COVID19 STATUS

We are teleworking normal business hours until further notice. Email reservations@austintexas.gov. 

Current Item or Rental Status (as of June 14, 2021)
Item Status Restrictions & Notes
Concessions Open Permitted/contracted concessions are open with limits.
Picnic Sites & Shelters (30 people or less) Open

See picnic section below for details & how to submit requests online.

Event Facilities (50% capacity) Open See event facility section below for details & how to submit requests online.

Filming Permits/ Photo Permits

Open See filming section for permit information.
Fitness Trainers/ Tour Groups/ or Commercial Use (fitness groups) Open Permitted groups are open with limits. Masks/social distancing required.
Special Events (ACE Permits) Open Open with ACE application and approved health safety plan.

OVERVIEW

Information is available by feature topic to assist applicants with booking a picnic site, event facility or coordinating a special event.

  

UPCOMING EVENTS

 

CURRENT OPPORTUNITY: 

REQUEST FOR APPLICATIONS - SPECIAL EVENT 

The Austin Parks and Recreation Department seeks applications for a family-friendly and community-oriented Special Event from an individual or company qualified and experienced to organize and produce events for greater than 1,000 attendees.  

Fiesta Gardens West End at Edward Rendon Senior Metropolitan Park

Applications Accepted:

  • Tuesday, June 1, 2021- Monday, June 14, 2021
  • All submittals must be completed by 4:30 PM on Monday, June 14, 2021

Learn More and Apply:

Frequently Asked Questions:

 

RESOURCE INFORMATION

Office and Payment Hours/Information

Hours:  Monday-Friday: 8:30 am-4:30 pm  Closed Holidays, Saturday & Sunday. Email reservations@austintexas.gov.  Voicemail:  512-974-6797

Payment Types Accepted:   Anytime: Online (PDF), Cash, or Money Order.  If paying more than 14 days from the event date checks are accepted.

  • In person/cash payments cannot be accepted until further notice.  Pay online!

Payment Deadlines:  For example, if you book a site/facility today, 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.  If you book a site/facility within 21 days of the use date, online (PDF) payment is due immediately.

Do I Need a Permit?

NO PERMIT REQUIRED

  • Gathering of friends / family without advertisement to the public and that does NOT include any commercial activity, food sales, alcohol, advertising, marketing or similar.
    • Allowed                                   (NOT Allowed)
    • Potluck style food.                 (NO food sales or public food provision)
    • Use of general park areas.   (May NOT use a reservation site)
    • Non-alcoholic beverages.     (NO alcohol consumption/sales)
    • Two 10x10 shade canopies.  (NO rental tents)
  • NO amplified sound/music, bounce houses/moonwalks or commercial activity/vending/sales are allowed with general day use.
  • Park Rules, applicable local laws, and health orders must be followed.

PERMIT REQUIRED

A permit is required for all other types of gathering or park uses – For more details, please browse the Office of Special Events website or contact: reservations@austintexas.gov.  A list of common topic items is provided for additional guidance for items that require a permit.

Item More Information
Activation in a Park Commercial or brand activation requires a permit as part of a park site rental, or with written permission of an event organizer.
Alcohol Consumption may be permitted with an approved site rental.  Alcohol sales require additional resources and event requirements.
Amplified Sound May be considered and permitted with an approved site rental.
Commercial Use See our commercial use section for permitting information.
Concessions Single day, 6 month and performing artists require a permit. See the concessions section of this page.
Cook Out

Cookouts may be permitted at designated rental sites.  Public cookouts may require items such as health permits, insurance and cook out event $100 damage deposit in addition to other site rental or other permit fees.

Public cookouts without alcohol, see the Park Event Permit section for requirements and submit a "special request form".

Crawfish Boil

Crawfish boils may ONLY occur at designated picnic rental sites and require an additional $100 damage deposit above any other site rental or other permit fees.  Crawfish Boil Regulations(PDF)

Public cookouts without alcohol, see the Park Event Permit section and submit a "special request form".

Event

For non-public picnic or event facility rentals see the picnic day use or event facility section.  You will be provided information on sound, bounce house and alcohol allowances during booking.  Examples - birthday party, family reunion, wedding

Public events without alcohol, see the Park Event Permit section for requirements & submit a "special request form".

For public events with alcohol with alcohol, structures, food sales/consumption by the public see the "special event section".

Fitness Groups/ Training Groups Fitness training in the park, whether free to the public or not, requires a permit.  See the concessions and commercial use section of this page.
Filming See the filming section on this page.
Food Sales Food sales may be allowed as part of a permitted event or concession permit.  Stand alone food sales or concessions in a park are NOT allowed.  This includes food product sampling.
Fundraiser

A fundraiser is considered a public event. 

For public events without alcohol, submit a "special request form" from our application section.

For public events with alcohol with alcohol, structures, food sales/consumption by the public see the special event section.

Marketing/ Brand Activation Commercial or brand activation requires a permit as part of a park site rental, or with written permission of an event organizer.
Metal Detecting Permitted in the specific case where the OWNER of an object is attempting to recover a lost item of value.  General interest metal detecting is NOT permitted.  See the technical topics section of this page.
Moonwalks/ Bounce Houses Permitted with an approved site rental where conditions/space can accommodate the device.
Music May be considered and permitted with an approved site rental.
Performing Artists Clowns, balloon artists, non-amplified busking or similar require single day permits.  See the concessions section of this page.  Permits are only issued for activities that include non-hazardous materials.
Photo Permits

Photo session permits are required for posed, portrait or commercial photography at Auditorium Shores, Mt. Bonnell, Zilker Botanical Gardens and Zilker Metropolitan Park.  See the photo permit section.

All add or branding campaign photo shoots must complete a filming permit application.  See the film permit section.

Product Sampling Food, merchandise or product sampling may only occur in a park with an approved event, rental or concession permit.  Product sampling may NOT occur with fitness trainer permits.
Reservation The process to book and ensure a picnic site, event or special event facility is available for exclusive use for a function.
Tour Groups See our commercial use section for permitting information.
Work Out Groups Fitness training in the park, whether free to the public or not, requires a permit.  See the concessions and commercial use section of this page.

 

Booking Periods & 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.  

Observed Holidays (No Reservation Periods) (PDF)

Insurance & Technical Topic Documents

Policies, Rules, Pricing, and Holidays

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

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.

Applications for Events

Most private birthday party or wedding rentals will NOT need to use an application in this section.  Sound and alcohol consumption information will be provided during the booking process.  Go directly to the picnic or event facility sections for information on how to book the sites unless you intend to sell alcohol, have structures, road closures or public food provision or sales.

Most public events will need to utilize one of the following applications.

Park Only Event Application - Special Request Form Application (PDF)

  • For example, a public event, fundraiser with food and non-alcoholic beverages.  May NOT include alcohol sales, structures, or tent permits.  ALL public events requires insurance.
  • 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.

Austin Center for Events (ACE) Special Event Application

See the “Event Planning” citywide event application. Our special event section on this page also provides helpful information and sample checklists.  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.

EVENT, SITE RENTAL AND PERMIT INFORMATION

Picnic Area/Shelter Day Use Reservations

Button which links to the park online calendar.                           

Picnic site rentals start at $60/site/day bookable 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. 

COVID19 LIMITS

Submit requests online up to 180 days in advance.  Reservations limited to 30 persons or less.  Moonwalks/bounce houses or similar are PROHIBITED until further notice.

REVIEW AND SEE THE SITES!

  1. Find a Site - Picnic and Shelter Sites at a Glance (PDF).  See picnic site features and allowances for all sites at a glance.  Find a site that meets your needs. 
  2. See the Sites - Maps and Images 
    • Map Tips - Red icons show parks at large, green icons show reservation sites within each park.  Switch between "map or satellite" views.
    • Use the map navigate function to map a route to the picnic site!

I'M READY TO BOOK A SITE!

Submit a Request Online!

  • Online requests are accepted on a rolling 180 day window, and must be submitted NO LATER THAN 18 days in advance of the reservation date if available.  If sites are available after the 18 day online submittal deadline, you must call or email the office to make reservations prior to the 14 day cut off for all requests.  Email:  reservations@austintexas.gov   Voicemail - 512-974-6797.
  • HOW TO SEARCH ONLINE:  Select "browse facilities".  In the features box, choose "picnic tables only" OR "picnic tables and pavilion" to see a broad selection of reservation sites.  Select a specific "location" if you are only interested in a specific park (ctrl+click) to select multiple parks.
  • Select a site and Submit a Request Online, answer questions about the proposed use.  Requests will be reviewed, and if approved a bill will be sent.

Tips for a Successful Picnic

Event Facility Reservations

Button which links to the park online calendar.         

General bookings start 6 months in advance - booking calendar (pdf).  You can submit the lottery form (pdf) 10 months in advance (see the booking calendar (pdf).  This is typically used for events such as weddings that benefit from the advance planning time.  Full payment for a reservation is due received within 14 days from when a site is first booked and approved/ billed. 

Alert!  IF the event is open to the public/advertised or similar - it is strongly encouraged to first review the "Applications for Events" section of this website, or:

  • Public events without alcohol, see the Park Event Permit section for requirements & submit a "special request form".
  • For public events with alcohol, structures, food sales/consumption by the public see the "special event section".

COVID19 LIMITS

Submit requests online up to 180 days in advance.  Reservations limited to 50% of normal capacity for each building.  Rentals available every other day (1 day vacant spacing).

VIEWINGS

(currently suspended due to covid19)  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.

CHECK AVAILABILITY ONLINE 

  • Search "browse facilities"
  • Select "event facility" in the features box.  If you are only interested in one park also select the park name in the "location" box to further refine the search.
  • Hit search. 
  • Select a facility and then view the availability calendar on the next screen.  There must be 1 green available day between red unavailable days and your proposed date.

I'M READY TO BOOK A SITE!

Submit a Request Online! 

  • Online requests are accepted on a rolling 180 day window, and must be submitted NO LATER THAN 18 days in advance of the reservation date if available.  If availability remains after the 18 day online submission deadline, you must contact the office to make reservations for any remaining available site prior to the 14 day cut off for all requests.  Email:  reservations@austintexas.gov 
  • HOW TO SEARCH ONLINE:  Select "browse facilities".
  • Select "event facility" in the features box, and the park "location".  Choose "calendar" display option to see a single facility availability.  This is an easier to view format.
    • Upon initial reopening, 6 days between rentals/uses will be required until local conditions change.  Using the calendar view for a single facility location will allow you to view the current GREEN AVAILABLE spacing between unavailable days in RED.  There must be 6 green available days between red unavailable days.
  • Select a site and Submit a Request Online, answer questions about the proposed use.  Requests will be reviewed, and if approved a bill will be sent.

FACILITY INFORMATION


Fiesta Gardens: 2100 Jesse E. Segovia Street - Excellent for small festivals and private events.

Facility Guidebook (PDF)          Facility Site Plan         Facility Grounds Plan      Driving Directions Map        Photo Gallery


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.

Facility Guidebook (PDF)          Facility Site Plan         Ground Site Plan             Driving Directions Map         Photo Gallery

  • Mayfield Photo Session PermitS - see the photo session section of this website.

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.

Facility Guidebook (PDF)          Facility Site Plan         Photo Gallery 


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

Facility Guidebook (PDF)          Site CAD Plan          Fireplace Measurements     Driving Directions Map     Photo Gallery

Park Event Permit - Public Event with Food (no structures, tent permits or alcohol)

Public events, fundraisers or similar with food and non-alcoholic beverages must apply for an event permit.  These events may NOT include alcohol sales, structures, fencing or tent permits as they qualify as Special Event Permits with the Austin Center for Events.

Park Only Event Application - Special Request Form Application (PDF)

MINIMUM Requirements:

  • Application, Review & Approval, and Payment of Fees
  • Insurance  (standard requirements for all public events, & possible coverage(s) required by the park system)

ADDITIONAL Requirements:

  • Health permits are required for any food/beverage served or prepared for the public.
  • Other requirements such as trash, recycling, parking plans, or toilet rental contract with a service provider MAY be required depending on the scope of the event.

REVIEW PERIOD NOTICE:  Special requests require review and processing time in addition to the 14 day cut off booking period for typical standard picnic or facility rentals.  A lead request time of 4-6 months is strongly suggested.

Special Event Permit - Public Event with Food, Structures, Fencing, Alcohol, 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 months - 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.

The combined Austin Center for Events resource material. Topic based information can be found on the “Planing Guide webpage”.

Filming & Photo Production Shoots

Filming and Photo Production 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.

COVID19 Status - Permitting is allowed an open parks and facilities without limits or active programming use.  Closed buildings or sites operating with programs/limits not considered.

  • 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)

Filming Application & Location Form (PDF)

  • Location map image must be inserted into, or attached with application.
  • NOTE:  An application can be used for up to 2 locations, 3 days per site, OR up to 6 days at one site.

Filming Application for Filming/Shoots with Cars, Vehicles, Lifts, Wheeled Devices (PDF)

  • 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.

Filming Insurance (PDF)

Filming in a Cemetery - Rules and Uses

Photo/Portrait Sessions Permits - see following section.

Photo Session/ Posed/ Portrait Session Permits

Photo session permits are required for ANY posed/portrait or similar photo shoots at the following parks which experience high volumes of public use:

General Information - How to Book Online

  • $50 per 2 hour session - book online 4 days or up to 30 days prior. Sessions NOT permitted during special events or holidays.
  • Check Availability - select the "park name" in the park location field and search dates/times, OR select "event facility" in the features selection box to see all photo permit locations.
  • Online Booking Guide (pdf)
  • Overview and Rules (pdf)
    Concessions, Commercial Use, Fitness 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 (fitness training/outdoor instruction)

    • 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

    • 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.

    Permanent Concessions (existing or new requests)

    • 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.

    Instructional Contractors

    • 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.