Fireworks, parades, the best BBQ in the city—there are plenty of things to do in Austin on a regular basis, but we've rounded up the very best 4th of July events to kick your Independence Day up a notch. From drink specials at the best bars in Austin to patriotic paddles down the river to corn dog eating contests, there's no way you'll be without something to do come July 4. Slap on some sunscreen, sport that red, white and blue, and celebrate 'Murica with our favorite activities this holiday weekend.
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4th of July events in Austin
It's an Independence Day celebration that could only be found in Austin: Willie Nelson's Fourth of July picnic. Now in its 44th year, the all-day picnic held at Circuit of the Americas will feature performances on two stages, with acts that include Sheryl Crow, Kacey Musgraves, Hayes Carll, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Jamey Johnson, Asleep at the Wheel and others. Of course, Willie Nelson & Family are going to be headlining, and with legends like Billy Joe Shaver, David Allan Coe and Johnny Bush joining the lineup, you can count on it being a memorable holiday. There will also be a huge fireworks display, because ’Murica.
Pizza, beer and a dance party with The Soul Supporters are all on deck for this Independence Day party at the ABGB followed by a group bike ride to Auditorium Shores to watch the fireworks. Ghisallo Cycling Initiative will be on site for bicycle safety checks at 3pm and a watermelon contest starts at 4pm.
Celebrate Independence Day with a backyard-style barbecue at this Rainey St bar. A plate of meat from the hog Joshua Jones of Guest Sous is cooking will run you $10, but hot dogs are free. You can eat one, or 20, should you choose to enter the hot dog-eating contest.
The revolución will be delicious. Independence Brewing Co. and Tacos of Texas are joining forces to launch Revolución Saison Ale with a side (or seven) of tacos. Tacoholics of El Paso, Taco Palenque of Laredo and Tamale House East of Austin are among the taqueros participating in the party, serving up carnitas and other dishes between 3 and 8:30pm. The event is free (if you RSVP) but $45 gets you unlimited beer, access to private portajohns when you drink too much of it, and snacks compliments of Papalote Taco House—all in an air-conditioned VIP room.
Fried chicken with fixings and patriotic cocktails are on the menu while Akina Adderley and The Vintage Playboys are on stage for Geraldine's second annual Red, White and Blues party on Independence Day Eve. Reservations are encouraged, and you can make one by calling 512-476-4755.
Free press, free speech, freedom to eat as many Habanero house-picked eggs as you can in five minutes. Haymaker will award the winner $250 cash, which can buy you 83 boozy snow cones (they're on special for $3). The $20 contest entry includes a commemorative 4th of July T-shirt and a drink of choice (like a digestif). The fees and a portion of all sales during the event will be donated to Austin Pets Alive. You can sign up at Haymaker or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The East Austin brewery is bringing The Happy Lobster Truck on site for its annual 4th of July party. If you're worried you won't remember the occasion—too many pale ales, maybe?—you can get a souvenir. Hops & Grain has special glasses and koozies for the holiday that you can buy along with two pints for $15 while supplies last.
Fried chicken, ribeye and warm potato salad are on the menu for this annual buffet at the Four Seasons Hotel Austin. Build up an appetite for seconds playing lawn games like ping pong, giant Jenga and corn hole. And don't forget to roast a s'more at the outdoor firepit before walking over to Auditorium Shores to watch the fireworks.