Austin is about to feel a lot busier. After a relatively quiet February, the city prepares for the beehive-like activity that comes with hosting South By Southwest, having one of the world’s premier race tracks and a culture that can’t resist a good excuse to taste fantastic foods and wines.
So pop up your calendar and schedule in some fun this March.
March 1: It’s a good day to enjoy soaring through the sky while staying grounded. The Zilker Park Kite Festival, perhaps the longest-running kite shindig in the nation, has been an Austin tradition since 1929. Like most festivals in Zilker Park, expect a big crowd and check out a couple parking options before you load up the car. Feeling competitive? Check out the long list of kite contests for kids and adults.
When: Kite contest registration starts at 11 a.m., Sunday, March 1
Where: Zilker Park, 2100 Barton Springs Road
March 1: Cleanse your palate. The Wine & Food Foundation of Texas and Texas Monthly magazine plan to spread out the best Texas wines of 2014 and offer up splendid nosh to accompany it. Tickets cost $100.
When: 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 1
Where: Rancho Cuernavaca, 1803 N. Cuernavaca Drive
March 6-8: Dig the smell of tires roasting on asphalt? The Pirelli World Challenge, a series of races for carefully souped-up production model cars, returns to Austin’s Circuit of the Americas for their first race of the season. Tickets start at $19.
When: Gates open at 8 a.m. Friday, March 6
Where: The Circuit of the Americas, 9201 Circuit of the Americas Boulevard
March 7: Sip wine, tap your foot to some jazz beats and help beautify Georgetown’s Main Street. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday. But spots are limited, and standard tickets are already sold out.
When: 6 p.m. Saturday, March 7
Where: Downtown Square in Georgetown
March 13-22: No introduction needed. It’s South By Southwest — the festival that has become so many things to so many people that it defies accurate definition. Yes, it’s still an industry-led music festival. But with interactive and film festivals, celebrities and international spectators, glitz and grit, SXSW has become something of a supernova for a week (or three) in Austin.
When: Check schedules
Where: Throughout Austin
March 14-28: If you haven’t already found a reason to buy some cowboy boots, now is your chance. The Star of Texas Fair and Rodeo gives urban Austin a chance to reconnect with those rodeo roots — or experience it for the first time. Pick a reason to go: Bull riding, carnival rides, tasty food or Willie Nelson and Family. The rodeo includes high-profile performers, as well as stock shows for the more agriculturally inclined. Ticket prices vary depending on which events you choose.
Where: Travis County Exposition Center, 7311 Decker Lane, Austin, TX
When: Gates open at 10 a.m., Saturday, March 14
March 17: It’s your lucky day whether you like it or not. From savory corned beef to green beer, St. Patrick’s Day is packed with events and promotions across the city. Spend $12 on concerts and events in various locations with the help of the Celtic Cultural Center of Texas and Austin Celtic Association (http://www.stpatricksdayaustin.com/). Or just wing it to your favorite place to drink, sing and dance.
Where: Various locations
When: Throughout the weekend
March 25-28: See the next world record runner before the Olympics roll around. The Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays feature some of the state’s top athletes in a wide variety of track and field events. Tickets start at $10.
When: Official kick-off is at 10 a.m. on March 25
Where: Mike A. Myers Stadium, 707 Clyde Littlefield Drive
March 27-28: Get your groove on at the Austin Urban Music Festival. Though largely outshined by some of its bigger-named festival sisters, the Urban Music Festival packs a mighty punch for R&B enthusiasts.
When: Starts at 4 p.m. Friday, March 27
Where: Auditorium Shores
March 28-29: The Zilker Garden Festival brings together the city’s best flowers, gardening education and food. Mix in some music, games for kids and natural beauty, and you start to see how this festival has been bringing Austin’s nature lovers together for 50 years. Adult tickets are $8; Children under 12 get in for $5. Those younger get in free.
When: Opens at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 28
Where: Zilker Botanical Garden, 2220 Barton Springs Road