The Austin City Limits Music Festival boasts beer, barbecue, and 150 bands for up to 75,000 attendees each day. There's something for everyone, whether you're a tried and true indie darling or just tagging along with your lady friends for the eccentric experience. Christian Mazzalai, a guitarist for the returning headliner Phoenix, says of ACL, "Each time is bigger and better." Everything is bigger in Texas, after all. We've got you completely covered for the Oct. 4-6 and Oct. 11-13 festival, from what to wear all weekend to where to order the best margarita in town.
Interested in a one-stop shop? ACL conveniently offers travel packages with the purchase of a three-day general admission or VIP pass to The Driskill, Hilton Austin, Marriott Courtyard Austin Downtown, Residence Inn Austin Downtown, and Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol. Or, if you don't mind coughing up a little extra dough, Hotel St. Cecilia is a converted Victorian mansion with a genuine, vintage vibe. Described as "where art meets architecture," Kimper Hotel is known as the coolest boutique hotel in town. We couldn't resist mentioning the little details at Hotel San Jose, which offers kimono bathrobes, Indian bedspreads, and framed vintage concert posters in every room. If you're feeling rustic, camping is also an option — if it's good enough for Matthew McConaughey's wedding party, it's good enough for you. Camping grounds are available in Emma Long Metropolitan Park near Lake Austin and several other locations close to the festival.
Most Austinites avoid the touristy 6th St. bars like the plague, where instead, they turn to refurbished bungalows-turned-bars on Rainey St. Lustre Pearl is a can't-miss option complete with hula-hoops, ping-pong tables, and unbeatably cheap drinks. Order the Long Hair Don't Care and you won't be disappointed. The taco truck next door also makes mean Mexican food, just perfect for late-night snacking. At $3 a taco, it's pretty hard to beat. Next, bar-hop on over to Javelina. Rumor has it, Javelina cooks up the best sweet potato fries in Austin. Or, if you're in the mood for an old-school Texas time, check out The Broken Spoke. Famous for its honky tonk music and chicken fried steak, cowboy boots are always welcome!
Take a page from the Kates' (Kate Bosworth and Kate Hudson, naturally) this weekend. Adorn your messy waves with a fedora or flower crown, and pick vibrant, colorful prints and patterns to stand out in the crowd. Accessorize with retro shades, chunky rings, and a cross-body bag; you'll want your hands free so you can dance with your favorite band. Typically we advocate style-over-comfort when it comes to your kicks, but trust us, for this festival you'll want to wear shoes you can easily spend the whole day in, sans blisters. We suggest low-heeled ankle booties or gladiator sandals. The only rule: the funkier, the better, y'all. Keep Austin weird.
1. Ray-Ban Clubmaster sunglasses $145, Net-a-Porter; 2. Mara Hoffman dress $264, Net-a-Porter; 3. J. Crew Panama hat $58, J. Crew; 4. Gorjana & Griffin Chevron drop earrings price upon request, Gorjana & Griffin; 5. 3.1 Phillip Lim satchel $895, Shopbop; 6. Gorjana & Griffin Free As A Bird bracelet $50, Gorjana & Griffin; 7. Sam Edelman Louie fringe booties $160, Shopbop.
ACL provides Austin Eats, a sizable food court stocked with local vendors. The list for this year's festival hasn't yet been released, but The Mighty Cone, The Salt Lick, and Sweet Leaf Tea were among the most popular options at the 2012 festival. You can cool off from the brutal Texas heat (yes, even in October) with watermelon agave ice pops from GoodPop. If your vegan or gluten-free friend isn't down for barbecue, visit the HOPE Farmer's Market for veggies, fruits, and even build-your-own ice cream sandwiches. The list of good eats goes on and on really. Better bring your appetite!