We know you’ve already planned your music lineup for Austin City Limits 2023, which kicks off this weekend and closes out the next. Whether you’re camping out at the Honda stage to catch country-pop legend Shania Twain or popping in early to see perennial favorite the Barton Hills Choir, you’ve got your three-day schedule down to a T.
But have you prepared your food lineup? A major part of festival fun is all the treats you’ll get to try—plus, you’ll need breaks between sets to relax and fuel up for the next hour of dancing and meandering.
In case you’re not as snack-obsessed as we are, we’ve decided to share our provisions playlist with you. Feel free to remix it however you’d like—there are fifty options to choose from, after all.
Micklethwait Craft Meats
Rejoice, ACL eaters: the weather during the first weekend is expected to be in the mid- to high 70s—a veritable cold front. Among other delightful benefits (less chafing, sweating, et cetera), the blissful temps make it easier to load up on some of the heavier meals on offer. Take advantage with a plate of smoked meats and sides from Micklethwait, which doubles as an authentic Central Texas–style barbecue experience for out-of-towners. Friday’s crowds are notoriously light, which means shorter lines for good eats, at least in the early afternoon.
Because you’ll still be partially satiated from the lunchtime feast, consider a light (by comparison) dinner of loaded fries. From the pitmasters behind LeRoy and Lewis, Mama Fried offers golden potatoes topped with filling fixings that are easy to eat (with fingers) and shareable. Here’s hoping it’s slinging its barbacoa fries, made with smoked beef cheek, pickled jalapeños, pico de gallo, and queso.
The first weekend day of the fest tends to inspire the early birds. Join them in the glory of such a fine morning with some actual breakfast. Nervous Charlie’s makes some of the best bagel sandwiches in town, and they’re perfect for beating hunger pangs and carbo-loading for a full day.
This fourteen-year-old Austin staple serves frozen, chocolate-dipped bananas that provide a little sweetness without a head-on sugar rush that’ll have you crashing midset (looking at you, cotton candy from Candy Cloud World). Plus, potassium will power the bajillion steps you’ll take over the course of the day.
The vendor joins a host of other sweets slingers in a brand-new ACL Sweets area designed for desserts.
The PB&J at Austin Kiddie Limits
Consider this one a secret menu item. In the kiddie corner of the festival, a nondescript food truck offers peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, typically for less than $10, making it one of the most affordable options. Even better: there’s usually little to no line!
By Sunday, you’ve put a hurtin’ on your wallet—and your feet. On the final day of the fest, go for value with your eats. The empanadas at Mmmpanadas are typically filled with hatch chile chicken, Argentinean-style beef, and “cheeseburger” and are satisfying, portable, and fairly priced to ease overspending.
Let’s keep the Latin theme going with a final meal from Cuantos Tacos, known for its Mexico City–style street tacos, including the suadero and hamburguesas tacos. You simply cannot make it through a weekend of Austin City Limits—“Austin” being the operative word—without trying the city’s tacos. Plus, this is the first year the local taqueria, located on East Twelfth Street, is at the festival.
The Drink Sitch
Let’s talk libations.
We’ve all come to know and expect the high-priced beer and wine options from the general admission bars. Those options will be there, as ever. This year, though, for the first time, GA attendees will also be able to purchase mixed cocktails.
Those drinks will be available at all bars, plus at a new tiki bar open to all guests, called the Barton Beach Club Tiki Bar, near the IHG Hotels & Resorts (formerly Barton Springs) stage. The bar will also serve poke bowls from Poke-Poke to round out the tropical feel. For the sober and sober curious, Bar None has a menu of nonalcoholic drinks prepared by Austin bartender Robert Björn Taylor.
Those additions will join the usual wine bar and beer hall and the El Patio margarita bar, to the east of Rock Island, for a full range of beverages.