El Arroyo's Guide to ACL Festival

Fun Fact: El Arroyo has been around for every ACL Festival to date!

No surprise when we say we have the best underground tips and tricks when it comes to Austin's famous music festival. We aren't going to give away our secret route around traffic... but we are going to share some other tips & tricks to make the festivities that much better. 

Tip #1: Do. Not. Drive. Anywhere... all weekend.

We know it's a pain but let's be honest you don't want to be stuck in traffic for 2 hours anyway. There are loads of bikes and scooters all over Austin that will get you to the festival 10x faster than a car would. 

The best plan:

  1. Find your way to El Arroyo, once again don't drive! :)
  2. Pre-game here with our famous Margs
  3. Walk to Zilker (good exercise)


Not be a mom but... this is the most important!!!!

Tip #3: The best bands you never knew you had to see!

"Oh, you didn't know Dragon Lover Pants on Fire was playing this year? Ya small band they've only played 2 shows ever but it's casual, they are on at 11 a.m. I swear by next year they will be topping the billboards!"- Moxie, The Hippest Hipster on Instagram 

Want to enjoy the whole day on the sparkling grass in Zilker or just wanna show up early to beat traffic? Many of you may find you're self wandering the festival at noon twiddling your thumbs because you've never heard of any of the bands performing this early in the day.   We don't blame you, with over 100 bands playing its hard to narrow down the performers you want to see. Below we've provided a few suggestions for early shows to attend while at the festival!



Briston Maroney

Stage: Vrbo Stage 

Set Time: Saturday, October 5th, 1:15pm -2pm / Saturday, October 12th 3pm-4pm

Our Favorite Song: Small Talk 

Night Cap (Austin Locals!!) 

Stage: Tito's Stage

Set Time: (WK 1 ONLY) Saturday, October 5th, 12:45pm-1:30pm

 Our Favorite Song: Heat 

 Abhi The Nomad 

Stage: Tito's Stage

Set Time: (WK 2 ONLY) Saturday, October 12th, 12:45pm-1:30pm

Our Favorite Song: Floors




 Still Woozy 

Stage: Miller Lite Stage

Set Time: Sunday, October 6th/ 13th, 1:15pm -2pm 

Our Favorite Song: LAVA

Kat Dahlia

Stage: BMI Stage

Set Time: (WK 2 ONLY) Sunday, October 13th, 1:15pm-2:00pm

Our Favorite Song: I Think I'm In Love


 Want to be in the park but not listen to music? 

There are plenty of interactive pop-ups all over the park full of free things and art experiences! Check out Bumble or ACL Market!

Tip #4: Create a home in Zilker Park 

And by home I mean a home base. Please do not bring a tent, it's not one of those festivals... it would also be really ~weird~. Zilker Park is HUGE, and crowded. Establish a place to meet up, in case someone in your crew gets lost. 

Side note: keep your s*** close. Invest in a fanny pack or backpack to make sure you don't lose your phone, sunglasses, jacket etc. Check the weather, it can be a bit chilly at night and you may want to bring a jacket.

Tip #5: Don't be THAT friend

Don't be the friend that is constantly whining.

We get it.

It's hot.

ACL is sweaty, and a little bit uncomfortable... but that's what you signed up for! 

Tip #6: Did you say AFTER SHOW?

Disclaimer: these are not actual after shows. Artists have always had a habit of coming to Austin and preforming surprise shows in scattered bars. There are plenty of artists not performing at ACL Fest that will have concerts throughout the week. Check out Vulcan Gas Co, or Empire

Below is an article from 2017 of local bars that other locals have suggested. 


Extra: How to have a bomb a** time if you don't have tickets.


Don't wanna stand in the beating sun with 50,000 people? 

Have you ever walked over the bridge between Austin High & Zilker? Ever looked into Lake Austin on a hot 101-degree ACL day and think "the things I would do to swim in that"? 

One of Austin's best-kept secrets is that you can actually hear the music from ACL from Lake Austin! Grab a paddleboard, or maybe a kayak, and head down to the lake on festival days for a relaxing ACL fest experience. There are multiple places to rent along the lake including Texas Rowing Center & Rowing Dock ATX.

Just remember parking is going to be virtually impossible so we recommend Ubering, scootering, or biking. 

If you want to catch some of the artists that performed at the festival without going check out ACL's Offical Late Night Shows. 

 Photo from (https://www.surfertoday.com/surfing/the-best-stand-up-paddleboarding-spots-in-austin)

ACL Festival Photo from (https://www.aclfestival.com/experience/




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