Fall in Central Texas brings with it a certain sigh of relief — a respite after months (and months) of grueling heat. There's no denying that October is the seasonal sweet spot for Austin weather — neither too hot nor cold — and there are no shortage of activities to celebrate this.
Here are our top 10 recommendations for what to do this month (in addition to ACL Fest, Formula 1, and the Austin Film Festival).
Haunted Movie Nights of Terrier at Yard Bar
Mondays in October, 8 pm
For the month of October, the dog-loving crew at Yard Bar will be hosting a weekly Monday movie night on its patio. Featured films include Tim Burton’s brilliant 1988 afterlife fantasy Beetlejuice (October 16). In addition to outdoor films, Yard Bar will also offer special menu items to further encourage the cozy mood: popcorn, s’mores, and hauntingly cheap drink specials. Admission is free and patrons are encouraged to bring their own seating.
The Secret Life of Lance Letscher at the Jones Center
October 4-5, 7 pm
Lance Letscher is one of Austin’s most influential contemporary artists. His work is at once utterly raw and extraordinarily complex, a magnet to the eye — shockingly colorful and profoundly intriguing. Filmmaker Sandra Adair captures the artist’s process, as well as his personal history, in The Secret Life of Lance Letscher, screening for two nights as part of the Jones Center’s Rooftop Architecture & Design Film Series. The film will be followed by a Q&A with the Letscher and Adair and is free for members and $10 for general admission. Show up early for the added pleasure of watching sunset from the Moody Rooftop.
Star Wars: A New Hope with live score at Dell Hall at the Long Center
October 11-12, 7:30 pm
Almost everyone has seen the 1977 epic Star Wars: A New Hope — but not everyone has experienced it with a live score. The Austin Symphony Orchestra will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the science fiction space fantasy with a two-night performance of John Williams’ legendary score over a screening of the film.
John Mulaney in concert at Bass Concert Hall
October 12, 7 and 10 pm
Most recently, John Mulaney appeared opposite Nick Kroll in Oh, Hello on Broadway, a stage adaptation of the duo’s elderly onscreen characters from The Kroll Show. Though the comedian is, perhaps, best known for these appearances and others, Mulaney is at his best doing stand-up comedy. On his current tour, he will stop at Bass Concert Hall for two shows on October 12, before a sold-out engagement at ACL Live on October 13.
Texas Archeology Month Fair 2017 at UT Austin J.J. Pickle Research Campus
October 14, 10 am-2 pm
It’s archeology month in Texas so dig out your Indiana Jones fedora and join the folks at the Texas Archeology Research Laboratory for a full-blown fair. The Texas Archeology Month Fair, in conjunction with the Texas Historical Commission and other local agencies, will feature mock excavation sites, historic smithery demonstrations, forensic anthropology activities, a scavenger hunt, and more. Admission is free and everyone is welcome.
Diwali Downtown at the Mexican American Cultural Center
October 15, 3-7 pm
Diwali — the Hindu festival of lights — comes to Austin with a family-friendly celebration at the Mexican American Cultural Center. South Austin Asian Moms Nonprofit hosts the event, which features back-to-back performances, cooking demonstrations, vendors, a live DJ, and children’s activities.
DogTober-Fest at The Domain Phase II
October 21, 10 am-4 pm
The only thing not to like about DogTober-Fest is that it only happens once a year. Punny names aside, this once-yearly festival and 1K walk is actually a nonprofit organization created to raise funds for local dog rescue organizations. This year, festivities includes a silent auction, canine costume contest, wiener dog races, pet demos, and tons of pet-related vendors.
Fermentation Festival at Barr Mansion
October 22, 10 am-4:30 pm
Although fermentation has never really gone out of fashion, stateside popularization of drinks like kombucha have brought the ancient process (it dates to the Neolithic era) back to the forefront. The Texas Farmers Market hosts the day-long Austin Fermentation Festival, which will feature a bevy of hands-on workshops, an assortment of fermented foods and drinks, live music, and a silent auction. The event will also feature a screening of the new documentary Fermented, as well as a keynote speech from author Sandor Katz (Wild Fermentation). Proceeds from the festival benefit the Texas Farmers Market Farmer Emergency Fund, which provides financial assistance to community farmers and ranchers in times of crisis.
John Carpenter’s They Live hosted by Richard Linklater at AFS Cinema
October 25 and 31, 7:30 pm
“Rowdy” Roddy Piper is at his absolute gum-chewing best as the drifter-turned-vigilante in John Carpenter’s 1988 science fiction film They Live. Austin Film Society (AFS) will host two screenings of the subversive cult classic — the first with a special introduction and post-viewing discussion by AFS founder Richard Linklater, the latter on Halloween. Tickets for both showings are available through the AFS website.
Austin Margarita Festival
October 28, 12-8 pm
The Austin Margarita Festival hits the Austin American-Statesman parking lot with over 20 different flavors of margaritas — including a pumpkin spice variety — plus live music and DJs and onsite food vendors. You might want to try all the different flavors before sipping a pumpkin spice margarita. Just sayin’.