25 Things To Love About Austin Culture

While Austin is only the 15th largest city in the United States, it has such a disproportionate amount of cultural events that you may be overwhelmed upon your arrival! The following are some of the events and activities you may wish to investigate upon relocation to Austin:

South By Southwest: A festival for music industry insiders, this brings 1,400 'new big thing' bands from all over the world to Austin for four days of musical bedlam. Badges start at $600, while locals can get wristbands for around $200. Not for the faint of heart.

Austin City Limits Festival: This is the big outdoor festival of Austin's music season, bringing roughly 120 acts to Zilker Park on six stages for three days in late September or early October. Past headliners have included Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Coldplay, Kanye West, Foo Fighters, Neil Young, and Van Morrison.

Fun Fun Fun Fest: The upstart on the scene, this early November event at Waterloo Park brings dozens of indie rock, electronic, and punk bands together for lots of fun at a low price. Bands like The National, Of Montreal, Cat Power, Chvrches, and Lauryn Hill have headlined in recent years.

Unplugged At The Grove: This KGSR sponsored series brings artists like Bruce Robison, Shawn Colvin, and The Gourds to the patio of Austin's comfort food hot spot. Go early or risk disappointment - it's always packed.

Blues On The Green: Another perennial summer offering from KGSR, this series has artists like Double Trouble and Marcia Ball performing for free in Zilker Park. Always a great night out, but dress for comfort - it's hot.

South By Southwest Film: Originally the 'little brother' of SXSW Music, this festival now attracts top talent and screens over 150 narrative, documentary, and short films each year. A film pass is available for Austin residents allowing stand-by admission to all films.

Austin Film Festival: Billed as a writer's festival, this October event brings screenwriters, actors, and directors together in an event that attracts great talent yet flies under the radar. 

Fantastic Fest: This Alamo Drafthouse production brings horror, fantasy, and extreme action films together for genre enthusaists from around the globe. The event has a rabid following, and badges sell out early, so plan ahead.

Paramount Summer Classics Series: An old favorite in Austin, The Paramount brings films like The Godfather, Gone With The Wind, Lawrence Of Arabia, and North By Northwest to the big screen each summer. Offerings change each year, but the popcorn and the atmosphere remain fantastic each season.

Austin Film Society: Join the AFS and you'll be invited to attend free screenings of foreign films and classic movies, and you'll be first in line to AFS special events like the Texas premieres of new Rick Linklater, Robert Rodriguez, and Quentin Tarantino films at the Paramount.

Texas Book Festival: Founded by Laura Bush in 1995, this event brings 200 authors to the Austin area each fall. Recent guests have included President Barack Obama, President Bill Clinton, Lemony Snicket, Tom Perrotta, and Salman Rushdie.

BookPeople Readings and Signings: As Austin's unquestioned king of indie bookstores, BookPeople attracts a fantastic range of authors for their reading and signings. Past visitors include John McCain, Rachael Ray, Sarah Vowell, Jimmy Carter, Tori Amos, Jack Welch, and David Sedaris.


Austin Food & Wine Festival: This April event from C3 Presents takes place at Auditorium Shores and features chefs like Tim Love, David Bull, Jonathan Waxman, and celebs like Andrew Zimmern and Gail Simmons. Tastings, demonstrations, and wine seminars are all on offer.

Wine and Food Foundation of Texas Tastings: From Paso Robles and Washington to Europe and beyond, this organization hosts a variety of great tasting events pairing food and wine each year. Highlights include Big Reds And Bubblies, Tour De Vin, and the Spring Fling. Members get discount tickets, so join now if you'll be a regular on the food and wine scene.

Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival: This late summer event draws thousands of fans, as local cooks from restaurants and home kitchens battle to reign supreme. Come strong, or don't come at all.

Texas Hill Country Wineries: The Texas Hill Country is now a major regional producers of many wine varietals, and quite a few wineries are located within 100 miles of Austin. Our favorites include Becker and Flat Creek Estates.

University of Texas Athletics: From national championships in football to Sweet 16's in basketball, college sports fans will be in heaven with UT's athletics on offer year 'round. Tickets are in high demand, so plan ahead.

Austin Toros (NBDL Basketball): This NBA development team is owned by the San Antonio Spurs, so don't be surprised to see bench players from the Spurs lighting it up for the Toros. Great family entertainment during the winter.

Round Rock Express (AAA Baseball): This Triple A team is partially owned by both Nolan Ryan and Roger Clemens, and Clemens has even pitched for the team on occasion. The facility, The Dell Diamond, is a beautiful and modern park featuring fireworks on summer weekends and very affordable tickets.

Texas Stars (AHL Hockey): The Dallas Stars are created this AHL affiliate which plays at the Cedar Park Center.

Blanton Museum of Art: With work by Rubens. Manet, and Picasso, the Blanton is Austin's showcase museum. As the largest university art museum in the nation, this new facility (opened in 2006) has attracted a lot of attention with their First Friday 'B Scene' lounge parties and exhibitions like Birth Of The Cool. 

Austin Museum of Art: With locations downtown and at Laguna Gloria, AMOA showcases a variety of exhibitions and also hosts classes, lectures, and educational workshops.

Harry Ransom Center: This humanities museum specializes in rare books, manuscripts, photos, and collections of work by important cultural figures. They have everything from a Gutenberg Bible to the complete archives of work from David Mamet and Norman Mailer. Robert DeNiro's personal collection of scripts/correspondence is also there, as are many items from Gone With The Wind. A fascinating cultural archive.