Our friends at LiveMom have been covering the Austin City Limits Music Festival for years. We’re thankful for their help providing great tips for parents attending the fest, including this post below.

Getting There

Whoever said “getting there is half the battle” had obviously attended ACL (and, come to think about it, has been a parent). The nice thing about Zilker is that it’s right in the heart of the city, which makes the festival-related road closures and traffic that much harder on anyone who needs to do anything in central Austin. I have always gone without my child, so that certainly makes things easier. My parents live in Clarksville so I can park at their house and walk the mile or so to Zilker. Even then, street parking in surrounding neighborhoods fills up by the mid-afternoon, so arriving early is the best policy. If I were to bring my kid with me for part of the weekend, I would arrange for my husband to drop him off and pick him up at the official passenger drop off area by the pedestrian bridge at Austin High.

2013-acl-downtown-parking-mapHere’s what the locals had to say about transportation:

  • Park as close as you can, and bike the rest of the way. We have parked along the Hike and Bike Trail and in the parking lot next to the Dougherty Arts Center and loaded our two young kids into a Chariot Bicycle Trailer. You can strap your lawn chairs on the top and pack blankets, toys and food/drinks behind the seat. Our kids love the bike ride to and from the festival – so much to see and so much excitement. – Kirsten Brunner
  • Take advantage of the shuttle. My office is downtown, just a few blocks from Republic Square Park so we took the shuttle over. It looked like a long line but it was constantly moving. So despite misgivings, the shuttle ended up being the best way to get to Zilker Park. – Lisa Caldwell
  • Pedi-cab it. I was seven months pregnant for ACL. My husband scheduled a taxi cab to pick us up at our home and drop us off at Cesar Chavez and Lavaca. Once you are downtown there are tons of eager pedi-cab drivers waiting to take you as close as they can to the entrance of the park. Some might even have shade and fun music. In the past we walked or took our bike to the festival. But if you are deep into your pregnancy like I was, you will want a pedi-cab. – Sara Odom
  • Pay to park close. You can take a bus or drive and park downtown, then take the bus over to the festival, but unless you plan to arrive and leave early, you can wait in the bus line for up to 45 minutes (or more).  We’ve gotten in the habit of parking at Park Hills Baptist Church and walking the mile to the festival from there.  They charge $30 per day for parking (it’s a fundraiser for the church), and once you leave you lose your spot, but you can reserve it and pay online, so it takes a lot of the “what if’s” out of parking for the festival. – Amanda Bofferding

You might also want to check out:

Austin City Limits Festival Parent Survival Guide
With everything from what to put in your MomGyver bag to DIY port-a-potties, here’s pretty much every detail. This is a must-read if you’re heading to Zilker one of the next two weekends.

What to Bring to ACL
Stroller, sunscreen, hats — what do you need? You don’t wan to pack like you’re going away for a weekend trip, but you don’t want to show up with regrets that you forgot something important. Here’s some great advice on what to pack.

Kid Time vs. Grown-up Time
Sure you want the kids to have a good time, but you really, really want to hear your favorite band. Here’s some tips on how to balance out the experience.

Many thanks to Nicole Basham for sharing this post from LiveMom. You can keep up with LiveMom’s coverage of this year’s festival on their blog and over on Facebook, Twitter, their ACL 2014 Pinterest page and Instagram.