Free things to do in Austin Archives - 365 Things to Do in Austin, TX

If you’ve been downtown, heck, if you’ve waited patiently in traffic on South Congress as would-be photographers clog the center of the street, their cameras pointed north at the spectacular view, you’ve seen the Texas State Capitol. It’s the focal point of this beautiful city—an ornate building full of history, symbolism, and maybe a few ghosts. You’ve probably admired the exterior and walked around the grounds, but when was the last time you took an official tour? Here’s a primer for Texans, transplants, and tourists alike.

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When the Texas State Capitol was completed in 1888, it was the seventh largest building in the world. Now, of course, knocked way off that list, the home of the Texas Legislature and the Office of the Governor is still the sixth-tallest state capitol in the country, and, at 308-feet-tall, is actually taller than the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.

In 1983, the 68th Texas Legislature created the State Preservation Board in order to preserve, maintain, and restore the Capitol, which was later designated a National Historic Landmark in 1986. In 1993, the Capitol grounds were expanded north, and from 1995-96 the south grounds were restored. Today, visitors can explore the building for free, seven days a week. A new tour leaves from the South Foyer every 20 minutes.

The best way to tour the Capitol is to allow yourself a couple hours. You can take a guided tour of the actual building, which takes about 30 minutes, walk around the 22-acre Capitol grounds, and stop by the adjacent Bullock Museum, and learn about how Texas became what it is today. Of course, self-guided tours are allowed from 7 a.m.- 10 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m.- 8 p.m. weekends. Stop in the Capitol Grille for lunch or dinner if you have the time.

In addition to the normal tours, groups of 10 or more can take specialty tours, including Women in Texas History, The Texas Revolution, Texas Veterans Tour, and Rest in Peace, a tour centered around the urban myths and ghost stories of the Capitol offered around Halloween.

If you haven’t been inside since elementary school, it’s time for a field trip.

 

The city’s longest running free music series is back for its 26th season, and they’re ready to rock out this summer at Zilker Park.

MAY 25
AN  CELEBRATION
MIKE FLANIGIN’S THE DRIFTER 
BILLY GIBBONS ★ JIMMIE VAUGHAN ★ CHARLIE SEXTON
PETERSON BROTHERS
JUNE 22
WILD CHILD 
MAX FROST 
JULY 13
HAYES CARLL 
CARSON MCHONE 
AUGUST 12
SWEET SPIRIT ★ THE SUFFERS 

Admission: free

Location:
Zilker Park
2100 Barton Springs Road
Austin, Texas 78704

http://www.kgsr.com/botg/

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Whole Foods Lamar 

When: Saturdays in April

Time: 10am

Location:
Whole Foods Lamar
524 North Lamar
Austin, Texas 78701
Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 11.58.45 AMYoga at The Domain

When: Mondays & Wednesdays

Time: 7:00 p.m.

Location:
The Domain – Lawn near iPic Theaters
Austin, Texas

Yoga on The Dock at Alta’s Cafe

When: Sundays

Time: 6:30 pm

Location:
Alta’s Cafe
74 Trinity Street
Austin, Texas 78701

Pints & Poses at Hyatt Regency

When: Second Monday of the month

Time: 6:30 pm

Location:
Hyatt Regency
208 Barton Springs Road
Austin, Texas 78704

Balcones District Park – Yoga for Beginners  – 

When: Saturdays in April & May

Time: 9:00 am

Location:
Balcones District Park
12017 Amherst Dr.
Austin, Texas 78759

Dick Nichols Park – Yoga/Pilates Combo  

When: First & Third Tuesday in April – September

Time: 6:00 pm April & May | 6:30 June – September

Location:
Dick Nichols Park
8011 Beckett Rd.
Austin, Texas 78749

Dove Springs Recreation Center – Bilingual Yoga – Visit Site for OFFICIAL START DATE

When: Wednesdays

Time: 7:30 pm

Location:
Dove Springs Recreation Center
5801 Ainez Dr.
Austin, Texas 78744

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Republic Square Park – Hatha Yoga

When: Wednesdays in April and May

Time: 12:00 pm

Location:
Republic Square Park
422 Guadalupe Street
Austin, Texas 78701

Wooldridge Square Park – Kids and Family Yoga

When: Third Sunday of the Monday

Time: 11am in spring and fall | 9:30am during June, July and August.

Location:
Wooldridge Square Park
900 Guadalupe Street
Austin, Texas 78701

 

Yesterday I took a free yoga class on the dock at Alta’s Cafe and it was amazing. Something about doing yoga next to the water was so soothing.

Today a new series launches at Hyatt Regency called Pints & Poses and it will happen on the second Monday of each month. The classes will be led by Austin yogi Ferny Barcelo, from Six Elephants Yoga, and she’ll be assisted by back-up instructor Zuzu Perkal, from Blackbird Fitness.

The one-hour class will be held in the Foothills Ballroom, which provides views of Lady Bird Lake and skyline views of downtown Austin from the hotel’s 17th floor. It will be a relaxing and smooth Vinyasa flow yoga.

Following the class, participants will receive a coupon for a complimentary draft beer at Hyatt Regency Austin’s Marker 10 bar. Freshly squeezed juice and citrus-infused water will also be available throughout the event.

Guests will receive a validation ticket for parking in the hotel garage.

Admission: Free

When: Second Monday of the month

Time: 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Location:
Hyatt Regency
208 Barton Springs Road
Austin, Texas 78704

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Please consider using Lyft for a safe ride home. Good news: Lyft, the app that gets you rides in minutes, is the official ridesharing partner of 365 Things Austin. Even better news: You get $20 off your first ride.

Here’s how it works:
1. Download the Lyft app
2. Request a ride & go

Austin is full of sprawling green spaces and beautiful scenery, but no destination compares to the mecca of outdoor fun: Zilker Park. It’s comprised of 351 acres that were donated to the city in three parts by a local banker named Andrew Jackson Zilker. This included the surrounding spring-fed pool now known as Barton Springs. These days the park is regularly bustling with festivals, performances, and holiday celebrations. For locals, it’s an essential part of living the good life in Austin. Here are the things you don’t want to miss.

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For the Kids

Do you have kids? Kids love trains, trees, and kites. If it’s the first Sunday in March you’ll want to take your little one to visit the Zilker Kite Festival where you’ll revel in hundreds of colorful kites dotting the big Texas sky. If you find yourself looking for an activity on a December evening, take the tykes to see the magnificent 155-foot-tall Zilker Tree, lit up bright with more than 3,000 lights. If it’s literally any other time of the year between 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., take a ride on the Zilker Zephyr, a miniature train that takes a 20-minute tour of the park.

zilker zephyr

 

Nature

Do you enjoy plants and outdoor sculptures? It sounds like the Zilker Botanical Garden and Umlauf Sculpture Garden are for you. At the botanical garden, check out the rose, cactus, and herb gardens, plus the butterfly and escarpment trails. Opened in 1991 with pieces donated by sculptor Charles Umlauf, the Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum is a xeriscaped garden filled with a waterfall, streams, and, of course, dozens of bronze and stone sculptures at which to look at and ponder life peacefully.

Cooling Down

Do you like to swim? This is a trick question, because everyone likes to swim. Barton Springs Pool is a three-acre, spring-fed pool that is consistently between 68-70 degrees. Now this may seem frigid, but if there’s a better cure for a hangover in 100-degree weather than a dip in the springs, we haven’t found it yet. It’s open most days, except for a large chunk of Thursday, when this federally protected habitat is methodically cleaned. The endangered Barton Springs Salamander is thankful for this.

barton springs

Lastly, there’s some recent good news and bad news in regards to Zilker Park. Bad news first? You know those parking meters that have sprung up all over the East Side in the past year? They’ve made their way to Lou Neff Road at the northeast end of the park as of March 5. The good news is, these meters are seasonal, meaning they’ll coincide with festival season, and turned off after Labor Day, according to KLBJ.

Hey North Austin, this is your chance to start the week of right! FXfit is offering free yoga on the lawn at The Domain on Monday and Wednesday evenings.

Bring your own mat and water and you’ll be good to go.

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When: Mondays & Wednesdays

Time: 7:00 p.m.

Location:
The Domain – Lawn near iPic Theaters
Austin, Texas

https://www.facebook.com/thedomainaustin/?fref=ts

KGSR has released their line up for the 23rd season of Unplugged at The Grove. This is Austin’s longest running free concert series! It’s a pretty great line-up.

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Admission: Free

When: Thursdays – August 25th

Time: 8pm

Location:
Shady Grove
1624 Barton Springs Road
Austin, Texas 78704

http://www.kgsr.com/unplugged-2016

April 7 SWEET SPIRIT
April 14 EMILY WOLFE
April 21 IAN MOORE
May 5 DIRTY RIVER BOYS
May 19 CHARLIE MARS
June 9 HARVEST THIEVES
June 16 ALEJANDRO ESCOVEDO
June 23 RAY WYLIE HUBBARD
June 30 JAMES MCMURTRY
July 7 SHANE SMITH & THE SAINTS
July 14 THE REVEREND HORTON HEAT & DALE WATSON 
August 4 THE DAMN QUAILS
August 18 THE ROCKETBOYS
August 25 JACKIE VENSON

Free sunset yoga on the terrace at Whole Foods is still happening and should be the perfect dose of zen after a long first weekend of SXSW. Every Monday and Wednesday in March they’ll host a sunset yoga session at 7 p.m. This is a quintessentially Austin thing to do and an amazing way to kick off your work week. Namaste!

Advice: Get there early to snag a spot!

What to Bring: Water and a mat

When: Mondays & Wednesdays in March

Time: 7 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Location:
Whole Foods Downtown
524 North Lamar Blvd.
Austin, Texas 78701

Today is Texas Independence Day! That calls for doing something especially Texan today. I was in Austin for almost half a decade before I finally made it to the Capitol to explore. Now, I find myself there every few months roaming the grounds. It is absolutely breath taking and I learn something new every time.

Here are some Texas Capitol Facts:

  • It is the largest state capitol building in the United States
  • In 2007 it was ranked the 92nd “America’s Favorite Architecture” place by the American Institute of Architects, in the 2008 poll it was ranked the #1 State Capitol.
  • 17 monuments surround the Texas Capitol
  • Central Air Conditioning was installed in 1955

They offer FREE guided tours that are generally 45 minutes and are available during the following times:

Monday – Friday, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Saturday, 9:30 am – 3:30 pm
Sunday, Noon – 3:30 pm

Parking is available in the Capitol Visitors Parking Garage at 1201 San Jacinto located between Trinity and San Jacinto Streets at 12th and 13th streets. Parking is free for the first two hours and $1.00 for each half hour thereafter

http://www.tspb.state.tx.us/tspb.htm

Happy Leap Day!

Free sunset yoga on the terrace at Whole Foods is back! Every Monday and Wednesday in February and March they’ll host a sunset yoga session at 7 pm. You can’t beat it. Yoga on the terrace at Whole Foods, how Austin can you get.

Advice: try to get there early to snag a spot!

All you need to bring is water and a mat.

When: Mondays & Wednesdays in February & March

Time: 7 pm – 8pm

Location:
Whole Foods Downtown
524 North Lamar Blvd.
Austin, Texas 78701

https://www.facebook.com/events/1547861322191395/