Blues on the Green is a very popular event that thousands of people attend, and the whole process can be daunting. As a parent, it’s really easy to talk yourself out of going. But it is an iconic Austin event, and you should go at least once during the season. Here to provide you with some tips is Do512 Family editor, Jamie Jett.
- Take the bus if you can – This was our plan last time. But, we missed it and ended up driving. I wish so much that we didn’t miss that bus. Bus routes 30 and 3 will go to Zilker Park. Bus fare is $1 for a single ride and $2 for a day pass. You need dollar bills or change, you cannot put in a $5 and expect change and you cannot use a card UNLESS you use the mobile app and load up credit on your smartphone beforehand. More info on the app here.
- If you drive/parking – Don’t even think of parking at Zilker Park unless you are getting there at least two hours early. If you’re like me, you won’t roll up until 8 pm so parking near the park is completely out of the question. Don’t try to drive down Barton Springs Rd. if you get there late. I take Barton Skyway to Barton Hills Dr. and try to park as close as I can to Robert E. Lee Rd. and walk the rest of the way. (Map) Be sure and keep your eye out for signs that say you need a permit to park. There are plenty of places that you can, but even more where you can not, so keep on the lookout for that.
What to bring:
- Food and Drinks – Bring a picnic and save yourself some money! If you don’t have time for all that or just want to eat dinner there, you will have plenty of options. Food vendors include Freeb!rds, Daily Juice, Southside Flying Pizza, Amy’s Ice Creams, High Brew Coffee, henri’s and much more. For a complete list of vendors, click here. Lines can get long but they are typically very efficient and move pretty quickly. I’m not sure who does or doesn’t accept credit cards, so bring cash just to be safe. There are two ATMs at the north and south ends of the park.
- Drinks – You’re welcome to bring water and beverages for your children. Supposedly, you’re not supposed to bring alcohol but that doesn’t seem to stop 85 percent of the people there. Do with that information what you will.
- You can bring coolers – Keep in mind that you will probably have to do a lot of walking so don’t go overboard. (They sell these awesome backpack/cooler combos at Five Below for $5!) We take it everywhere.
- Blankets and chairs – You are allowed to bring both. Set up shop and relax!
- Bug spray and sunscreen – It’s hot. It’s buggy.
- Games/activities for the kids – We brought a deck of cards and it was perfect. My son learned important things like how to bet and play Blackjack. Good times. You know what your kiddos like. Keep ’em busy.
- Travel light – Whatever you bring, be prepared to carry it further than you want to and travel as light as you can
- Arrive early if you can – We always get there late, our schedule just works that way. But I advise that you get there as early as you can. I imagine 6 pm is a safe bet. You could probably find decent parking and a sweet spot to set up at that time.
- You don’t need to be close – You don’t need to be close to the stage to have a good time. It gets cramped and crowded up there anyway and depending on the ages of your children, you would probably have more fun hanging back. We set up a little beyond the vendors and while we couldn’t hear that well, we still had fun.
- THE ABSOLUTE BEST THING – My favorite part of Blues on the Green is leaving a few minutes early to hit up the free swim at Barton Springs Pool. From 9 – 10 pm there is no admission to swim at Barton Springs Pool and after sweating at Blues on the Green, it is a truly magical way to end the night. You can find people howling at the moon and feeling pretty free. As of this week, the grounds improvement project has been completed. So check it out after the concert tomorrow and be one of the first to see the final product.
Have fun, hope this helps!
Check out our calendar for the full Blues on the Green schedule.