Listen to Austin 360 Radio

Need to beat the heat at ACL Fest? Here are a few cool-zones to check out

Peter Blackstock

The temperature looks to be topping out at 88 on the second day of ACL Fest, but despite mostly cloudy skies, the sun has been peeking through a fair bit, further warming up Zilker Park on a high-humidity afternoon. Sunday’s forecast looks hotter: 91 degrees and sunny. So where to go to cool off?

For starters, a few key spots around the grounds have air conditioning. The biggest is the new ACL Fest Merch Store location, near the Barton Springs East entrance/exit just south of Barton Springs Road. Whether you’re buying or just browsing, it’s a great place to stop sweating for a little bit, especially if you’re headed over to catch a band on the adjacent Barton Springs Stage.

In the main section of Zilker Park, two more locations have AC. One is the long-standing Waterloo Records store, which features music from all of the artists playing the fest. It’s on the northeast end of the grounds, between the Tito’s and American Express stages.  The other is new: State Farm’s Here to Help Lounge, a small but cool enclosed installation at the foot of the rock island near the northwest-central heart of the park. They’re also occasionally doing music there; check the sign outside for any announcements. (Yesterday they featured a 6 p.m. acoustic set from Andrew McMahon.)

Shady places are less important with Saturday’s cloud cover, but will be increasingly sought-out tomorrow if the sunny-skies forecast holds. Regular festgoers no doubt know about the spacious Barton Springs Beer Hall on the north end of the park, with college football dominating the screens Saturday (including Texas and Texas A&M games at about 6 p.m.) and NFL games showing on Sunday. A great new large shaded area is the Wine Lounge, with offerings from around the globe and lots of tables under cover near the Austin Kiddie Limits area on the park’s southeast end.

And speaking of Austin Kiddie Limits, there’s plenty of natural shade there. The popular family area was moved to the parks shadiest tree grove last year. More shady spots can be found near the center of the park just west of the HomeAway stage (near where the BMI Stage was in previous years); and in various nooks alongside the spacious new Barton Springs Stage area.