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How to get to the 2021 Austin City Limits Music Festival

ACL fans in the front row
Tamir Kalifa
Fans in the front row at ACL in 2012. This year, masks will be required in areas closest to the stages.

You have proof of being fully vaccinated or testing negative for COVID-19 within the last 72 hours, and you're ready to converge on Zilker Park with thousands of others determined to enjoy the first Austin City Limits Music Festival since the pandemic.

Now you just need to get there. Possibly in the rain.

Roads around Zilker Park will be closed. Traffic will be heavy, especially in the evenings. Some Capital Metro routes will be detoured.

The city says no parking will be allowed at Zilker Park or the surrounding neighborhoods, so here are some other ways to get to the festival grounds.

Take A Free Shuttle Bus

ACL is running a shuttle bus from downtown Austin to Zilker Park. The pickup point is near Republic Square Park at the U.S. Courthouse on West Fourth Street near San Antonio Street. Shuttles start at noon on Fridays and 11 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

You must show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test as you board. Riders must wear masks on the bus.

Map showing where ACL shuttle bus picks people up
Austin City Limits
ACL shuttle service starts at noon on Fridays and 11 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

Ride Capital Metro For Free

Buses and trains are free the entire month of October. Cap Metro is waiving fares to generate goodwill after a driver shortage resulted in substandard service.

You could either take a bus to the shuttle pickup point downtown or try to get dropped off closer to Zilker Park and walk. Capital Metro's Trip Planner will help you create a route or just take a look at the system map. Google Maps will tell you where to catch the bus if you ask for directions and select transit (the little train icon) as your "travel mode."

Capital Metro bus routes near Zilker Park
Capital Metro
This part of Capital Metro's system map shows which buses will get you close to Zilker Park or the shuttle pick-up near Republic Square Park.

Routes 3, 4, 30 and 803 will get you within walking distance of Zilker Park. Keep in mind that the transit agency is still dealing with a shortage of workers even after reducing frequency on some routes. If you use the Capital Metro app, you should get a better idea of when the next bus will arrive.

Ride A Bicycle Or Scooter

ACL will have a dedicated bicycle parking station on Stratford Drive just east of MoPac. Two more bicycle and scooter parking stations will be east of the festival grounds, one on Toomey Road east of Sterzing Street and another on Azie Morton Road. From both of those locations, you can walk up to Barton Springs Road and cross Barton Creek.

ACL map of festival grounds and surrounding transportation options
Austin City Limits Music Festival
A map of the festival grounds and various transportation options nearby

If you decide to rent a MetroBike (not free in October, even though other Cap Metro services are), you can drop if off at one of several nearby MetroBike stations near Zilker Park. The location at Barton Springs Road and Sterzing Street will have a "MetroBike valet," ensuring you'll have a place to dock the bike you rented.

Map showing MetroBike location at Barton Springs Road and Sterzing Street.
This MetroBike location at Barton Springs Road and Sterzing Street will have a "valet" service, ensuring you can drop-off a MetroBike here on your way to ACL.

Take A Taxi Or Rideshare

Open your app and set the destination to "Austin City Limits Music Festival" or "Zilker Park," and your driver should be routed to one of several designated drop-off points. To catch a ride out of the festival, you'll need to walk out of the general vicinity. The City of Austin says you'll need to cross either Lady Bird Lake, South Lamar Boulevard or the MoPac frontage road before you can request a ride.

Taxis are supposed to pick up and drop off passengers at William Barton Drive in front of the Barton Springs Pool. The taxi drop-off point is a little closer to the entrance gates than the rideshare drop-off.

Keep in mind that demand for rides spikes after the festival lets out and so does surge pricing. If you really need to take an Uber, Lyft or taxi and time or money is a consideration, you might consider ducking out a bit early to reduce your odds of a long wait.

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion-dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on X @KUTnathan.
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