As you might have heard, the Fourth of July is just around the corner. We’ve provided you with an extensive guide, including a map, of where and how to enjoy the annual fireworks extravaganza on Lady Bird Lake, complete with a performance by the Austin symphony.
If you’re not into that, though—or, say, you want to start celebrating long before nightfall—here are some fine activities in and around the city to check out.
Circuit of the Americas, 9201 Circuit of the Americas Boulevard, Austin, TX 78617
Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic is a legendary event that’s been happening for eons and a reliably good time. This year’s lineup includes Luke Combs, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, Alison Krauss, Jamey Johnson, and Steve Earle and The Dukes, among others. It’s a friends and family affair that should be on your bucket list—though there’s also something to be said for making it an annual tradition.
2103 E M. Franklin Ave, Austin, TX 78723
Another event that’s becoming a tradition is Blue Starlite Urban Mini Drive-In’s Independence Day celebration at its Mueller II location. This year will feature, of course, Independence Day, as well as (at different showings) The Goonies, The Big Lebowski, and Jaws. After the movie is over, Blue Starlite will present a fireworks show on its high-definition screen.
12700 Hill Country Boulevard, Bee Cave, TX 78738
This event features its own fireworks and ramps up for them with festivities starting at 4 p.m. They include family-style backyard games for the whole family, live music from Edison Chair and Vallejo, an all-day sidewalk sale, face painting and more for the kids (as well as a splash pad where they can cool off).
Parades and other daytime events in and around Austin
Mays Street, between Mays Crossing and Highway 79
This is kind of a big one, actually, with up to 20,000 spectators (locals and visitors alike) in recent years. It features a parade, carnival rides, a jalapeño-eating contest, Swifty Swine Pig Races, children’s games, the Sam Bass Shootout, movies in the park, and fireworks. The best floats, bands, cheerleading squad, drill team, decorated vehicles, equestrian entries, and more will get awards this year.
West Austin Neighborhood Park, 1317 W 10th St, Austin, TX 78703
This looks to be an early event (staring at 9 a.m.)—good for families and people who prefer to enjoy being outside before things heat up. The Shook family (of JuiceLand fame) and the Jollyville Brass Quintet will lead the parade, which seems to involve costumed pets as well as people (bikes, strollers, and pets au naturel are also encouraged). Participants will gather at the fire station (presumably the one at 1000 Blanco Street) at 8 a.m. to dress and prep. The parade ends at West Austin Neighborhood Park, where the “Best Dressed Pet” will be judged and more fun and games will ensue. Participants get coffee and breakfast tacos, too.
Lakeway Live Oak Golf Course, Activity Center, and Swim Center
Lakeway’s holiday parade starts at the Live Oak Golf Course at 8:30 a.m. and proceeds to the to the Lakeway Activity Center, where there will be music, awards, and other activities, including a hot dog lunch. The Lakeway Swim Center will be open for fun at noon with special pricing and in-and-out privileges all day.
101 Westlake Drive Suite 100, Austin, TX 78746
The parade, with starts at 8:30 a.m., features a costume contest and and is pet-inclusive. The party after will feature live music, a bouncy house, games, and more fun activities, as well as food and beverages from local businesses.
Central Texas celebrations
A sampling of the goings-on on the Fourth in nearby towns.
449 San Gabriel Campus Drive, Leander, TX 78641
The free, family-friendly event starts at 5 p.m. and features live music by Jason Boland & the Stragglers and Mike Ryan, food and craft vendors, children’s activities, and a fireworks display.
1440 West Pecan Street, Pflugerville, TX 78660
Pfestivities start at 5:30 p.m. and include a kid’s area with games, crafts and face painting, 16 food trucks, and live music from Suede, followed by fireworks to be viewed from inside the Pflugerville Stadium.
204 San Antonio Road, Buda, TX 78610
This is an all-day affair with a sensible break in the hot, hot afternoon. It starts at 9 a.m. with a children’s parade on Main Street, followed by a party featuring bouncy houses and more family fun at City Park immediately. Later that night are live music, more activities, and a fireworks display at the Buda Sportsplex.
206 N C M Allen Parkway, San Marcos, TX 78666
After floating the San Marcos River (optional), you can celebrate Independence Day along its banks of the San Marcos River starting at 6 pm. with live music, a parade, a children’s costume contest, and food vendors, winding up with a fireworks display.
1600 Veteran’s Drive, Taylor, TX 76574
This low-key celebration focuses on the fireworks display at dusk, but you should get there early to reserve a spot and enjoy the scene. There’s also a rubber duck race with prizes.