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How to Have a Carefree, Car-Free ACL Weekend

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT
With Austin City Limits comes traffic, but there are plenty of options to avoid the

ACL is here. That means – whether you’re a native Austinite or an out-of-towner – there will be traffic.

I-35, MoPac, Congress Avenue, Barton Springs, South Lamar and any other stretch of paved road remotely near the downtown area will likely begin to resemble a parking lot by the time things kick-off this weekend. While there's plenty of parking, we can pretty much guarantee that none of it will be free.

So, with that in mind, here’s a guide to help you get from point A to point B without getting behind the wheel.


Those looking to take the bus have two options – local and MetroRapid buses. Capital Metro’s teamed up with festival-organizer C3 Presents to provide free bus service to Zilker from Republic Square Park at 4th and Trinity streets, running from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. both festival weekends.

MetroRapid’s 803 line isn’t free, but offers direct service to Zilker as well, with local routes local routes 3, 30, 338 and 484 also heading to the fest. Capitol Metro’s also offering later service on the Night Owl and E-Bus lines. For a full list of available routes, head to CapMetro’s website.


It’s unclear if app-based ridesharing apps Uber and Lyft will even be legal by the time the festival starts. The Austin City Council took an initial step toward legalizing them last week. The council may pass the revised ordinance at today's meeting.

However, the services aren’t likely to stop on account of questionable legal status – both have been officially active in Austin since May despite their illegality. Uber even provided rides over SXSW. Uber’s offering a free first ride to those with an ACL ticket, but users should expect pretty intense surge pricing over the weekends.

If you’re looking for a legal alternative, and maybe cheaper alternative, there’s Carma – a legal ridesharing app –which allows users to join carpools with unpaid drivers behind the wheel.

Curb, formerly Taxi Magic, handles app-based hailing for Lone Star Cab and HailACab is the Yellow Cab-backed app.


Austin’s a pretty bike-friendly city, and the ACL bike racks resoundingly confirm that reputation. But folks coming in from out of town (and couldn’t fit their bike in the overhead bin) can rent a bike from over 30 Austin B-Cycle rental locations in the downtown area, and even drop off the bike at the south entrance of Zilker Park for valet parking. B-Cycle's also offering special deals to festival-goers.


If you’re attending any after shows, you can easily flag down a pedicabber to ferry you from Zilker to the downtown area.

Not Attending?

If you're an Austinite that isn't going anywhere near Zilker Park, you've got some options as well:

  • ACL will livestream showsdirectly to your computer, allowing you to enjoy the music of the festival without interacting with a single person, paying a balk-worthy amount of money for a cold beverage or even getting off your couch. Unfortunately, the livestream is for the second weekend only.
  • If you can't, or won't, even make it out to the store because of an all-encompassing bingewatching session, you can get all the groceries you need delivered to your house in an hour on Instacart.
  • Need something other than groceries? There's always Favor, which will deliver just about anything you need.
  • And, if you're feeling boozy, Drizly specializes in delivering beer, wine and liquor to your door in roughly 40 minutes, according to the website.

Let us know in the comments if you've got any additional suggestions for for those looking to go car-free over the festival, or for those looking to avoid the crowds over both ACL weekends.

Andrew Weber is a general assignment reporter for KUT, focusing on criminal justice, policing, courts and homelessness in Austin and Travis County. Got a tip? You can email him at Follow him on Twitter @England_Weber.
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