The city of Austin is throwing its annual New Year’s Eve bash on the shores of Lady Bird Lake with kid-friendly activities, live music and food truck cuisine — all free of charge.
Festivities will begin Sunday at 3 p.m. at Vic Mathias Shores (sorry, folks — it’s 2018, you have to stop calling it Auditorium Shores) near the corner of South 1st Street and Riverside Drive, and conclude with a fireworks finale at 10 p.m.
The alcohol-free event will feature live music from about 20 bands — including headliners Brownout and the Ian Moore Band — on four stages.
Food vendors at the party will include barbecue joints like Micklethwait Craft Meats and Chi’lantro BBQ; hand-held seafood from Garbo’s and La Sirena-La Fantabulous Taqueria; desserts by Elixer Coffee, Suga’s Cakery and Krack of Dawn Donuts and Kafe; and ethnic staples from Roppolo’s, Sharwarma Point, Evil Weiner and Kababeque.
But the city has a few rules to keep in mind:
- No drones
- No drugs or alcohol
- No coolers (except for medical needs)
- No glass containers
- No Styrofoam containers
- No smoking
- No professional video cameras
- No pop-up tents or anything that blocks others from seeing a show
- No skateboards, scooters or personal motorized vehicles
- No amplified music or noisemakers other than traditional party favors
- No unauthorized or unlicensed vendors
- No fireworks or explosives
- No weapons
Pets will be allowed on a leash only, but the city recommends taking your pet home before the fireworks. If your pet is aggressive toward people or other animals, you will be asked to leave.
The city also says you can bring:
- Hand-held umbrellas (small hand-held style)
- Baby Strollers
- Small wagons
- Camping chairs, but don’t place them in front of the main stage
- Personal cameras, including digital and traditional film cameras.
- Bicycles, but walk them in crowded areas
Your best option for parking will be to avoid parking if you can and catch a ride. Ride-hailing companies and cabs will have a designated drop-off and pick-up point One Texas Center, 505 Barton Springs Road. Capital Metro will offer free bus service after 6 p.m. Sunday.
If you decide to drive there anyway, you can use public parking garages at Palmer Auditorium, One Texas Center, and Austin City Hall. The event will not have free parking and no event parking is available in the neighborhood. You should also expect traffic delays when approaching downtown that night.
According to the National Weather Service, New Year’s Eve could come with a 20 percent chance of rain and temperatures in the 40s, so bundle up and prepare for light drizzle.