Memorial Day weekend serves as a segue into summer, one of the best times of the year in Austin. Our city offers a wide variety of ways to mark this occasion, from movie nights and staycations to musical outings and history events. Here are 10 of the best Memorial Day weekend events to help you kick off summer right.
Infinite Monkey Theorem Patio Movie Night
This Friday at 8:30 pm, Infinite Monkey Theorem starts its outdoor movie series with a screening of Inglourious Basterds. Enjoy tastings or wine by the glass or bottle, wine slushies, local food truck eats, crossword puzzles, pre-film trivia, and hanging out on the patio. And in June, look for First Friday silent disco at the urban winery.
Build-your-own weekend at Travaasa Austin
Select from a plethora of activities to create your perfect holiday weekend: Trail rides in the Hill Country, hatchet throwing, bull riding, zip-lining, and stand-up paddleboarding are all offered here. At Travaasa you can take a two-stepping class, belly dance, taste beer, or just lounge on your private balcony or by the pool overlooking the Balcones Canyonland Preserve. You can also dine on fresh-baked breads and pastries as well as dishes featuring seasonal, organic, and local ingredients.
Free fun at Inks Lake State Park
Myriad free activities are being offered on May 28, including fishing or birding at 11 am, paddling at 1 pm, and underwater discovery program or bird feeder crafting at 2 pm. Pre-registration is required for the paddling activity due to a limited number of boats. The park also has miles of hiking trails, picnic tables, a swim beach, fishing piers, and cleaning stations. The entrance fee is $6 for adults; children 12 and under get in free.
Poolside Cookout at Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa
The resort puts a high-end twist on traditional summer cookouts on Saturday with burgers on brioche buns and all the fixings, Elgin sausage hot dogs, pulled brisket smoked overnight, and smoked mahimahi. Sunday, dig into grilled skirt-steak fajitas, ancho-marinated chicken, or grilled fish, in addition to the burgers and dogs. Sides include Mexican-style street corn on the cob, roasted Brussels sprouts with chimichurri queso fresco and pumpkin seeds, pasta salad with chipotle pesto, and Mexican jicama jalapeño cole slaw. If you can still move, cool off in the resort pool.
Archery and geocaching at McKinney Falls State Park
On May 28 from 10 am to noon, the park offers archery lessons based on National Archery in the Schools Program guidelines and provides all of the equipment. This is available for ages 8 and up only. On Sunday, try your luck on high-tech treasure hunts using GPS units provided by the park from 11 am to noon and 1:30 to 2:30 pm. Due to a limited number of units, sign up by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The park entrance fee is $6 per adult; children 12 and under are free.
Spring Fling Ride
The Spring Fling group bike ride starts at 2 pm on Sunday, leaving from The ABGB. The family-friendly event will explore Austin's best bicycling infrastructure and visit local businesses for photo ops, snacks, and more. The day ends at 5:30 pm with a free pint, slice of pie from Southside Flying Pizza, and live music at Hops & Grain Brewery. You can even skip the ride and just show up at Hops & Grain!
Luckenbach Ice Cream Social
Summer trips to enjoy a few cold ones and dance at Luckenbach are a time-honored Texas tradition. Kick off the season with this family-friendly ice cream social on May 29 from 1 to 5 pm. Enjoy handmade ice cream from Clear River, an unplugged acoustic jam beginning at 5 pm from The Mystiqueros, dancing, hanging out, and playing in the dirt (for the kids, that is). Bring lawn chairs and dogs on leashes to this free event.
On Deck at Geraldine’s
On May 29, Geraldine’s On Deck features DJ sets and festive libations on the pool deck from 6 to 9 pm. Soak up the sunset and breathtaking views of Austin and Lady Bird Lake while Jen Keyser, chief-of-bar operations, pours festive cocktails like the Jungle Bird with Cruzan Black Strap rum, Campari, pineapple, and lime; the Beachcomber with Bacardi Silver rum, Cointreau, lime, and maraschino liqueur; or the Frozen Blue Hawaiian with Cruzan Gold rum, Blue Curacao, pineapple, and coconut. The restaurant and deck are located on the fourth floor of Hotel Van Zandt, so feel free to spend the night and party on when the sun comes up for the Monday holiday.
Memorial Day Observance at the National Museum of the Pacific War
On May 30 at 10 am, hear a free talk by Dennis Blocker, grandson of a WWII soldier who fought at the Battle of Iwo Jima. Blocker interviewed more than 300 veterans associated with his grandfather’s gunboat group and uncovered 400-plus letters written by men killed in action at Iwo. The 6-acre museum complex in Fredericksburg includes the George Bush Gallery, Admiral Nimitz Museum, Pacific Combat Zone, Plaza of Presidents, Memorial Courtyard, and Japanese Garden of Peace, and is open 9 am to 5 pm.
Blue Star Museums at Bullock Texas State History Museum
Starting Memorial Day, the Bullock joins Blue Star Museums, a collaboration of the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and Museums Across America. Through Labor Day, active duty military personnel, including National Guard and Reserve and their families, get in free. While there, check out the special exhibit, "Our Global Kitchen: Food, Nature, Culture," which explores all things food. Taste seasonal treats in the working kitchen, cook a virtual meal, and view rare artifacts. Catch Journey Into Big Bend at the IMAX in honor of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service.