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What Is Austin City Limits Festival (ACL)?

With a rich and storied history, the Austin City Limits music festival is one of the year's most popular and highly anticipated events. Held annually in October, the festival draws crowds from around the world to experience some of the best Austin music.

Inspired by the long-running American television history and PBS concert series of the same name, the Austin City Limits festival was founded in 2002 to showcase Austin's wide range of musical genres and talents. Over the years, the festival has grown exponentially and features different acts performed on eight stages over three days.

Knowing where to start when planning your trip to Austin City Limits can be tough, with so much to see and do. That's why we've put together this ultimate guide to help you make the most of your experience. In this guide, we'll cover everything from how to get tickets and what to expect when you're there to our top picks for music and activities. Let's get started.

Austin City Limits
What Is Austin City Limits? 

The Austin City Limits (ACL) Music Festival is an annual music festival in Zilker Park in Austin, Texas. The festival is produced by C3 Presents and features a wide variety of genres on eight stages. More than 450,000 people attend the festival each year.

Also, it was founded in 2002 and takes place over two weekends in October. The festival features various musical genres, including rock, indie, hip hop, and country. In addition to the music, it also offers a variety of food and drink options and various other activities.

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How Long Is Austin City Limits?

Austin City Limits is an annual three-day (2-weekends) music festival in Austin, Texas. The festival features different musical acts on eight different stages. ACL typically takes place on the first weekend of October and attracts around 450,000 people each year.

When Is Austin City Limits Typically?

ACL occurs over two weekends in October and features more than 130 bands on eight stages. With food, drink, and art vendors, there's something for everyone at ACL. The weather in Austin is pretty great most of the year, but it can get pretty hot during ACL, which takes place in October when temperatures are still high. However, there have been some years when the weather was perfect and not too hot or humid.

How Much Are Austin City Limit Tickets Typically?

The price of your ACL ticket will depend on the type of ticket you purchase and when you purchase it. ACL offers three types of tickets: General Admission, VIP, and Platinum.

GA tickets are the most affordable and will get you access to all stages and general areas of the festival. If you want a more premium experience, you can opt for a VIP or Platinum ticket. These will provide you with perks like access to special viewing areas, private bathrooms, and other amenities.

Prices for GA tickets start at $250 for a 3-day pass if you purchase early. They will increase in price as the festival date gets closer, so if you’re interested in attending ACL, it’s best to buy your ticket as soon as possible.

VIP tickets start at $1400 for a 3-day pass, and Platinum tickets start at $4000 for a 3-day pass. If you want to purchase single-day tickets, they are also available, starting at $400 for GA, $700 for VIP, and $1000 for Platinum.

Where Is Austin City Limits?

Zilker Park is where ACL takes place. Zilker is central to downtown Austin and easy to get to whether you're driving, taking public transportation, or even walking or biking. The park has room for the stages, vendors, and crowds with ACL. Also, there's a ton of open space and trees, making ACL feel much more like a music festival than some of the others in large stadiums.

Who Owns Austin City Limits?

The festival is produced by C3 Presents, which also produces the Lollapalooza music festival. ACL is considered one of the largest and most popular music festivals in the United States. They have been able to sell out the festival for several years. The ACL Festival has an estimated Attendance of 450,000 people per day.

What To Expect At Austin City Limits?

Knowing how to navigate and enjoy a three-day music festival can be daunting for first-timers. But with a little bit of preparation, you can have the time of your life at ACL. Here's what you need to know before heading to Austin City Limits Music Festival.

1. Various Music Genres

Austin City Limits is known for its diverse lineup, which includes everything from indie rock to hip hop to country. There are eight stages in total, so you're sure to find a genre that you enjoy. Make sure to check out the schedule ahead of time so you can plan your days accordingly.

  • Rock And Roll: With headliners like Metallica, Guns N' Roses, and Foo Fighters, the Rock And Roll Hall is sure to be one of the most popular stages at ACL. If you're a fan of classic rock, this is the stage for you as rock and roll landmark.
  • Indie: The Indie stage is perfect for those looking to discover new music. With up-and-coming bands from all over the world, there's always something new to check out.
  • Hip Hop: The Hip Hop stage is where you'll find some of the biggest names in rap and R&B. Previous headliners have included Kendrick Lamar, Chance the Rapper, and Lil Wayne.
  • Country: To catch some of the biggest names in country music, head to the Country stage. Previous headliners include Keith Urban, Florida Georgia Line, and Miranda Lambert.
  • EDM: The EDM stage is where you'll find the biggest DJs in the world. Previous headliners include The Chainsmokers, Tiësto, and Zedd.

2. Freebies

In addition to the music, there's also a ton of free stuff to enjoy at ACL. From complimentary massages to free beer tastings, there's something for everyone. Make sure to check the website for a complete list of freebies.

3. Food and Drink

There will be plenty of food and drink options available throughout the festival grounds. However, it's important to note that coolers, outside food and drinks, and glass containers are not allowed inside. So make sure to leave those items at home or in your car.

4. Clothing and Accessories

Comfortable shoes are a must as you'll be doing a lot of walking around ACL. And since the festival takes place in October, the weather can be unpredictable. It's always a good idea to bring a jacket or sweatshirt for when the temperature starts to drop at night.

5. Getting There

There are several ways to get to ACL, whether you're coming from out of town or within Austin. The most common way people get to the festival is by car. However, there are also several shuttle and bus options available. If you're coming from out of town, you can also fly into Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and take a shuttle directly to the festival grounds.

6. Lodging

If you're coming from out of town, there are several lodging options available near the festival grounds. There are also several camping options for those who want to stay on site. Camping passes must be purchased in advance and are sold separately from festival tickets.

What Should You Bring To The Festival?

No matter what time of year you visit Austin, the weather can be unpredictable. Daytime temperatures can climb into the, while nighttime lows can drop. And while rain is relatively rare, a sudden thunderstorm is always a possibility. So what should you pack for your trip to the Austin City Limits Music Festival?

  • Sunscreen: You’ll want to apply sunscreen multiple times throughout the day, especially if you’re spending time in the sun.
  • Hat or sunglasses: A brimmed hat or sunglasses will help protect your eyes and face from the sun.
  • Comfortable shoes: You’ll be doing a lot of walking at the festival, so comfortable shoes are a must.
  • Reusable Water Bottle: You can bring an empty water bottle to fill up at one of the free water stations around the festival grounds.
  • Light Jacket or Poncho: A light jacket or poncho can be helpful if there’s a sudden downpour. Also, the temperature can drop at night, so it’s always a good idea to have something to keep you warm.
  • Personal items: Don’t forget to bring your ID, cash, and credit cards. A small backpack or cross-body bag is perfect for carrying your essentials.
  • Clear Bags: All bags are subject to search, so it’s a good idea to bring a clear bag that will make the security process go more quickly.

What Should You Leave At Home?

In order to make sure everyone has a safe and enjoyable experience, there are certain items that are not allowed at the festival. These include:

  • Alcohol: Outside alcohol is not permitted inside the festival grounds. There are numerous bars throughout the festival, so you won’t have any trouble finding something to drink.
  • Drugs: Illegal drugs are not tolerated at the festival. If you’re found in possession of drugs, you will be ejected from the festival and could face legal consequences.
  • Weapons: Weapons of any kind are not allowed at the festival.


How Did Austin City Limits Start?

The original Austin City Limits only television program aired on PBS in 1976 and featured country, rock, and folk artists from Texas. The show was created to showcase the eclectic music scene of Austin – a city with a long history of live music. In 2002, the Austin City Limits Music Festival was born as a way to bring the spirit of the longest running music series to life.

What Kind of Music Is Played at ACL?

ACL is known for its diverse lineup as live music capital, which includes everything from indie rock and hip hop to EDM and country. You'll find up-and-coming acts and world-renowned headliners at ACL, making it one of the most well-rounded music festivals in the country.

Is There an Age Limit for Austin City Limits?

No, there is no age limit for ACL. However, minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian if they want to purchase a ticket.

What Can You Bring Into Austin City Limits?

Since ACL is an outdoor festival, it’s important to be prepared for the weather. The festival takes place in October, so you can expect it to be pretty warm during the day and cooler at night. It’s a good idea to bring sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, and light clothing for the day. For the evening, you may want to bring a jacket or scarf.


Austin City Limits is one of the most popular and longest-running music festivals in the United States. With over eight stages and more than 100 acts, the festival attracts music lovers worldwide. Also, the festival showcases a wide range of genres, making it a perfect event for music lovers of all tastes. For these reasons and more, Austin City Limits is a must-attend event for any music fan.

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