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|
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
The Hill Country begins just west of Austin and is known for it’s beautiful rolling landscapes, and more recently, for its world-class breweries and distilleries. Our friends at Austin Tour Company have created a tour by bus that hits several of our favorite venues, and includes complimentary tastings (including pizza!) in the tour’s ticket price. Tours depart from Downtown Austin every Saturday at Noon.
We’ve tried several of the escape/puzzle games that have popped up in Austin over the last few years, but The Escape Game Austin has been our favorite by a landslide. They have multiple experiences to choose from, (and we’ve loved them all) but “Gold Rush” is our number one recommendation, with “Prison Break” (pictured below) as a close second!
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. You can also rent them privately which make for great birthdays or corporate events. Here’s an insider secret, if you don’t have a big group look into Duffy Boat rentals, I do them every time I have company in town and they’re always a hit!
One of the best ways to check out Downtown Austin is from the water. Lady Bird Lake (or Town Lake as some locals call it) runs from the Westside of the city, all the way past Highway 35 into East Austin. The water is calm enough for a peaceful day trip or a sunset paddle. Be sure to bring your beverage of choice and a waterproof camera or ziplock bag for your phone; you’re going to want to take pictures!
The Rowing Dock is located on the Southern shore of the lake just West of MoPac (Loop 1), and they offer a wide selection of kayaks, canoes, and Stand Up Paddleboards for rental at competitive prices.
7. Zilker Park
Zilker Park is a 351 acre, dog-friendly park situated in the heart of Austin. It serves as a hub for many special events such as ACL, SWSW, The Zilker Kite Festival and many more. The park offers many different types of fun outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, jogging, kayaking, paddle boarding, and kayaking.
One of the best ways to experience a region is by exploring the food that is grown there. Austin has several farmers markets that are open on multiple days of the week.
The most well known party-street in Austin is still 6th Street, but in recent years Rainey Street has given it a run for its money. There are a plethora of older homes that have been turned into bars, and most of them have great outdoor patios. There are also several really great dining options in the neighborhood as well.
10. Hiking Trails
Central Texas is often referred to as the gateway to the Hill Country, and with those hills come beautiful trails, streams, and greenbelts that are absolutely perfect for outdoor adventures.
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.
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. Brewery Tours
Looking for a departure from the 6th Street bars? Austin is regularly ranked as one of the top cities in the nation for craft brewing. Take a tasting tour of the local microbreweries such as Jester King, Hops & Grain, and Austin Beerworks. Drink yummy craft beer, meet awesome people.
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 zip-lining 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.
Just 30 minutes south of Austin, the San Marcos river is the ultimate destination for the dog days of summer. Pack up a cooler (no glass), a waterproof bag for the items you don’t want to get wet, and our friends at Austin Tour Company will take care of the rest! Floats are available Friday-Sunday all summer long.
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.
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.
18. 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. 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’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.
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 highly recommend using the Austin Brew Bus. They offer various tours each month that include several of the best breweries in town. The guides are extremely knowledgeable and the busses are cool, clean and comfortable.
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’s, East Side Pies, Qui, Elizabeth Street Cafe, Arro, Justine’s, Josephine House, and Ramen Tatsu-Ya.
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.
25. 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.
BONUS: 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.