ACL: What to know before you go

Among the essentials for Austin City Limits are collapsible water bottles, sunglasses and comfy shoes. Lariat file photo

By Bella Whitmore | Intern

With any music festival, it can be extremely overwhelming to think about everything you need to know beforehand. Austin City Limits is no exception. From the weather to the fashion to the food, there is so much to consider. In an attempt to ease the pre-festival anxiety, here’s a mini guide to the most important things you should know before you go to ACL 2023.

Weather forecast:

A cold front is heading toward Central Texas for the first weekend of the festival, which is the best news I’ve heard in a while. Austin is trading its typically mid-to-high ’90s for a cool mid ’70s and low ’80s all weekend, with plenty of cloud cover as well. This forecast is perfect for ACL, as it prevents heat exhaustion among attendees while still allowing for the cute summer-style outfits we’ve all been extensively planning. The forecast for the second weekend of the festival is unfortunately a little hotter — but not unmanageable — with a consistent mid-to-high ’80s prediction for all three days.

What to wear:

The music festival dress code tends to be very boho and eccentric, incorporating a variety of bold colors and flowy pieces. Lately though, people have been stepping in a different direction with more individualistic styles that don’t conform to a single dress code. However, looser-fitting clothing will never go out of style for a festival. It’s a must for warmer weather. Plus, you get the best of both worlds with being cute and comfy.

A flowy skirt or dress with a tube top or simple tank paired with plenty of fun accessories will make up the lookbook for ACL this fall. Finally, shoes may be the most important fashion decision you make for ACL. Since you’ll be walking and standing all day, comfort is key. New Balances, Converse or broken-in combat boots are all great examples of versatile options that won’t kill your feet.

What to eat:

If you’re wondering what you’re going to eat while you’re waiting for your favorite artists to perform, ACL has a pretty impressive lineup of vendors that serve everything from Texas barbecue to Indian food, all local to Austin. ACL’s website displays an exhaustive list of over 50 different food options that are accessible inside the festival, including Tex-Mex, pizza, burgers, ice cream, seafood and more — many of which accommodate dietary restrictions. ACL does not allow any outside food or drink, but it more than makes up for it in the sheer amount of delicious food options offered within festival grounds. You definitely won’t be missing the homemade PB&J.

Where to park:

Festival organizers have said no parking is allowed at Zilker Metropolitan Park or within the surrounding neighborhoods, threatening towing and large fines. However, parking spots at Austin High School, One Texas Center Garage and MoPac Expressway can be purchased for $30 to $70 a day, with proceeds going to the athletic and fine arts programs of Austin public schools.

On the other hand, if you’re like me and looking to save a buck, ACL is also running a free shuttle service from Republic Square Park in downtown Austin to Zilker Park all day each weekend.