Austin City Limits

How much does Austin City Limits cost?

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Article Summary

  • I attempt to breakdown the total cost of ACL including the tickets, hotel, getting to ACL daily, food, adult beverages and more
  •  The final estimation is around $1,000, with the biggest variation being in the hotel costs
  • I highly suggest booking hotels early as downtown Austin hotels will fill up and increase in price quickly

Austin is a great city, and a great host for Austin City Limits.  It has great BBQ, cool culture, and a lot going on.  Austin can also be an expensive city.  In 2015 Austin was the 13th most expensive city in the United States to book a hotel.  Why am I saying this? Austin City Limits is a great festival, but often people don’t fully take into account the costs of the city when planning their Austin City Limits trips.  The tickets for Austin City Limits are actually quite reasonable compared to other music festivals, but the whole Austin City Limits can still be quite expensive, especially if you are visiting from out of town. The point of this article is to give an approximation for the costs you can expect to pay when attending Austin City Limits.  If you live in Austin, or have a couch to crash on for Austin City Limits, you can ignore our hotel section. Obviously everyone’s trip will be different, but this is a good starting point when trying to expect how much Austin City Limits will be.

Austin City Limits Tickets Cost - $275 GA

Let’s assume you are getting general admission passes for Austin City Limits.  If you buy these at face value they are going to run you $275 most likely in 2017.  You can save some money by buying the early bird tickets a few weeks after Austin City Limits takes place, but we will assume you got regular general admission tickets at $275.  Also, I know in years past Austin City Limits has been slightly cheaper than this, but with the early bird passes increasing in price I am expecting the GA Austin City Limits passes to increase slightly too.

ACL Prices for Hotels

Austin City Limits Hotel - $400 (Staying in downtown Austin)

Obviously there is going to be a lot of variety in this so I am going to give you a range of hotel prices.  The closer you stay to Zilker Park in Austin, where Austin City Limits is held, the more you are going to have to pay.  The chart above shows how much you can expect to pay for Austin City Limits hotels based on the distance to Zilker Park.  There are no hotels within two miles as downtown Austin is just past this threshold and about 2.5 miles north of Zilker park.  For hotels under 5 miles from Austin City Limits, which is predominantly downtown Austin hotels, on average will cost you $240 for Austin City Limits.  Note that these prices are as of the day I am posting this and you can expect them to rise (a lot) as we get closer to Austin City Limits.

So as I said the average price for a hotel in Austin for Austin City Limits is $240, but obviously you can find one for more or less than this amount.  If you do book a hotel for the average price you are looking at about $800 for the Austin City Limits weekend (Friday to Monday), or $400 a person assume you are splitting it.  This gives you the benefit of staying in downtown Austin and being able to take the shuttle from downtown to Austin City Limits.  If you loathe shuttles and don’t want to take it you could also do an inexpensive cab or rideshare car.  This is the benefit of staying in downtown Austin for Austin City Limits.

Of course you don’t need to go this route.  If you are really looking to save money there is a Motel 6 that is $100 a night and only 4 miles to Austin City Limits, so you could easily bike or take a short cab.  If you are willing to stay further away there are hotels for as low as $65 a night during Austin City Limits.  Austin, God bless it, doesn’t have great public transportation so if you are going to go this route just be prepared.  There is already bad traffic in Austin, and during Austin City Limits it only gets worse.  Just realize if you attempt to save money on the hotel you will likely be further from Austin City Limits and be paying for it in terms of convenience. 

For the purpose of this article we will assume you are staying in downtown Austin for Austin City Limits.  Thus we will estimate the costs at the average price, $250, for the three nights of Austin City Limits.  This will cost you $800.

Food & Booze - $100 a day

Obviously this also depends on how much you want to wine and dine, but we can estimate this at $100 a day.  This gives you enough money to grab some grub at the festival and snag some beers.  There’s a lot of great food at Austin (hello BBQ) so be sure to take advantage of that while you are at the festival and around Austin.  Of course this can be higher or lower, but most of your time will be spent watching the actual shows, which limits how much damage you can do.  Using this as our approximation you will spend about $300 for sustenance.

Getting to Austin City Limits - $0 a day

One of the really cool things with Austin City Limits is it has a free shuttle from downtown Austin.  The Austin City Limits shuttle picks up at Republic Square, right in downtown.  This is a big advantage of staying in Austin for the festival.  If you don’t stay in Austin there is pretty limited public transportation.  If you are close enough you can look into renting a bike, or if not you are pretty much stuck with a limited bus system or ridesharing.  I wrote a whole article on how to get to Austin City Limits which you can read here.

Airfare to Austin – Varies

Obviously this is going to be a big part of your Austin City Limits expenses, but I obviously can’t estimate this without knowing where you are from.  The Austin airport is fairly small given the size of the city, so expect the rates to be more expensive than you think.  Coming from San Diego I am looking at a $400+ flight, which is pretty expensive given I can fly to Boston for far less.  My major advice with this would be to book the flight as early as possible.

Travelling from the Airport to Austin - $3.50 Round-trip

While I have said several times Austin has poor public transportation it does have a good bus route from the airport.  The MetroBus runs every half hour, on the hour and runs from the airport to downtown Austin.  The bus will cost you a mere $1.75 each way from the airport, so this is a nice, inexpensive option for Austin City Limits.

Total Austin City Limits Costs

Item

Cost

Tickets

$275

Hotel

$400+

Food & Booze

$300

Getting to Austin City Limits

Free

Airfare to Austin City Limits

Varies

Travelling to/from Airport

$3.50

Total

$978.50+

So for your Austin City Limits trip you are looking at nearly $1000.  Again, I know you can do everything cheaper or more luxuriously, but this is a pretty good starting point for approximation of the costs for Austin City Limits.  Like I said at the beginning, just because you got your tickets doesn’t mean you’ve paid for your entire Austin City Limits experience.  My biggest tip for reducing these costs is to book everything Austin City Limits early, especially the hotel.  Once the lineup for Austin City Limits is released and the general ticket sale begins you can expect these prices to go up.  As is often the case with life, the early bird gets the worm.

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