Events

Everything You Must Do in Austin This Summer

Published On 05/26/2016 Published On 05/26/2016

While the Austin heat may make you want to crank up the A/C and hibernate, fun doesn't cease to exist during the summer. There are countless kick-ass activities happening in the next few months that, we promise, are totally worth emerging from your cave for. We've already built your summer bucket list... all you have to do is check things off.

Date

Event

Location

May 26-Jun 8

Get your (free!) weekly music fix at KGSR Unplugged at the Grove This marks the 23rd year of Unplugged, an annual concert series that features live music (8pm) and drink specials ($5 frozen sangria and $4 ZiegenBock drafts) every Thursday at Shady Grove. It fills up fast, so come out early to score a prime spot, and if lounging is your thing, consider bringing a blanket to spread out on their lawn. After a few of those sangrias, you might require some room to recline.

The Shady Grove

Get your (free!) weekly music fix at KGSR Unplugged at the Grove The Shady Grove This marks the 23rd year of Unplugged, an annual concert series that features live music (8pm) and drink specials ($5 frozen sangria and $4 ZiegenBock drafts) every Thursday at Shady Grove. It fills up fast, so come out early to score a prime spot, and if lounging is your thing, consider bringing a blanket to spread out on their lawn. After a few of those sangrias, you might require some room to recline.

Date

Event

Location

Jun 2-5

Catch a vicarious adrenaline rush at the Summer X Games This is the third and final year that Austin hosting the summer X Games, so now's the time to take advantage of the opportunity to catch some of the best in skateboarding, Moto X, and BMX. The music lineup is also no joke. The Austin360 Amphitheater will play host to G-Eazy and Logic on Friday, and All Time Low and Blink-182 (sans Tom DeLonge) on Saturday. Expect the bands to be just as extreme as the athletes.

Circuit of the Americas

Catch a vicarious adrenaline rush at the Summer X Games Circuit of the Americas This is the third and final year that Austin hosting the summer X Games, so now's the time to take advantage of the opportunity to catch some of the best in skateboarding, Moto X, and BMX. The music lineup is also no joke. The Austin360 Amphitheater will play host to G-Eazy and Logic on Friday, and All Time Low and Blink-182 (sans Tom DeLonge) on Saturday. Expect the bands to be just as extreme as the athletes.

Alison Narro

Date

Event

Location

Jun 4 Sat

Channel your inner cheese connoisseur at TX German Bier & Käse Festival If we didn't have you at bier, here's some more info: Käse is German for cheese. Yes, this is, in all-American terms, a combined beer festival and grilled cheese competition. Over a dozen beer vendors will be offering brew tastings, while there will be over a dozen cheese makers on site, and a GA ticket gets you a souvenir glass boot, drink tickets, cheese samples, and tokens you can use to vote for your favorite. Democracy never tasted so good.

Austin Saengerrunde

Channel your inner cheese connoisseur at TX German Bier & Käse Festival Austin Saengerrunde If we didn't have you at bier, here's some more info: Käse is German for cheese. Yes, this is, in all-American terms, a combined beer festival and grilled cheese competition. Over a dozen beer vendors will be offering brew tastings, while there will be over a dozen cheese makers on site, and a GA ticket gets you a souvenir glass boot, drink tickets, cheese samples, and tokens you can use to vote for your favorite. Democracy never tasted so good.

Date

Event

Location

Jun 5 Sun

Hear stories under the stars at Backyard Story Night Storytime gets a serious upgrade (via beer primarily), at this recurring event, in which participants who've signed up beforehand stand up and... well, tell stories.This evening's theme is "Friends don't let friends..." and we imagine that will lead to some pretty interesting tales. Sorry, Goodnight Moon -- you’ve just met your match.

Historic Scoot Inn

Hear stories under the stars at Backyard Story Night Historic Scoot Inn Storytime gets a serious upgrade (via beer primarily), at this recurring event, in which participants who've signed up beforehand stand up and... well, tell stories.This evening's theme is "Friends don't let friends..." and we imagine that will lead to some pretty interesting tales. Sorry, Goodnight Moon -- you’ve just met your match.

Date

Event

Location

Jun 7 Tue

Get your grub on at Trailer Food Tuesdays No. 1 Let's be real: brick and mortar restaurants? Borrrrring. Trailer Food Tuesdays exists to celebrate food on four wheels by bringing a bunch of Austin’s favorite food trucks to the Long Center lawn from 5-8pm, forming a mobile food court with some seriously excellent options. Can't make it? Don’t worry about FOMO, foodies -- it's happening again on July 19th and August 16th.

The Long Center for the Performing Arts

Get your grub on at Trailer Food Tuesdays No. 1 The Long Center for the Performing Arts Let's be real: brick and mortar restaurants? Borrrrring. Trailer Food Tuesdays exists to celebrate food on four wheels by bringing a bunch of Austin’s favorite food trucks to the Long Center lawn from 5-8pm, forming a mobile food court with some seriously excellent options. Can't make it? Don’t worry about FOMO, foodies -- it's happening again on July 19th and August 16th.

Date

Event

Location

Jun 9-12

Celebrate the small screen at the ATX Television Festival Consider this basically a film festival with a focus on a smaller screen. Think special screenings, panels, parties, and events both celebrating the history of the medium and looking forward toward the future. Geared to appeal to both people in the industry (or those aspiring to be) and television fans, this fest offers the opportunity to think about, talk about, and experience TV in a way that you probably haven't before. (Just be sure to DVR those shows you'll be missing while you attend.)

Various venues

Celebrate the small screen at the ATX Television Festival Various venues Consider this basically a film festival with a focus on a smaller screen. Think special screenings, panels, parties, and events both celebrating the history of the medium and looking forward toward the future. Geared to appeal to both people in the industry (or those aspiring to be) and television fans, this fest offers the opportunity to think about, talk about, and experience TV in a way that you probably haven't before. (Just be sure to DVR those shows you'll be missing while you attend.)

Date

Event

Location

Jun 18 Sat

Head Downtown for 2nd Street Soundcheck Sixteen restaurants, 20+ bands, 24 shops. That's what you're invited to experience and enjoy at this free event taking place -- where else -- Austin's 2nd Street District. The music and street festival, now in its fourth year, benefits KUTX and the Austin Music Foundation, so eat, drink, dance, shop, and be merry. (We're pretty sure that's how the saying goes.)

2nd Street District

Head Downtown for 2nd Street Soundcheck 2nd Street District Sixteen restaurants, 20+ bands, 24 shops. That's what you're invited to experience and enjoy at this free event taking place -- where else -- Austin's 2nd Street District. The music and street festival, now in its fourth year, benefits KUTX and the Austin Music Foundation, so eat, drink, dance, shop, and be merry. (We're pretty sure that's how the saying goes.)

Date

Event

Location

Jun 22 Wed

Pack a picnic and hit the park for Blues on the Green One of the most popular recurring events in Austin, KGSR's Blues on the Green is in its 26th season, and each summer brings some of Austin's favorite performers to perform at Zilker Park. This specific evening features Wild Child and Max Frost, while in upcoming months, you can catch Hayes Carll with Carson McHone (July 13th) and Sweet Spirit with The Suffers (August 3rd). Much like ACL, BOTG makes for a fun, sweaty, and crowded music experience, but there a few critical differences: dogs are welcome, you can bring your own food, and -- best of all -- it’s free. (We know that news is music to your ears.)

Zilker Park

Pack a picnic and hit the park for Blues on the Green Zilker Park One of the most popular recurring events in Austin, KGSR's Blues on the Green is in its 26th season, and each summer brings some of Austin's favorite performers to perform at Zilker Park. This specific evening features Wild Child and Max Frost, while in upcoming months, you can catch Hayes Carll with Carson McHone (July 13th) and Sweet Spirit with The Suffers (August 3rd). Much like ACL, BOTG makes for a fun, sweaty, and crowded music experience, but there a few critical differences: dogs are welcome, you can bring your own food, and -- best of all -- it’s free. (We know that news is music to your ears.)

Date

Event

Location

Jun 25 Sat

Keep Austin Weird Fest & 5K Celebrate the official motto of Austin-- or at least the one plastered on the most T-shirts and bumper stickers -- at this annual event, benefitting the Capital Area Food Bank, that features a race (costumes encouraged), grub, and live music from Quiet Company, Sweet Spirit, and more. Oh, and so-called “Weird Austin attractions”... we'll let you use your imagination.

Veterans Pocket Park and American Legion Grounds

Keep Austin Weird Fest & 5K Veterans Pocket Park and American Legion Grounds Celebrate the official motto of Austin-- or at least the one plastered on the most T-shirts and bumper stickers -- at this annual event, benefitting the Capital Area Food Bank, that features a race (costumes encouraged), grub, and live music from Quiet Company, Sweet Spirit, and more. Oh, and so-called “Weird Austin attractions”... we'll let you use your imagination.

Flickr/Bob Tilden

Date

Event

Location

Jul 4 Mon

Do 'Merica's birthday right at Willie Nelson's 4th of July Picnic Spend your Independence Day at the pigtailed Austin icon's 43rd annual picnic! At COTA for the second year running, his year's lineup -- spread across two stages -- features Kris Kristofferson, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Billy Joe Shaver, Lee Ann Womack, Shakey Graves, and more. There are also fireworks on the schedule... which, let's be real, probably won't be the only thing Nelson is lighting up.

Circuit of the Americas

Do 'Merica's birthday right at Willie Nelson's 4th of July Picnic Circuit of the Americas Spend your Independence Day at the pigtailed Austin icon's 43rd annual picnic! At COTA for the second year running, his year's lineup -- spread across two stages -- features Kris Kristofferson, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Billy Joe Shaver, Lee Ann Womack, Shakey Graves, and more. There are also fireworks on the schedule... which, let's be real, probably won't be the only thing Nelson is lighting up.

Date

Event

Location

Jul 8-Aug 13

Go green with Shrek: The Musical While Shrek certainly isn't Shakespeare, the idea of theater in the park just sounds fancy. (And this musical has been nominated for eight Tony Awards, so quality is pretty assured.) Pack some charcuterie or whatever, splay out on the sloping lawn, and enjoy the DreamWorks film brought to life onstage as this year’s Zilker Summer Musical. We all know Shrek is way more hilarious than Hamlet anyways.

Beverly S. Sheffield Zilker Hillside Theater

Go green with Shrek: The Musical Beverly S. Sheffield Zilker Hillside Theater While Shrek certainly isn't Shakespeare, the idea of theater in the park just sounds fancy. (And this musical has been nominated for eight Tony Awards, so quality is pretty assured.) Pack some charcuterie or whatever, splay out on the sloping lawn, and enjoy the DreamWorks film brought to life onstage as this year’s Zilker Summer Musical. We all know Shrek is way more hilarious than Hamlet anyways.

Date

Event

Location

Jul 9-10

Catch comedic Kiwis Flight of the Conchords Bret McKenzie and and Jemaine Clement -- musicians-cum-comedians of HBO fame and Grammy-winning glory -- are hitting Austin on their US tour, and they're bringing some exclusive, brand-new material with them. You have two chances to see the act that describes themselves as “formerly New Zealand’s fourth most popular guitar-based digi-bongo acapella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo,” and you should probably go... if only because no other guitar-based digi-bongo acapella-rap-funk-comedy folk duos will probably be playing here, um, ever.

Bass Concert Hall

Catch comedic Kiwis Flight of the Conchords Bass Concert Hall Bret McKenzie and and Jemaine Clement -- musicians-cum-comedians of HBO fame and Grammy-winning glory -- are hitting Austin on their US tour, and they're bringing some exclusive, brand-new material with them. You have two chances to see the act that describes themselves as “formerly New Zealand’s fourth most popular guitar-based digi-bongo acapella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo,” and you should probably go... if only because no other guitar-based digi-bongo acapella-rap-funk-comedy folk duos will probably be playing here, um, ever.

Date

Event

Location

Jul 16 Sat

Witness comic royalty at The Comedy Get Down This tour showcases the performance prowess of Cedric the Entertainer, Eddie Griffin, D.L. Hughley, George Lopez, and Charlie Murphy -- who, together, could probably be considered the ultimate comedic quintet. (And, yes, that was basically just an excuse to use the word quintet.) Be prepared to be entertained and, at some point, probably offended. The idea of being PC is overrated, anyway.

Frank Erwin Center

Witness comic royalty at The Comedy Get Down Frank Erwin Center This tour showcases the performance prowess of Cedric the Entertainer, Eddie Griffin, D.L. Hughley, George Lopez, and Charlie Murphy -- who, together, could probably be considered the ultimate comedic quintet. (And, yes, that was basically just an excuse to use the word quintet.) Be prepared to be entertained and, at some point, probably offended. The idea of being PC is overrated, anyway.

Date

Event

Location

Jul 16-17

Combine tubing and tunes at Float Fest While technically not taking place within the Austin city limits, it's worth the short commute to San Marcos to experience this unique festival concept. Tubing, concerts, and camping combine for this annual event, which is designed so patrons can show up, hop on a shuttle, float the river, and end up back at the fest grounds, where music will be taking place on two stages over the course of two days. Expect to catch Chromeo, Santigold, Future Islands, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony and even a few of our favorite local acts. Fest on, friends.

Cool River Ranch

Combine tubing and tunes at Float Fest Cool River Ranch While technically not taking place within the Austin city limits, it's worth the short commute to San Marcos to experience this unique festival concept. Tubing, concerts, and camping combine for this annual event, which is designed so patrons can show up, hop on a shuttle, float the river, and end up back at the fest grounds, where music will be taking place on two stages over the course of two days. Expect to catch Chromeo, Santigold, Future Islands, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony and even a few of our favorite local acts. Fest on, friends.

Flickr/musicisentropy

Date

Event

Location

Jul 20 Wed

Enjoy the Views at Drake's Summer Sixteen Tour A few months after the release of Views (the resulting memes of which might've been even better than the music) Drake is hitting Austin with Future and friends in tow. If his ACL performance last year is any indicator, expect a solidly entertaining show featuring a ton of hits... and even more air horn sound effects.

Frank Erwin Center

Enjoy the Views at Drake's Summer Sixteen Tour Frank Erwin Center A few months after the release of Views (the resulting memes of which might've been even better than the music) Drake is hitting Austin with Future and friends in tow. If his ACL performance last year is any indicator, expect a solidly entertaining show featuring a ton of hits... and even more air horn sound effects.

Date

Event

Location

Jul 21 Thu

Spill your secrets at BedPost Confessions BedPost Confessions takes the form of a podcast and, in this case, a regularly scheduled live show featuring storytelling and performances exploring sexuality in all its forms. Interspersed between the scheduled performances are readings of confessions, contributed anonymously by audience members, which might be shocking or sexy, hilarious or -- sometimes -- heartbreaking. Whether you bring your friends, your partner, or your parents (which actually might be kind of weird), the event is sure to provide you with plenty to talk about over drinks afterwards.

The North Door

Spill your secrets at BedPost Confessions The North Door BedPost Confessions takes the form of a podcast and, in this case, a regularly scheduled live show featuring storytelling and performances exploring sexuality in all its forms. Interspersed between the scheduled performances are readings of confessions, contributed anonymously by audience members, which might be shocking or sexy, hilarious or -- sometimes -- heartbreaking. Whether you bring your friends, your partner, or your parents (which actually might be kind of weird), the event is sure to provide you with plenty to talk about over drinks afterwards.

Date

Event

Location

Aug 13 Sat

Get the scoop at the Ice Cream Festival I scream, you scream... we get the idea. This event is exactly what it sounds like: a magical festival celebrating a magical dessert. Besides the main event (eating ice cream, obviously), expect games, activities, live entertainment, and contests, including one that challenges participants to down a gallon of vanilla as fast as they can. Put on your stretchy pants and sign up -- bikini bodies are temporary, but glory lasts forever.

Fiesta Gardens

Get the scoop at the Ice Cream Festival Fiesta Gardens I scream, you scream... we get the idea. This event is exactly what it sounds like: a magical festival celebrating a magical dessert. Besides the main event (eating ice cream, obviously), expect games, activities, live entertainment, and contests, including one that challenges participants to down a gallon of vanilla as fast as they can. Put on your stretchy pants and sign up -- bikini bodies are temporary, but glory lasts forever.

Wikimedia/Peter Potrowl

Date

Event

Location

Aug 20 Sat

Honor Austin's bizarre mascot at Bat Fest Besides live music, the Longhorns, and overall weirdness, Austin is known for having the world's largest urban bat colony... and, well, obviously that warrants a festival. Along with the 1.5 million bats that will serve as the evening's entertainment when they emerge from under the Congress Ave bridge, expect arts and crafts vendors, food and drinks, live music, a bat costume contest and other... “bat activities.” Standard Austin.

Congress Avenue Bridge

Honor Austin's bizarre mascot at Bat Fest Congress Avenue Bridge Besides live music, the Longhorns, and overall weirdness, Austin is known for having the world's largest urban bat colony... and, well, obviously that warrants a festival. Along with the 1.5 million bats that will serve as the evening's entertainment when they emerge from under the Congress Ave bridge, expect arts and crafts vendors, food and drinks, live music, a bat costume contest and other... “bat activities.” Standard Austin.

Date

Event

Location

Aug 27 Sat

Party down at the Austin PRIDE Festival & Parade PRIDE week kicks off with a fashion show on August 20th, and the grand finale comes on the following Saturday in two forms: a festival (a massive advocacy and fundraising event), featuring live entertainment, activities, food, vendors, and fun; and a parade through Downtown featuring over spectacular floats, outrageous live performances, and more. Come out and show your PRIDE!

Fiesta Gardens/Downtown Austin

Party down at the Austin PRIDE Festival & Parade Fiesta Gardens/Downtown Austin PRIDE week kicks off with a fashion show on August 20th, and the grand finale comes on the following Saturday in two forms: a festival (a massive advocacy and fundraising event), featuring live entertainment, activities, food, vendors, and fun; and a parade through Downtown featuring over spectacular floats, outrageous live performances, and more. Come out and show your PRIDE!

Date

Event

Location

Aug 30-Sep 5

Catch some up-and-coming comics at the Out of Bounds Comedy Festival Expect quality and quantity at this annual festival, which typically averages 500 performers participating in 120 shows across Austin. Taking place over Labor Day Weekend, Out of Bounds features sketch, stand-up, improv, and more, meaning there's something for everyone... assuming, you know, they like comedy.

Various venues

Catch some up-and-coming comics at the Out of Bounds Comedy Festival Various venues Expect quality and quantity at this annual festival, which typically averages 500 performers participating in 120 shows across Austin. Taking place over Labor Day Weekend, Out of Bounds features sketch, stand-up, improv, and more, meaning there's something for everyone... assuming, you know, they like comedy.

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Sam Sumpter is an Austin-based writer who is already overwhelmed with all the entertainment options this summer. Follow her in the ongoing fight against FOMO @Sam_Sumpta.

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