Austin Bucket List Archives - 365 Things to Do in Austin, TX
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Like it or not, most of us are creatures of habit—which is exactly why you need to start taking advantage of all the good stuff Austin has to offer from the moment you arrive. I recently talked to a neighborhood friend who has lived here for 19 years, but never set foot on the Lady Bird Lake Hike & Bike Trail. Don’t let that be you. Rather, set the tone for a very good life in Austin by establishing some very good habits right from the get-go.

1. Take a Hike

Natural beauty is one of the many things that sets Austin apart from other large Texas cities. Whether you want to stay urban on Lady Bird Lake, get a little taste of the wild on the Barton Creek Greenbelt or head north to St. Edwards Park, there are miles and miles and miles of trails worth exploring within Austin’s city limits.
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2. Get Acquainted with the University of Texas

From the Blanton Museum and Informal Classes to educational speakers, sports and world-class performances, UT is overflowing with cool stuff to do. It’s remarkably easy to forget it’s there, however, so put it on your radar early.
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View from the UT Tower Tour

View from the UT Tower Tour

3. Tune into KUTX (98.9)

Everything a local radio station should be, the musical ‘arm’ of our NPR station is a great place to school yourself on Austin music and culture.

4. Spend Some Time (and Money) at Waterloo Records

Around since 1982, Waterloo is a champion of local musicians and the kind of authentic place we need more of in the world. Plan to spend at least an hour browsing, then choose something new, as well as something with deeper roots, like Jerry Jeff Walker or W.C. Clark.
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5. Pick a Festival, any Festival

Austin quite possibly hosts more festivals per year than anywhere else on the planet, and there is truly something for everyone. Depending on your preferences, hit up a biggie like ACL or SXSW, something spicy like the Hot Sauce Festival, something trippy like Eyeore’s Birthday Party or something whimsical like the Kite Festival. Whatever you choose, it’s pretty darn affirming to be among masses of people enjoying the same good time you are.
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The Annual Zilker Kite Festival

6. Spend a Day in East Austin

Maybe more than anywhere else in town, East Austin is a blend of the ‘old’ ATX some are nostalgic for, and the ‘new’ hip iteration. To get some understanding of that juxtaposition, spend a day enjoying both sides of the argument. Eat breakfast somewhere classic like Cisco’s (while you still can!), hit up some art galleries and shops like Friends & Neighbors, grab a locally-brewed beer from Hops & Grain and either catch a show at the Historic Scoot Inn or eat at fancy James Beard award winner Launderette.

7. Put Live Music on Your Monthly Calendar

Sure, you talk big now about going out nightly to see shows.  Unfortunately, life and finances can get in the way, so plug in at least one night per month on your calendar. You can fill in the details later.

8. Get wet

No Austin to-do list would be complete without mentioning Barton Springs. It really is all that it’s cracked up to be. But, there are plenty of other fun places to cool off, including the Barton Creek Greenbelt, Deep Eddy, and one of the many small neighborhood pools in parks around town. They all have their perks, and they all contribute to Austin being Austin.
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9. Pay Homage at a Classic Music Venue

There’s some hallowed musical ground in this town. Make it a priority to visit at least one classic venue soon after arrival, because they probably have had more influence on the Austin vibe than anything else. To name a few noteworthy places… The Continental Club, Saxon Pub, White Horse, Ginny’s Little Longhorn Saloon, Broken Spoke and Hole in the Wall.
The dance floor at The Broken Spoke

The dance floor at The Broken Spoke

10. Start a Favorite Taco List

Don’t get into a taco routine just because there’s a good joint nearby. Pledge to visit a different one every week, and then decide which is your favorite. What will it be? Valentina’s, Tacodeli, Veracruz, Papalote, Torchy’s, or somewhere else? You won’t know if you don’t try.
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About the author: Jill Coody Smits is the author of Expedition Austin: A Kid’s Guide to the Weirdest Town in Texas. A freelance writer of many things, she lives south of the river with her husband, daughter and two four-footed sons. After nearly 20 years in Austin, she is still in love with this little big town.

Join us at St. Elmo Brewing on Thursday, February 16th for our second annual celebration of sausage. The “Kings” of the Austin sausage scene will be onsite providing off-menu sausage creations in a friendly competitive format. Tickets are limited and will go quickly.

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Included in the $26 ticket price:

  • Samples From ALL of the Sausage Purveyors (Micklethwait, Salt & Time, Soursop, Frank, Easy Tiger, Banger’s, Even Leroy, and more!)
  • Two Draft from St. Elmo Brewing
  • The smooth sounds of The Urban Achievers Brass Band
  • One voting card to nominate your favorite sausage offering (winner chosen by those in attendance!)
    GET TICKETS BUTTON YELLOW

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Photos Courtesy of BBQ Bryan and Texas BBQ Treasure Hunt. See his review of last year’s event HERE.

A Texas summer just isn’t complete without floating the river. And if you’re going to embark on this age-old journey of aquatic debauchery, you might as well do it right! This year, we’ve partnered with Austin Tour Company to offer public floats with added features that make it a floating party unlike any other.

Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday we’re offering the ultimate floating experience—we provide transportation along with your tube, ice chests, ice, and more! You can meet new friends and live it up on the river without worrying about getting home safe.

When: Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from now through September

Duration: 5 hours (roughly)

Cost: $55.00

Here’s what you can expect:

  • Pre-float special at the 6th Street Bikini’s, from 11a.m. – noon. Guests receive $3 Mimosas and Bloody Mary’s and $2 off sandwiches, burgers, and salads.
  • Pick-up at noon on the corner of 6th Street and Brazos in Downtown Austin
  • Round-trip transportation to and from San Marcos to float the river
  • We provide the coolers and ice for your convenience!
  • Includes float and one tube for you to put your coolers in per five people
  • Float lasts 3-3.5 hours depending on the speed of the river which is altered by the amount of rain we get
  • Return to Austin at approximately 5:00 p.m
  • Both the bus and the float are BYOB.

See you on the water.

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If you’ve been putting off filing your taxes until the last possible minute, then Monday, April 18 will probably be a stressful day. And when you finally do hit send, you’re going to need an escape from all that adulting.

Luckily, The Escape Game, Austin’s best interactive game, is offering a special Tax Day promotion. Instead of taking all of your money like the IRS, they want you to keep it! Enter the promo code “TAXDAY18” when you book and you can play on April 18th for only $18 (usually $31.99).

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The Escape Game Austin provides sophisticated, high-level games that will challenge even the most hardcore gamers. Solve million dollar heists, decode secret service missions, and navigate through prison passageways You have one hour. For more about the adventure, click here

Opened in May 1971, the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library is a repository and exhibition of documents, photographs, audio recordings, and personal artifacts from one of the most interesting presidencies in our nation’s history. Located on the University of Texas campus, the LBJ Library is a fascinating destination for locals and visitors alike—more than 100,000 people pass through its doors each year.

Between the Vietnam War, Civil Rights, and the counterculture movement of the 1960s, the library gives both a snapshot of Johnson’s presidency and the context necessary to understand its importance.

Of the more than 45,000 personal objects donated by the Johnson family, visitors can view clothing worn by the president and first lady at the 1964 inauguration, antiques and visual art masterworks owned by the family and their friends, and the desk where LBJ was sitting when he signed the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

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Several permanent exhibits opened on what would have been Lady Bird Johnson’s 100th birthday in December 2012, including a 7/8 scale recreation of Johnson’s Oval Office, the Johnson Presidential Limousine, and an entire exhibit dedicated to the assassination of JFK on November 22, 2963.

Current temporary exhibits include Hats Off to LBJ!, an in-depth look at the headware worn and given to the First Family and the public museum debut of the letter of condolence LBJ wrote to Martin Luther King’s widow Coretta Scott King in April of 1968 after the Civil Rights leader was assassinated.

The LBJ Library also serves as an events space for symposiums , lectures, and interviews featuring guests like MLB Hall of Famer Hank Aaron and Bob Woodward, who helped uncover the Watergate scandal as an investigative journalist at the Washington Post.

Above, from top: LBJ Library photo by Charles Bogel; LBJ Library photo by Cecil Stoughton

The Escape Game is the newest (and possibly best in our opinion) interactive game in Austin. Participants work their way through complex puzzles and multiple challenges in hopes of “escaping” the room in under an hour.

Here’s the basic rundown and some tips for first time ‘escapees’:

You and the rest of your team will be led into a room and given some brief instructions (there are 4 different game rooms each with their own theme and mission). After receiving your mission objectives, the clock starts counting down from 60 minutes…time to start looking for clues and solving puzzles to ultimately complete your goal and escape! These games are not easy, so get ready for a challenge! You’ll need to practice exceptional communication, critical problem solving skills, and a dose of creativity if you want to escape in time.

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Our group was lucky enough to play the recently opened “Gold Rush,” which is set in a cabin in the mountains. The objective of the game is to find the hidden treasure of an old, greedy gold prospector that has gone missing. Word on the street was that he gambled with the mob too much and has disappeared. Our team had to work fast and find his lost gold in under an hour. Through hidden clues and mind challenging puzzles, we worked our way through the game and escaped successfully. Sorry, we don’t want to give too much away…the mystery is half the fun! (watch game video here)

The Escape Game is perfect for friends, family, coworkers, and visitors to Austin. You can book a game for as few as one person but we suggest playing with at least one more friend to share in the experience with you. The Escape Game should absolutely be added to your list of “best things to do in Austin,” it’s definitely on ours.

Looking for something different to do this July? Sign up now and get 10% off with code ‘Summer10’ Monday-Thursday this month!


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The Paramount Theatre turned 100 this year, making it one of the longest continually operating theaters in the country! That being said, if you’ve never visited this Austin institution, it should definitely be on your bucket list.

This Sunday, they’re featuring ‘Room on the Broom

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The witch and her cat are flying happily on their broomstick – until a stormy wind blows away the witch’s hat, bow, and wand. A helpful dog, bird, and frog find the witch’s lost things and they all hop on the broom for a ride. But this broomstick is not meant for five and – CRACK – the broom snaps in two! When a hungry dragon appears, who will save the poor witch? And will there ever be room on the broom for everyone? Join us on this wild adventure! This musical adaptation will celebrate friendship, the fall season, and the wonderful world that author Julia Donaldson has created. Wear your Halloween costumes one more time!

Based on the book by Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler
Produced by Tall Stories Theatre Co. London, England

This is the perfect Sunday event for the whole family, and a great opportunity to take in the Paramount in all its glory. Tickets are available via the button below:

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If you’re dying to celebrate the harvest season at the number two Oktoberfest in the country as voted by US Today, you’ve probably already made plans to attend Wurstfest this year. From November 6th through the 15th, people from around the state will gather in New Braunfels to celebrate German culture, and to party like crazy.

Attendees will sample German-style fare, dance to the live bands, and take in the various Alpine and Bavarian style shows that celebrate the fall. The Wurstfest grounds are in New Braunfel’s Landa Park, but there are various other events and activities going on throughout the town and Comal County.

The best week in sausage brings some of the best German fare right to Austin’s backyard and chances are you’re going to want to wash it all down with a beer… or four. Needless to say, a designated driver is a must.

Photo by Reddit user: svartorn

Photo by Reddit user: svartorn

We’re partnering up with Austin Tour Company this year to make sure you make it to the fest and back in one piece. We’re offering round-trip transportation on our sweet party busses for only $40 per person. Parking for Wurstfest is actually offsite, so you still end up taking a bus from the parking area to the grounds if you decide to drive yourself. Our busses pick up in Austin and deliver and pick up to/from the front gates of the fest. Your first beer on the bus is on us, byob for the rest.

Additionally, the $40 doesn’t just cover the ride; it gets you into the festival! We get the party started early with fun music and the hilarious movie Beerfest to entertain you on the ride home. We also provide a little education (we promise, it’s not boring!) on the history of the festival and why it’s so significant in Central Texas.

Once we’re at the Wurstfest Grounds, you have three hours to enjoy the festival to your heart’s desire. Then we’ll be waiting for your group at the entrance ready to safely bring you back to Austin. It’s as easy as that.

Wanna learn more? Check out the Wurstfest official site for more information about the sausage party and book your spot on one of our Austin Tour Company party buses here. It’s a small price to pay for a time you won’t soon forget… if only you could remember.

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Cover photo courtesy of Do512 Family.

Only two short years ago, one could count pizza delivery options in Austin on two hands. The choices were those inedible national chains, or Gatti’s/Austin’s Pizza, and a few others (we still love you Conan’s).

Oh, how the times have changed. With Favor Delivery, pizza is a few clicks away from anywhere that offers take-out. In fact, a large pie from my favorite shop for thin-crust, East Side Pies, was the first Favor order I completed.

I included a few newcomers on the list, so hopefully there are a few places you haven’t tried. Take into consideration that your favorite spot might not be on the list purely because it’s not in the Favor delivery zone. Or it could be that we haven’t tried it! Feel free to hit us up on Facebook with your recommendations.

In no particular order:

9. Bufalina

When it first opened, one could expect to wait hours to get a table. They’ve recently (and quietly) begun to allow takeout orders. Take advantage. It’s the best neapolitan pie in the city.

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8. Spartan Pizza

The trailer-turned-brick and-mortar on East 6th is open until 3am on weekends. Skip that Whataburger line and order from the safety of your own living room.

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7. Lucky’s Puccias & Pizzeria

Known for his puccias (authentic wood fired Italian sandwiches), Lucky recently opened a brick and mortar on West 5th. The pizzas are as crave-able as his signature sandwiches.

6. The Backspace

Parkside’s sister restaurant serves up really great wood-fired pies. Pro-tip: Whatever you order, be sure to “put an egg on it.”

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5. 40 North

This South First Street newcomer has quickly climbed into our top ten. Try the Hot Honey if you’re into eating things that taste good.

4. East Side Pies

As mentioned above, if you’re a fan of thin-crust, look no further. ESP sources local ingredients whenever possible, and that extra level of care is reflected in the quality of their cracker-thin pies. (Why is this pizza on rocks? I don’t know either)

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3. Little Deli & Pizza

This Crestview neighborhood gem gets very little press considering it makes one of the best New York style pies in the city.

2. Homeslice Pizza

Loved by tourists and locals alike, no list would be complete without a nod to Homeslice. They also take the cake (pie?) for the most often Favor-ed pizza joint in Austin.

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1. Via 313

Before you say, “but I don’t like deep-dish pizza,” let me comment that I didn’t either until I tried Via 313. Furthermore, I haven’t met a person who has tried it that hasn’t fallen in love.

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Want to find out if you’re in Favor’s delivery zone? Check out the map.

25 Things To Do This In Austin This Spring

By 365 Things To Do In Austin, Texas

Here's a checklist of things to do in Austin this Spring! 

  • #1 – Austin Food & Wine Festival

    By 365 Things To Do In Austin, Texas

    The lineup gets more impressive each year. This year is no different and features renowned local and national chefs.

  • #2 – Lone Star Round Up

    By 365 Things To Do In Austin, Texas

    This event for car enthusiasts is one of the best the city offers. The show started over ten years ago as a small gathering on a football field, and has grown into a huge event with cars from all over the country. Some have even gone as far as to call it the best car show in America!

  • Movies In The Park at Republic Square Park

    By 365 Things To Do In Austin, Texas

    Throughout Spring & Summer Austin Parks partners with organizations to host FREE movies in the park! See website for a full schedule. 

  • Yoga In The Park

    By 365 Things To Do In Austin, Texas

    Free yoga classes are held every Wednesday from noon to 1 p.m. in April, May, and September. 

  • Moontower Comedy and Oddity Festival

    By 365 Things To Do In Austin, Texas

    The Moontower Comedy and Oddity Festival brings together some of the country's most renowned comedians and a ton of local talent for days of non-stop laughs. The comedians do everything from stand-up and sketch to improv.   

  • UMLAUF Garden Party

    By 365 Things To Do In Austin, Texas

    The UMLAUF Garden Party is a chance to spend an evening at the Sculpture Gardens in a one of a kind setting. They’ll have wine, bites from the city’s most iconic restaurants, and both live and silent auctions. 

  • Untapped Festival

    By 365 Things To Do In Austin, Texas

    Austin is a city that loves its beer. Forthe first time ever, the Untapped Indie Music and Beer Festival is coming toAustin. They’ll have 65 breweries and 200 beers at Carson Creek Ranchfor a day of boozing and listening to music. I think this festival is going tofit right into the Austin scene.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

  • KGSR's Unplugged at The Grove

    By 365 Things To Do In Austin, Texas

    The longest running free concert series in Austin is back for its 22nd Season! They have $3.50 Ziegenbock drafts, good food and great music! It's always fun and a great way to spend Thursday evenings throughout the summer. This event is an Austin staple! 

  • The NIGHTOWLS Vinyl Release Show

    By 365 Things To Do In Austin, Texas

    Austin’s favorite soul band is releasing its debut vinyl, “Good As Gold,” and they’re having a party to celebrate!  

  • Buda Weiner Dog Races

    By 365 Things To Do In Austin, Texas

    This is exactly what the title suggests, wiener dog racing. It’s entertaining and the money goes to a good cause. 

  • Eeyore's Birthday Party

    By 365 Things To Do In Austin, Texas

    Keeping Austin Weird doesn't fully describe this festival. The crowd is, well, eccentric. Picture hundreds of people in costume, dancing, sitting in drum circles, and running around Maypoles to celebrate the birthday of a fictional donkey. 

  • Pecan Street Festival

    By 365 Things To Do In Austin, Texas

    It’sthe season for one of Austin’s oldest and longest running festivals. If you’ve never been, it’s a gigantic street fair with music, art, kids activities, jewelry, giant turkey legs and all kinds of other cool stuff. It’s actually the largest art festival in Central Texas, attracting over 300,000 people!

  • 3rd Annual Texas Olive Festival

    By 365 Things To Do In Austin, Texas

    The Texas Olive Festival focuses on way more than just olives! They have cooking classes and demos, food and wine tastings from local restaurants, orchard tours, activities for the entire family, movie nights, live music and more fun! 

  • Reckless Kelly Celebrity Softball Jam

    By 365 Things To Do In Austin, Texas

    Nothing says spring like spending some time at the ballpark. Celebrities, musicians and professional athletes play nine innings and after the game fans are invited out on the field for a family friendly concert.  

  • O. Henry Pun-Off

    By 365 Things To Do In Austin, Texas

    We just had the annual adult spelling bee, and now it’s time for the O.Henry Pun-Off. This hilariously creative event has become an Austin staple, and it never disappoints. 

  • Derby In the City Music Festival

    By 365 Things To Do In Austin, Texas

    Leave it to Austin to turn “the most exciting 2 minutes in sports” into a music festival. Derby In The City will air the Kentucky Derby on their jumbotron while artists play throughout the day. Come dressed in your Derby best. 

  • Ballet Under The Stars

    By 365 Things To Do In Austin, Texas

    Each spring, the Austin Metamorphosis Dance Ensemble does BalletUnder The Stars and it’s a favorite every year! It’s not that often you get to watch ballet under the moonlight,so get out there and enjoy what is a pretty unique opportunity. 

  • Music In The Park at Mueller

    By 365 Things To Do In Austin, Texas

    Music in the Park is a FREE event in Mueller's Lake Park Amphitheater. Rich Restaino and the Obits will be performing from 6-8pm. Bring a blanket and picnic and enjoy the music. 

  • UT Orange-White Scrimmage

    By 365 Things To Do In Austin, Texas

    This is the closest you’ll be able to get to Longhorn Football this Spring. 

  • Louisiana Swamp Thing Festival

    By 365 Things To Do In Austin, Texas

    If you love everything cajun, this is the event for you. It features eight Louisiana bands, and some amazing food vendors who selling everything from Jambalaya to Alligator. Do you like crawfish? The Louisiana Swamp Thing & Crawfish Festival has 7,000 pounds of boiled Live Crawfish!  

  • Art City Austin

    By 365 Things To Do In Austin, Texas

    In 2015, Austin’s iconic art fair prepares for its 65th year! With an annual attendance of 20,000, this juried art fair is the biggest and best art marketplace in central Texas.

  • Becker Vineyard's Lavender Festival

    By 365 Things To Do In Austin, Texas

    Sip and swirl with live music, artisans and lavender fields in bloom. There will be lavender products, plants, vendors, cooking demos, guest speakers, culinary delights, concessions, wine tasting & tours, vintner luncheons, music and much more. 

  • Lonestar Jam

    By 365 Things To Do In Austin, Texas

    The biggest Texas Country concert in the Austin, TX area each year. The 2015 Jam will be held at The LBJ Library Lawn on campus at The University of Texas at Austin on Saturday, May 2nd and Sunday, May 3rd.

  • Easy Sunday at Easy Tiger

    By 365 Things To Do In Austin, Texas

    $1 Austin Beerworks Cans, a Ping-Pong tournament, and general "taking it easy" will ensue. Windmill Bicycles will have a pop-up shop and there will also be screen-printing by Fine Southern Gentleman. One person in attendance will win a Fairdale bike!

  • MJ&M

    By 365 Things To Do In Austin, Texas

    Mack Brown, Jack Ingram and Matthew McConaughey joined forces a few years ago all in the name of charity.