Summers in Austin are divine. That is, if you’re brave enough to put up with the sweltering heat, or are simply accustomed to it by now.
Those of us who have lived here long enough have found ways to deal with it, usually through a combination of live music, refreshing drinks, and food trucks.
For the third year in a row, Austin’s backyard, aka The Long Center, will be hosting several free and family friendly events that allow us to embrace the heat together, against one of Austin’s most picturesque backgrounds.
Returning this year is my personal favorite, the Sound & Cinema series, put on in conjunction with Alamo Drafthouse and featuring the now famous inflatable giant screen. You can also catch our favorite citywide outdoor dinner party. And, new this year, The Long Center will be featuring dance hall style events inside the venue.
Sound & Cinema
It just doesn’t get more Austin than live music, food trucks, and an outdoor movie. Sound & Cinema returns for a second year with a stellar lineup of classic movies paired with an outdoor band. This summer you can look forward to the following lineup:
- Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, with the Urban Achievers Brass Band (July 2, 2014)
- E.T., with Henry + The Invisibles (July 16, 2014)
- The Pink Panther (1963), with The Jeff Lofton Quartet (July 30, 2014)
- Raiders of the Lost Ark, with The Golden Dawn Arkestra (August 13, 2014)
- Close Encounters of the Third Kind, with The Octopus Project (August 20, 2014)
Admission to Sound & Cinema is always free. Bring your blanket or lawn chairs and your own grub, or eat at one of the many food trailers. The live music usually starts around 8 PM, with the movie playing shortly thereafter. Get there early to secure a good spot, and keep in mind they don’t allow pets or alcohol.
Trailer Food Tuesdays
The food truck scene in Austin is among the most diverse in the country. But it can be difficult to find the right time and place that your favorite trailers are parked and open.
The City Terrace at The Long Center knows your pain and plays host to some of the best food trucks in Austin on the last Tuesday of every month through October. And because you can’t throw a rock in Austin without hitting a food truck or a musician, you can count on live music to accompany your sunset dinner over the beautiful Austin skyline.
The trailers start dishing food from 5-9 PM. Featured trucks for the 2014 season include such mainstays as Chi’Lantro, Kebabilicious, Coolhaus and my personal fave, Svante’s Stuffed Burger.
Feeling guilty about all the delectable grub you’re about to stuff in your mouth? Camp Gladiator is hosting a free workout every Tuesday on the lawn at 6:30 PM.
Rhythm on Stage and Dance Hall
If your summer activities are best enjoyed in sub-90 degree weather, The Long Center has you covered there as well. New for this summer is a series of dancing events at Dell Hall inside The Long Center. Learn a variety of dancing styles from the professionals of Ballet Austin’s Butler Community School.
There is absolutely no cover charge. Doors open at 7 PM with instruction beginning 30 minutes later. Dance styles include:
- July 1, 2014: Zumba with Rebekah Fowler
- July 8, 2014: Bollywood with Prakash Mohandas and Divya Dinakar
- July 15, 2014: Hip-Hop with Shepherd Allen
- July 22, 2014: West African with Jean Claude Lessou
Want to show off your newly acquired dance moves? Check out the dance parties at the Dell Hall: Dance Hall events. Arrive a bit early for a lesson in each dance style and be sure to bring some cash for the $5 entrance fee and cash bar. Featured dance styles for the rest of the summer include:
- August 7, 2014 – Soul Summit curated by Friends of Sound (lineup TBA)
- August 16, 2014 – Retro Prom: Late 1950s with music by Matt Bradshaw & The Milleniums
- August 26, 2014 – Argentine Tango with instruction by Dance International (music TBA)
Over the last few years, The Long Center has become one of the top destinations for free and fun stuff to do during Austin’s hottest months. All in our very own backyard.
What other types of free and fun activities would you like to see at The Long Center?