Summer is in full swing, and this weekend is full of FREE fun ways to enjoy the season that are uniquely “Austin.” Bat-lovers may become bird-lovers as you witness the spectacle of purple martins swirling in the skies. Race fans can meet solar power with the Formula Sun Grand Prix. Outdoor music enthusiasts will rejoice at the return of the ever-popular Zilker Summer Musical, as well as a show under the star at the Bullock Museum, and an outdoor strings concert on the Long Center terrace. For you Francophiles, there’s even a Bastille Day celebration!
Weekend Top 10 Free Events in Austin:
- Family Safety Event – Friday and Saturday from 11:00 a.m to 4:00 p.m. Join the Keeping Kids Safe Project for a fun event promoting safety awareness and encouraging a proactive approach to family safety. This year’s event will feature the Texas Highway Patrol, American Red Cross, United Way of Austin, and many more. Family fun includes fingerprinting, face-painting, snow cones and other fun activities. FREE! Howdy Honda, 5519 E Ben White Blvd, Austin.
- Music Under the Star: Akina Adderly & James McMurtry – Friday from 6-9:00 p.m. Music Under the Star is a FREE concert series held each July in the Bullock Museum‘s Lone Star Plaza. The public is invited to experience free 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. 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.
- Formula Sun Grand Prix – Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Solar powered racing returns to Circuit of The Americas as the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin hosts the 2017 Formula Sun Grand Prix. Eighteen college and university teams from the US and Canada will compete in solar powered electric vehicles that they designed and built. This unique engineering competition is powered entirely by the sun and based on innovation, speed, and endurance. The paddock and garages will be open to the public and guests can enjoy exhibits and activities including a children’s solar model car building workshop. The event and parking are FREE and suitable for ages 5 and up. The Circuit of the Americas, 9201 Circuit of the Americas Blvd, Austin.
- Sábados en Familia – Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Bring your family for a day filled with free culture, arts, and wellness activities; including storytelling time for Pre-K. A free nutritious lunch will also be provided. For families with children age 4 and up. FREE! Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center, 600 River St, Austin.
- Second Saturdays Are for Families: Out of the Past – Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Dig into this geological event inspired by Ana Gallaccio’s “petrified” tree sculpture. You’ll explore excavated treasures with a bona fide rock expert, use messy science to begin growing your own rocks, and make a mark on some creatures from the past – a part of life-size dinosaurs. Recommended for ages 2–11. FREE! The Contemporary Austin – Laguna Gloria, 809 W 35th St, Austin. Update: The art-making workshops are full, but you can still visit Laguna Gloria to explore new art and nature on the grounds. You may also be able to sign up for the art-making activity when you arrive if there are last-minute cancellations or no-shows.
- Bastille Day 2017 – Saturday from 6:30-10:00 p.m. Alliance Française d’Austin is thrilled to present the 22nd annual Bastille Day Party, a relaxed and delicious celebration. Activities will include a hula-hoop station, Pétanque lessons, dancing, Triangle Park’s popular Playscape and Splash Pad, amazing feats by the Texas Juggling Society, and the Bastille Day Market. Enjoy French standards by vocalist Priscilla Badhwar, 1930’s Parisienne jazz by Hot Club of Austin, and the iconic French chansons of singer Julie Slim & Rendez Vous. French wine, beer, and soft drinks, along with delectable food will be available for purchase. Lawn chairs and picnic blankets are encouraged. FREE! Triangle Commons Park, 4660 Triangle Ave, Austin.
- UMLAUF Family Day – Sunday from noon to 4:00 p.m. Celebrate sculpture with an ice carving demo by Full Spectrum Ice and sing and dance with Armstrong Community Music School, Rock Lab School of Music, and Small Wonders Puppet Theater. Stretch your mind and body with yoga and story time. Shaving cream prints will round out the day. FREE! UMLAUF Sculpture Garden & Museum, 605 Robert E Lee Rd, Austin.
- Concerts in the Park: Strings – Sunday at 7:30 p.m. In its 15th summer season, these free 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 Strings 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 Nearly Free Fun:
- Deep Eddy Summer Splash Party Movie Night: Beauty and the Beast – Saturday at 8:30 p.m. This family oriented program brings people of all ages together. Cool off in the 72-degree water or picnic on the hill while watching a great movie with the family. Movie begins at dusk. Regular pool admission fees of $1-3 cover the movie and pool entrance. Deep Eddy Pool, 401 Deep Eddy Ave, Austin.
More Fun Beyond Austin:
- Southwestern Scientique Sale (Georgetown) – Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Southwestern University is cleaning their closets. Now is your chance to own a piece of science history. There will be tons of interesting and unique pieces available including: antique physics, biology and chemistry equipment; scientific glassware; furniture, and more. Please note that the scientific equipment is not recommended for use, but as antiques (and fabulous conversation pieces). Payment will be cash and check only, please. Admission is FREE! Free parking is available in the lot behind the Roy & Lillie Cullen Building, which is located at the corner of University Avenue and Maple Street. Southwestern University, 1001 E University Ave, Georgetown.
- Hands on History (Georgetown) – Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. How did food help win World War I? Make a cookbook and eat watermelon while you learn how food rationing and other homefront activities helped the war effort. Event is on the West Side of The Historic Williamson County Courthouse Lawn. FREE! Williamson County Courthouse, 710 S Main St, Georgetown.
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