Situated along the north shore of Lady Bird Lake in Austin’s east side neighborhood, Fiesta Gardens is a public events venue available to rent for family celebrations and festivals. In its heyday, it included an outdoor patio with a bandstand and a grandstand facing a lagoon for water-skiing stunt shows. Today, in addition to its function as an events venue, the complex houses offices and maintenance facilities for Austin’s Park and Recreations Department (PARD). The rehabilitation focuses on preserving and restoring character-defining architectural features while meeting current codes and enhancing the use of the site overall.
Originally constructed in 1966, the venue operated as a privately-owned tourist attraction on the periphery of a working-class Mexican-American neighborhood. In addition to the patio and grandstand, the complex included a dining hall and shopping stalls surrounding an interior courtyard, botanical landscapes, and a hiking trail with scenic overlooks. The master plan is split into two phases, the first of which will focus on architectural restoration and rehabilitation of the site’s dining hall, outdoor plaza, bandstand, the covered grandstand seating facing the lagoon, and the Mercado’s exterior. The second phase will reconfigure the Mercado building as a community meeting venue and relocate the PARD offices to new off-site facilities. The maintenance yard will change into a new public parking area with additional green space that connects with adjacent parks.