Photo courtesy of Lil Wayne

The city is brimming with so many can’t-miss happenings these days, we would be remiss if we didn’t make room for at least one more on our agenda. Catch award-winning rapper Lil Wayne live in concert, discover the works of several local artists within the 78704 neighborhood on a self-guided tour, or taste open-flame food offerings. Check out the top six things to do in Austin this weekend. For a full list of events, visit our calendar.

Thursday, May 4

Lil Wayne in concert
Grammy award-winning rapper Lil Wayne returns to Austin in support of his national tour, Welcome To Tha Carter. He rose to hip-hop stardom at 16, and has released 14 albums in his career, while amassed a dozen hits with songs like “Bling Bling,” “A Milli,” and “Lollipop.” For ticketing availability, check stubbsaustin.com.

Maie Day x First Thursdays
South Congress Hotel hosts a lavish evening of food, spirits, and merrymaking in honor of Maie Day’s one-year anniversary. Tickets include private bar access, early entry to the hotel’s popular First Thursday festivities, and a variety of bites inspired by the Maie Day menu. Get tickets to this special night of celebration on Tock.

Friday, May 5

Council on American Islamic Relations presents its Eid Celebration
Spend the day on the Texas Capitol grounds celebrating all things Eid at this event hosted by the Austin chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relation (CAIR-TX). Highlights of the day’s programming include keynotes from community leaders and officials, Islamic art showcases, free henna designs, authentic food, and more. Eid Celebration admission is free and open to the public.

Saturday, May 6

Art04 Studio Tour
The artistic talents of residents from the 78704 neighborhoods are on display at Fireseed Clay Arts Studios this weekend. The two-day, self-guided tour to various studios is free and allows guests to explore the creative processes of local artists, discover newfound pieces, and add works to their collections. Expect a firsthand experience of the art scenes in neighborhoods including Zilker, Boudin Creek, South River City, Travis Heights, Barton Hills, South Lamar, and more. Visit the art04studiotour.com for a full list of tour stops.

Austin Gay Men’s Chorus presents Ascending Colour
Musical compositions arranged and curated by people of color and LGBTQIA+ community members fill the auditorium at First Baptist Church of Austin. This special concert seeks to uplift and celebrate transgender and BIPOC artists through the art of music. Ascending Colour will include songs from new composers and a selection from Songs of the Phoenix, a new work curated by Andrew Lippa. Tickets for both Saturday and Sunday shows are available for purchase at atxgmc.org.

Sunday, May 7

a21 presents Heritage Fire Austin
Star Hill Ranch opens its gates to foodies near and far during this afternoon of outdoor culinary exploration. The live-fire event features more than 20 local chefs and brands who will each contribute their own fare to the open-flame feast. Tickets include access to unlimited food alcoholic beverages, and live entertainment. For ticketing options and a full schedule of events, go to the heritagefiretour.com.

Lil Wayne
Photo courtesy of Lil Wayne

Lil Wayne performs at Stubb's Bar-B-Q on May 4.

Photo courtesy of Whisper Valley

Whisper Valley Green Home Tour

The Whisper Valley Green Home Tour will give guests a chance to tour model homes and move-in ready homes in the newest phases of Whisper Valley, test drive a Tesla, register for a chance to win raffle prizes, and grab lunch from Frank's Taco Truck.

Guests can tour homes by AHA Dream Homes, GFO Home, Pacesetter Homes, Thurman Homes, and Terrata Homes.

Photo by Josh Goleman

Bluegrass trio Nickel Creek celebrates new tour + album with fall Austin date

Welcome Back

The Grammy Award-winning bluegrass trio Nickel Creek — mandolinist Chris Thile, violinist Sara Watkins, and guitarist Sean Watkins — is extending their 2023 tour into the fall with a stop in Austin at the Moody Amphitheatre at Waterloo Park on October 21.

This is the first tour that the folk group has headlined since 2014, and it kicks off in Cincinnati, Ohio, on April 15. The Austin stop is the tour's last, preceded by a night at Dallas' Majestic Theatre on October 20.

Nickel Creek is also releasing a new 18-track studio album for the occasion, titled Celebrants. It's their first new album in nine years and is available beginning March 24, which is also when tickets for the Texas tour stops go on sale.

Ahead of the release, Nickel Creek has unveiled three album tracks: “Where The Long Line Leads,” “Holding Pattern,” and “Strangers."

Nickel Creek revolutionized bluegrass and folk in the early 2000s and ushered in a new era of what we now recognize as Americana music. After meeting as young children and subsequently earning the respect of the bluegrass circuit for a decade, the trio signed with venerable label Sugar Hill Records in 2000 and quickly broke through with their Grammy-nominated, Alison Krauss-produced, self-titled LP.

Each member has also kept busy with individual projects over the years. Thile is a 2012 recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship and served as the host of the American radio variety show Live from Here (formerly A Prairie Home Companion) from 2016 to 2020.

Sean Watkins is a co-founder of Watkins Family Hour alongside his sister Sara, who has released four albums and maintains a long-running collaborative show in Los Angeles. Sean has also released a string of solo albums, while Sara’s extracurricular projects include the Grammy-winning roots trio I’m With Her, which she co-founded alongside Aoife O’Donovan and Sarah Jarosz.

Sara has also contributed fiddle to recordings by artists like Phoebe Bridgers, the Killers, and John Mayer.

Pre-sale tickets are on sale now, with general sale beginning March 24 at 10 am here.

There is also the option to join the VIP Celebrants Club, which in addition to a premium reserved or GA ticket includes a private pre-show performance and Q&A with Nickel Creek plus early access to the venue, an enamel pin, and a limited edition poster signed by the band. Membership starts at $169 plus taxes and fees. More info can be found here.

Photo courtesy of KISS

Glam rock greats visit Austin before kissing touring goodbye


Update: A previous version of this story stated that KISS had never played in Austin. It is not the first Austin stop; Rather, Austin is the first stop on the tour. Readers commented that they had seen the band at the Frank C. Erwin Jr. Center. Of course, unofficial records show that the band has played in Austin several times in its long history.


These Rock & Roll Hall of Fame legends are going out with a bang. Kiss (stylized KISS) announced dates for the final shows of their last-ever tour, "The End of the Road," with Austin as their only Texas stop.

The band will be performing at the Moody Center on October 29. Other stops on the tour include California, Washington, Indiana, and several cities in Canada before ending the tour where it all began, with two back-to-back December shows in New York City.

“Kiss was born in New York City," said the band in a statement. "On 23rd Street. Half a century ago. It will be a privilege and honor to finish touring at Madison Square Garden, 10 blocks and 50 years from where we first started.”

Kiss has a deep history in the rock and roll industry. It rose to fame in the 1970s for the performers' theatrical stage presence, face paint, pyrotechnics, and costumes. They’re most well known as being one of the most influential rock bands in the world with 14 Platinum albums and over 100 million record sales.

The 2023 North America tour dates include:

  • October 29 – Moody Center in Austin
  • November 1 – Acrisure Arena in Palm Springs, California
  • November 3 – Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles
  • November 6 – Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle
  • November 8 – Rogers Arena in Vancouver
  • November 10 – Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alabama
  • November 12 – Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary
  • November 13 – SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon
  • November 15 – Canada Life Centre in Winnipeg
  • November 18 – Centre Bell in Montreal
  • November 19 – Videotron Centre in Quebec
  • November 21 – Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa
  • November 22 – Scotiabank Arena in Toronto
  • November 24 – Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tennessee
  • November 25 – Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • November 27 – Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois
  • November 29 – CFG Bank Arena in Baltimore, Maryland
  • December 1 – Madison Square Garden in New York City
  • December 2 – Madison Square Garden in New York City

The Kiss Army ticket presale will begin at 10 am on March 6, with additional presales planned before the general public sale on March 10 at 10 am.

Tickets can be found at livenation.com and the full tour itinerary can be found at kissonline.com.

Depeche Mode Facebook

Depeche Mode shows signs of life with Memento Mori tour coming to Austin

Electronic Music Royalty

English electronic band Depeche Mode is adding new shows through North America on their "Memento Mori Tour," including a stop at Austin's Moody Center on September 29.

The extension adds 29 new dates to a tour that features a brief 10-city journey across North America - including a stop in San Antonio on April 2 - this spring, followed by four months traveling throughout Europe. The fall leg will start on September 21 in Mexico City, and will also include stops in Dallas on October 1 and Houston on October 2.

The "Memento Mori Tour" - which is in support of their forthcoming new album of the same name, due out March 24 - is Depeche Mode's 19th tour of their career, and their first in over five years.

"Memento Mori" means "an object serving as a warning or reminder of death," but the band - which is now in its fifth decade of existence - shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. They have a string of eight top 10 albums running back to 1990's Violator, which featured classic songs like "Personal Jesus," "Enjoy the Silence," and "Policy of Truth."

The tour will feature Depeche Mode favorites and rarities, alongside new songs from Memento Mori, including the new single ”Ghosts Again."

Pre-sales for the new shows will kick off with a Fan Pre-sale on Tuesday, February 21, with the general public on-sale beginning Friday, February 24 at 10 am via depechemode.com.

Memento Mori Fall Dates

  • September 21 - Mexico City, MX: Foro Sol
  • September 29 - Austin, TX: Moody Center
  • October 1 - Dallas, TX: American Airlines Center
  • October 4 - Houston, TX: Toyota Center
  • October 7 - New Orleans, LA: Smoothie King Center
  • October 10 - Orlando, FL: Amway Center
  • October 12 - Miami, FL: Miami-Dade Arena
  • October 19 - Nashville, TN: Bridgestone Arena
  • October 21 - Brooklyn, NY: Barclays Center
  • October 23 - Washington, DC: Capital One Arena
  • October 25 - Philadelphia, PA: Wells Fargo Center
  • October 28 - New York, NY: Madison Square Garden
  • October 31 - Boston, MA: TD Garden
  • November 3 - Montreal, QC: Centre Bell
  • November 5 - Toronto, ON: Scotiabank Arena
  • November 8 - Detroit, MI: Little Caesars Arena
  • November 10 - Cleveland, OH: Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse
  • November 13 - Chicago, IL: United Center
  • November 16 - Denver, CO: Ball Arena
  • November 18 - Salt Lake City, UT: Vivint Arena
  • November 21 - Edmonton, AB: Rogers Place
  • November 24 - Vancouver, BC: Rogers Arena
  • November 26 - Seattle, WA: Climate Pledge Arena
  • November 28 - Portland, OR: MODA Center
  • December 1 - Las Vegas, NV: T-Mobile Arena
  • December 3 - San Francisco, CA: Chase Center
  • December 6 - San Diego, CA: Pechanga Arena
  • December 10 - Los Angeles, CA: Kia Forum
  • December 15 - Los Angeles, CA: Crypto.com Arena
US Ghost Adventures

New ghost tour explores one of the spookiest spots in North Texas

Ghosts of Cowtown

A national travel company is showing off the scary side of the Fort Worth Stockyards with the launch of a brand new ghost tour.

US Ghost Adventures, an Orlando-based company that hosts ghost tours in some of the most haunted cities in the country, has just added Fort Worth to its list of tour locations. The one-hour tour is held nightly at 8 pm and includes eight stops within a one-mile walking distance.

Some of the haunted highlights from the tour include Miss Molly’s Hotel (109 W. Exchange Ave.), a former brothel where unexplained activity – think lights turning on and off, heavy breathing, and footsteps heard on the stairs – have long been documented.

The Stockyards Hotel (109 E. Exchange Ave.), built in 1904, is said to be home to the apparition of its developer, Colonel T.M. Thannisch, as well as rodeo cowboy C.D. “Junior” Colwell, who is said to have committed suicide to avoid jailtime for swindling people.

Tour participants will also visit the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame (2515 Rodeo Plaza), where it’s said the six-foot, four-inch ghost of famed actor John Wayne has been seen admiring the cowboy memorabilia on display – even with a museum dedicated solely to him located just steps way at John Wayne: An American Experience.

While other ghost tours exist in Fort Worth, US Ghost Adventures owner Lance Zaal says his tour specializes in storytelling.

“US Ghost Adventures offers EMF detectors and focuses on telling the history behind the hauntings,” says Zaal.

When paranormal activity takes place, theories suggest electromagnetic disturbances can be seen with electromagnetic field (EMF) detectors. Lights on the detector indicate the strength of the disturbances, with a green light meaning little to no activity, yellow meaning moderate activity, and red meaning high activity.

Fort Worth was one of 12 new cities recently added to the US Ghost Adventures roster, including Houston and El Paso. The company operates tours in more than 50 cities across the country, and full list of new cities include:

The tour is $25 per person and there’s a two-person minimum. There's also an option to add a 30-minute bonus tour of four additional stops for just $6 per person.

Reservations should be made in advance online, and participants should meet at the Livestock Exchange Building at 131 E. Exchange Ave.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Charming Austin suburb is the fastest-growing city in the country, plus more top stories

hot headlines

Editor’s note: It’s that time again — time to check in with our top stories. From Georgetown to Brenham, and of course inside Austin proper, here are five articles that captured our collective attention over the past seven days.

1. Charming Austin suburb is the fastest-growing city in the country, with neighbors close behind. Georgetown had a 14.4-percent population increase from 2021 to 2022, bringing the city's total population to more than 86,500 residents.

2. Austin dethroned from top spot in new ranking of top summer travel destinations for 2023. Some Austinites are happy to hear the summer will be less crowded, but tourist revenue may suffer.

3. Lengendary Texas ranch resort makes waves on the market with $15 million price tag. It's a stretch to call it rustic, but this resort for sale includes horse stables, wildflowers, and an organic farm.

4. This is how big Austin apartments get for $1,500 a month. Unsurprisingly, it's not as much square footage as you can get elsewhere in Texas, but it's still not even close to Manhattan.

5. Here are the top 7 things to do in Austin this holiday weekend. The Memorial Day weekend brings chances to try great barbecue, take a walk with faeries, and hear lots of live music.

Dip your toes into these 7 Austin pools with passes, snacks, and summer events

Wet Hot Austin Summer

Memorial Day is here, which means so are the days of sitting in a lounge chair and sweating while looking unreasonably fabulous. Whether it's to beat the summer heat or to show off a new swimsuit, Austinites may have more options than they think to take a swim at the many pools around town. Even if you haven't committed to an overnight stay, most hotels offer day passes, and some even offer other deals or poolside programming.

One great way to find passes not just to pools around town, but also to spas and other hotel amenities, is to browse ResortPass. (Not sponsored, just cool.) There are 26 Austin options on the site right now.

But we wanted to let you know what's going on beyond the pass — who will set you up for a great meal, who lets you drink out of a coconut, and whose views (or lack thereof) provide the best ambiance for your day off. Some of our choices aren't even on the platform.

Go grab your sandals, and save us a towel.

Greater Austin YMCA
Let's start with the less glamorous before we break out the poolside fashion. The YMCA is a family staple for a reason, and if your goal is just to get in the water regularly throughout the summer, especially with kids, it's a great place to start. There are "interactive hours" at the outdoor pools (more fun than swimming laps) at the East Communities, Hays Communities, Northwest Family, Southwest Family, and Springs Family YMCAs, as well as the YMCA at Camp Moody. The Y is semi-affordable; It would probably be cheaper to visit a hotel pool once or twice, but a Y membership includes a month of access, guest passes, and much more, and may replace your gym membership for the summer. $69 per month, with age and household discounts. austinymca.org

Hotel Van Zandt
If your pool visit doesn't include spritz and giggles, why are you even there? Hotel Van Zandt is opening up its stylish rooftop pool for the "Spritz & Giggles Poolside Happy Hour & Sunset Swim" event series. Every Monday through Thursday, visitors can enjoy $8 frozen Aperol spritzes, $8 specialty cocktails, and a special pool menu with items like a refreshing green salad, pork belly al pastor tacos, and a spicy fried chicken sandwich. Geraldine's, the main restaurant, is right inside for even better drinks, expanded bites, and sometimes live music. Starting at $48 per day for adults, $15 for kids. hotelvanzandt.com

Carpenter Hotel
If one day at the Carpenter Hotel pool is just not enough, the hotel has now added monthly passes. In addition to unlimited access to the secluded pool in the Zilker neighborhood, a pass gets a $30 discount for the new monthly BBQ Pool Parties (bringing attendance down to $25). That will include a great spread of less commonly seen barbecue items like grilled bay scallops, mushroom skewers, elotes, deviled potato salad, and more. Monthly pass holders also get to bring one child under 8 for free. $40 daily, $200 monthly. Both Monday through Thursday. carpenterhotel.com

South Congress Hotel
The South Congress Hotel is right in the middle of where many Austinites want to be on a summer day, if it weren't so dang hot. This rooftop pool solves that problem in style, with daily pool passes every day of the week, as well as cabana rentals. Café No Sé supplies poolside drinks and snacks, and downstairs, Austin's Best New Restaurant Maie Day offers a hearty meal after a day of napping in the sun. Cabanas can be rented for four people and include self-parking, bottled water, and a bottle of champagne or bucket of High Noon. Days for $40 and cabanas for $300 on weekdays; days for $75 and cabanas for $400 on weekends. southcongresshotel.com

Hotel Viata
Hotel Viata is a bit of a sleeper hotel among Austin boutiques, as it's located a little beyond West Lake Hills. Still, if you want a taste of Italy, the drive to this retreat will be worth it. Not to mention, with the extra room these downtown hotels can't offer, a pool pass includes access to a hot tub, fire pits, and great views of the hills around the city. Pool passes are available, but if you want to see it for free before you spend, wait for June 10; The hotel invites guests 21 and up to check out the pool for free at the "Summer Festa in Piscina" party, with a "Taste of Italy" add-on ($55) for Aperol Spritz, limoncello lemon drops, and negronis all day. $45 per day for adults, $25 for children. resortpass.com

Wax Myrtle's
This rooftop bar and pool is known for its never-ending events calendar, and of course that energy extends to poolside entertainment. There will be live music on the weekends, plus live DJ sets on Saturday nights, alongside whatever other programming happens to be going on inside. Even if it's a do-nothing day, these large, over-the-top drinks will give you a delicious challenge. The "Boot Scootin Fruity" mixes rum, an aperitivo, hibiscus, and lime in a cowboy hat punch bowl ($90); the luxe "Mojito 75" combines Moët & Chandon with rum and mojito must-haves in a disco ball ($230); and an unnamed cocktail is worth trying just to enjoy it from a real coconut. Starting at $15 for adults, $10 for children, and more for daybeds and cabanas. waxmyrtles.com

Austin Motel
Perhaps one of the best known pools in Austin for its retro vibes, fun events, and accessibility to on-foot wanderers is the Austin Motel. This is a great, less expensive choice that's probably more fun for casual pool revelers who would feel a little put out by having to dress up and behave in a more luxe hotel setting. There are also frequent poolside events at this motel, like the free "Bounce Motel" series with live DJs, or the body-positive "Chunky Dunk." The pool is offers daily passes every day, even when there's nothing on the calendar. $25 on weekdays, $45 on weekends, or $600 in three-and-a-half-month "waves." austinmotel.com

Carpenter Hotel pool

Photo by Andrea Calo

Austinites don't need to stay at a hotel to be invited to the pool. (Pictured: The Carpenter Hotel)

6 Austin museums are offering free admission for military families all summer long

spread the museum love

Half a dozen Austin museums are honoring active-duty military personnel and their families with free admission through the Blue Star Museums initiative, May 20 through September 4, 2023.

Established by the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, and the U.S. Department of Defense, the Blue Star Museums program annually provides military families free access to 2,000 museums nationwide throughout the summer. The program begins yearly on Armed Forces Day in May and ends on Labor Day.

Free admission is extended to personnel currently serving in the U.S Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard (including those in the Reserve), and all National Guardsman. Members of the U.S. Public Health Commissioned Corps and NOAA Commissioned Corps are also included in the program.

Those who qualify can use their military ID to bring up to five family members – including relatives of those currently deployed. More information about qualifications can be found here.

There is no limit on the number of participating museums that qualifying families may visit. Admission for non-active military veterans, however, is not included.

According to the National Endowment for the Arts website, the initiative was created to help "improve the quality of life for active duty military families" with a specific focus on children. The site states two million have had a parent deployed since 2001.

"Blue Star Museums was created to show support for military families who have faced multiple deployments and the challenges of reintegration," the website says. "This program offers these families a chance to visit museums this summer when many will have limited resources and limited time to be together."

Among Austin's participating museums, the Blanton Museum of Art recently held its grand opening celebration to debut their new grounds, complete with a new large mural by Cuban-American artist Carmen Herrera.

“As a museum that has long been at the forefront of collecting work by artists of Latin American descent, as well as the place where Ellsworth Kelly realized his last great work of art, entering the collection at this moment marks a high point in my long career," Herrera said.

Here's a look at all the museums in Austin that participate in the Blue Star Museums initiative.

For those looking to take a drive around Central Texas, the Temple Railroad and Heritage Museum and Taylor's Moody Museum are also participants in the Blue Star Museums initiative.

More information about Blue Star Museums and a full list of participants can be found on arts.gov.