Zilker Metropolitan Park Guide: Events, Activities, and Attractions

There is never a dull day in Zilker Metropolitan Park. This beloved park is one of the main attractions for locals and tourist that wants to spend time to relax, connect with nature, attend fantastic events, or go on an adventure without leaving the big city. If you are taking a trip or eyeing into buying a home in Austin, Zilker Metropolitan Park is one of the places you shouldn't miss!

We gathered all the things you should know when visiting Zilker Park as well as the different events that are being held in the area. Let's get started.

Zilker Park is a 350-acre recreational area located to the south of downtown Austin in the middle of Barton Creek and the Colorado River. The park is named after Andrew Jackson Zilker who donated the land to the city back in 1917. Today, the park serves plenty of events, activities, and amenities. It is home to Zilker Botanical Garden, Barton Springs Pool, Shady Grove, Austin City Limits Music Festival, Trail of Lights, and ABC Kite Festival.

Activities and Attractions in Zilker Park

1. Zilker Botanical Garden

There is so much to discover within this garden's beauty that has 26 unique fenced area that features plenty of plants and styles. Nature enthusiasts will definitely love the Japanese garden, herb garden, and the famous prehistoric garden that features dinosaur fossil tracks and sculptures that are situated among the plants.

2. Barton Springs Pool

Beat the hot Texas heat by taking a dip in Barton Springs Pool! This massive 3-acre swimming pool is naturally spring-fed from the Main Barton Creek. Whether you are looking to swim laps or just to cool off, the year-round 68-degree temperature of the spring is sure one of the best places to visit! Check out our full guide to Barton Springs Pool and let us know what you think in the comments below!

3. Zilker Hillside Theater

Performances, live concerts, and the Zilker Summer Musical are held within the iconic Zilker Hillside Theater. The theater is a few steps away from Barton Springs Pool and offers family-friendly shows. Don't forget to bring some snacks and your picnic blanket on the lawn for an evening of performances.


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4. Zilker Zephyr Miniature Train

Take your kids and even yourself for a ride around the park. The route starts near Barton Springs Pool and goes around the park until you reach the starting point. Trains aren't covered so don't miss out the sunscreen!

5. Lady Bird Lake

Lady Bird Lake is a popular attraction in Austin for those who are into some outdoor fun in the lake. There are plenty of ways to explore this gorgeous 416-acre waterway. You can rent a canoe, a paddle boart, or a kayak. Fishing is allowed in the reservoir as well.  Not too far, you can go hiking or biking at the Austin Hike and Bike Trail.

Events in Zilker Park

1. Zilker Kite Festival

Also known as the ABC Kite Festival, during Spring, kites in Zilker Park fill the sky to kick-off the start of spring activities in the area. There is also a kite competition being held on the same day and are competing for the steadiest, strongest, highest, and largets kites! The day-long event includes a fun run and a concert perfect to spend with your loved ones.

2. Moonlight Swim

The Barton Springs Pool may be open year-round, but the Moonlight Dip is only available during the summer from 9 pm - 10 pm. Free entry to enjoy the pool and escape the hot summer nights. A great way to cool off and feel refreshed before heading to bed.

3. Austin City Limits Music Festival

Zilker Park opens its lawns to the biggest events in the year during fall. Austin City Limits Music Festival helps keep up Austin's reputation as the "Live Music Capital of the World". The festival welcomes thousands of attendees and musicians all around the world to celebrate their love for music. ACL happens on the first two weekends in October so get your calendars checked if you are looking forward to attending the next festival dates!

4. Trail of Lights

Starting the Sunday after Thanksgiving, enjoy the stunning lights in Zilker Park until the end of the year. Austin Trail of Lights is one of Austin's largest holiday traditions you never want to miss!

Zilker Park is surely one of the best parks in Austin to explore, unwind, relax, and have fun. Now, if you are looking into knowing more about the area, check out our Zilker neighborhood guide or read more 78704 hotspots here!

Posted by Ryan Rodenbeck on


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