GREENER PASTURES

Austin’s completely reimagined Waterloo Park and new amphitheater to open this summer

Austin's reimagined Waterloo Park and amphitheater to open this summer

Waterloo Park 2021 Austin
The revitalized Waterloo Park offers a breath of fresh air amid a busy city life. Courtesy of Waterloo Greenway
Moody Amphitheater at Waterloo Park Austin
The new Moody Amphitheater will be able to host live music, dance, and theater events. Courtesy of Waterloo Greenway
Lebermann Plaza at Waterloo Park Austin
Lebermann Plaza offers a more intimate gathering spot in the park for dance and acoustic performances.  Courtesy of Waterloo Greenway
Waterloo Park 2021 Austin
Moody Amphitheater at Waterloo Park Austin
Lebermann Plaza at Waterloo Park Austin

One of Austin’s most beloved and historic parks will reopen this summer with a dazzling new look, acres of green space, hike-and-bike trails, playscapes, and an impressive outdoor performing arts venue that honors the park’s legacy as a community gathering spot for authentic Austin entertainment experiences.

Waterloo Greenway Conservancy — the nonprofit that aims to create and maintain Austin’s urban park system and a restored Waller Creek — announced Monday, May 3 that after years of construction, Waterloo Park and Moody Amphitheater will open to the public this August.

A stunning feast for the eyes, in part because of its scenic skywalk and in part due to its 11 acres of new and meticulously manicured park space situated along Red River Street amid the hustle and bustle of city life, the urban park has been reimagined into a community space for 21st century Austin.

Long a home to live music events and Austin-bred community happenings, including Pachanga Fest, Spamarama, and the Ice Cream Festival, Waterloo Park will build on that legacy in its new form and with the addition of the onsite Moody Amphitheater, which includes 38,000 square feet of grass on its Great Lawn, capable of hosting 5,000 event goers at one time.

“The reopening of Waterloo Park represents a bridge between Austin’s past, present, and future,” says Kathy Miller, interim CEO of Waterloo Greenway. “We’re honoring the culture of the area while building a place that is a vital part of what Austin will become. Visitors of the park will see historical details like the park’s original retaining walls in the Hill Country Gardens, scribed with handwritten notes that date back to the 1970s. The preservation of heritage live oak trees throughout the park [is] a nod to its history, and we look forward to launching new community programming to ensure all feel welcome in this inclusive and equitable space.”

Following a family-friendly grand opening event, Waterloo Greenway will launch a series of free and low-cost community events. While dates for most of the upcoming concerts and events set for the fall will be released in the coming months, Waterloo Greenway has released info on several opening season events, including:

  • Lebermann Plaza Concert Series, a monthly performance featuring free live music at the limestone-lined, 200-seat-capacity outdoor theater. It runs September through November.
  • Día de Los Muertos Festival, a Day of the Dead festival featuring free live performances and music, a community altar where visitors can place images of their departed loved ones, and hands-on art activities. It takes place in October.  
  • Asleep at the Wheel Reunion, featuring the Grammy Award-winning band with Austin roots, who will unite for a 50th anniversary performance at Waterloo Park. The event will take place in October and include low-cost ticket options.
  • Creek Show 2021, Waterloo Greenway’s free seventh-annual light-based art installation show featuring local artists. It will take place in November at Waterloo Park for the first time.
  • Holiday Cinema, a two-night cinema event featuring free holiday-themed, family-friendly films with activities for all ages. It takes place in December.

In addition to these scheduled community events, Waterloo Greenway partners C3 Presents and Live Nation will launch a concert series at Moody Amphitheater, with more specific info coming soon. The goal of the partnership is to attract top local, national, and international touring acts to the 5,000-seat outdoor amphitheater.

Through an arrangement exclusive to Waterloo Park and in the spirit of ensuring community access, Waterloo Greenway and Live Nation/C3 will offer 100 free tickets to every concert through a lottery system. Lottery sign-up details will be released later this summer.

The park’s opening marks the completion of the first phase of Waterloo Greenway’s 35-acre connected urban park system, which, upon the expected completion date of 2026, will connect Waterloo Park with a series of green spaces leading all the way to Lady Bird Lake along Waller Creek. The $250 million project is funded through a combination of public and private funds, with the City of Austin committing about $150 million.

“Waterloo Park is one way the City and partners are supporting the collective expression of Austin’s diverse and creative spirit,” Mayor Steve Adler says in a release. “The reopening of this space will provide the community reimagined play spaces, relaxing leisure areas, and build upon Austin’s offerings of some of the greatest outdoor live events in the nation. Waterloo Park will serve as a symbol of inclusivity and resilience through nature, history, community, culture and the arts.”