You’ve always wanted to hit up the Hill Country, but when is the best time to go to Austin, Texas? There is no clear-cut answer because everyone who books it down to the Live Music Capital of the World, home of the world’s first Whole Foods store, and a chill vibe, has a different reason for traveling here.

The best time to visit Austin, Texas, depends on what you’re going for, so let’s break down the primary categories of what will most likely bring you down to the ol’ ATX. We’re betting it’s either a music festival, nature, or your friends.

We invite you to use any of the following as an excuse for your perfect time to visit Austin:

live music being played at sxsw in austin texas

1. Spring: South By Southwest (SXSW)

Spring is such a great time of year to visit Austin, especially during South by Southwest (SXSW) which locals call “Southby.”

Southby is this incredibly massive global event with a tech conference (Interactive), film festival, music festival, gaming conference, and so much more. Look into all of the opportunities you can combine and snag an Airbnb – you’ll want to move to town afterward, and many do.

It’s usually during our first and only week of spring, so for the first day it’s kind of chilly, but for the rest of the time, our first warm front rolls in and cheers everything up.

2. Fall: Austin City Limits (ACL) and Austin Film Festival

In October, two more massive events go down here – the Austin City Limits (ACL) music festival which spans multiple weekends across dozens of stages with nearly 75,000 attendees each day.

The second is the Austin Film Festival where you’ll not only get to see amazing indie films, but advanced screening of some larger blockbusters.

Either way, you’ll rub elbows with tons of celebs. Pro tip – act cool. Locals don’t stop and ask for selfies, we just do the head nod. Save the schmoozing for your favorites only!

drone view of party boats on lake travis at devils cove

3. All Year: The majesty of local nature and sports

In the spring and fall, we enjoy fairly moderate temperatures with some fluctuations, but we’re going to be honest. The summer months can sometimes have an average high of 800 million billion degrees, so it feels like the floor is lava and the sky is lava and everything is lava.

That’s why everyone spends summers in the water here – it’s the only part that’s not lava.

So if you decide to use water sports or water relaxation as your excuse to visit and have a good time, book a boat rental in advance (our fleet is literally the highest quality on Lake Travis, and not only is our lake not made of lava, neither are our boats, or our professionally trained captains).

On and near Lake Travis, there are some amazing camping and hiking options, even in the heat. And downtown, folks love kayaking or canoeing on Lady Bird Lake or taking a dip in the perpetually cold Barton Springs Pool.

When there aren’t high temperatures, the perfect time to visit is during a University of Texas football game because it is one of the loudest stadiums around, and the Longhorns are the sorest winners AND sorest losers – it could be fun to play along!

Did we mention that we have one of the very few F1 Grand Prix race tracks in the world, Circuit of the Americas? What you need to know is that even if you don’t follow racing, tons of race events are held there throughout the year and there is a 250 foot tall observation tower with a viewing deck at the 230 foot level AND there are concerts on the grounds year-long, so include this in your plans.

view of the Trail of Lights at Zilker Park in Austin, Texas
Image courtesty of flickr.com

4. Winter: Christmas events

Winters here are wildly unpredictable and can be extremely mild, but cold fronts can complicate things pretty severely – you probably heard that in recent years, our grid failed during a rare statewide snow storm, it was wild.

But that’s not normal, so winter can actually still be a great time to visit, especially if you observe Christmas as a holiday. But even if you don’t, shiny lights are still fun, just pack a coat and gloves!

Near downtown in Zilker Park, there is a 155 foot tall Christmas tree that has over 3,300 full-sized light bulbs, the famous Zilker Trail of Lights, and even a Trail of Lights Fun Run.

If you’re feeling adventurous, grab some hot chocolate and stroll through the 37th Street Lights (which used to be called “Lightmare on 37th Street,” but changed years ago). It sounds freaky, but it’s this amazing little lit-up neighborhood where most of the houses have these dramatic and intricate displays. From the last supper in Legos to the nativity featuring figurines of the Breaking Bad cast, and some displays are mazes in backyards, it’s wild and weird for sure.

Everyone walks, so it’s just a long line of people oohing and aahing at the oddities that change every year. If you’re into wackadoo holiday stuff, this is one of the best times to visit Austin!

Can you see now why we think the best time to visit Austin is based on YOU? Come for a visit, we’d love to see you and take you around the lake!