One of the most intriguing activities in Austin also happens to be one of the most difficult to accomplish. That's the bad news. The good news--for the lucky few that are chosen to attend a taping of the Austin City Limits TV show, attendance is completely free.
The show, a long-time favorite that airs on PBS, tapes 25 shows each year. The dates vary, based on the availability of the schedule of the featured musician or band. Tapings take place at the ACL Live at Moody Theatre, located adjacent to the W Hotel in downtown Austin, at the corner of Second Street and Lavaca Streets.
Tickets are distributed through random selection of interested music fans who register for the lottery that takes place for each show. Fans can register for the lottery and select their show at the ACL website.
The shows feature big-name musicians and bands performing in the comfy environs of the TV set, which is a much smaller venue than these acts play at during their regular concert stops. As a result, the shows are known to be extremely intimate, with an experience much different that a standard concert performance. For this same reason, demand is very high for a limited number of seats, so "lottery" is a fairly accurate way of describing the chances of any given fan being granted access tickets.
Tapings of the Austin City Limits show shouldn't be confused with the Austin City Limits Music Festival, which takes place each year in Austin in late summer/early fall. Tickets to this festival also generally sell out, but there's a much better chance of seeing the show you're interested in.