Austin City Limits Keeps Austin Weird

ACL 2018 kicks off its first weekend with Metallica and Paul McCartney.

"There's a freedom you begin to feel the closer you get to Austin, Texas." - Willie Nelson

Once a year, for two consecutive weekends, Austin sends out the message that it's still the "Live Music Capital of the World." From October 5 - 7, 2018 and October 12-14, 2018, the Austin City Limits (ACL) Musical Festival returns to Zilker Park with a total of 8 stages and 140 musical performances.

Why ACL?

In the ethos of musical festivals, ACL fills the gap between Coachella's appeal to ultra-trendy festival-goers and the wilder crowds at Lollapalooza. Unlike Austin's other renowned festival South by Southwest, which is annually hosted in the bustling downtown area and features music, film, and interactive events across two weeks, ACL is a concentrated celebration of live music and local eats around the natural beauty of Zilker Park's 360 acres.

Since 2002, the Austin festival has stayed true to offering a universal, "family friendly" experience, including free admission for children 10 and under, courtesy of its all-day Austin Kiddie Limits catering to families escaping the crowd.



With an aim to "Keep Austin Weird," ACL hosts a line-up as eclectic as Austin's history of subcultures. As the city that fostered the sounds of Janis Joplin's psychedelic rock, Stevie Ray Vaughan's electric blues, and Willie Nelson's outlaw country, Austin spotlights its new, emerging talents like Puerto Rican rapper Residente, local garage punk acts like Sailor Poon, and female rap duo Gifted Gab and Blimes Brixton.

True to form, ACL 2018 will feature diverse performances from musical icons like Paul McCartney and Metallica, fan staples like Lil Wayne, Deftones, and Pheonix, as well as newer chart-toppers like Khalid, Shawn Mendes, and Camila Cabello. Other featured acts by weekend include:


When it comes to creative energy, "Austin is an oasis" of food as well as music, says chef and food critic Andrew Zimmern.

The 2018 ACL Eats Food Court is inviting more of Austin's best eateries to set up shop than ever before. Find festival-favorite desserts like snow cones at Sno-Beach or signature chocolate cakes at Skull & Cakebones, Austin's first locally sourced craft bakery. Grab hand-crafted empanadas at Mmmpanadas, a fresh kabab at Kababeque, or even an exotic game sausage from rabbit, antelope, and pork at Frank's Restaurant. High Brew Coffee serves cold brew in six flavors all day long and Maine Root offers fair trade root beer "made for rockers by rockers."

Most ACL vendors offer gluten free and vegan options, with all-day service and accepted payments in cash, credit, debit and an ACL Cashless option programmed through your wristband.

Austin Apartment Experts

Merchandise & Activism

"I like the fact that Austin's the first place I've ever lived where there's a real sense of community. People care about their neighbors," noted Ian McLagan of rock band Small Faces.

In a city that bloomed by embracing all differences, Austin maintains its social consciousness and sense of community. A new addition to ACL 2018 is the ACL Cares Academy, which invites local organizations to set up panels, meet and greets, and activities for festival-goers to network and learn about local activism. Hosted by comedian Lisa Friedrich, ACL Cares partners with organizations that support the arts, local food banks, and environmentalism.

The ACL Market features accessories, clothing, and creative pieces from local artists. ACL 2018 has partnered with handmade artisans like Austin Art Garage, Espacio Handmade, and Leighelena, in addition to offering its own 2018 festival merchandise.


When the Rolling Stones played in the "Live Music Capital of the World," Keith Richard said, "I like it here in Austin. Anybody got a room?"

Every year, for two weekends in October, Austin sets aside 46 acres of Zilker Park to make room for almost 500,000 music-lovers. General Admission tickets are still available (as of Oct. 3) for a one-day pass ($100 plus fees) and VIP and Platinum tickets are available for 1-day ($450 plus fees) and 3-day ($1100 plus fees) passes. VIP and Platinum experiences include perks like premium seating, spa access, catered lunch and dinner, and all day beer, wine, and specialty cocktails in exclusive lounges.

Catch Up on What You've Missed

Rolling Stone

Weekend 1 ACL 2018 was graced with a burst of summer weather for high-energy acts. Paul McCartney gave his Friday night performance to a packed crowd, despite the sweltering Texas heat. McCartney gave tribute to John Lennon by playing "Here Today," George Harrison with "Something" and Linda McCartney with "Maybe I'm Amazed," all between Beatles classics like "I've Just Seen a Face," "Blackbird," and 60,000 attendees joining in for "Hey Jude." On Saturday, Metallica's James Hetfield bantered with the audience throughout their lively set, with Robert Trujillo paying tribute to Austin's own Stevie Ray Vaughan with a rendition of "Telephone Song."

Meg Hanson is a Brooklyn-based writer, teacher, and jaywalker. Find Meg at her website and on Twitter @megsoyung.

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If you've googled one thing during this pandemic, it is definitely: "Thai food near me."

Thai food has remained one of the most delicious and sought after takeout gems; and in New York City, specifically, there are so many delicious options that it can be overwhelming. Often unlike Chinese food, Thai food offers fresher ingredients and versatile cuisine options. Whether you want some Pad Thai or Pad See Ew, or some coconut milk-infused curry or even just some soup, Thai food is good for any occasion. But with so many options, how do you know you're getting the freshest ingredients at the best price? Here are the best spots to order take-out from, and we even broke it up by borough for you.

Manhattan: Fish Cheeks

Fish Cheeks

Reviewed by The Times as "fresh, vivid and intense," Fish Cheeks offers solid takes on traditional Thai Cuisine. Their speciality remains seafood, so their Crab Friend Rice and Coconut Crab Curry are delicious highlights. Their Tum Yum is also to die for, made with fresh galanagal, lime leaves and lemongrass.

The version [of tum yum] here hums with fresh galangal, lime leaves and lemongrass. Shrimp and knobby mushrooms simmer in a broth that gets extra body from milk, a twist I've never seen before but one I approve of. It could be spicier, but the use of bird's-eye chiles is far from shy.

Manhattan: Lan Larb

thia food

Arguably some of the best Pad Thai in the city, Lan Larb is focused mainly on the food of Thailand's northeast region. As a result, there is often a combo of meat and seafood involved in most dishes, such as the Lao Chicken Soup, which combines fresh chicken with pickled fish and a steamy brown broth. The menu will make your tastebuds whirl if you're one for experimentation, if not, their Pad Thai is iconic and filling enough on its own.

Brooklyn: Ugly Baby

Brooklyn has always been teeming with amazing Thai food joints, but Ugly Baby is the borough's most established success story. The Carrol Gardens sensation was preceded by two long gone Red Hook restaurants known for their authentic Northern Thai cuisine. With Ugly Baby, a name which comes from an ancient belief in Thailand that ugly children bring good fortune, chef Sirichai Sreparplarn had mastered his craft. The restaurant quickly gained glowing praise throughout Brooklyn and New York, and their take on Khao Soi Nuer and Kao Tod Nam Klook remain the stuff of legends.

Queens: Ayada

ayada thai

Ayada's cuisine is so good that it made a New York Times journalist cry at his table. Not out of emotion though, but out of spice. For those looking for a truly bold eating experience, this Queens Thai restaurant holds nothing back when crafting their drunken noodles or Pad Thai, but that spice is what makes it one of the best spots in the city.

Bronx: Ceetay

​While the Bronx isn't necessarily a buzzing Thai food borough, Ceetay's asian fusion cuisine is of the highest quality and will appeal to anyone desperately needing to nom on some noodles. Their sushi is amazing but their Pad Thai is packed with amazing flavor. Seasoned with onions, peppers, cabbage, carrots, mushrooms, peanuts, scallions and cilantro, this Pad Thai is packed with flavors and will slam your taste buds in the best possible way.


5 Countries to Visit This Fall

As the weather starts to chill out, we're just getting warmed up to travel

It's not winter yet!

So that means, we're all about that fall travel. It's a beautiful time of year to be outside in many countries, soaking up the colorful landscapes and fresh air. Here are our picks for the top places to visit this fall.

1. Germany


Burg Eltz Castle is a magical step back into the Middle Ages that's been here for more than 850 years.

2. Switzerland


The red leaves in Bern are absolutely striking.

3. Italy


Nothing like the sheer beauty of the formidable Italian alps.

4. Peru


Machu Picchu beckons visitors from near and far this fall.

5. Mexico


It's not too cold to skip the beach!

Everyone has heard of the murder-hotel where dark shadows creep at the edge of your vision, or the abandoned house where the furniture moves each time you leave the room.

But sometimes the places set up to capture the fun and fright of the Halloween season for paying customers can be far more horrifying than any ghost stories. These "fake" haunted houses will leave you genuinely haunted.

Pennhurst Haunted Asylum

So spoooky!

Thomas James Caldwell

Pennhurst Asylum was in operation from 1908-1987 in the small town of Spring City, Pennsylvania. While we don't have all the records of the residents' experiences there, it doesn't take much imagination to realize that this building was home to true horrors. In many ways, 1908 wasn't that long ago, but in terms of mental health treatment—especially in small-town Pennsylvania—it was absolutely the dark ages. This was the time of lobotomies, straight jackets, and shock therapy. Whatever the jump scares and fake blood contribute to the fear you will feel walking through Pennhurst Asylum's aging, echoing halls, they can't come close to the deep, sinking feeling caused by the deep history of torment that has left its imprint on the very fabric of the place. Four spooky skulls out of five.


Haunted Trap House

Like this, but less 90s

In Centreville, Maryand, in the year 1989, a group of visionaries were struck by a bolt of inspiration. What if—instead of zombies and werewolves and demons, and all the stuff out of children's nightmares—what if they filled their haunted house with the real-world nightmares that were actually infesting their city, killing their residents, and generally afflicting every corner of the entire nation. Thus, the Haunted Crack House was born. Since renamed the Haunted Trap House, it's ostensibly an educational experience on the dangers of drug use, it features simulations of overdoses, arrests, and shootings, as well as actual former convicts who are paid to draw on their real experiences to make your visit as terrifying as possible. This kind of fetishizing of human misery to capitalize on the Halloween season is as despicable as it is spooky. Four-and-a-half skulls out of five.


McKamey Manor

He technically consented to this

A $20,000 reward? A 40-page waiver? These figures have garnered a lot of attention in recent headlines. Supposedly this is the "scariest" haunted house experience in the country. Who could resist the temptation of that once-in-a-lifetime experience, combined with the chance to win a big cash prize? Unfortunately, that is exactly what Russ McKay wants. There's a reason he's put so much work into the legal side of his operation. Rather than gassing up neutered chainsaws and chasing you around in a hockey mask, McKay has opted for producing actual, real, straight-up torture. You may not find the decorations and costumes that scary, but you will absolutely fear for your life when you consent to be water-boarded with fake blood. For being operated by a man who is clearly an unhinged psychopath, McKamey Manor ties the Haunted Traphouse, with four-and-a-half spooky skulls.


Donald Vann's House of Horrors

Donald Vann murdered eleven people. Happens to the best of us, but it does present a problem. How do you dispose of all those bodies? Donald's solution was to open a haunted house and put his victims' decaying remains on display as props. Props to him. For eight months he prepared his fetid, malodorous horrors, before debuting on October 1st. Unfortunately, you won't be able to visit his house of horrors, because he has since landed in some legal trouble—board of health, maybe?—but I'm sure for the lucky few who were able to visit during its brief tenure, and witness Vann's "psychotic smirk," I'm sure the nightmares they're left with keep on spooking.


Every Hell House in America


In the same vein as the Haunted Traphouse, Hell Houses are church presentations intended as educational experiences that warn kids and teens away from the path of sin. Their methods for achieving this obviously vary, but according to The Washington Post, you can generally expect the following: "A devil ushers a gay man dying of AIDS into the fiery pit. A teenager who is raped at a drug-filled rave commits suicide and also goes to hell. A young girl hemorrhaging from an abortion repents at the last minute." Awful. Truly sickening. What kind of trauma are they inflicting on these children to prop up their outdated ideologies? Six spooky skulls. Where'd that extra skull come from?? Nobody knows…