Each summer on the south shore of Town Lake, the Austin Symphony hosts a free series of mini-concerts on the lawn of the Long Center, courtesy of the Hartman Foundation. Revelers dot the grass with picnic blankets and baskets, cheese and wine, taking in the sights and sounds of the city’s finest classical musicians. There’s something for the kiddos, too: the illuminated tiles at the front of the stage tend to transform into a dance floor for the elementary school set during the summer series, making a sweet evening outing even more adorable. Midway through the series, the event will continue taking place each Sunday through the end of August.
Free admission: Sundays, August 12, 19 and 26, 7:30 pm
Long Center front lawn, 701 West Riverside Drive
Learn more about Austin Symphony events here
It’s back to business as usual this year with the firework ban lifted for 4th of July celebrations both private and public. Perhaps the most public — and classic — of all is the Austin Symphony concert at Auditorium Shores, timed perfectly with the city’s picture-perfect fireworks display over Town Lake. Sponsored by H-E-B, the event begins with the symphony performance at 8:30 (including patriotic favorites like the 1812 overture, of course) and fireworks at 9:30. Although alcohol isn’t permitted in the park, picnic fixings certainly are, so pick up some H-E-B chicken, potato salad (and popsicles — it’s hot out!) and make a classic Independence Day snackfest out of it. Because nothing says America like fried food, mayonnaise, and frozen sugar. All hail the red, white and blue!
Auditorium Shores on Town Lake
Wednesday, July 4 from 8:30 to 10 pm
Details at the symphony’s official website
Although the air will be crisp this weekend, the sun will still be shining, so zip up your fleece jacket, rent a set of wheels from Bicycle Sport Shop and take a cruise around Town Lake via the city’s hike & bike trail. Rent a townie or crosstrail bike for the morning, spend a couple of hours exploring Central Austin’s lakeside greenspace. Before you return your rental, circle back around for some brisket or pulled pork and a local beer handcrafted on site at Uncle Billy’s BBQ just off Lamar on Barton Springs Road. It’s the perfect way to burn plenty of energy, take in Austin’s natural beauty and enjoy some local flavor all in a few short hours.
Bicycle Sport Shop: 517 South Lamar Blvd.
(9am-6pm Saturdays, 11am-5pm Sundays)
hike & bike trail map:
Uncle Billy’s BBQ: 1530 Barton Springs Road