COVID19 STATUS

  • Events, Rentals, Event Permits - no site/event rentals or permits are allowed until further notice.  This includes amplified sound, alcohol consumption and moonwalks as prohibited.
  • Filming/Commercial Photo Permits - currently NOT allowed in stage 5 covid19 orders.
  • Concessions/Commercial Use:  food/beverage concessions open, and permitted fitness groups with limits/guidelines in place.
  • We are teleworking normal business hours until further notice
  • For fastest response - please email reservations@austintexas.gov.  Voicemails will be checked daily & calls returned within 1 business day. 

OVERVIEW

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

UPCOMING EVENTS

RESOURCE INFORMATION

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.

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 beverage.       (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.
Event

For non-public picnic or event facility rentals see the picnic day use or event facility section.  Examples - birthday party, family reunion, wedding

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.

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.
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.
  • 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.                           

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. 

Tips for a Successful Picnic

  1. 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. 
  2. 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!
  3. Check availability online! Select "picnic tables only" or "picnic tables and pavilion" in the features selection box.
  4. Email to book:  reservations@austintexas.gov   Voicemail - 512-974-6797.
Event Facility Reservations

Button which links to the park online calendar.         

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.

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

 

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 coverages 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 requried 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 - Ad Campaign - 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.

Filming Application & Location Form (PDF)

  • Location map image must be inserted into, or attached with application.

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)

Mayfield Cottage and Gardens Photo Session Permit - posed/portrait photography

Photo Session/ Posed or Portrait Session Permits

Photo session permits are required for ANY posed/portrait or commercial photo shoots at the following parks:

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.

    Youth 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.

     

     

    Quick Links - Take Me To.....

     

    Quick weblink to picnic site section of the webpage.Quick weblink to facilty site section of the webpage.Quick weblink to concession permit section of the webpage.Quick weblink to fitness group permit section of the webpage.