25 Best Things To Do in Austin for Locals and Visitors
Austin has been named ‘The Best City in America’ by dozens of publications in recent years. An influx in population has changed the city in many ways, but this list strives to feature activities that both visitors and locals alike should include on their bucket lists for THE BEST THINGS TO DO IN AUSTIN.
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! They now require reservations during the busy summer months so be sure to make reservations before heading to the pool.
There’s no feeling “tourist-y” while cruising around town on a Fat Tire Electric Minibike. Create your own bike gang and experience the city like you never have before.
Tours run daily, and passengers ride for free! Kids are welcome. 7yrs+ to ride and 16+ to drive. It’s an incredible bonding experience for couples, families, friends, or co-workers.
23. Drink Margaritas
Our city offers some of the best tequila and mezcal variations in the country. Visitors and locals alike should be sure to try some (or all) of our favorites.
An excellent indoor activity when you’re looking to beat the heat. This list includes some of our favorites.
If you’re looking for an escape room in Austin, this one is our favorite by a landslide. They have multiple experiences to choose from, and we’ve loved them all, but ‘Gold Rush’ (pictured above) is our number one recommendation.
20. Exploring East, West, And Dirty 6th Street
Each section of the world-famous street has its own unique character, and reasons for visiting. Which face of Sixth Street is right for you?
One of Austin’s most unique tour experiences, Haunted ATX offers Austin’s only mobile Haunted tour. Travel in an authentic Cadillac hearse that has been converted into a spooky limousine and explore downtown Austin’s landmarks as you learn the real history of the destinations and the murder mysteries behind Austin’s ghost stories. Gain inside access to various stops including the Driskill hotel, the Tavern, the Clay Pit, UT campus, and more.
Tours are BYOB and VIP (private tours) are available. Haunted ATX also features some of Austin’s hippest tour guides to entertain you and your guests for a fun night out, special date night, or family bonding adventure. If you enjoy history, spooky stories, fantastic photo opportunities, and a possible glimpse into the paranormal, don’t miss this tour! Learn more about Haunted ATX here.
Hitting the lake is definitely one of our favorite summertime activities, and our friends at Float On Boat Rentals offer the best access to both lakes, boat captain optional.
Where you’re from they may call them breakfast burritos, but in Austin, we’re all about that taco life. Check out some of our favorites of the breakfast variety listed here.
This thrilling adventure over Lake Travis will get your blood pumping. The views over the lake while ziplining are absolutely incredible, and it’s a one-of-a-kind experience. Be prepared to reach speeds of 60 mph.
Because did your trip to Austin really happen if there aren’t pictures? You can find the location of this mural and some of our other favorites here.
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. It’s also a great location to setup a blanket and do some people watching.
Tipster, Austin’s first pay-what-you like walking tours, have officially started walking in Austin! These local tours are super fun, affordable, and a great experience for visitors and locals alike.
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.
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.
Wurstfest was voted the number two Oktoberfest in the country by USA Today! This “10-Day Salute To Sausage” in New Braunfels is one of our favorite festivals of the year. With sausage, beer, polka and potato pancakes as far as the eye can see, it’s a Bavarian wonderland that’s not to be missed.
The Texas State Capitol is the oldest surviving state office structure, and a great place to learn about Texas history.
One of the best ways to check out Downtown Austin is from the water. Lady Bird Lake (or Town Lake as some locals still 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 Paddle-boards for rental.
7. Take A Stroll Down South Congress
Eclectic, hip, fashionable, and funky all combined. Surrounded by numerous restaurants, shops, and music venues. Also a cool view of the Capitol and downtown skyline from the top of the hill.
Central Texas is often referred to as the gateway to the Hill Country, and with the hills come beautiful trails, streams, and greenbelts that are absolutely perfect for outdoor adventures.
Mount Bonnell is the highest point in Austin at 775 feet. It’s a popular destination for both tourists and locals to view the city of Austin, Lake Austin, and the surrounding hills.
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.
3. Sink Your Teeth Into Local BBQ
Central Texas has long been famous for its brisket and other smoked meats, but now some of the most highly praised joints in Austin reside within the city limits. We highly recommend la Barbecue, Valentina’s Tex Mex, Micklethwait Craft Meats, and of course, Franklin BBQ.
2. Listen To Live Music
You can’t come to the “Live Music Capital of The World” and not listen to live music, how un-Austin of you. Don’t know where to start? A few of our favorite venues are Emo’s, Stubb’s, ACL Live, and the Mohawk.
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.