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

It’s all things free tonight—free yoga, free snacks, and a free swim at Barton Springs! Summer At The Springs is happening every Monday night through August on the Zilker hillside. Yoga teacher trainees will be leading the classes and getting you in the zone. Follow @practiceyogaaustin on Insta for updates on the weather.

When: Today, July 9th

Time: 7:30 – 10:00 p.m.

Location:
Barton Springs/Zilker park
2100 Barton Springs Road
Austin, TX 78704

Come explore one of Austin’s most beautiful treasures with your best friend! It’s Dog Day at Zilker Botanical Garden! The Garden is actually dog friendly every day, but this is an extra special day where the Garden is all about pups! Well-socialized, well-behaved dogs on leash are welcome, but they must remain on leash at all times. And, of course, dog owners are responsible for their dogs’ behavior… and for scooping up after them.

Here’s what you can expect:
• An adorable photo op with your dog,
• Learn about dog-friendly opportunities in Austin Parks and responsible pet etiquette that helps keep our Parks safe for all!
• Doggedly good amenities and things to dig into!

Dog bowls and cooling off stations will be available around the Garden and anyone with a dog will receive a doggie bag with a dog treat, pooper scooper bag, and a stylish bandana for your favorite canine!

When: Today, July 7th

Time: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Location:
Zilker Botanical Garden
Austin, Texas 78746

The Zilker Summer Musical is a beloved Austin tradition, and this year the production is celebrating its 60th season! For a whopping 60 years, they’ve been putting on first-rate Broadway musicals at the park’s Hillside Theatre to audiences packed with families taking it all the magic for free. To celebrate this big anniversary, this summer the company is bringing us the Elvis-themed All Shook Up, which features the legendary singer’s top hits. The show opens on July 16, but if you can’t make the premiere, you’ll have 25 other chances this summer, every Thursday through Sunday until August 18.

Click here for all the details, including donor preview parties and insider access to the show.

A few pro tips for the uninitiated: Get there a couple of hours early to secure your spot with a blanket and some low-backed chairs, then go for a swim in Barton Springs! You’ll be so glad you did. It’s like natural air conditioning that lasts throughout the show. And pack a big picnic—everyone gets snacky at this thing.

When: Thursdays – Sundays through August 18th

Time: 8:15 p.m. (There are two acts, with a quick intermission!)

Location:
Zilker Hillside Theatre
2201 Barton Springs Road
Austin, 78746

While planning a power-bonding group activity for my co-workers recently, I was struggling with the decidedly un-cool nature of the options. A pub on wheels? No thanks. A Segway tour? They’d never forgive me. Or trust falls? Oh God, no. I didn’t want to embarrass these people, I wanted to have a fun with them!

Thankfully, because of this very site, I came across Your Biker Gang, which bills itself as one of the funnest things to do in Austin. This company helps you create your own motorcycle gang, but subs in fat-tired electric minibikes for the motorcycles, which are so much safer and completely glee-inducing.

I can tell you now that when I surprised my beloved colleagues with this outing, I became, for that brief shining moment, the hero of our office. When we arrived at their headquarters in West Austin, our little gang of nine were outfitted with helmets and bandanas by our fearless leader and road captain, Cope. We also had what’s called a “sweeper,” a super nice guy who held up the tail end of the crew and kept us all very very safe.

After a quick tutorial and training on the bikes in a parking lot, we were out on the open road, with Cope blasting classic biker gang tunes from a giant speaker on his bike. I immediately wanted to buy one of these bikes and I still do. It’s a little intimidating at first, but once you learn to trust this speedy little machine and lean into your turns (top speed is 20 mph) you become one with the bike and basically feel like you can do anything. Anything! Like riding in Downtown Austin traffic.

As someone who has grown up in this city, and takes its beauty for granted on a daily basis, I can tell you that this is an amazing way to see Austin. As we biked over the pedestrian bridge on Lady Bird Lake, through Zilker Park, and along Waller Creek, I fell in love with this place all over again. The wind was blowing our hair back, people were looking at our crew with total envy, and Cope was doing stunts at the front like a badass. We were the happiest Hell’s Angels you ever did see.

If you need an activity to entertain a crew, whether they are family, friends, coworkers, or total strangers, Your Biker Gang will be a hit, I promise. They will customize the tour for your group so you can get history and trivia and see the big sights like murals, statues, the UT campus, and more.  Or—if you are locals like us—you can just have a joyride and stop for tacos on the way. These bikes are easy to ride and the concept is as feel-good as it gets.

It’s time to jump on your electric hog and get lost for a while. Be a group-activity-planning hero for once. The road is calling!

It’s still pretty nippy out there, but spring is barking at our door. Get ready by bringing some new life into your house! This is just what it sounds like. Swap your pots, seeds, and plants. If you don’t have any plants to swap, you can make a small donation (proceeds go to HOPE Farmers Market).

P.S. Street parking along the market is free on Sundays.

When: Today, February 11th

Time: 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Location:
HOPE Farmers Market
412 Comal Street
Austin, TX 78702

This is Antonelli’s Cheese Shop’s 8th year in a row to offer over 225 cheese plates at over ten Austin restaurants. Make sure to plan your work schedule around it and get there early, because each restaurant often “sells out” fast.

Each location starts handing out cheese plates at 5pm (or their earliest opening). Make sure to check out their website for details.  Happy Cheese-ing Austin!

FREE CHEESE WEEK SCHEDULE

Loot Rentals is proud to offer a day of free weddings to be held at the Loot Showroom and Warehouse on Valentine’s Day from 10 AM – 6 PM. The event is available for anyone that is ready to tie the knot or just exchange renewal vows all for free! All couples are welcome as the company is a strong believer that Love is Love. 

Couples will be able to enjoy:

For more details on how you can reserve your free Valentine’s Day wedding, click here! To make a wedding reservation, contact Loot Rentals at 512-464-1184 or hello@lootrentals.com.

When: Valentine’s Day

Time: 10am-6pm

Location:
Loot Rentals Showroom & Warehouse
3312 Duke Road
Austin, TX 78724

The Annual Community March celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy while uplifting diversity and multi-culturalism in our city. The MLK Community March kicks off with a short program at the MLK Statue on The University of Texas campus.

We will then march to the south steps of the State Capitol for a short program and marchers will continue on to the historic Huston-Tillotson University, where exciting activities are planned. All businesses, non-profit organizations and individuals are invited to march and celebrate Dr. King’s legacy.

When: Today, January 15th

Time: 9 a.m.

Click here for more information.

When most music fans talk about the Austin scene, South by Southwest (SXSW) and Austin City Limits Music Festival are what comes up usually. But there’s another, smaller music festival that has been taking place for over ten years in Austin, Free Week. Launched by Graham Williams (Margin Walker Presents) at the old Emo’s on Sixth and Red River, the event has mushroomed to most of the Red River venues Williams’ booking company works with and then some. The event runs through Sunday, Jan 7. 

Aside from Mohawk, Barracuda, Stubb’s, Cheer Up Charlie’s, Elysium,  The Sidewinder, Beerland, Swan Dive and Empire Control Room and Garage (all located on Red River or Seventh Street) The Sahara Lounge, Hotel Vegas, Volstead, Spiderhouse Ballroom, The Belmont, The Blackheart and more venues are also participating.  You really have no excuse to miss Free Week even if school nights are out, there’s a ton of shows to see Friday and Saturday. Free Week is here. 

There are more quality shows booked than we have room to recommend to you. For a more complete list of Free Week shows we like check out our author’s Do512 page. Incidentally, Do512 put together a fantastic all-female fronted band roster on Saturday. Details are below. On to our top picks listed by day beginning with tonight’s performances. 

Jan 3

Tonight’s lineup by The Loyalty Firm and Pull String Events at Barracuda is a doozy. Hard rockers, The Well, Residual Kid and The Ghost Wolves join our favorite post rock outfit my education, The Human Circuit, Built By Snow, Chill Russell, Cartright and Honey and Salt. Acts will appear on both the indoor and outdoor stages. 

Doors are at 7 p.m. with music starting at 8 p.m. The good news is temperatures are getting warmer today but you might feel the chill tonight so dress warm and if that doesn’t help, try the hot toddies at the outside bar. They kept us warm Monday night when we caught Semihelix to kick off Free Week. 

Room: INSIDE
830pm-9:10pm The Human Circuit
930pm-10:10pm Built By Snow
10:30pm-11:10pm Residual Kid
1130pm-12:20pm my education
1240am-1:40am The Ghost Wolves

Room: OUTSIDE
8pm-840pm Chill Russell
9pm-940pm Cartright
10pm-1040pm Honey and Salt
11pm-12am The Well

Other shows: 
Red River Cultural District and Heard Presents Ringo Deathstarr, The Halfways, Coattails, Teevee at Empire Control Room and Garage 7:30p

Tinnarose, Otis the Destroyer, Darkbird, Good Field, Hard Riffs at Hotel Vegas 9 p.m.

Jan 4

There are a raft of great lineups Thursday. It was difficult to choose a single show to feature but  Red River Cultural District and Heard Presents lineup is pretty hard to beat. The Garage roster alone with Whiskey Shivers, Sailor Poon, Booher, Poly Action would be worth braving the cold for yet, Otis the Destroyer, Megafauna, Leevees, Holy Knives, Hard Riffs and Rival Waves will all be inside the Control Room with a lot of loud guitars and energy.

Both Otis and Megafauna are perfect for fans of old school, hard charging guitar rock. Whiskey Shivers put on one of the best live shows in town. You can’t beat their energy. Sailor Poon’s Saturnalia Festival set was enough fun that we want more as soon as possible. If you make it early enough you’ll be wowed by Ray Garza’s Poly Action who kick off the festivities at 8 p.m. 

Garage

8 p.m. Poly Action
9 p.m. Booher
10 p.m. Sailor Poon
11 p.m. Whiskey Shivers

Control Room

9:15 p.m. Rival Waves

10:15 pm. Hard Riffs
11:15 p.m. Megafauna
12:15 p.m. Otis the Destroyer

1:15 a.m. Holy Knives

Other shows: 

The Void Martial Arts presents Riverboat Gamblers, American Sharks, Eagle Claw, Billy King and the Bad Bad Bad at Barracuda 8 p.m.

RRCD and C3 Presents Jackie Venson, Mobley, Melat at Stubb’s Inside 8 p.m. 

Jan 5

 

Sahara Lounge is entering the Free Week fray with a damn fine lineup Friday at 7 p.m. presented by High Brew Coffee and The Cosmic Clash. Headliner, BLXPTN might be one of Austin’s more underrated bands. The former duo of drummer and vocalist TaSzlin Muerte and guitarist, singer, and synth player Jonathan Horstmann added drummer Jeremy Kivett to the lineup recently, adding heft to an already formidable band that plays an amalgam of punk and electronic industrial with a politically-charged commentary. 

We caught Como Las Movies for the first time at Mosaic Sound Collective. They have a Latin-based sound that incorporates various styles. Similar to Money Chicha (some songs feature Cumbia) but a different arrangement with a four-piece band that gels together cohesively. Some songs sound like a film soundtrack hence the moniker. 

The rest of the lineup is just as solid with Major Grizz, Sometimes a Legend, Dead Recipe, Sun June and The Midnight Drive. There will be a limited supply of free High Brew Coffee available. Food truck Pakal will offer healthy Mexican specialties. Bonus: plenty of free parking.

Dead Recipe 7:15p

Sun June 8:15p

BLXPLTN 9:45pm

Como Las Movies 10:45p

Major Grizz 11:45p-12:30p

Sometimes a Legend 12:45a

The Midnight Drive 1:35a

Other shows: 

RRCD and Side One Track One presents Los Coast, Emily Wolfe, Otis the Destroyer, Palo Duro, Marmalakes, Growl, Lola Tried at Mohawk 8p

Holy Wave, Diamond Center, Hidden Ritual, Leather Girls, Teevee at Cheer Up Charlie’s 10p 

Jan 6

Do512 put together a stellar all-female fronted band lineup at Valhalla (Red River bet. Seventh and Eighth St.) Saturday. Our shoegaze/psych rock favorites Moving Panoramas will be joined by Lowin, Go Fever and Vonne. Speaking from experience, you’ll really enjoy this show if you make it out. 

Leslie Sisson of Moving Panoramas is a true talent as her appearance at the Texas State History Museum with Invincible Czars and an 80-person choir behind her demonstrated. The version of her song, Harmony that was presented left even Sisson in tears. 

Lowin and Go Fever represent more great rock created by women. Sara Hauser of Lowin has long been a part of the local scene. She’s making great new music. We caught Go Fever’s Acey Monaro solo at the Project ATX 6 Gala. The Australian rocker is really fun to watch with her entire band too. We’re looking forward to this one. 

Other shows:

Quiet Company, Day Shifters, Super Thief, BLXPLTN at Barracuda 8p

RRCD and Penny Loafer PR presents Calliope Musicals, Darkbird, Whiite Walls, Megafauna, Meanswell, A Sinclair, etc at Mohawk 8p. 

These days between Christmas and New Year’s are laaaaazy, but we like it that way. And since you officially have nothing to do, we thought it would be a good time to highlight a few non-holiday-related things to do in the city for when you have some serious time to kill. Your first stop, if you haven’t made it there yet, should be Austin’s new and glorious Central Library. For bookworms and architecture buffs, and really anyone with a pulse, it is truly something magical to behold. And this could be an ideal time to explore the almost 200,000-square-foot downtown building without all the crowds.

“We all thought of the building as this great portal,” architect David Lake told the Austin Chronicle in October, “… to knowledge, to the environment, to the culture—so in that way it’s by far the most public-spirited building we’ve done—not only in Austin but anywhere.” Go check out our city’s newest landmark for yourself. It will be time well spent.

Hours today: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Location:

710 W. César Chávez St.