Chili Peppers, Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Iggy & The Stooges, The Avett Brothers, Rufus Wainwright, and Telluride favorites, Steve Earle, the Lumineers and Esperanza Spalding – you won’t want to miss this year’s aural elixir.

For a preview, watch this video:


Since Austin regularly makes “Best Of” lists for everything from real estate to business, technology, education, lifestyle and food and drink (“World’s Best City for Street Food, The Atlantic, January 2012 and “2nd Best U.S. Vacation Destination, Trip Advisor, January 2012, etc.),  you might want to consider extending your stay or simply exploring outside the festival grounds. The following are suggestions from the Festival and the Austin Convention & Tourist Bureau.


The strip of South Congress just south of Lady Bird Lake sees Austinites of all types come together to enjoy Austin culture and music, peruse antique shops, dine in eclectic restaurants and food trailers and shop in vintage boutiques. The area has become the essential “hip strip” of the city, where you can find everything from traditional margaritas at Guero’s Taco Bar to an old fashioned candy shop.

Allen’s Boots
Uncommon Objects
Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds
Kendra Scott Jewelry
Ten Thousand Villages

Second Street District:

Hem Jeans:  The first denim specialty store in Austin.

The Domain: This north Austin outdoor shopping center is walkable and filled with high end retail stores like Neiman Marcus and Louis Vuitton and Burberry, and fantastic restaurants.

Eliza Page: Located in Austin’s emerging downtown, Eliza Page promises a beautiful jewelry experience, featuring over 30 designers, many of whom are from Austin. Host to regular jewelry events, designer trunk shows, and featuring new merchandise almost every week, Eliza Page offers a truly one-of-a-kind selection. Custom jewelry designs are available and handled every day.



Second Bar + Kitchen
Trio at the Four Seasons
Trace at the W Hotel
Swift’s Attic http://www.swiftsattic.com/desktop/
Lambert’s Downtown Barbecue
Foreign and Domestic
The Carillon
Bess Bistro
Clark’s Oyster Bar

South Austin:

Barley Swine
Elizabeth Street Café

East Austin:

Franklin Barbeque
Hillside Farmacy
Eastside Showroom
Papi Tino’s


From Lindsay Hoffman, Austin City Limits Festival Marketing Manager:

“Paul Qui, winner of 2012 Top Chef is opening his new restaurant, Qui on East 6th Street. It will likely be the hottest ticket in town, as I believe the dinners are ticketed.
Other hot spots include Uchi and Uchiko by James Beard winner, Chef Tyson Cole. La Condesa is the place for elevated Mexican food & the best margarita in town. Lamberts is perfect for high-end BBQ, but…Franklin BBQ has been called the best in the world by food critic Anthony Bourdain, and more recently, one of the most important restaurants in the country by Bon Appetit. For an incredible TX-meets-Paris experience, Justine’s can’t be beat!”

And part-time Telluride (and Austin) local, Kristie Graham, who put the Austin City Limits Music Fest package together for TAB:

“I agree with some of Lindsay’s hot tips, but for great BBQ in and around Austin you cannot beat the Salt Lick. I just ate there again last month and was blown away. For great Tex-Mex Matt’s Rancher and the best French food in Austin is Chez Nous.”



Milk + Honey
Travaasa Resort and Spa
Barton Creek Resort and Spa
Lake Austin Spa Resort


Wanderlust http
Yoga Yoga
Travaasa Resort and Spa
Castle Hill Fitness


Barton Springs Pool: An urban oasis where locals and visitors plunge into the year-round water temperature of 68 degrees.
Barton Creek Greenbelt: Austin is home to miles of hiking trails, many of them within city limits. Barton Creek Greenbelt’s trails provide space to run, bike, rock climb, hike and swim.
Stand-Up Paddle Boarding: Austin’s new favorite water sport involves standing up on a surfboard look-alike and paddling your way up and down beautiful Lady Bird Lake.  Scenic views are complimentary.
Kayaking: Lady Bird Lake in the center of Austin’s thriving metropolis offers a quiet and fun refuge from the excitement of the city streets. Rent a canoe or kayak and enjoy the picturesque skyline from the water.
Mount Bonnell, Austin’s highest point. Wander through the cliff-side trails that overlook sparkling Lake Austin


Wine Tours of Texas
Hyatt Lost Pines Resort and Spa: Offers exceptional golf, hiking, horseback riding and more.
Hamilton Pool Nature Preserve
McKinney Falls State Park: Escape here to mountain bike, camp or just relax.
Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge

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