NOTICE- Due to COVID19, we are teleworking normal business hours March 17 until further notice.
- Events, Rentals, Event Permits - no site or event rentals are allowed through the end of the year. This includes amplified sound, alcohol consumption and moonwalks as prohibited.
- Filming/Commercial Photo Permits - currently allowed following guidelines at OPEN sites/facilities.
- Concessions/Commercial Use: food/beverage concessions open, and permitted fitness groups with limits/guidelines in place.
For fastest response - please email email@example.com. Voicemails will be checked daily & calls returned within 1 business day.
Information is available by featured topic to assist applicants with booking a picnic site, event facility or for coordinating a special event.
- Office and Payment Hours/Information
Hours: Monday-Friday: 8:30 am-4:30 pm Closed Holidays, Saturday & Sunday. Voicemail: 512-974-6797
Payment Types Accepted: Anytime: Online (PDF), Cash, or Money Order. More than 14 days from the event date: Check
- In person/cash payments cannot be accepted effective March 17 until further notice. Pay online!
Payment Deadlines: If you book a site or facility today (for example), payment in full is due within 14 days. Payments for additional permits are due at the time they are requested, and BEFORE a permit will be released.
- Booking Periods and the Lottery
General Booking Period is 6 months to 14 days in advance. Booking calendar. Call to book designated picnic or event facility rental sites.
Lottery Booking The earliest you can reserve a park/facility is 10 months in advance through the lottery. For example, submit a lottery request in May for March dates, or December for October dates.
The lottery submittal calendar (pdf) shows when to submit the lottery form (pdf). After the lottery, the next period to reserve a park is 6 months in advance of the event month in the general booking period.
- Applications for Events
- USE FOR: PARK ONLY events. For example, a public event, fundraiser with food and non-alcoholic beverages. May NOT include alcohol sales, structures, or tent permits.
- USE FOR: Curfew extensions, an event at a typically non-bookable park, or public events with food vending/merchandising May NOT include alcohol sales, structures, or tent permits.
- NOTICE: Special requests require review and processing time in addition to the 14 day cut off booking period for typical picnic or facility rentals. A lead request time of 4-6 months is strongly suggested.
- See the “Event Planning” section. Consult with a PARD event planner PRIOR to applying. Many parks are booked by annual reoccurring events.
- USE FOR: Events which require services/permits for a park AND any one (1) of the following:
- public safety personnel/security personnel,
- medical support services,
- lake/open water use,
- use of sidewalks/streets as part of a run/walk route or similar,
- fire inspections,
- tents/ canopies, building structures such as stages or platforms,
- public events where alcohol will be served or sold.
- Picnic Area or Shelter Reservations
Rentals start at $60 per site per day, and are between 10 am - 10 pm at most sites. Bookings start 6 months in advance - review the booking schedule (pdf).
Full payment is due received within 14 days from when you first book a site to confirm the reservation. Last minute bookings require immediate payment online.
- Find a site Picnic and Shelter Sites at a Glance (PDF)
- See picnic site features and allowances for all sites. Find a site that meets your needs.
- See the Sites Maps and Images
- Map Tip - Red icons show parks at large, green icons show reservation sites within each park.
- Map Tip - Switch between "map or satellite" views.
- Map Tip - Use the map navigate function to map a route to the picnic site!
- Check availability online! Select "picnic tables only" or "picnic tables and pavilion" in the features selection box.
- Email to book: firstname.lastname@example.org Voicemail - 512-974-6797.
- Find a site Picnic and Shelter Sites at a Glance (PDF)
- Event Facility Reservations
Call in bookings (512-974-6797) start 6 months in advance - booking calendar (pdf). You can submit the lottery form (pdf) 10 months in advance. Full payment for a reservation is due received within 14 days from when you first book a site.
Check availability online! Select "event facility" in the features selection box to specifically see the event facilities.
Call to book (512-974-6797) starting 6 months in advance.
Viewings: Facility viewings are BY APPOINTMENT ONLY, Monday-Friday during normal business hours. We do not allow weekend viewings due to rentals, and most Fridays are also booked and thus commonly not available.
Fiesta Gardens: 2100 Jesse E. Segovia Street - Excellent for small festivals and private events.
Mayfield Cottage: 3801 Old Bull Creek Road (Next to Austin Museum of Art) - Historic garden location for small private events. No music allowed at this site.
- Mayfield Photo Session Permit
- $50 per 2 hour session - book online 4 days or up to 30 days prior
- Policy and Photography Rules (PDF)
- Check Availability - select the "Mayfield" park location field
- Online Booking Guide
Sparky Park Station Building: 3701 Grooms Street - Perfect for meetings/uses central to this neighborhood. Extremely limited parking. 30 people or less. NO amplified sound allowed.
Zilker Clubhouse: 200 Zilker Clubhouse Road (off Rollingwood Drive) Perfect for small events of approximately 100 people.
- CLOSURE ALERT! Zilker Club House will be under construction from December 20, 2021 - September 30, 2022. No rentals will be allowed during this time.
- Rehabilitation Project Information
- Special Events - Public Events, Events with Alcohol Sales or Structures
The Austin Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) Office of Special Events (OSE) is available to assist with large scale event planning. Annually, Austin parks serve as the home for events, festivals and concerts which serve approximately 1 million attendees. PARD staff are able to assist and provide an overview and understanding the City’s requirements of logistical and behind-the-scenes planning to help ensure your event is safe, high quality, well-organized, and enjoyable for all of your guests.
Large scale event planning requires careful and deliberate consideration of many details including park protection, scheduling, safety and security planning, insurance coverage, road closures, special needs access, temporary permits, transportation and shuttle services, waste management and environmental measures, and much more. Extensive advance planning is required for special events, typically beginning 12 - 6 months minimally in advance.
Many events are annual. These event in Austin Parks receive standing reservations. The spring and fall seasons are typically fully booked by annual events. Special events required 6 months to 1 year advance planning and require extensive advanced development by the promoter/organizer to ensure safe, and sufficient plans are procured to sustain the event.
Typical Special Event Requirements are substantial, and require extensive planning, budgeting and preparation with the expectation for the highest quality planning put into an event by the organizer. An extensive library is available to aid in assessing capacity and planning. Our policies and procedures section contains information on a variety of permitting topics.
- Austin Center for Events - Tier Flowchart (pdf)
- Guide to Submitting an Application
- Sample Event Checklist - Shows anticipated items required
- Park Event Sites and Partner Sites
- Pricing Sheet
- Learn more about subject topics in our policies section.
- Policies, Procedures, Insurance Information and Permit & Technical Topic Documents
Policies, Rules, Pricing, and Holidays
- Reservation Procedures, Policies, Rules and Permits Handbook (PDF)
- Park Rules - Glass, Styrofoam and Smoking are prohibited in all parks.
- 2020-2021 Pricing Sheet (PDF)
- Observed Holidays (No Reservation Periods) (PDF)
Insurance - Standard Specifications
- Insurance (standard requirements for all public events, & possible coverages required by the park system)
Subject Topic Technical Documents for Events With Reservations
- Alcohol Permitting Process Overview (PDF)
- Alcohol Service Standards - Beer Garden Requirements and Mock Layouts (PDF)
- Building Permits (PDF) (stages, bleachers, structures at events)
- Crawfish Boil Regulations(PDF) Electrical Permits - Required for wire to wire, tie-in, or pig tail connections.
- Drones - State and FAA regulations impact the use of drones. Convenient resources: Federal Aviation Administration - regulations, and requirements, and State Government Code – Government Code, Chapter 423
- Food and Beverage Permit - Health Food Permits and Handling Guidelines (PDF)
- Food and Beverage/Vendor - Fire Department Propane and Tent Advisory Guidelines (PDF)
- Food and Beverage (PDF) - Mobile Food Vending Regulations at permitted events
- Metal Detecting (PDF) Permits are typically issued to searches for an item lost in extenuating circumstances.
- Smoke and Electronic Cigarette-free Events Toolkit (PDF)
- Tent Regulations - Austin Fire Department (PDF)
- Turf Access and Tree Protection (PDF)
- Directions for Submitting a Completed Site Plan for Tree Impact Review (PDF)
Event Related Permits
A coordinator will provide assistance during the booking process for picnic and facility sites with event related permits. This information is provided to assist with researching requirements and steps.
- Alcohol Sales
- Amplified Sound Review each picnic site or facility booklet, as some properties contain sound restrictions. Commercial or Advertising Purposes ($30) -- Private Party ($20) -- Public Interest, Political or Non-Profit ($10)
- Concessions, Product Sampling and Advertising At a confirmed event, concessions are permitted inside the event area through the event organizer. All stand alone or non event related concessions must obtain a concession permit.
- Moonwalk, Dunk Tank, and Rockwall Devices $10/device. Must be state inspected, and insured. NO Miniature Trains, Water slides or Petting Zoos. Companies with insurance on file.
- Filming & Commercial Photography Permits
Filming and Commercial/Advertising/Product Shoots
The event office will make every effort to review and approve filming uses when a complete application is received. The process can be affected by short lead times or at high usage parks. In order to be best prepared, submit a detailed application 7 or more days in advance of the requested start date. Permits are handled in the order received. Shoots with at popular or metropolitan parks, with multiple locations, detailed needs, or large numbers of cast/crew should plan to submit requests 14 days or more in advance of the start date.
- NOTE: An application can be used for up to 2 locations, 3 days per site, OR up to 6 days at one site.
- DIRECTIONS: Download application and save to computer. Complete digitally and save. Attach form to email indicated in application.
- Frequently Asked Questions - Popular Location Information (PDF)
- Location map image must be inserted into, or attached with application.
- Use for shoots where wheeled items are proposed on unpaved areas or grass/fields.
- Location map image must be inserted into, or attached with application.
- Parking, driving path map image must be inserted/attached with application.
Mayfield Cottage and Gardens Photo Session Permit - posed/portrait photography
- Concession & Commercial Use (training/tour group) Permits
- Commercial Activity requires approvals (permits). Per City Code Chapter 8: COMMERCIAL ACTIVITY means to advertise or provide a good, service, class, or instructional activity for compensation. COMPENSATION means any money, thing of value, payment, reward, tip, consideration, donation, gratuity, or profit paid to, accepted by, or received by a person. APPROVAL means a permit, reservation agreement, or other written document that evidences an authorization by the department. Fines: $100-$500 fine, $250 minimum fine during a special event, Class C Misdemeanor.
- Commercial Use Permits are offered to and required for any health and fitness consultants, dog trainers, bicycle tour groups (non-motorized), and other outdoor professional service providers within City parks for a duration of 6 months. .
- Permit Holders must create regularly scheduled activities that enhance park experience and adhere to process, fees, and requirements.
- Temporary Concession Permits are offered for vending/sales of recreation oriented merchandise within City parks for a duration of 1 day to 6 months. Food/beverage/recreation merchandise, and performing artist permits are most commonly requested.
- Concession permits are NOT issued for vendors to vend outside or near permitted special events where organizers typically coordinate vendors inside their permitted grounds and spaces.
- The department has established permanent concessions that provide recreation services that include canoe, kayak, rowing, stand-up paddle board rental and instruction, food and beverage sales, golf, excursion boats, and a mini-train.
- The Department utilizes Independent Contract Instructors to provide unique recreational services. Programs/activities may be designed for preschoolers, school age children, teens, adults, families and seniors.
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