Food and art amplify eclectic vibe of Austin City Limits

Jamie Norwood, Senior Staff Reporter

Aside from the blissful amounts of live music, The Arcade indulged in just about all of what Austin City Limits had to offer, from gourmet ice cream sandwiches to graffiti art displays. The ACL grounds cover over 46 acres of Zilker Park, or as the fest website describes it, “the crown jewel of Austin’s public green spaces.” Endless greenery, a jaw-dropping view of the Austin skyline, eight stages and the smell of Austin’s finest eateries in the air added up to heaven on Earth.

Austin boasts an abundance of world-class taco and barbecue joints, many of which joined forces with ACL. Highlights included the Austin food truck favorite, The Mighty Cone, serving up hot and crunchy tortillas wrapped around a tangy slaw with fried shrimp, chicken or avocado. And of course, it would not be ACL without a bomb barbecue lunch. The Arcade experienced love at first sight with The Salt Lick of Austin barbecue fame and glory.  Naturally, we waited out the lengthy line for the sloppy nachos and a chopped brisket sandwich. We are still dreaming about the sweet and spicy barbecue sauce. From Mexican to Thai to cheeseburgers, we pretty much ate it all. Quick shout out to the festival gods for giving us three days to inhale excessive amounts of food, amen.

ACL also partnered with the Austin Food & Wine Festival to feature acclaimed local chefs. The Chef Showcase boasted different regional chefs each day dishing out gourmet festival fare, a great alternative to pricey five star restaurants for foodies on a budget. Renowned chef David Bull of Austin’s gourmet hot spot Second Bar + Kitchen served up grilled portabella banh mi and truffle pomme frittes for under ten dollars. Not too shabby for festival food.

Aside from its food, Austin is known and loved for its eccentric art scene. Lucky for us, The ACL Art Market brought the local creative community together in Zilker Park. The Art Market, perfectly positioned between the food court and craft beer tent, featured 25 of Austin’s art and crafts vendors ranging from vintage clothing pop-up shops to freelance photographers. 

ACL pulled out all the stops, providing the crowds with access codes for free Uber rides, water filling stations and some pretty sweet merchandise. The Arcade could not have thought up a more picturesque weekend in Austin. We’re already looking into buying a couple early bird tickets for ACL 2015, available on Tuesday, Oct. 21 on the festival website.