25 Best Things to do in Austin, Texas

Sponsored | 2 May 2011

best things to do in austin

capitol1. Texas State Capitol

The Texas State Capitol is the oldest surviving state office structure and a great place to learn about Texas history and the Texas Legislature.

Free Tours are available daily:

Mon – Fri: 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Sat: 9:30 am – 3:30 pm
Sun: Noon – 3:30 pm

If you are looking for an adventurous way to check out the grounds try a Capitol Segway Tour from Gliding Revolution.

 

photo 2-252. Baylor Street Art Wall

  1. This is one of those Austin stops that uniquely captures the essence of Austin. Once slated to be a condo project that ended up not materializing, the concert foundation has become a canvas for local graffiti artists. It is constantly changing, just like the city. While there be sure to climb to the top to get a great view of the city.  Location: 11th & Baylor Street

3. Antonelli’s Cheese Class

It doesn’t matter if you’re true cheese aficionado or a more casual cheese eater; an evening at one of Antonelli’s cheese classes is a must.

Be prepared for an evening of all things cheese. You’ll hear cheese stories, learn some history, and of course sample tons of cheese. You can bring your own beverages for a small corking fee.

4. Rocket Electrics 

rocket electrics

Rocket Electrics gives you a one-of-a-kind way to explore the city. These are not your regular ol’ bikes. They’re electric powered so when you need some extra oomph, no peddling necessary. You can rent them to explore on your own or take a tour, I highly recommend the Live Music Tour!

 

congress bridge bats 5. Congress Avenue BATS 

The Congress Bridge plays home to the largest urban bat colony in North America. About 1.5 million Mexican free tail bats call the Congress Bridge home from Spring to early Fall as they migrate north.

 Each night around dusk the bats start their evening flight. It normally starts with a single bat leaving the bridge and quickly turns into a steady flow of countless bats in search of food. It’s one of those things that is truly unexplainable until you see it first hand.

Many people choose to watch from the Congress Bridge but the real treat is seeing it from the water.  Capital Cruises offers great bat watching tours.

6. Austin Music Festivals

Austin is known for its incredible music scene. Many people from around the world travel to Austin just to attend these music events, and to get the full experience of Austin’s live music scene!

Here are some few listed below:

  • SXSW- Annual music, film, and interactive conference and festival during the month of March. A great opportunity to see up-and-coming bands and films.
  • ACL- Showcasing the music of Austin as well as other regional and national acts on 6 stages for 3 days in Zilker Park with a great view of Downtown Austin.
  • Reggae Fest- 3 day event showcasing Reggae music at Auditorium Shores in mid-April supporting the capital food bank.

and many more….

7. Zilker Park zilker kite festival

Zilker Park is a 351 acre, dog-friendly park situated in the heart of south Austin. The park offers many different types of fun outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, kayaking, jogging, and many more. The park also serves as a hub for many special events such as ACL, SWSW, Reggae fest, Zilker Kite Festival and many more.

8. Austin Eats Food Tour

Both locals and visitors enjoy this behind-the-scenes look at some of Austin’s best restaurants. One of my favorite tours is the Eastside option. It takes you to several awesome food trailers, some great brick and mortar restaurants, and a brewery!

They offer walking, van, and even electronic bike tours. I highly recommend the electronic bike option, unless it’s triple digit heat, then the AC in the van is just too good to pass up.

9. 6th street

The most famous, well know street in Austin. 6th street (formerly known as Pecan Street) serves as Austin’s heart of entertainment and nightlife scene. The old historical buildings are now used as bars, music venues, cafes, art galleries, etc. If you want to experience Austin’s crazy nightlife, 6th street is the place to go.

10. Sailboat on Lady Bird Lake sail boat lady bird

Did you know that you can take to the calm waters of Lady Bird Lake by sailboat, no experience needed? Yup, you don’t need to be on the coast to test out your sea legs. Just show up ready to learn, and after a brief tutorial (taught by the sweet local couple who own the place), you’ll be ready to set sail.

11. Swimming Holes

Barton Springs Pool is situated at the grounds of Zilker Park. It is a must-go-to place in the summer to cool off, with a 68 degree temperature all year round.

 

 

The closest thing to an oasis you’ll likely ever see. This swimming hole sits in a natural grotto carved out of limestone, and is complete with a small beach area and a 50-foot waterfall! Admittance is around $15 per vehicle, and the park usually reaches occupancy by 10am on hot summer days, so arrive early. It’s also a good idea to call before you head out as the preserve is often closed for swimming due to high bacteria levels (most commonly in the days following a rainstorm).

I almost don’t even want to share this with you, as it’s one of my favorite places on earth. But hey, welcome to   Austin- I suppose you have just as much a right to enjoy this gem as I do. This family-owned property in Spicewood Springs is what dreams are made of. Natural springs fill a concrete swimming pool on the upper part of the property and the runoff flows via waterfall into the lagoon-like swimming hole down below. You definitely don’t feel like you’re in Central Texas when you spend a day out here.

the greenbelt

This is easily one of the most popular hiking trails in the city. Unfortunately, it has been many moons since water was at bottom of the greenbelt, but it still makes for a great hike. There are over seven miles of trails that you can hike, run, or bike.

12. Get a Pedicab ride!

With Austin’s crazy nightlife, it can be tough to walk from one end of 6th street to the other especially if you are a girl wearing heels! No need to fear, pedicabs are available to take you around town! It is the easiest way to get around, avoiding the traffic, and the hassle of looking for parking. It is a unique experience you must try if you are visiting Austin.

zipline13. Lake Travis Zipline Adventures 

Thrill seekers; come one, come all! This thrilling adventure over Lake Travis will get your blood pressure pumping. Even with the lake levels low, the views while ziplining are absolutely incredible and it’s a one-of-a-kind experience. Be prepared to reach speeds of 60 mph.

14. Try Trailer Food 

There is no escaping the “trailer eatery” craze in Austin. You can find anything from sushi to cupcakes served fresh out of a trailer. Plan a day and try to eat each meal of the day from a different trailer eatery. A few of our favorites include Veracruz All Natural, Hey! You Gonna Eat or What, Burro Cheese, East Side Kings, Patrizi’s and la barbecue

epic sup

15. Kayaking/Canoeing/Rowing/SUP-ing at Lady Bird Lake (Town Lake)

Hanging out on Lady Bird Lake is one of the most relaxing (and Austin) things you can do. You can go out during the day or go for an evening cruise. Many take their kayaks and paddle boards to watch the bats fly. You can bring your own of if you are looking to rent try EpicSUP or The Rowing Dock.

texas football16. Cheer On A Texas Sport 

It doesn’t matter if you went to Texas or not. Come Saturdays in the fall Austin becomes a city obsessed with football. If you can’t score tickets to the game still find a place to tailgate (that’s half the fun)! Something about being in the land of Texas football just makes you feel alive.

17. Museums 

Austin offers many free museums.  Learn about History, Culture, Music, and Art! This is a fun activity for families to experience, explore and enjoy at no cost.

alamo-drafthouse18. Alamo Drafthouse

The Alamo Drafthouse is a well-known movie theater which offers food and drink service inside, while enjoying a movie. This theater also host different types of events and showings of all-time favorite classics first run movies. For a real treat go for a Quote-A-Long or Master Pancake showing.

19. Austin Farmers Market

The Austin Farmers’ Market is a local non-profit organization that encourages individuals to make healthy food choices and to support local farmers. Healthy, Organic, and Fresh!

Try To Win Tickets to an ACL Live Tapings20. Listen To Live Music 

You can’t come to the “Live Music Capital of The World” and not listen to live music, how unAustin of you. The Austin music scene is incomparable to any other, whatever genre of music you are feeling you will surely find it here in Austin any day. Don’t know where to start? A few of our favorite venues are Emo’s, Stubb’s, ACL Live,  and Mohawk

21. South Congress

Eclectic, hip, fashionable, and funky all combined. Surrounded by numerous restaurants, shops and music venues.

jester-king-brewery-300x200-222. Tour Local Breweries 

Austin is on the cutting edge of the microbrewery revolution. All the local breweries want to showcase their prized potions, so they offer tours that are open to the public. There’s certainly a science to the brewing process and no two companies processes are alike, so every brewery’s tour is different.

We like (512) Brewing Company, Hops & Grain, Jester King Brewery, Live Oak Brewing Co., and Thirsty Planet Brewing.

23. Eat Good Food perlas

Austin has some of the best restaurants. With different variety of restaurants that caters to any taste. Best time to explore Austin’s restaurant is during Austin Restaurant Week, partake and dine at the finest restaurants throughout the city with a lower priced menu. Some of our current favorites are Perla’sEast Side PiesQuiElizabeth Street CafeArroJustine’sJosephine Houseand Ramen Tatsu-Ya.

24. Austin Festivals and Special Events.

Austin is home to many fun festivals and special events all year round. There is always something celebrate and there is always something to do or go to.

Festivals and Events:

Keep Austin Weird 5K, Austin Fine Arts Festival, Austin Marathon, Zilker Kite Festival, Austin Film Festival, Trail of Lights, Hot Sauce Festivals and many more.

mount bonnell-225. Mount Bonnell

Mount Bonnell is considered the highest point in Austin at 775 feet. It is a popular tourist destination to view the city of Austin, Lake Austin and surrounding hills.

Bonus - Eeyore’s Birthday

Eeyore’s Birthday is a festival scheduled on the last Saturday of April in Austin’s Pease Park celebrating Eeyore’s birthday from Winnie the Pooh.This event is filled with fun things you can enjoy such as live music, drum circles, food and drinks which benefits local non-profit organizations.  Attendants are encouraged to dress up in costumes.

Comments

comments

25 Comments

  • If you like trivia, every Tuesday at 7PM, I create and host a live trivia show @ Big Daddy’s Burgers and Bar off 183 and Burnet. We offer great drink specials, fantastic creative burgers and $50, $25, and $10 for 1st-3rd. I also give away a free pitcher for the best team name. Come play!!

  • Spritzertheunicorn

    Austin is awesome!

    • BaldheadedFoo

      people say this all the time but WHY????

      • AUSTINITE

        Hey BaldheadedFoo If you don’t like it then you can GET OUT! People live in austin to get away from negative nancy’s like yourself!

        • Allan Taylor

          Love this response…perfectly Austin (only some). “I, with a superior intellect do not like your questioning and querying…I will label it as negative and shit all over you” Lol…I guess I love Austin given there is a fairly diverse number of viewpoints although the element I have to always laugh at are the ‘hard-core’ and insular self proclaimed Austinites that are more than likely transplants themselves from places such Chicago, NY, and L.A. These few are usually so liberal and critical of others who don’t drink the kool-aid, they’ll likely be the best bedpartners for likewise conservatives who listen to Rush Limbaugh.

      • princesslilly__

        Well austin isnt negative its an amazing place for fun. Keep Austin beautiful!!:)

  • Springlark26

    C-Hunts Ice House is an awesome place to spend an afternoon under a huge grapevine canopy with an ice cold beer in your hand. The place should be an Austin landmark for the building has been there long before the current owner purchased it 51 years ago. With a large beer selection and an ice trough built into the bar this place is sure to please. north burnet rd. across from the coca-cola factory!

  • Ruba Alkhaldi

    Triva Geeks who drink at 400 Rabbits bar in Alamo draft house on south slaughter on Monday’s is pretty fun … So come check it out !!!

  • Don’t forget about checking out the sunset from the Oasis!

  • Marcus Lopez

    allot of things to do

  • Deanna

    Austin parks n pizza is tha best!!!

  • SS

    I thought this was a good website until I saw number 11 in this article:

    11. Get a Pedicab ride!

    I have lived my whole life in Austin and the pedicabs are one of the worst, must un-Austin thing that has ever happened to this city. They are rude, pompous, and greedy. They drive around like they own the road, they are dangerous to cars and pedestrians, and if you say anything to them, they pack together like dogs and curse you out and physically threaten you. You are also expected to pay $20 to take 2 people 3 blocks for a job that is legally “tips only”. A regular cab would cost you 5 dollars, you get A/C or heat, and you don’t have to worry about being extorted by some narcissistic jerk.

  • BaldheadedFoo

    After reading this list I am more convinced than ever how overrated this place is. I have lived here for about 6 years now and have done about all these things, which are not a big deal compared to more interesting places in the country. Some of these things are fun to do once or twice but this place still lacks a lot of big city amenities that would make it more appealing to a wider variety of people, including children. For example, Houston/Galveston and San Antonio actually have a lot more things to do for kids (see their top 25 lists). The food scene is WAY overrated here. I have been to every highly touted place and its all bland, with the exception of Uchi’s, i’ll give you that. There are way too many techie-geekie types flooding this place, making it more bland and expensive like the SF bay area, along with tatted, self-important hipsters who are driving out the blacks and Mexicans from their neighborhoods. This is one of the few “major” cities in the country with more men than women (thanks techie-geeks) and the women here are not exactly jaw-dropping to say the least. Also, minority culture here is largely suppressed (for example, the best this city offers is a few Mexican restaurants on Chavez and a china town PLAZA, not china town but PLAZA) . It may be a white paradise for suburban-born, privileged whites but its still an overrated, increasingly expensive and congested white paradise.

    • Jeff

      It may be time for a move buddy

    • Felisha

      How are Black people and Mexicans being driven from their neighborhoods by hipsters, exactly?

      • Meggy

        While I don’t agree with the original poster on a lot of things, I will agree with him on this one. East Austin, the predominantly Hispanic neighborhood of Austin, is currently the subject of a process called gentrification. People with money buy cheap run down homes in East Austin, renovate them (or tear them down and build new bigger houses), then turn around and sell them. This increase of nice houses raises property taxes to the point where the people who originally lived in the neighborhood, poor Hispanics, can no longer afford to live there.

  • Felisha

    Probably the best place to live in Texas according to many people. There is always live music and fun local shops (e.g. Zoo Keeper). Also, free outdoorsy things. Except it’s killer hot in the summer. It’s a great place to get a job in the technology industry with Apple and Dell expanding. You don’t necessarily need a great deal of experience, either. Too bad rent is more expensive than anywhere in Texas.

    • Allan Taylor

      I agree it’s the best place to live in TX. People are generally friendly, fun, and fall all over the compass regarding views, music, and mentality. Many smart people and some don’t mind being relaxed, silly, or whimsical. Seems to be a lot of respect for the land, food, and culture while making it a nurturing environment for small business.

  • TXN by choice

    Lots to see and do, and I do like to visit. But I’m hearing folks are having trouble getting jobs (50 applicants for every decent position is one thing I’ve heard) and cost of living is pretty high there in comparison to other TX cities,— and the traffic on I 35? Always horrible! But I agree with you who say, “If you don’t like it, don’t let the “Leaving Austin” sign hit you in the butt on your way out. Would I want to live there? Not particularly! Do I enjoy visiting there? Ab-so-freakin’-lutely!

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