Welcome to the first weekend of spring break and the start of SXSW! There are plenty of fun things to do in Austin this weekend, as well as events happening away from the fray, if you prefer to steer clear of downtown. Just remember to spring forward! Daylight Savings Time begins on Sunday, March 13 at 2:00 a.m.
- SX Create (RSVP) – Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. The hardware hacking and maker arm of SXSW is at it again with more space, more fun, and even more hands-on excitement. Doing creative and revolutionary things with new technologies embodies the spirit of the SXSW Interactive Festival, and nowhere is this more evident than the diverse mix of activities at SX Create. From 3D printing to drones to biohacking and much more, this community event showcases the disruptive solutions that are shaping our future. FREE with Guest Pass and open to all ages (accompanied children do not need a Guest Pass). No badge required. Palmer Event Center, 900 Barton Springs Rd, Austin.
- Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls at SXSW – Friday and Saturday from Noon to 8:00 p.m. and Sunday from Noon to 4:00 p.m. This action-packed, saloon-themed weekend will be filled with rousing discussions and one-of-a-kind entertainment including a Powerpuff Girls’ photo booth and cotton candy bar. View the full event schedule here. No badge required. FREE! Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden, 79 Rainey St, Austin.
- Rodeo Austin Rodeo Rumble – Saturday at 9:00 a.m. During this 1K Fun Run, children ages 12 and under get the chance to race on the dirt where the cowboys and cowgirls compete each night. All participants receive a cowbell ribbon and treats. Online registration is available here. On-site registration begins at 9:00 a.m. and the first heat of runners begins at 9:30 a.m. FREE admission and parking, as long as you arrive before 9 a.m. Luedecke Arena at Travis County Expo Center, 7311 Decker Ln, Austin.
- Guns of 1863 – Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. The Texas Military Forces Museum will commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the end of the Civil War with this special program. Visitors will get a chance to get an up close and personal look at how soldiers on both sides lived during the war, as well as see firing demonstrations of some of the Civil War’s most famous weapons. In addition, the museum’s living history volunteers will explain the uniforms and equipment used by the troops, why they carried flags into battle, and the role of drums and bugles in the war. The intricate maneuvers of infantry formations on the battlefield will also be demonstrated. Showtime is at 1:00 p.m. but the camp areas will be open to the public from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. FREE! Texas Military Forces Museum at Camp Mabry, 2200 W 35th St, Bldg 6, Austin.
- Radio Controlled Airshow – Saturday from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Witness a truly amazing event in the world of radio controlled flying at the 2016 “Jet Lag” RC airshow. All kinds of turbine and electric powered radio controlled jet aircraft will be screaming through the air reaching speeds of 150+ mph and performing beautiful aerobatics and breathtaking high speed passes. Types of airplanes include military, civilian, and experimental. These are real jets and this is a great show for the whole family. Hearing protection is recommended for children. Concessions will be available for purchase. Entry and parking are FREE! Austin Radio Control Association – Lester Field, 8705 Lindell Ln, Austin.
- Art Free-for-All – Saturday from Noon to 4:00 p.m. Get to know all of The Contemporary Austin’s educational offerings during this family-friendly open house. Enjoy hands-on demonstrations by Art School faculty, make art to take home, and check out sculptures on the grounds. This FREE event will have performances by School of Rock, kids’ yoga with Bea Love Yoga, and food trailers. Bring the family to create and explore. The Contemporary Austin – Laguna Gloria, 3809 W 35th St, Austin.
- A French Afternoon – Saturday from 1-4:00 p.m. Celebrate the month of Francophonie with live music by Danielle Reich and Swing Rendezvous, French story time, complimentary refreshments, French dictation, and a Pétanque demo. This wonderful family event is FREE! APL – Hampton Branch, 5125 Convict Hill Rd, Austin.
- Free SXSW Movie Screenings – Saturday at 9:00 p.m. and Sunday at 8:00 p.m. Head to the Long Center Terrace for opening night of the free SXSW outdoor film series. Doors open at 8:00 p.m. Heavy Metal Parking Lot begins at 9:00 p.m., followed by Darkon. On Sunday night, Smokey and the Bandit will be introduced by the Bandit himself, Mr. Burt Reynolds! Doors open at 6:00 p.m. and the screening starts at 8:00 p.m. *Event subject to cancelation due to weather. Please check SXSW.com for all updates. FREE with Guest Pass. Long Center Terrace, 701 W Riverside Dr, Austin.
- Family Day at the UMLAUF – Sunday from Noon to 4:00 p.m. Family Days offer special, hands-on programs designed for families with children 4-10 years old. Families have the opportunity to explore the UMLAUF while engaging in creative activities. Listen to stories, do yoga in the garden, watch a live granite splitting demonstration by Moroles studio artists, enjoy live music, and more. FREE! Umlauf Sculpture Garden, 605 Robert E Lee Rd, Austin.
- Literature LIVE! Presents: The Selfish Gardener – Sunday at 2:00 p.m. What happens when a band of native plants and insects gets a new neighbor who isn’t very friendly? Will the band get the boot, or will gardener and insect learn to live together? Find out in this musical spin on the Oscar Wilde classic, The Selfish Giant. Recommended for ages 4 and up. FREE! APL – Faulk Central Library, 800 Guadalupe St, Austin.
More fun beyond Austin:
- Llano Earth Art Fest (Llano) – Friday and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m. and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Attend Texas’ most unique event–featuring art, music, food, crafts, and lots of rocks. Held on the banks of the Llano River–one block from Llano’s historic downtown–the Llano Earth Art Fest (LEAF) is an interactive experience for young and old alike. Watch internationally renowned rock-artists defy gravity with amazingly balanced sculptures. Listen to great musicians fill the park with song. Try your hand at rock balancing or see if you’ve got what it takes to compete in the 2016 World Rock Stacking Competition. For kids there are plenty of activities, including a climbing wall, face painting, and more. Adults can enjoy a cold beer while taking part in workshops, viewing the art, or just relaxing in the sun. Admission is FREE! Grenwelge Park, 199 E Haynie St, Llano.
- Fancy Feathers 4-H 9th Annual Chicken Show (Dripping Springs) – Saturday from 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. This is the only chicken show in Texas run by kids. There will be 800+ birds on display, raffles, a cluck off contest, as well as a special class of judging just for backyard chickens. Admission for spectators is FREE! Dripping Springs Ranch Park, 1042 Event Center Dr, Dripping Springs.
- Hands on History (Georgetown) – Saturday from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Children can get up close and personal with the history of the county, learn something new, and create their own artifact. To celebrate Hattie Cluck’s 170th birthday, children will make their own postcards. FREE for children of all ages. Williamson Museum, 716 S Austin Ave, Georgetown.
- Barnyard Musical Review (Pflugerville) – Saturday at 2:30 p.m. Enjoy a barnyard-themed puppet show with an exciting combination of songs, stories, props, puppets, and participation for all ages. Presented by Small Wonder Puppet Theatre. FREE! Pflugerville Public Library, 1008 W Pfluger St, Pflugerville.
- Williamson County Symphony Orchestra Concert (Georgetown) – Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Family friendly and FREE! Klett Center for the Performing Arts, 2211 N Austin Ave, Georgetown.
- Hill Country Kitetail Fest (Dripping Springs) – Sunday from Noon to 7:00 p.m. The brilliant blue Hill Country sky deserves to be decorated with hundreds of colorful kites dancing in the wind. Welcome spring at the very first Kitetail Fest. Flying skills are appreciated, but not required. There will be prizes for the Most Creative and Best Homemade Kites, with judging and awards at 4:00 p.m. Family friendly and FREE! Treaty Oak Distilling, 16604 Fitzhugh Rd, Dripping Springs.
You may also be interested in:
- Free SXSW 2016 Events
- Free Date Nights in Austin: SXSW Edition
- Fun Day Trips from Austin
- Favorite Restaurants with Playgrounds in Austin
- 2016 Spring Break and Summer Camp Guide
- 40+ Don’t Miss Free March Events
- Spring Consignment Sales in Austin
Free Fun In Austin continues to highlight Austin area locations and activities that may not be available at this time. We encourage you to take all safety measures to keep yourself and your neighbors safe. It is our hope that the stories and features on this site will help inform your plans in the future.