How to Spend the Day in Austin, TX

The thermometers in Austin continue their steady rise, and so does the excitement for a jam-packed summer filled with festivals, sporting events, concerts, fireworks, and more. With plenty to do and see, our team has compiled a list of some of our favorite summertime events in and around Austin. As a newer member of the Austin community, we’re eager to establish our helpful community tips as we do for Las Vegas and Reno. Have a look and what we came up with, note the dates, and you’ll be off enjoying the carefree days of summer in no time.

The Drop-In Summer Concert Series

Texas Flag

What’s the best kind of music? Free music, of course. Summers rock in Austin through weekly events such as the Drop-In Summer Concert Series at the Long Center. Every Thursday night, a different act takes the Long Center stage to help harmonize your enjoyment of an Austin summer.

All you have to do is bring a blanket or a lawn chair. Seating is space-constrained, but the Long Center details the process for securing a spot on its website. You can also join as a member of the Long Center to get the first opportunity to RSVP.

  • When: Thursday nights through Aug. 10.
  • Where: The Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive, Austin
  • Website:

Paramount Summer Classic Film Series

Texas summers get hot. Take a moment to cool off by attending the Paramount Summer Classic Film Series at the Paramount Theater. The series runs weekends through early September, with double features on Saturdays.

What makes the classic film series so enjoyable is the theater setting. The Paramount retains an old-time movie-palace feel. You can choose your favorite movies from a series of themes. For instance, the weekend of July 29 presents a Vincent Price double feature, while the weekend prior focuses on dance and includes both “An American in Paris” and “The Band Wagon.”

  • When: Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through Sept. 2.
  • Where: The Paramount Theater, 713 Congress Ave., Austin
  • Website:

Fourth of July Events

In Austin, you’ll have plenty of choices to blow out the candles for the country’s birthday. Perhaps one of the most popular events is the July 4 Concert and Fireworks, which features the H-E-B Austin Symphony playing patriotic music. The event culminates with a massive display of fireworks over Lady Bird Lake. Not far from the site of that concert is the Hill Country Galleria Independence Day Celebration. This day-long festival features shopping, music, food, fireworks, and other family-friendly entertainment.

If you’re looking for something on a grander scale, consider Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic in the city’s Q2 Stadium, home to Major League Soccer’s Austin F.C. Created by Willie Nelson himself in 1972, the Picnic has become a must-attend event involving music and a post-concert firework show.

Zilker Summer Musical

Theater has the power to take you anywhere, and experiencing great theater outdoors brings an added dimension that’s sure to be memorable. Each summer, Zilker Theater Productions, established in 1959, performs a musical outdoors at the Zilker Hillside Theater. This year’s show is “the story of an extraordinary girl who dares to take a stand and change her own destiny.” It’s the stage musical version of  Roald Dahl’s classic novel, “Matilda.”

Bring blankets, chairs, and a picnic lunch to enjoy performances that will thrill the entire family. The Zilker Hillside Theatre draws a total audience of about 45,000 people annually.


  • When: 8:15 p.m. Thursday through Sunday from July 7 to Aug. 12.
  • Where: Beverly S. Sheffield Zilker Hillside Theater in Zilker Park.
  • Website:

Austin Pride Parade and Festival

Last year, the Austin Pride Parade and Festival drew more than 400,000 people to festival grounds, centered at Fiesta Gardens, to recognize equality and humanity. Historically, The parade kicks off at the Texas State Capitol and makes its way down Congress Avenue to the Warehouse District, concluding on the Congress Avenue bridge.

Stay after the parade for the festival. Note that parking is limited; organizers recommend carpooling, using the hiking and biking trail on Lady Bird Lake, or taking public transportation. They also request that people refrain from parking on residential streets.

Professional Bull Riding at Austin Gambler Days

What’s summer in Texas without experiencing a real live bull riding competition? The Austin Gamblers are the city’s entry into the PBR Team competition, which has turned bull-riding into a professional sport with enthusiasts nationwide. Over three days, you’ll be able to experience the excitement and athleticism of these riders, who compete in arguably the most exciting eight seconds in sports.

Bat Fest

Strange but true: An estimated 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats live underneath Austin’s Ann Richards Congress Avenue Bridge. It’s considered the world’s largest urban bat colony. Once a year, the people of Austin gather at the bridge for Bat Fest, a festival with music, food, a costume contest, and children’s activities.

The event’s highlight comes at dusk or shortly thereafter when the 1.5 million bats begin their nocturnal journeys. The attendees at Bat Fest have been known to start chants to get the bats to come out. If nothing else, you’ll enjoy the creativity of the costumes.

Free Day of Yoga

After all the fun you’ve had in Austin during the summer, you might need help easing into the fall. As the seasons start to change, participating yoga studios in Austin have you covered. Visit one of the studios to take advantage of a free class. All ages and fitness levels are welcome.

  • When: Sept. 4.
  • Where: Participating studios in Austin.
  • Website:

As you can tell, there is plenty to choose from in Austin in the summertime. Pick out your favorite event or events and enjoy. If you do attend, drop us a comment below to let us know how it went or offer your ideas for summer in Austin.

Photo Credit: Flag of Texas by Scazon is licensed with CC BY 2.0