Enjoy the long summer days with these FREE fun events in Austin! This weekend, you can join a huge citywide playdate, then celebrate Lady Bird Johnson and her environmental legacy. You can see some cool cars on a hot day while helping the community, then escape summer altogether as Santa brings you Christmas cheer in July! Of course, we’ve also got your best bets for FREE music, movies, and theater–and don’t forget to catch the sight of the purple martins while they are still in town!
Weekend Top 10 Free Events in Austin:
- Music Under the Star: Los Coast & Tameca Jones – Friday from 6-9:00 p.m. Don’t miss this summer’s last installment of Music Under the Star, a FREE concert series held each July in the Bullock Museum‘s Lone Star Plaza. The public is invited to experience concerts under the iconic Bullock Museum Star with complimentary garage parking. Bring the whole family, camp chairs, and blankets to enjoy an incredible lineup of Texas artists. Food, beer, and soda will be available for purchase. FREE but non-perishable food items for the Central Texas Food Bank are requested. Bullock Texas State History Museum, 1800 Congress Ave, Austin.
- Purple Martin Party – Friday and Saturday from 8-9:30 p.m. Watch an acrobatic hurricane of birds as hundreds of thousands of purple martins “swirl” in the skies in and around the roosting site each evening. It’s better than the bats! This year, hundreds of thousands of birds will be at Texas Land & Cattle at the junction of I-35/290 around sunset. Please park on Clayton Lane and not the restaurant’s parking lot. Texas Land & Cattle is offering a free appetizer to each party who has dinner and mentions that they are there for the Purple Martins. Habesha, the Ethiopian Restaurant immediately north of Texas Land & Cattle, is offering dessert to each party who dines at their restaurant and specifically mentions that they are there for the Purple Martins. Lawn chairs, picnic blankets, cameras, and hats are highly recommended. Binoculars are optional. Read about Emily’s experience here. FREE! Texas Land & Cattle, 6007 I-35, Austin.
- Zilker Summer Musical: The Wizard of Oz – Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 8:15 p.m. For more than a century, The Wizard of Oz has enchanted readers, theater, and movie goers alike. Now, Zilker Theater Productions will bring this cultural treasure to the historic, outdoor theater at The Zilker Hillside. This summer, the ZTP team looks forward to welcoming over 45,000+ Hillside audience members to follow the yellow brick road “over the rainbow.” ZTP’s The Wizard of Oz is FREE to the public (donations gratefully accepted) during its six-week run. The “curtain” goes up right around dusk at 8:15 p.m., but arrive early with your low-backed chairs and blankets to get your spot. Zilker Hillside Theater, 2206 William Barton Dr, Austin.
- AusTX Cops and Rodders Car Show – Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Bring the whole family out for a fun day of cool cars, entertainment, door prizes, live music and more. Proceeds benefit the Austin Police Community Liaison Corporation, which promotes positive relations between the Police Department and the diverse Austin community. Spectator admission is FREE! Food and beverages will be available for purchase. Omni Southpark Hotel, 4140 Governors Row, Austin.
- Staci Gray Performance – Saturday from 10-11:30 a.m. Kids love Staci Gray’s catchy, joyful tunes and, of course, the bubble machine! Show is FREE! Food and beverages (and coffee!) will be available for purchase. in.gredients, 2610 Manor Rd, Austin.
- Keep Austin Playing – Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Keep Austin Playing is a FREE, citywide, interactive play date created by the Austin Parks and Recreation Department to enrich, educate, and empower the Austin community to cultivate healthy lifestyle changes AND to celebrate National Parks and Recreation month. You can participate in lots of fun activities including a portable climbing wall, an inflatable batting cage, bike rodeo, human foosball, obstacle course, corn hole, tailgate games, face painting, prizes, and more. FREE! Palmer Events Center, 900 Barton Springs Rd, Austin.
- Summer FREE Family Film Series: My Neighbor Totoro – Saturday at 2:00 p.m. Join the Bullock Museum for their summer film series. Attendance is FREE, no ticket is required. Simply show up for line queuing outside of the Spirit Theater on the second floor of the museum (NOT the IMAX theater). Bullock members will have priority seating beginning at 1:30 p.m. Members must present their membership card at the theater for early access. All other guests will begin seating at 1:40 p.m. Concessions from the IMAX lobby will be allowed in the theater. Rated G. The Bullock Texas State History Museum, 1800 Congress Ave, Austin.
- Lady Bird Day – Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Each year, the Wildflower Center honors their namesake and founder and all that she did for our nation’s treasured environment on Lady Bird Day. The community is invited to celebrate Mrs. Johnson’s environmental legacy and the legislation that she inspired. With her influence, President Johnson’s administration enacted more than 200 environmental laws with lasting national and local impact, including the 1965 Highway Beautification Act. Family activities include Johnson family movie screenings, storytimes, indoor and outdoor tours, and outdoor games. Admission is FREE! Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave, Austin.
- Christmas in July at Terra Toys – Sunday from 1-4:00 p.m. Enjoy FREE hot cocoa from the espresso bar and FREE instant snow demos. You can even sit on the real Santa’s lap. Enjoy all of this in cold A/C with wonderful Christmas music. FREE! Terra Toys, 2438 W Anderson Ln, Ste C1, Austin.
- Concerts in the Park: Big Band – Sunday at 7:30 p.m. In its 15th summer season, these ensemble concerts take place in the Hartman Concert Park in front of the Long Center City Terrace. Each Sunday a different ensemble of the Austin Symphony will be featured, this week, enjoy a Big Band performance. Concertgoers are encouraged to bring a picnic dinner and blanket and make it a group outing. FREE! The Long Center Terrace/Hartman Concert Park, 701 W Riverside Dr, Austin.
Bonus Fun for a Good Cause:
- Hope Pack Drive – Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to noon. Help Carrying Hope meet their goal of providing a Hope Pack to every child entering the foster care system in the Austin area this year. If you’re looking for a summer project to involve your child in, having them create a Hope Pack for another child their age is a meaningful way to give back. With just a little extra time and money, you can make a huge difference in a child’s moment of crisis. Find supply lists for the age and gender of your choice here. The event will include FREE snow cones from Kona Ice, a FREE family workout from Stroller Strides, and a variety of children’s activities including face painting, balloon animals, games, and more. Each person who creates and drops off a Hope Pack — a backpack filled with all of the items a child entering the foster care system needs during his or her first 48 hours in care — will be entered in a raffle to win items from Kendra Scott, Alamo Drafthouse, The Thinkery, ABGB, Whole Earth Provision Co., and more. Representatives from local foster care agencies will also be on hand to answer questions and provide information about how to get more involved with children in the system. Event is FREE! Browning Hangar at Mueller, 4550 Mueller Blvd, Austin.
Bonus Nearly Free Fun:
- Woodland Faerie Trail – Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The award-winning, 5th annual Woodland Faerie Trail features faerie homes and gardens created by Austin area gardeners, architects, artisans, businesses, clubs, families, and school groups. Explore the abodes of the faeries and gnomes along the Woodland Faerie Trail through the escarpment pathway and see who is home. Read about Emily’s experience here. Please note, final garden entry is at 5:30 p.m. daily. FREE with Garden admission, which is $1-3 for Austin residents (ages 3+). Zilker Botanical Garden, 2220 Barton Springs Rd, Austin.
- Deep Eddy Movie Night: Finding Dory – Saturday at 8:00 p.m. Watch a movie while you cool off in the 72-degree water or picnic on the hill. Movie begins at dusk. The movie and pool access are included in the regular admission fees ($1-3 for Austin residents). Deep Eddy Pool, 401 Deep Eddy Ave, Austin.
More Fun Beyond Austin:
- Legion of Foam Grand Opening (Round Rock) – Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Legion of Foam is hosting the Grand Opening of their first indoor Nerf® Arena. There will be FREE Nerf® battles (with coupon), a bounce house available for the younger kids, Kona Ice, snacks, pizza, and $1 Nerf® battles all weekend. Admission is FREE! Legion of Foam, 3570 Rockin J Road, Ste A, Round Rock.
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